Friday, May 30, 2014

About Tolerance

LGBT is one of the issues which I find interesting. I grew up in a religious family and was raised with religious and moral values. Since before I was 10, I have known that being gay is a huge sin and is completely wrong - and that their behavior is something that Allah strongly despises. I also knew for a fact that Prophet Luth tried to eradicate homosexuality in Sodom as written in the Qur'an:

"Of all the creatures in the world, why do you approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? No, you are a people transgressing (all limits)!" - Prophet Luth A.S. in Quran (26 : 165-166)

As I grew older, I learn more about it. I started to see things from their perspective. I started to understand why some people have sexual or gender disorientation. I learned about it from clinical psychology perspective. I watched a lot of movies and TV programs which include LGBT characters (Modern Family, Shameless, A Normal Heart, Scandal, Glee, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, etc.) and heard them say "I was born this way" or "I am out and proud". I have a few gay friends: the publicly out-of-closet one, the secretly-gay-but-oh-it-is-so-obvious one, and even the currently-in-denial one. Not only gay, I have a friend who's a transgender: A person who thinks that he (or now, she) is trapped in a wrong body. And frankly, I enjoy being friends with them. It is impossible to hate them after knowing them personally. 

Mitchell and Cam from Modern Family, with their adopted daughter

Some people say it's lifestyle, while others say it happens naturally. Some people see it as a sin, while others see it as a personal freedom. Some people choose therapy, while others choose happiness. After all, having different points of view is not a crime. Nevertheless, sadly, we live in a world where most people think that they're right, and whoever choose to not live that way is wrong. And I live in a country where a lot of people can't respect other people's personal choice. Hence, LGBT has become a big issue in Indonesia. In fact, there is no prominent person in Indonesia who is openly gay, as far as I know, although I am sure there are aplenty.

Don't get me wrong: I haven't state anything that shows my support of their behavior. Due to my upbringing, I always see myself as a religious person, even though I realize that I haven't been practicing my religion perfectly, or wholly. As a matter of fact, if someone asked me, "Do you think it's right to be married with a same-sex partner?" I am still going to answer no. In my opinion, being gay, or having a tendency to (or having a hormonal problem that makes someone) appear and act like the opposite sex, is a test from God. Probably one of the most arduous test to pass, as it is onerous to be someone you actually don't want to be. Yet still, it is NOT right to despise gay or transgender people. Condemn their behavior, not them as a person. 

It's not only about what do you think is right; it's about how do you treat someone who you think is not right. It breaks my heart to see how LGBT people are bullied and prejudged. How they are laughed at and loathed. How can we be really sure that we are better than them, so that we can tell bad things about them? How can we be so certain that we're perfect, so that we could point out other people's imperfections?

I wrote this because I have just watched a liberal/feminist Muslim argued about how Islam accepted LGBT. At some point (or most points), I don't agree with her opinion, but the way people reacted to her saddens me. The video are commented by different kind of people, but mostly conservativists. "Go to hell, old lady!", "You despise me and Islam!", "You made me want to laugh at your stupidity!", "Gay people are so sinful and they only do that because of the lifestyle they chose and hence they can change themselves easily if they want to!" and other rude comments are flooding the video page. Rude, unintelligent, and injudicious.

Why can't we live in amity, despite of our diversity? Why can't we be more tolerant in differences? Why can't we coexist? 

And then I found a quote that hits me:

“It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It all comes back to education. Ah, my country. My beloved country.

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