Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why I'm Right (And You're Wrong) About The Same-Sex Discussion



  When you think of love what thoughts occupy your mind? It could be anything from men and women showing affection such as kissing or holding hands, or it could be a sweet song that gives you that half-melted feeling. Maybe it's an image of someone's face that you care for very dearly, or for those so inclined, a pet at home, or a type of food. If you ask someone to describe the images in their mind when they think of love, those aforementioned thoughts might be some of the more basic and easier to come by ones. If you continue to ask, you might start to really get at what love means to someone, or they might start to run out of ideas. Maybe by the fifth or sixth answer the person lists, if in the right age demographic, you might hear them say it's a word written on someone's arm (a la To Write Love on Her Arms Campaign), or maybe they will quote you a Shakespeare Sonnet. Typically though, you won't hear someone describe love as something shared by two members of the same sex - even if they are GLBT there are far too many instances of open non-acceptance for most to be so open about their thoughts. Summed up, it’s tough to be honest and deep about something so sensitive.
   
  Is that because love is only cross sex? It is safe to say that most people would deem love as a 'normal' occurring thing and right now in society there are those who certainly won't allow themselves or others to consider homosexuality a normal thing. No matter which side of this issue you're on right now, you know the people I'm talking about. The pastors, the priests, the 'old school', the conservatives; but first and foremost, the narrow-minded. If you think homosexuality is a choice, not a biological inclination, if you think it is your ticket to an after-life to hate homosexuality, rather than accept it, if you preach bigotry against those who just want to get on with their lives then this piece is certainly for you. It is going to explain quite clearly why you are wrong, and I am right, when I say that homosexuality needs to be accepted, celebrated and treated as it is, love.
   
  By definition (copied straight from wiki, for reference reasons) Homosexuality is romantic and/or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex; "it also refers to an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."
   
  Some obvious issues with this definition (that has been sculpted by anyone who wished to contribute) are that firstly it is defined as 'social identity'. The most obvious reason this is silly and unnecessary is that in no way does your chosen partner define you socially, or at the very least I mean to say, it shouldn't. If I prefer short brunettes but my friend prefers tall blondes does that mean we are to be identified as socially different? To take it one step further, if I prefer partners of a certain ethnicity does that define me socially? If you're answering yes, then you are a part of the problem with the lack of acceptance for GLBT individuals. This is one thing that the proponents for homosexual rights and the opponents both make mistakes on - discussing the 'homosexual lifestyle'. GLBT communities need to stop talking about themselves as if they're a separate type of people - they aren't. When they do that it makes the job of segregating and marginalizing homosexuals so much easier for the opponents of equal rights. If you want equal rights and to be treated equally (they aren't the same thing, more on that in a moment), stop defining who you are by who you love! Or mark my words the bigots will continue to oppress. We need to explain that GLBT individuals still have interests and hobbies, favourite sports teams, artists, musicians, movies, actors and when the narrow-minded people resisting the equal rights movement finally understand this, that we are all humans, then true equality is only a short step away. I'm not talking about equal rights as in right to marry in this instance - in Canada we are quite fortunate in that these laws have been passed and will not, I repeat, will not, ever be reversed. I am talking about the social factor - being able to walk down the street holding hands like a straight couple. Go for dinner, cuddle in a theatre, hold hands outside a Tim Horton's without being ousted - that's the type of equality we are in dire need of. The type that doesn't just change laws, it changes thought patterns.
   
  Of course there are exceptions right now as so many individuals have been oppressed and forced to feel shame or guilt simply for wanting to find love. There are other feelings that result as reactions to those forced feelings, feeling the need to lash out, or 'show off' their homosexuality. And shouldn't they? If you had to fight to gain the same rights as everyone else then wouldn't you want to celebrate it? I would. In fact, I am straight and I celebrate Pride Week every year simply because I am ashamed that every day I am forced to deal with my overwhelming empathy I have for these people who are constantly bullied and suppressed.
   
  Why do GLBT individuals stand out so much? Because they're homosexual? What if they also write brilliant music, are scientists, doctors, lawyers, or are just a couple of people who like to watch movies in the theatre. Should they have popcorn thrown on them, rude remarks tossed their way as they enter or exit the theatre showing affection? One day I will have kids and those kids will become early teens and those early teens will start to take history and learn about oppression. I will then have to shamefully admit to my children that at one point in history where other early teens, who were GLBT, were oppressed so badly, bullied so openly that they had no option except suicide. I will have to explain that our society not only did nothing to stop this type of forced suicide but they actually condoned it. People gathered in huge buildings known as churches and mosques and synagogues to be taught why the homosexual is evil and not to be trusted. To be taught that not only is partaking in homosexual love sinful and immoral, but even to have those thoughts inside your own head is to submit yourself to eternal damnation. I will have to explain that if you weren't a part of this bigoted group then society deemed you as abnormal, deviant, and immoral. Quite the moral injunction on their behalf though, isn't it, to be convicted of thought crimes? To be made to feel dirty and nasty and shamed just because you love in a way that the masses don't see as appropriate, yet harms no one. I am definitely not looking forward to this future chat with my (hopefully distant) future children. However when the day comes for this chat I would like to be able to say that I did not condone this type of brainwashed bigotry. That I stood up for equality, no matter how unpopular my views were at the time.
   
