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Musings

Glowing In Pink

I attended my first Pink Dot with two intents in mind: first, to help out a collection of passionate students from Yale-NUS looking to work on gender, sexuality, and feminist issues; second, to continue my experience as a pseudo-journalist with the Breakfast Network (here).

The atmosphere was festive, and the events very unlike the usual happenings at Hong Lim Park. Angry political speeches and indignant proclamations gave way to concert performances and impromptu sing-alongs (that is, until the very end). Hand-made protest placards and banner-signing booths were replaced by huge balloons and a crowded community tent. No rallying cries for change, but a chorus of celebrations.

It was an evening to remember.

I met friends; cherished friends whom I hadn’t met for a long time. I made new friends; beautiful friends whom I have so much to learn from.

Everyone was dressed spritely in pink. Especially the many foreigners I spoke to. There was a Colombian who had arrived at Singapore just for the event. An American professor who had touched down from Kuala Lumpur an hour earlier, after her academic conference. French undergraduates who had made a special summer trip to Pink Dot, to soak in this joyous occasion. International students who had gathered despite being jet-lagged, because they believed in the freedom to love regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Me too.

Under the moonlight, the shimmering pink torches were an incredible sight to behold. Yet what truly stood out for me, as I scrolled through posts and photographs on the train home, were the individuals criticising the event. I speak not of the bigots spewing vitriol on various online news sites, but of the participants – past and present – articulating perspectives on the way ahead. Has Pink Dot, with the growing numbers, deviated from its true purpose? While the sponsors provide legitimacy and render the event (and its communities) more mainstream, should we embrace such commercialism so readily? Even as the attendance skyrockets, what else can or should be done, beyond present legal challenges?

I suppose, this is the democratic discourse we truly deserve. I am convinced, after exchanges with friends and readers, that we can all do our part (here, the comments section).

I went to Pink Dot for two reasons. But, I left with many more reasons to return next year.

At a booth with the Yale-NUS friends.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

22 thoughts on “Glowing In Pink

  1. I went to the inaugural Pink Dot in 2009, and that was back in the day when Hong Lim Park was a dead place, and ‘Speakers’ Corner’ was a phrased uttered with a great deal of cynicism. Pink Dot then took place solely in the day, and a stream of 2,500 people (almost one-tenth of Saturday night’s numbers…) steadily trickled in with the determination to make it work, to assert their place in the only form of the shadow of socio-political demonstration that we are allowed as citizens. That was also the year of the AWARE EGM, and there was a consciousness that the power was in the hands of individuals massed together who had the courage to stand up and say something. (Certainly one of the most popular pink shirts at Pink Dot 2009 was the ‘STAND UP AND SIT DOWN’ shirt that had been printed post-EGM.) That determination to maintain that right to making a public statement is part of the reason why Pink Dot has always been conceived as a happy occasion, as a celebration rather than a more genuine form of demonstration, because a crackdown on a festival makes a fool out of the authorities. On that day, the quiet Hong Lim Park turned into a noisy gathering of love and expression, with the bubble lady and the pink chihuahua making their debut, later to become familiar icons of Pink Dot.

    To me Pink Dot is far more important than just an LGBT event, because I see it as the event that revitalised the urge to grasp our freedom to state our stand and hold our ground publicly in Singapore. I’ve seen many statements of surprise like yours contrasting the vitriol of the White Paper rally with the humour and light-heartedness of Pink Dot. And that’s surprising to me because Pink Dot has always been a happy place to me. And because the geography of it is important, it follows that Hong Lim Park is always a happy place for me. When I walk through it outside of Pink Dot I remember, that’s where the temporary stage was set up in 2009, that’s where I sat with this friend in 2010, that’s where, that’s where. ‘Usual’, to me, is Pink Dot, and in some ways I see the angry political demonstrations that now popularly characterise Hong Lim Park as the absurd ones. And I, for one, don’t want to see Pink Dot going that way either. There may come a time when there is a need for an angry rally, but I sincerely hope it won’t happen at Pink Dot.

