Monday, May 08, 2006

Anti-gay Violence and Fundamentalism

Over the weekend, I read about the murder of a fourteen year old homosexual boy in Iraq and then received a link to an article about the subject in The Common Dreams News Center. Apparently, one of the clerics of the Shia sect has issued an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa and state-sponsored fundamentalist-infiltrated militia are apparently using their power to shoot suspected homosexuals on sight. This child victim allegedly worked as a homosexual prostitute to raise money for his destitute family, so the police came to his house and shot him at point blank range on his own doorstep. According to the article in the Common Dreams News Center, “There is mounting evidence that fundamentalists have infiltrated government security forces to commit homophobic murders while wearing police uniforms.” This barbaric murder of a homosexual teen in Iraq follows the state sponsored execution of a number of gay men in Iran in the past year. Two boys, one aged eighteen and the other around sixteen, were executed for allegedly raping a thirteen year old boy. Many claim that they were executed for being gay and that their confession to rape allegations was the result of torture or that the rape never ocurred in the first place.

In some of the articles that I have read about gay and lesbian persecution in Iran, it is estimated that up to 4000 gay men or lesbians have been put to death since the 1979 revolution. You can read more about the history of anti-gay policies in Iran in Human Rights News.

There are several aspects of this news that haunts me. First, there is the age of the victims. When I was fourteen years old, I knew that I probably was gay, but I had not yet had time to consider the ramification of what I knew. If fundamentalist rule had been applied to the teens of my age, then a whole camp of Boy Scouts that I met at Camp Tuscarora would have been shot to death, or at least, treated to scores of lashes. I had never before and have never since seen such sexual exploration as what took place in the barracks next to mine on several hot humid nights in the 1970s. Sexual exploration in teen boys is probably fairly normal behavior and it doesn’t mean that those boys will grow up to be gay men. Granted, working as a prostitute is not usual, but call the kid in, send him to therapy and help him out, don’t blow him away with guns.

The second aspect of this horror is the specter of theocracy that haunts us in many countries of the world. It shows its stony face equally in the fundamentalist Christian as in the fundamentalist Islamic world. It would have us institute in this country a second class of citizenship by banning gays and lesbians access to the rights of marriage. It held gay and lesbian citizens hostage for centuries by encoding sodomy and crime against nature laws into our legal system. In our past, gay men or lesbians, or merely those caught performing gay sexual acts could have been burned at the stake. In Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan right now, this same climate still exists, with preferred methods of execution of hanging, stoning, throwing the “guilty” from a high place or splitting them in half with a sword.

The last issue for me is that of human dignity and human rights. I firmly believe that we are gay because we are gay and the endless and inconclusive sets of beliefs around this topic should not and can not be used to justify discrimination and acts of violence. In a fair and just world, I believe one should love those one loves consensually with impunity. It is the act of hatred that should be punished and few groups of people across the world have suffered as have gays and lesbians. In World War II, for example, when the Allies liberated the Nazi concentration camps, all groups of people held there were released, that is, except for the gay men held under Paragraph 175, a German law that prohibited homosexuality. The Allies continued to hold the gay men for the crime of being gay. For a more detailed account of our complicity in this case, see the film Paragraph 175 for yourself.

When I think of vigilante groups and lynching and the thousands of victims that have suffered the world over for being who they are or for being a minority in a majority-ruled mob, it seems to me that the role of government should be to protect and to serve its minority citizens foremost. If those citizens are seen by someone else as a criminal in the eyes of God, then let us leave God to judge and punish them when it is appropriate. Mankind should not be so self-assured that we know the will of God, especially when the issue relates to consensual love. Some people are blinded by their own prejudice. Some people are just crazy when they hear voices.



Blogger Nelson Clemente said...

Shocking. There should be a world organisation specifically funded to work against this kind of crime.

6/30/2006 01:50:00 AM  
Anonymous denisestafford said...

Unprovoked violence against anyone is unjustifiable. But these tragic events have happened since time immemorial.

Assaults of lesbians by natural females resulting from sexual advances are rare. Natural females view such advances as either amusing or flattering and serious conflict in this area is minimal. Gay-‘straight male’ contact is something quite different.

Throughout the animal kingdom aggression and competition defines male sexual behavior. It is a deadly serious area of natural behavior. The sexual identity of heterosexual males is ultimately the most important aspect of their existence. Threatening or compromising this identity is the single cause of violence against lesbians and gays by male heterosexuals.

Nature dictates gays will remain a minority and this fact must be accepted. These acts of violense shoud serve exemplary to gay males the seriousness of approaching potential partners. Teen lesbians should benefit in learning the consequences of intruding on natural relationships without the physical trauma of experience; having their teeth knocked down their throats or their little female bones snapped like twigs by enraging the awesome physical power of the human heterosexual male who, by God’s design, will continue to dominate the species. It’s just common sense.

12/17/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Interesting perspective, Denise. It seems that you feel that gay people bring on the violence against them by making advances on people who are offended. What do you make of people who seek out gay people for the equivalent of lynchings? I am also a bit concerned about the image of "little female bones snapped like twigs" that you seem to justify by "God's Design". In my mind, God's design includes us all and does not give anyone dominion over another because of the group they choose for association.

12/17/2008 04:48:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

<script type="text/javascript"> if(document.referrer) document.write('<'+'img src="'+'?'+document.referrer+'" width=1 height=1> '); </script>