The LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity; the in­tent to fight for equal­ity

The News (New Glasgow) - - OPINION LETTERS - Ger­ard Veld­hoven Ger­ard Veld­hoven is a long­time ac­tivist for the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity. Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­[email protected]

In a re­cent let­ter to the edi­tor in The News, a reader makes the fol­low­ing state­ment; “I don’t know what it’s like to be sub­jected to hate­ful rhetoric be­cause I am not gay.”

This ad­mis­sion re­veals that the au­thor of this state­ment does not un­der­stand how hurt­ful society can be to­wards LGBTQ+ cit­i­zens, in this coun­try and around the world.

The im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion by so many in our society is to di­vide rather than learn to un­der­stand the very ex­is­tence of those whose sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and true gen­der iden­tity or ex­pres­sion is a for­eign sub­ject. The ob­vi­ous an­swer that comes to mind at once is that right-wing Chris­tian fol­low­ers, among many oth­ers, be­lieve a choice must be made and change into a “het­ero­sex­ual” per­son, or de­cide to live in a body that is not in tune with one’s thoughts and be­hav­iour, not thought to be on par with oth­ers. The rea­son? Chris­tian­ity teaches this con­cept and es­pe­cially those within evan­gel­i­cal cir­cles take this to heart, con­se­quently filled with hate and dis­dain.

Firstly, as I have men­tioned on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, our sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is not a choice, just as be­ing straight is not cho­sen, but ac­cepted with­out con­fu­sion. Why would one choose to be sub­jected to a life if hor­ror in­flicted by those who re­ject the nor­malcy of be­ing gay. Con­se­quently, vi­o­lence fol­lows and con­tin­ues to­day, and well into the fu­ture. Se­condly, if Chris­tian­ity teaches to love, em­brace and re­ject hate, then why does the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity not ex­pe­ri­ence pos­i­tive ac­tion? Does love not con­quer hate? We do not de­clare war on Chris­tian­ity, in­stead we seek friend­ship and the em­brace.

Yes, the Trumps, the Ken­neys, the Car­pays and right-wing Chris­tians and so many more point­edly con­demn the LGBTQ+ pop­u­la­tion of this world. Should we just close our eyes, our ears, go into hid­ing, pre­tend­ing all is well and that bul­ly­ing and vi­o­lence do not ex­ist? Must we give in to re­jec­tion, hor­rific ideals, and the be­liefs by those who feel their su­pe­ri­or­ity is what must be ac­cepted? No, not in this world.

The au­thor of the afore­men­tioned let­ter reads my col­umns and he in­sists he be­comes an­gry at me. Is the anger di­rected at me per­son­ally, or is it aimed at the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity? Is he an­gry that gay peo­ple have al­ways ex­isted and not sim­ply some­one de­cided to cre­ate such a per­son? The re­cent anti-gay con­ver­sion ther­apy bill passed in the N.S. leg­is­la­ture ad­dresses the fact this prac­tice is in­deed hurt­ful, dis­crim­i­na­tory and leads to men­tal ill­ness, and in many cases, sui­cides.

It sim­ply does not work in any case, as it would not work to change a het­ero­sex­ual per­son to make him/her gay. One can­not change what na­ture gave us. Teenage sui­cides are among the high­est in Canada and around the globe be­cause of fam­ily, friends, teach­ers and some Chris­tian in­flu­ences. This must change as lives should not be lost on ac­count of one’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or true gen­der iden­tity. Rightwing Chris­tian be­liefs ap­par­ently sup­port the dis­crim­i­na­tion that leads to the hor­ri­ble con­se­quences we learn about on a daily ba­sis.

Why is the ha­tred so strong and why do many Chris­tian de­nom­i­na­tions, and other re­li­gions, sup­port such ac­tions? If dis­dain is the an­swer then it seems nor­mal for churches to lose mem­bers. LGBTQ+ cit­i­zens and oth­ers are leav­ing in droves and the church re­mains adamant to con­tinue on the path of hate and re­jec­tion. No one is ready to be bul­lied, or threat­ened, for liv­ing their lives as they are meant to be lived.

If wish­ing for a life with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion, the LGBTQ+ cit­i­zens around the globe must stand and be proud of who they are, as we can­not change our lives, just like the au­thor of the let­ter.

The gap must heal and all will live in har­mony and peace.

Happy hol­i­days to all.

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