    All that said, I’m glad you enjoyed Pink Dot so much! And I’ll see you at the next one ya 😀

    Posted by Gwyneth | July 1, 2013, 12:42 pm
    • I was at the EOGM too, haha (but as an associate member)! I am technically still with AWARE, doing a campaign on eating disorders, but have been out of touch for some time. Which means it is also time for me to really get going, sigh.

      There are many beautiful things about Pink Dot. Because I was also reporting about the event, I had the chance to speak to many attendees (especially the internationals), and the support and joy were incredible. The focus on family, friends, and allies was great, and broadens participation too.

      Our perspectives are shaped by our personal experiences. Before this year’s Pink Dot, I’ve only been to Hong Lim Park for the protests (SDP May Day Rally, Free My Internet, Population White Paper, Marxist Conspiracy), so the difference in atmosphere stood out for me. I can’t change these insights (given my predilection for penning perspectives on socio-political issues), but I’m glad it is a happy place for you.

      Perhaps that opens up another question altogether: must expressions of dissent necessarily be filled with anger and frustration? I don’t think these emotions should be dismissed, but sometimes it will do us some good to debate and discourse civilly.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | July 1, 2013, 3:56 pm
  2. Pink Dot & all these LGBT activists are a danger to the social fabric of this nation. They will tear asunder the very institutions & values that are the bedrock of our country.

    Posted by IGoCrazyBecauseOfYou | July 1, 2013, 3:54 pm
  3. And I can’t be more disappointed with these Yale-NUS students. This is a step backwards for all of us.

    Posted by IGoCrazyBecauseOfYou | July 1, 2013, 3:54 pm
    • How exactly are these “a danger to the social fabric of this nation”? What “institutions and values” do you speak of? And, how are these “a step backwards” for all of us?

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | July 1, 2013, 3:59 pm
      • I think this crazy guy meant mental institutions and values such as economic growth at all cost, high ministerial pay and foreigner-first locals need spurs on their behinds.

        Posted by The | July 2, 2013, 11:30 am
  4. What if your child was gay? How would you feel?

    So how’s this a danger? Very simple: these ppl want us to think that there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

    SERIOUSLY?!?!

    Posted by IGoCrazyBecauseOfYou | July 2, 2013, 3:29 pm
    • Because there is nothing wrong.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | July 5, 2013, 4:31 pm
      • Why do you say that there is nothing wrong with being gay?

        Here’s perhaps an alternative perspective of what the people at pink dot don’t tell you, to facilitate fully-informed discourse:
        http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/
        http://www.narth.com/docs/bioresearch.html

        This is because I find that politics rather than science continues to drive public perceptions concerning homosexuality.

        Hear both sides.

        Also, to “igocrazybecauseofyou”: No one is against homosexual people or homosexual children – nothing is being held against the person (bullying is wrong). If anyone’s child (/friend/colleague) were a homosexual, surely (and rightly so!) their parent would not love them any less! They deserve their space to work and build their lives. For this same reason that we have the Yellow Ribbon Project etc because we recognise the individual’s inherent dignity and worth as inalienable and protect all persons’ right to equality of treatment (which, quite rightly, the court decision on the constitutional challenge decided that 377A does not infringe). But the act of homosexual sex (the aim of the political agenda) is what is wrong. And I do have friends who are bisexual/queer – and if I had a friend who had a drinking problem, or anorexia, I would not love them any less, but I would know that what they’re doing is wrong.

        Posted by H | July 8, 2013, 11:44 pm
      • Thanks for the links. Will read them before I go to bed!

        That was sloppy of me, I concede (I attribute it to misinformation and carelessness). I should’ve asserted that I cannot accept any form of discrimination and bigotry.

        Jin Yao

        Posted by guanyinmiao | July 8, 2013, 11:54 pm
      • Well…but what do you mean by discrimination and bigotry?
        Because…if I consider homosexual activity wrong, would you consider me a bigot and discriminating person?

        Would like to hear your thoughts on the articles if you’re willing to share!

