martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

Memoirs of a Gay Guy: Society, Religion, Science and Me.

Memoirs of a Gay Guy: Society, Religion, Science and Me.

I'd always hear the following phrase whenever homosexuality was discussed in a public forum: Is Gay made, or born that way? It was a confusing question: First of all, it was a question of how to make a human being—the first being the societal influences and the upbringing of an individual, and the second being for natural reasons implemented in the natural form of the being. To me, it still is a confusing question, because everyone seems to discuss it, but there is not a collection of science and fact widespread throughout society that explains these things to us when we're children. I grew up with the idea that gay people were something else, that they were a part of society that we were impermeable to, like an indian reservation: we know it's there, we just don't have contact with it. This very alienation never gave me any curiosity regarding what homosexuality was when I was a kid. I just knew it was there, that it existed, and that I was not a part of it.

That was, of course, until I grew up and realized exactly what I was.

There is something about society and its diverse groups that puzzles me. We're raised to think locally and about what is familiar, and not really know about the rest of the world—hey, we have enough things to think about by ourselves. But homosexuality was discussed almost hush-hush around me, as if the very idea would corrupt my fragile little mind. I ended up learning about it when I was in elementary school, by people who had a vague idea of what it was when they were in grade school. Through my young little classmates I understood that being gay was something to be made fun of, that their parents didn't like and didn't want to fully explain to their children. I was fed, bit by bit, little segments of information. Along with whatever I heard from my parents, I'd struck up an image—that all gays were effeminate, liked to crossdress, talk and act like women and, well, that they liked men. But no one ever really seemed to explain it to me. I was in the dark. Being in the dark can be very dangerous to someone who suddenly needs information about something. Think about someone who doesn't know about cancer—and is told they have it. They would feel completely lost—as did I, when I figured out I was gay. Of course, by the time I made the realization I liked men, I was a bit older and was well beyond the age of reason, able to find information by myself—but of this, I will discuss later.

Misinformation leads to a lot of assumptions. If there's something I've learned when I talk to people about homosexuality, is that they all seem to know very little above what they already have heard from their peers. This is particularly prominent in people who do not have a gay friend or relative. Whenever I enter the issue, I get so many questions from people of all gender and age. The questions range from what I would consider obvious, to the harder, much more difficult to elaborate answers. It intrigues me. I want to answer all the questions, and what I do is take little Educated Guesses to fill some of the gaps—hunches, and ideas that i've formed from what I have observed, because I feel sometimes it's better to have two thirds of an answer than none, on a topic that needs more people exposing on it. I am, in no way, a scientist or a social scholar. I'm a person. But I have the ability to observe and think, and sharing this with you is the best I can do to make the world a bit more bright.

In that range of questions that i'm asked, my favorite to answer are the following: Those which stem from religious ideas and those which come from the scientific curiosity of the aspect. I'm often asked what made me gay—and I always, always answer jokingly. The truth is, there is no reason—I just am this way. To be more specific, I do not know whether or not this comes from a genetic code, from the way I was raised, to the people I interacted with. I have no clue on where to start when it comes to the science of sexuality. I can only read and watch and inform myself as best I can. I've found some very interesting gold nuggets of information along the way, and I want to share them with you.

At one point, I was browsing the Internet when I came across the thumbnail to an article done by Barbara Walters on the program 60 Minutes titled: Making Rats GAY? The Science of Sexuality. The first thought that crossed my mind was 'Heh, well, first rats, then the WORLD!', and interested, I clicked. It led me to a very interested Barbara Walters talking to some researchers about a study they had done trying to determine what made a person gay. The answer to the question that came from them was the same answer I can give to you: No one, not anyone, has an idea on how or why it happens. It just does. There is no cause. But as I said to one of the people who have asked me what the cause for homosexuality is: “If you want a cause, it means you want to remove it, and truth is, there is nothing wrong with being gay, so why remove it?” Sure, we're all curious about a cause, but my fear is they find a removable cause, like it's a sickness or something of the sort—and that, in society, can be extremely dangerous.

The study they presented showed that there is no genetic code that can make you gay. There are several recorded cases of twins—identical twins, who share the same genetic code, down to every single little genome-- whom one of them is gay and the other straight. The study also covered upbringing: people from all classes and backgrounds could be gay. There was no direct link to the way the parents raise a child to the occurrence of homosexuality in an individual. Hell, there's gay parents who raise perfectly heterosexual children. There is no cause. There is no reason. The fact of the matter is that it simply happens, and with that we should be perfectly happy. The science of sexuality studies dwindle down to a single possible explanation: It's random. A giant roulette where a select few get to be gay.

The other part that I encounter much questions from regard the religious aspect that works, in my case, against homosexuality. The religious paradigm that condemns homosexuality also pervades the society to which it is imperative. People ask me all the time whether or not I feel like a sinner, and they seem to argue, in their own little pious ways, that homosexuality is wrong—because, strangely enough, the people concerned the most with arguing religion and homosexuality with me are those who just happen to be part of the paradigm that goes against it. But, I digress. I'm often asked whether or not I feel like I'm betraying the word of God by being gay. There are several parts to this argument that I wish to address, because an answer would not be complete without the expression of these several ideas.

The first would be when we talk about religion. Homosexuality is condemned by judeo-christian religions, or so it is expressed by the more, uhm, vocal people who make a part of its people. The first problem with the condemnation of something by a religious group is that it does not affect everybody in the population. One must take into account those people who believe in other religions, and those religions which do not condemn homosexuality. The other problem with the condemnation argument is that, out of the million or so verses that the Bible possesses, only a select few discuss the topic of homosexuality—directly, or indirectly. When I say a select few, I mean only six. And out of those six, only one cites homosexuality per se: “If a man lie with a man as he doth with a woman, it shall be an abomination, and they shall be put to death”. It is a convincing little verse of the bible, but the very problem with this is that is is in the book of Leviticus, which is a part of the Old Testament, which also happens to be a book riled with ideas that most modern-day Christians do not follow. Leviticus goes on to say that it is a sin to work on Saturdays, and those of you who really need to work the saturday shift will either risk hell or foreclosure. It also says that a child who dishonors his or her parents shall be stoned, and that probably means that most of your kids are fucked. It also states that fabrics should not be mixed, which means that if you shop at any Old Navy will surely fry, for it is an abomination—it even says that shellfish are an abomination and shall not be eaten—and I'm sure that those of you who ate that plate of shrimp yesterday are seriously considering condemnation just to have some more of those pink fishy bastards.

When I disprove the idea that homosexuality is a sin as quoted from the bible, the argument usually turns to Sodom and Gomorrah. The argument is as follows: The sin-laden gomorrah, kind of like a modern Las Vegas, Nevada, was burnt to the ground as its people tried to rape some angels that came down from heaven with a holy message, and were spared by a man who offered his daughter in place of the Angels. (Way to take one for the team, girl!) However, their ways were allegedly punished by God when the city burned to the ground. However, it is stated later on that the great sin in this ancient city was not homosexuality, but lust, which I remind, is one of the seven deadly sins. If we were to go down by that standard, Las Vegas should have been scorched to the earth ages ago. Do we see the archangels coming down to burn The Mirage? What saddens me is that the information that is usually put forth by the people who try to call homosexuality a sin, as according to their Bible, don't really know the information all the way through—they just know of the paradigm, and enforce it, as ignorantly as they can, in blind faith of not what the bible says, but of what biased men have come up with. Whatever happened to the whole message and tenets that Jesus Christ set forth in the bible? Whatever happened to 'love thy neighbor'? Why, if religion is envisioned to be a force of unity, it is used as a source of dissent?

To be continued.