Perhaps some of you have gotten tired of the raucous debates over LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues, which have been dominating social media in the last few weeks.
But seeing how state apparatuses have started to discriminate LGBT people – through moves like the ban on TV and radio programs that “promote LGBT”– is clear that that the debates have led to real consequences.
The political elites have made it worse with their reckless statements. Tangerang Mayor Arif Wismansyah said consuming instant noodles could lead a person to become a homosexual; Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said LGBT was a form of proxy war to undermine Indonesia; former Communication Minister Tifatul Sembiring tweeted to suggest Muslims to kill “Lot’s people”; and Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa suggested that ESQ training could “cure” LGBT people. Worse still, the Central Board of Nahdatul Ulama’s called for a bill to criminalize LGBT people and any campaign that “promotes” it. All these further justified persecution of LGBT people.
Considering that we live in the 21st century, and that we’ve seen more than enough violence and discrimination, the entire situation is not only absurd, but also alarming. As a semi-out lesbian trying to survive and maintain my sanity in a country where minority groups continue to face persecution, I am worried.
So I would like to appeal to your reason and empathy. Please be informed, first, before you judge.
Let’s start with the simple fact that advanced countries, international companies, and international scholars on psychology have widely accepted the fact that LGBT people are ordinary human beings, just like you. It means that those governments, societies, establishments realize that LGBT people eat, sleep, work, shit, love like heterosexuals.
Yes, there’s little variance in our sexual activities, but we do it with consent, unlike those men marrying innocent children and bedding young bodies in the name of religion.
You may not believe this, but we have the same fears, aspirations, and ideals just like you. We want to live in peace and be free from all the ugly things that can happen in this world, whether it’s crime, poverty, accident, or disaster. Some of us wish for God’s mercy too, living a lifetime of conflicted conscience over our identity, society’s demands, and religious teachings.
No, we never mean to “campaign” our lifestyle. None of us wants to conquer the world, turning everyone into homosexuals, thus terminate the population of the world. What you may perceive as a “campaign” is actually our way of saying: “This is us, do not persecute and stigmatize us.”
No, this is not about how we want to establish an “LGBT nation” or an “LGBT World”. This is about our rights to choose our spouse and live in peace with him/her without being discriminated against in all aspects of life, the way you’re able to choose your spouse and live in peace with him/her without being discriminated against in all aspects of life.
Marriage? Most of us don’t even think about it. We dream to live as ourselves, that’s all.
Also, we don’t want to lure your children to become like us. We care about your children’s safety too, we are concerned with the fact that pornographic material can be distributed so easily on social media, and we are particularly angry at the news of Saiful Jamil’s harassing an underage boy – himself a lousy celebrity shamelessly used by TV stations in their sensational programs.
Many of us also believe that Indonesia is a great nation that must keep striving for prosperity. And striving for prosperity cannot be done without upholding justice for all people, regardless of ethnicity, religion, faith, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Social justice is embedded in the national development.
And please, before you blame LGBT as the sole cause of society’s moral degradation, look around. Learn to see what’s really behind an issue, find credible sources and think. If our society is a broken one, it is because all of us, collectively, as a nation, aren’t smart and wise enough to deal with contemporary social problems, not to mention the ones inherited from the past.
Not only our social and political mechanisms are broken and that we are left with depraved justice system, but the press, the so-called fourth pillar of democracy, is conveniently used for political interests, instead of to serve the public. The structures that make up our society are corrupt, and while khilafah is championed by some of the society members as the answer, I doubt that those who promote it are willing to have a dialogue with all other members of the society, including minority groups such as the persecuted Ahmadis and the LGBT people.
Today, while some of us are busy making fuss over cleavages on TV and visualizing sodomy acts, history has recorded that the U..S proved the existence of Einstein’s theoretical gravitational wave (in which a queer woman is a team member), Canada’s half cabinet is made up of women, and Norway just announced Europe’s largest onshore wind farms in an attempt to advance renewable energy.
Do we know what these truly, truly mean? We should. Because then we will realize how far behind we are in the civilization of the 21st century.
Samara is a lesbian woman with a penchant for doing nothing. She works as a freelance to perpetuate her slow-paced lifestyle