        Posted by H | July 9, 2013, 12:14 pm
      • One has the right to believe that homosexuality is wrong (and by wrong, do you mean biologically? morally?) An act of discrimination would be, for instance, to hurl abuse against homosexuals, to deny them rights (the “freedom to love”, as it is popularised), or to treat them as lesser beings.

        I suppose it’s an application of the golden rule. If I were gay I wouldn’t want to be treated any differently. And so I don’t treat my LGBT friends differently too (or worse, to do any of the aforementioned).

        Jin Yao

        Posted by guanyinmiao | July 9, 2013, 12:27 pm
      • Well yes, I do think it’s physically and morally wrong. But I think I can apply the golden rule and not treat my LGBT friends any differently than I would any other but still oppose their ‘freedom to love’ someone of the same sex. In the same way that I would still love a friend dealing with alcoholism but still know that alcoholism is wrong and would help them overcome it. It doesn’t demean their inherent and inalienable self-worth and human dignity, but it is separating the person’s inherent value from their actions. Because I love them, I wouldn’t give them the ‘right to be alcoholic’, and so in the same way, the right to engage in homosexual sex.

        I suppose the ‘freedom to love’ as the campaign slogan makes it sound like whoever opposes it must be some kind of monster. Who could oppose the highest human endeavour…! Everyone strives towards love – to love and be loved. But at the same time, not all love is good. There is unhealthy love – overprotective, codependent, perverted, abusive love. Perhaps sometimes we strive towards the types of love that we think we need, when we actually don’t. Homosexual sex to me is a mismatch of function of the body parts – I don’t mean to sound crude, but anal intercourse is physically damaging. The anus is vulnerable to tears and heavy bleeding upon penetration due to its limited capacity to expand. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men is an extreme example, but one nonetheless)

        So in the end, ‘freedom to love’ is really more a euphemism for sexual freedom, isn’t it? But we must then ask, is sex something which we must give paramount liberty towards? Would we fight for an adult’s right to ‘love’ a minor? A student’s right to love their teacher? Or is it something that we exercise self-restraint and self-mastery over because we know that there are more important virtues towards self-fulfillment? I’ve seen friends struggle with the darkness and problems that come with sexual liberation that I do not wish upon anyone else.

        Posted by H | July 9, 2013, 1:48 pm
      • The physical effects you have raised are valid, though I should point out that it is probably applicable to intercourses involving homosexual men (the other interactions will not have the same physical ramifications, I’d presume). And would I be right to assert that your moral opposition stems from religious belief? Or a firm social conviction on the institution of marriage.

        Fundamentally, as you have pointed out previously, the discourse will continue to centre around the “causes” of homosexuality (and I will read the links later, my apologies). Proponents will of course posit that it is inherent (that is, one is somehow “born” with it); opponents will contend that it is a form of moral and social deviancy that should be addressed. Though, even if future scientific studies are more definitive, the respective camps will only remain more entrenched in their own positions.

        Your actions are perfectly reasonable, but as a heterosexual I’ve chosen to accept the lifestyles and beliefs of my homosexual friends. For different reasons (that is, they are not unhealthy). Unlike the examples you’ve raised, in homosexual relationships (at least those I know of) there is mutual consent, both are fully cognisant of what they are committing to, and no harm is done beyond the relationship.

        The tendency to conflate sex and relationships does the movement no favours. I must concede that the LGBT’s community (or at least, a number of its members) predilection to promote a culture of promiscuity has been counterproductive. That is not to say that the more sensible ones have also emerged to challenge these views.

        I’m typing this on the phone (scrolling up and down), so let me know if I’ve missed or construed your perspectives!

        Jin Yao

        Posted by guanyinmiao | July 9, 2013, 2:21 pm
      • The biological impossibility of intercourse in the traditional sense between persons of the same sex applies to women as well – they have no means to do so. While men have it the painful way. I hope the simple fundamentality of this point might show that homosexual sex is a mismatch of the function of body parts – which indicates that something is really not quite right, or natural, about it.