  A quick note (really quick, so as to not get on the religion debate) to the Christians who are undoubtedly offended that I'm calling out their weekly meetings, the bible cannot be interpreted literally, if this was the case then rebellious children would be killed: Deuteronomy 21:18-21. Also, Women may not speak in church: Cor 14:33-36. The bible is not a collection of dogmatic and strict rules; it is a book of God that promotes compassion, faith in God, truth, and love. Or, at the very least, that is my opinion of what it should be, if I were to ever put faith into it.
   
  Now my favourite part of this discussion, the nature versus nurture debate. Is being homosexual a life choice? Well, at one point, yes. The desires, instincts and biological inclination quite obviously are not choices. However, an individual must decide at some point whether or not they are going to be true to their type of love. There are many individuals who never come out (as sad as it is to say) for many different reasons, suppression being chief among them. Simply put, I am talking about 'coming out' as a homosexual - which must be, especially with all the bigotry that exists today, one of the hardest things a human could do. The fact of the matter is that no one at any time in their life sits down with a pen and paper and writes "'pros' versus 'cons'" of being homosexual. No one writes that list, a list which would substantially favour the cons, such as; a life of constant verbal, physical and emotional attacks, repeated ridicule by society, parents/guardians and close friends, being treated as an unequal minority, not being given the same rights as your fellow humans and undoubtedly a much smaller pool of potential life mates. Considering that train of common sense it certainly doesn't take a scientist to realize that homosexuality is not a choice, it is a biological inclination. Need I really have to say more?
   
   No study has ever been published that wasn't also later discredited that has proven that a) granting homosexuals marriage rights will be harmful in any way to the 'constitution of marriage'(that should have been obvious, you can marry and divorce a prostitute in Vegas in one weekend but two loving adults are going to cause harm? Right.), or b) that has proven that children raised by adoptive GLBT parents causes any detrimental effects on the child/children. Often people worry that if homosexual marriage were to be granted that polygamy would soon follow. This makes no sense and would be easily ratified by an amendment to the constitution that bans such a thing. 
   
  So if you're still against homosexuality then to be perfectly honest, I am okay with that. You've proven that you're a soon to be extinct breed, a narrow minded individual whose place in this world is becoming less and less. I've clearly explained why acceptance is right and bigotry is wrong when having this discussion. I am right, and this will be the only time thus far in life that it is fair to say that if you disagree with the acceptance of GLBT equality, to disagree with my points, then you are quite simply put, wrong. 
   
  To sum it all up, love between two consenting adults is not dangerous; it's what makes life worth living.




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Saturday, October 22, 2011

RIP Miles Hamilton

It has been a year since you died, Miles. You were taken, stolen, fallen, whichever term we use is irrelevant - you are gone. I'd like to remind everyone that if Miles was here the last thing he'd let anyone do is be upset. If you knew him, you know what I just said is 110% true. He was literally the most sincere person anyone could ever meet and when he knew someone was upset he would be there for them until the problem was solved. I've personally seen this take place many times and how glad I am for that cannot be put into words that I was able to witness him at his very best, so frequently. It is devastating to think he can't be here to give such wonderful displays of pure human kindness any longer, a kindness that lit up this world and without him here able to show such great acts leaves us in a much dimmer reality. But on this day we should remember why he was so amazing, we should remember that death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of human sight.

Remember that Miles would not have wanted anyone to despair over the injustice of his death, the absolute unfairness of him being taken. Think of your favourite memory of him and focus on it intently as the next 24 hours passes so that each time it seems like it's all too much to take and you start to hurt and cry, you instead have a tear of joy because you knew someone wonderful and not everyone gets to say that in their lifetime. He truly enriched each and every single one of us and we must remember that we were truly lucky to call him our friend. The deceased are never truly dead to us until they are forgotten, and I say with the greatest certainty I've ever known that he will not be forgotten.

The fact that Miles was so young and full of life must undoubtedly be the toughest part about his passing, along with the way it happened. Life and death truly are balanced on the edge of a razor - what a sickening lesson to learn and one we all could have done without. But we learned it didn't we? And with tragedy we must take what good we can or we really are at true despair. I don't mean to say that you should be glad of the knowledge that life can end in a heartbeat, rather I mean to say that now that you've been forced to learn it, let us never forget it. Let us remind those among us who are too ignorant to have learned the lesson themselves just how important a lesson it is. Miles was ripped away from us and the very least we can do is to remind the ones too self absorbed to realize what a finicky thing life can be and that life can indeed be cut short.

Now let's be clear, Miles' death wasn't just tragic, it was unjust. Unjust not entirely in the sense that he was young, but also in a large way because justice has not yet been served. So many people have acted in such childish ways but we must not hate or judge because who really knows how to act in such a grief driven situation? Certainly some of us know how not to act, how not to be disrespectful, and some have shown over this last year that they cannot show respect to those who they owe it to. Justice will come as long as we make it come. We must not quiet our voices or lose integrity no matter how unpopular our views are. We owe this to Miles for all the wonderful memories he gave to us. The dead cannot cry out for justice, it is the duty of the living to do so for them.

Remember Miles, an amazing young man with a lust for life so vibrant, a personality so magnetic and a family influence so magnificently positive that even at the ripe young age of 18 he was more of a human being than any of us, save his own family, will ever grow to be. Remember each time we hit a birthday that we should not gripe about losing youth because growing old is not a curse, it's a privilage.

You will always be remembered, you will be celebrated.
You will never be forgotten, these tears still haven't faded.
Rest In Peace Miles

To all of Miles' friends I say that while we are mourning the loss of our friend others have rejoiced in meeting him beyond the veil.

And to the entire Hamilton family I give my deepest sympathies and offer these words: Death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity, and Miles truely is, eternal greatness.