A quick note. I receive many emails from readers all the time. I do read all the emails, but I do not have time to respond to all of them. If I do respond, my reply may be very brief, for lack of time. Sometimes readers send me articles which they'd like me to publish on my blog - please note that I won't do so unless I find the articles interesting (like TW Tan's and Darryl's letters).
Dear TW Tan,
As a young gay Christian myself, I applaud you for your letter. From the bottom of my heart I thank you. Of the many responses Christians have towards people like us, yours is the most Christ-like I've seen.
Most Christians today are unfortunately unable to see past the black and white of the issue. I dare say their faith is one-dimensional, based on a book. Sure, it's a very important book, but I don't believe that it is the be-all and end-all of Christianity. God is so much more than just the Bible. One-dimensional faith is easily destroyed. That's why many Christians defend the Bible so vehemently. Without it, their faith is reduced to nothing. Conceding the fallacy of some verses in it will render it questionable, and that is inconceivable in their eyes.
I think the important point here is for everyone to engage in a process of open and thoughtful exploration. The vast majority of Bible-thumpers don't even know how many verses are there in the Bible which say that homosexuality is wrong, where they are or in what context they were written. To have these people spit in my face and tell me I'm an abomination reeks of spiritual blindness and arrogance. Yes, I admit I may be wrong to think that being gay is ok, but do homophobic Christians realise that they could be wrong too?
The sad part of this debate is that the vitriolic reaction of the larger Christian community towards us has ruined the name of Christianity. Not only have they made a fool of themselves by spreading untruths about us, but in doing so they have portrayed a very negative image of Christianity. But the gay Christian community is not without blame. Many a time we have responded with harsh words, only to realise later that we could have done better...
I feel that society's reaction to the queer community is one motivated by self-preservation. Although many claim that Christians only want to help, their words and actions seek more to discredit and keep us out than anything else. This vexes me greatly, because gay people are not out to destroy anything! We are labeled as destroyers of families, corrupters of youth and agents of disease. None of this is true! I fail to see how accepting us and\nallowing us to form loving relationships will ruin family structure. Ask any gay person and they will tell you that they never made the choice to be gay, much like how you never made the conscious choice to be straight. And just like how straight men are capable of celibacy and fidelity, so are we! And hard as this is to believe, we are not out to discredit religion and faith. The reaction of the gay community to Christians all round is no more than a knee jerk response. Just like how you leave non-believers and people of other faith alone, we only ask that you preach your message in a considerate and sensitive way.
"We are only protecting our children" seems to be a trump card played by conservatives to silence gay-affirming groups. That one statement appears to allow people to at once stop their ears and reject all opinions contrary to their own, regardless of how rational or logical they are. For those of us in the gay community who are trying to reach out to engage, inform and educate, this is a frustrating statement to hear, because it instantly halts all exchange. What we fail to understand is what they are protecting their children from? No amount of exposure to gay people will convert a child who is not gay. If only people would come round to this fact. I grew up with absolutely no idea of homosexuality. What the silence only fuels is the torment that youths who are gay go through. The road to healthy self-acceptance and a well rounded life is fraught with much loneliness and depression. What the conservatives are doing only increases the struggles which gay youths have to go through, and here I am speaking from personal experience.
Having said all this, I must concede that the gay community as it is leaves much to be desired. There is a tremendous lack of positive role models, while unhealthy practices are common and tolerated. I firmly believe that before we ask for society's acceptance, we have to hold ourselves to a standard that is beyond reproach. As it stands, the gay community is simply not a safe place for youths who are in the process of coming out. But not all gay people are predatory. Many of us are working hard to provide safe platforms for those new to the community, but there is a verylong way to go.
Homophobia is a vicious cycle. Fear of discrimination andrejection drives us into the shadows, forcing us to engage in risky andclandestine behavior. This behavior then only serves to fuel the negative image which the community suffers from, and causes people to fear and reject us. The solution to all this lies not with the government (though what we asked of them was not exactly very difficult or demanding), but with each person. All I ask is for you to reexamine the way in which you react about, and to, gay people. A little thought on our parts goes a really long way...
"Before you seek to condemn, have you sought to understand?"
Recently I've also turned on the comment moderation function. I have adopted this practice for a variety of reasons: (1) to prepare myself for the arrival of the revised Penal Code, (2) to screen out comments of certain undesirable, blacklisted individuals; and (3) to improve the noise-to-signal ratio in the comment sections. I discourage flame wars, personal attacks and unnecessarily insulting remarks.
In the near future, I will post an "editorial policy" of sorts, where I'll explain in greater detail about the kinds of emails that I will or will not respond to, and the kind of comments that I will or will not publish. Also I may explain some new directions that I intend to take for this blog, so that if these are not to your tastes, you can start looking elsewhere for your Internet readings.