        My moral view stems from both the reasons you’ve mentioned, but I don’t see how it’s relevant..? I’ve discoursed on the basis of rational reason (in the same way that I came to adopt a theistic worldview through reason, as I hope all atheists and agnostics do theirs!).

        As you mentioned, the cause of homosexuality is one issue yet to be settled by science. If it were not biological, the debate ends. But even if it were determined to be a biological issue, I think the self-restraint point would still come in, because we, heterosexual or homosexual, all have sexual impulses – that are inborn – and we exercise self-restraint because we recognise that it is better for us. And so if one were to have homosexual inclinations, they (men) can exercise self-restraint to prevent the damage that it would cause to their body parts. Damage in the sense of immediate physical damage and long-term high risk of cancer.

        You’re right in pointing out that the LGBT community tends to promote promiscuity, because it does and I think studies can back that. (Although my point was that Pink Dot, being a campaign for homosexual rights against 377A, really is a campaign for sexual freedom than the marketing euphemism of freedom to love!) While there may be some committed homosexual relationships such as those you know, many are plagued with infidelity, confusion over ‘sexual identity’ and dysfunction. I think the articles will give you some hint of that. As to no harm being done beyond the relationship, the first article will demonstrate, even in the context of a committed relationship, some evidence of the impact of same-sex parenting on children’s well-being. So there are perhaps some valid reasons for real community harm caused by same sex relationships.

        Posted by H | July 10, 2013, 10:29 am
      • You expressed that it was physically and morally wrong, and since you established the former quite clearly, I thought I would try and make sense of the latter.

        Thanks for the perspectives. I will speak to a friend, and also read the articles now.

        Jin Yao

        Posted by guanyinmiao | July 10, 2013, 10:38 am
      • I read the two links that were posted up with some anticipation and am disappointed to point out that they do not support the argument that there is something wrong with being gay or even negate the argument that there is nothing wrong with being gay. This seems to be an example of confirmation bias at work.

        Link 1: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/

        The author shares his side of the story about being a bisexual growing up in a gay family. I would like to point out that, first of all, this is merely a narrative, and, like all narratives, it is not representative or conclusive – for every narrative that says something, you can find another narrative which says something different. Regardless of this, I read through the article with, I hope, an open mind and without any preconceived conclusions.

        The author tells about the strangeness he felt growing up in a non-traditional family. He says that he missed the opportunity to pick up on gender cues (which are highly stereotypical, as he admits but sidesteps), to learn from seeing some kind of “functional courtship rituals” that one sees in traditional families (?) and that he felt like “an outcast because of [his] girlish mannerisms, funny clothes, lisp, and outlandishness.” Reading this makes it appear that the author grew up on an island, alone with his lesbian parents, and devoid of social contact. Even in traditional families, children learn as much from interactions with family members as from interaction with others in their social circles. And perhaps it is different in Western cultures, but in Asian societies, children hardly learn about “functional courtship rituals” from their parents or families, these “rituals” (which suggests a set of unwritten rules set in stone, and that I’m not even sure exist) are learnt through one’s experiences, if they are learnt at all.

        What appears to be the problem for the author was that he was alienated. And perhaps that’s the reason he struggled so much after all – he was dumped into a vacuum and lacked social contact with others his own age and his mentors. Ironically, this might have been due to the conservative values held by society at that time. I imagine, that if society was more welcoming and less discriminating, he would have more opportunities to learn the social cues he desired, from straight people or LBGT.

        Interestingly, in his concluding comments, he writes about the problems of feeling strange: “Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard; it takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex.” Perhaps what needs to be changed are the perceptions regarding homosexuality, so that those who are different can grow up feeling less strange.

        I would also like to point out that the author is a bisexual who eventually marries a woman and starts a family of his own. He is fortunate then, in the sense that he is able to be attracted to and fall in love with a woman. However, others may not be so fortunate and are deprived of the ability to legally start a family, an experience so life-changing that the author himself says, “When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest . . . forever.”

