By Jim Koury, Editor
Diversity Rules Magazine
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine. All rights reserved.
There are many instances in our lives where fear grips us to the point where it can create such inertia that we stop taking chances or begin to second guess our every move. When we are gripped with fear, it allows irrational thinking to guide our actions. Fear is irrational because it is not premised on facts and truth. During such period of irrationality, we may say and do things that we really do not believe or wouldn’t do otherwise due to the lack of facts or the influence of other’s fear and irrationality is preventing us from thinking for ourselves. When riddled with fear, we may take actions based on emotions rather than thinking things through in a logical way.
Fear on a mass scale can create political forces and policies that are grounded in irrational thought, and result in a group of people being discriminated against and persecuted simply for who they are. Examples of this; the anti-immigrant sentiment in the early 20th century, slavery and the subsequent discrimination against African-American persons; the slaughter of innocent people of the Jewish faith under Hitler’s reign of terror, and more recently the queer population that is denied basic civil rights accorded the rest of the population.
The fear of homosexuality or more commonly known as “homophobia” has created a hateful environment for this nation’s queer community to live within. Every day we hear stories of beatings, murders, bullying in schools, suicides of our youth, workplace discrimination and marriage inequality.
On a more personal scale, I certainly have experienced the result of homophobia. The threat to my life, as I have mentioned in my blog in prior articles, clearly stands out as the most visible manifestation of fear and hate by another individual simply because of who I am. It certainly brought discrimination right to my front door step!
A second instance was related to the social group that I tried to start in Oneonta (which I have not given up on) called “Queers United.” I had a very awesome logo made up with a fist in the air regaled with queer colors. Then one night while at the venue, I was asked if I would consider changing the name of the group because they were getting complaints from the local churches. I did not succumb to that fear driven request, but after more flack, I simply walked away from it, the event was taken over by others, and it now has a more “acceptable” name. I was clearly offended that the fear and bigotry of local religious institutions could compel the venue’s owners to ask if I could change the name of an independent group because it didn’t suit the religious community.
Another more recent instance, was some anecdotal information relayed to me about my having a gay pride American flag flying proudly in the front of my house right along with Old Glory. It appears this person felt that the flag was a denigration to Old Glory and a mocking of what America represents (the way they see it, mind you!). The same person also told me that when told that he had come to my house and had a beer on the deck, the homophobic person replied back incredulously with, “you went to his house?” The person telling me this stood up for me and said that “he’s a good guy and is just like everyone else.” For that I appreciate very much and is a sign of a true friend and supporter.
To quote a recent picture I saw on Facebook, “bigotry is a lifestyle choice.” Clearly this is true when it comes to fear and homophobia. Homophobes choose to discriminate against the queer population because of fear and misunderstanding, and a lack of conscious desire to reach out and find out about a person and KNOW them as a person. It is a choice to not seek information and facts before making emotionally based opinions based on tales in a book written by men in a very unenlightened age. So yes, bigotry clearly and most unequivocally is a lifestyle choice!
So what choice should one make? Clearly a more progressive, liberally based worldview would be the preference. But the homophobes will always base their perception of life on their fear and alas, my utopian liberal world will always be compromised. However, I do believe we as a society are working toward that, despite the setback of the GOP taking over the House and wreaking its untold and horrific terror on America.
We can do better! Our nation is premised on freedom, liberty, and justice for all. We cannot continue to allow fear and homophobia to keep us from achieving full and unequivocal equality on all fronts. Fear and homophobia only creates dissension and distracts us from what is truly important. The very essence of our representative democracy is at stake if we allow a small group of unenlightened individuals grounded in fear to prevent us from achieving the American ideals we hold so close to our hearts. We cannot continue to disallow a group of people, queer people, from participating in this representative democracy fully and without reservation or conditions.
The battle continues… there will be some losses and setbacks … but the ultimate goal of equality for all will be achieved. I will never lose faith that it will. Grasp on to what you know in your heart is true and never let go until the battle is won!