        On a side-note, it should be mentioned that this article was written with the purpose of defending the the controversial study “New Family Structures Study” (NFSS) conducted by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology. Unlike what is implied in this article, that Sherkat’s dismissal was a disregard for bisexuals, Regnerus’ study was condemned by major professional scientific institutions and his peers. The American Sociological Association, the largest association of sociologists, even formally condemned the NFSS for being invalid in a brief to the United States Supreme Court. The issue was that Regnerus’ study about the effects of same sex family parenting had just two respondents who were actually raised by a same-sex couple. Why did he publish the study then? Perhaps it had something to do with the $760, 000 he was paid by the Witherspoon institute and another conservative think-tank.

        Link 2: http://www.narth.com/docs/bioresearch.html

        This 16 years old study does not conclude about the morality of being gay. It does not even conclude that being homosexual is not genetic. It merely sought to stop the public from misunderstanding that studies completed by 1997 conclusively proved that homosexuality is genetic. Instead, “genetic factors account for, at most, but a small proportion of the risk.” Likewise for brain changes leading to homosexuality and the cause of distress among homosexuals, he argues that studies then did not conclusively prove purported links.

        Posted by Fred | July 10, 2013, 2:07 pm
      • Hi Fred, apologies for the late reply as I’ve only just seen your comment. I appreciate the time you took to read the articles and to write your response.

        In regard to the first article, I take your point for I too have reservations about the seeming absence of other people in the writer’s environment, but I conjecture that his social isolation might indeed have been to such a great degree. I did not cite it to be absolute truth – perhaps we’ll know only when the writer elaborates – but I intended to provide, quite simply, an alternative perspective that is seldom heard in the liberal public square. It is to me a plausible account of the consequences of being brought up by same-sex parents. Also, that it was written to support another study, invalidated or not, does not invalidate the authenticity of this piece; it still is his account of his experiences and may be examined on that basis alone.

        I think the writer’s point was that him growing up alone with two female parents made him behave differently and confused about his sexuality that led him down the path of experimentation when really, he was a “straight” man (“I call myself bisexual because it would take several novels to explain how I ended up “straight” after almost thirty years as a gay man.”) (“I would posit that children raised by same-sex couples are naturally going to be more curious about and experimental with homosexuality without necessarily being pure of any attraction to the opposite sex.”). While you suggest that his strangeness should be attributed to his alienation on the basis of the conservative values and perceptions of homosexuality at the time, the writer makes it clear that the alienation was not due to prejudices against homosexuality: “Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house…I would later seem strange even in the eyes of gay and bisexual adults who had little patience for someone like me. I was just as odd to them as I was to straight people.”

        Even as I point this out for the sake of clarity I would also like to clarify that I too, do not condone treating homosexuals in a prejudicial manner, ie social alienation. Also while I do agree with you that both the family and the community have impact on children, it is to my knowledge the general opinion that the family unit has the greater influence.

        More importantly, one thing I really appreciated about the article was this passage was: “Many have dismissed my story with four simple words: “But you are conservative.” Yes, I am. How did I get that way? I moved to the right wing because I lived in precisely the kind of anti-normative, marginalized, and oppressed identity environment that the left celebrates: I am a bisexual Latino intellectual, raised by a lesbian, who experienced poverty in the Bronx as a young adult. I’m perceptive enough to notice that liberal social policies don’t actually help people in those conditions. Especially damning is the liberal attitude that we shouldn’t be judgmental about sex. In the Bronx gay world, I cleaned out enough apartments of men who’d died of AIDS to understand that resistance to sexual temptation is central to any kind of humane society. Sex can be hurtful not only because of infectious diseases but also because it leaves us vulnerable and more likely to cling to people who don’t love us, mourn those who leave us, and not know how to escape those who need us but whom we don’t love. The left understands none of that. That’s why I am conservative.”

        In regard to the second article, I take your point as well that the study is not conclusive – but I cited it to provide an alternative viewpoint as to the contested nature of the biological point within the scientific community. I think we can both agree that the science has yet to conclusively prove or disprove anything. However as I mentioned, I do think that even if it were found to be genetic, self-restraint is still a virtue in the same way that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, exercise self-mastery over our biological impulses because we recognise that there are higher virtues towards self-fulfillment.

        Posted by H | July 17, 2013, 11:17 pm
  5. Hi H, thanks for your reply.

    I agree with you completely that we should see both sides of the coin to form considered views. I am sure that you would also agree with me that it is important to consider the reliability and significance of reports and evidence you are reading during that process. That it was written to support another study does not invalidate the authenticity of the piece, but it certainly does it no credit. I wonder, too, how plausible this account and what it purports can be. It is an uncorroborated account which makes a number of claims that the author personally believes to be true. But how do we know that the author is right in the first place? How do we know that his grievances should be laid at the feet of same-sex marriage? We cannot simply take his word for it, as I’m sure you would agree.

    Life is hard. Raising a children is hard. Raising a children as a homosexual couple in a conservative time is hard. We don’t know if different gay parents would have made Mr Lopez a gay parenting activist instead. Perhaps his parents had a wrong parenting style or didn’t spend enough time with him. The point is that there are a number of other plausible reasons Mr Lopez turned out the way he did and had the run-ins he did, and just because he had gay parents doesn’t mean that it was because of his gay parents. Correlation does not imply causation.

    And even if the author’s personal problems are related to the parenting he received, it does not mean that gay parenting is bad or undesirable for others. Completely straight parents raise children who feel alienated from society, commit any number of heinous crimes or end up hating their parents too. But that does not mean that we should ban straight parents any time soon. We can’t sure that the writer’s case is not an anomalous one and that the majority of children raised under gay parents are not perfectly healthy and happy.

    How plausible this account is eventually boils down to how each one of us think and evaluate the factors behind it, but this narrative and the allegations contained within cannot be considered significant.

    I’m pretty sure he is bisexual. That’s why he wrote “straight” and he says so himself, “we do have a choice to live as gay or straight, and we do have to decide the gender configuration of the household in which our children will grow up.” I don’t think straight or gay people have a choice.

    You allege that we need to practice self-restraint and exercise self-mastery over our biological impulses, as if homosexuality is a vice and feeling which should be controlled and stamped down. That’s the point of this discussion, isn’t it? Is it really a vice? That’s something society needs to decide as a whole. This is not the same as sexual predation, rape or lust, which should rightfully be restrained. The fact is that some people are homosexual. Most of them would probably choose to be straight if they could (I mean even the statistics make sense. There’s a larger pool of willing partners you can meet), but they can’t. For them, to deny that and to clamp down on it, lock it away in a dark corner and pretend to be straight, is to deny themselves and their very existence. So, when you recommend that we “exercise self-mastery over our biological impulses because we recognise that there are higher virtues towards self-fulfillment”, you were really recommending that gays mentally incarcerate themselves so that they can achieve fulfillment.

    You probably didn’t mean that because you “do not condone treating homosexuals in a prejudicial manner, ie social alienation.” But homosexuals are already being treated in a prejudicial manner as a whole in this society. They are denied the rights of matrimonial union, to start their own families and to love. These are basic rights that we wouldn’t dare deny others of. So we need to ask ourselves why this is so. And feeling uncomfortable about their sexual orientation just doesn’t cut it, no more than feeling uncomfortable about others’ race, gender or religion is reason to discriminate against them.

    You also mentioned that “the biological impossibility of intercourse in the traditional sense between persons of the same sex applies to women as well – they have no means to do so. While men have it the painful way. I hope the simple fundamentality of this point might show that homosexual sex is a mismatch of the function of body parts – which indicates that something is really not quite right, or natural, about it.” What is natural? I can fit my fist into my mouth but that doesn’t make it natural. If you think about it, there’s something not quite “natural” about wearing clothes too. I mean we were born without them and other animals go au naturel. Transport systems, computers and plastic aren’t natural but we don’t reject them. The customs that we have come up with like dining etiquette, being polite aren’t natural too. My point is that not everything that doesn’t fit is unnatural (the opposite applies too) and being unnatural (unlike something devised by nature) doesn’t make something wrong. You can leave the mechanics to them, if you’re uncomfortable, they will be more than happy to put two and two together.

    By the way, homosexuality is common in nature.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2013/05/17/is-homosexuality-natural-yes-so-is-male-lactation/
    http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx

    Posted by Fred | July 18, 2013, 1:40 am
    • Hi Fred, apologies for the delayed response again (I don’t check this page too frequently) and I appreciate your reply.

      With regard to the article, I take your point and I think we can agree to disagree on our perceptions of it due to its ambiguity unless the writer himself provides more information. Second, the actual reasons are of course speculative because no one factor can be isolated for study; the author might not have perceived other factors as having an influence on him. However we can regard his genuinely held opinion as one perspective. As it is an opinion piece please feel free to accord it the reliability it merits and in the context of there being no scientific consensus on the issue. I reiterate that it was meant to provide an alternative viewpoint to what is commonly circulated to people. More research has to be done by the scientists to be able to say anything conclusively and scientifically.

      I take your point that homosexuality is found in several animal species. It also came to my attention that it was a factor relied on by the US Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas. But I think it’s a logical leap to say that it has any bearing on the legal issue. Some animals also eat their children – so if a cannibalistic man were to plead this reason in court – that it’s natural because animals do it too – (and let’s grant too that the victim consented), should he be released? (pardon the crude example) While it is at best indicative of a biological predisposition, the fact itself does not progress into the normative determinations made by Lawrence v Texas.

      It seems like you’re saying that the fact that homosexual sex can be consensual distinguishes it from sexual predation, rape or lust. But what about consensual sex involving minors or a married person? It still is statutory rape and adultery. Consent isn’t the ultimate determinant of morality because we recognise that there are more important moral concepts, institutions and norms in society that are worth giving weight to over consent. So self-restraint still is relevant, in the same way we restrain ourselves from promiscuity or pornography. Sexual urges are primary to every human being – whatever orientation – but being more than animals, we are able to exercise self-will and self-control. I wouldn’t say its “mental incarceration” too – the closest example I can think of are unmarried singles – they’re not ‘mentally incarcerated’ just because they’re not active – sexuality is only a part of, not the whole of man.

      As to the “natural” point, I believed it was a simpler term to use than ‘biologically impossible’ (goes against the design and function of body parts) and ‘evolutionarily unstable’. This means, if one were to subscribe to Darwin’s theory of evolution, homosexual attraction cannot result in procreation and as such will eventually be phased out and become ‘extinct’. Yet if homosexuality has persisted as a phenomenon through the ages, it points to another source of homosexuality. I’m not saying I know the answer, but it’s a point worth making.

      I would like to explain my statement that I “do not condone treating homosexuals in a prejudicial manner, ie social alienation.” What I mean is treating homosexual persons in a manner that is different from others in a situation where sexuality is irrelevant – like I would a friend, family member, colleague etc. That any of them is homosexual is irrelevant to how I treat them as persons. Their sexual preference is irrelevant to their ability to work at a job. This is the equality guaranteed to all persons under the law. However if we’re talking about the campaign for homosexuals to marry, I see it as a misuse of the slogan of equality. Firstly because there is a rational differentiation being made by the law that makes it non-discriminatory. Differentiation is not the same as discrimination. Secondly because it goes against the definition and purpose of marriage as a male-female union often for the bringing up of children.

      As I say this, I’m aware that many homosexual persons do not feel that they are making a choice on their sexuality, and I do not mean to demean or disregard any of it. I know it’s a really personal issue that strikes deep at the core identity for many persons and the type of life that they lead, and I do not debate it for mere frivolity. The issue is important to the both of us. It is not my intention to “control” it or “stamp (it) down”, or demean individuals, but merely to discourse, exchange and persuade – because even laws have limited effect on human behaviour.

      Posted by H | August 2, 2013, 12:33 am

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