Friday, 7 December 2012

Oppressor or Oppressed

I want to be patient and understanding with people who are against Equal Marriage. I want to engage in sensible and sensitive conversation with them and reach a deeper understanding of each others' viewpoints. I want to ... I really do.

But, the more I read some of the comments and outbursts against Equal Marriage, the more I'm struggling to take them seriously, when they're claiming that the introduction of Equal Marriage would be a violation of their rights and would result in them being oppressed or forced into performing things they morally object to.

I'm struggling to be patient and take them seriously, because I find it strange that they keep crying for the permission to continue oppressing others, because to be denied that would be a form of oppression against them.

An online dictionary offers the following description, which may be informative:
op·press  (-prs) tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es 1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority.

In case that doesn't help, I'd like to offer a few handy points that may help people understand the difference between the oppressed and the oppressors:
  • Have you ever been stopped from marrying the person you love?
  • Have you ever felt that nervous excitement when you begin to fall in love with someone, but been unable to tell them, in case they don't share your attraction and will publicly humiliate you, or beat you up?
  • Despite that, have you met someone and entered into a loving, long-term relationship, but been unable to hold the hand of the person you love in public, for fear of being beaten up?
  • Have you ever been told it would be better for you to marry someone you're not attracted to and don't love, because others would find that more acceptable than marrying someone of the same gender?
  • In trying to defend the act of stopping you marrying the person you love, have you had your love compared to beastiality, paedophilia, necrophilia, incest or adultery?
  • Have you been turned away from a faith community for being honest about who you are?
  • Have you ever been told that a faith community will accept you for who you are, and after joining, discover that there are conditions such as not ever telling them when you feel lonely, are attracted to someone, start dating and fall in love?
  • If you happened to have been a part of a faith community before you shared honestly with that community about who you were, were you then shamed and kicked out of that faith community?
  • If you weren't kicked out of your faith community, were you subjected to humiliation as they prayed regularly that God would change you into someone they were more comfortable with?
  • Have you had allegedly well-meaning people suggest that you submit yourself to "reprogramming", so that they can attempt to get you to forget your identity and change you into someone they find more acceptable?
  • If, despite all the odds, and the people who hate you, and say that you disgust them, you manage to meet someone and fall in love, have you then had to keep them a secret and lie about who they are to friends, family and colleagues, even though you're desperately proud of them, for fear of being kicked out of your job or your home?
  • Have you, as a result of placing your trust in someone and, sharing with them about your identity or your partner, suffered that horrible reality of losing your family or your career (or both)?
  • Have you had to live for years in secret with your partner, because either (or both) of your families don't want to know about your beloved partner ... even though you both love and nurture each other ... simply because they don't like your partner's genitalia?
  • Have you ever been turned away from a hospital when trying to visit your beloved, or trying to obtain information about your beloved, because your partner happens to be the same gender?
  • Have you been banned from giving blood, even if you've only ever had sex with ONE person, in a stable relationship, WITH a condom?
  • When you manage to put up with all of that, meet someone who you love and who loves you back, and despite all odds, you stay together until you die, are you likely to have your spouse pension be smaller than your colleagues, because you happened to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender that society wasn't comfortable with?
  • When, tragically, one of you passes away, will you face the reality that you may lose the ability to leave your possessions to each other, and care for the remaining partner, because the deceased's family may disagree and may want their possessions and finances.
If you can't answer "Yes" to the above, then you're unlikely to be the oppressed.  My guess is that most of the people who are crying out about the unfairness of Equal Marriage have not faced many (or any) of the above horror scenarios.  Sadly, however, the LGBT community faces them every day.

If you still mistakenly think that you're possibly going to be oppressed by the introduction of Equal Marriage, let's get a few things straight:
  • Nobody is going to force you to marry someone you don't want to.
  • Nobody is going to force any church / mosque / synagogue or other faith community to perform a same-sex marriage, if that community doesn't want to.  All over the world, churches exist that won't perform marriages for divorced people, and they have the freedom to make that decision.
  • However, just as you may believe that God is against Equal Marriage, there are many who believe firmly that God is for it, and also use Scripture to back up their views.  So, those communities that WANT TO perform these ceremonies, MAY be able to (it's not guaranteed ... it's just in discussion) ... in the same way that some churches choose to perform the remarriage of divorcees.
  • Despite your views, IF you get invited to a same-sex wedding, nobody is going to force you to attend. People the world over turn down wedding invitations every day, and the sky doesn't fall.
  • And, please, rest assured, unlike your office banter, the LGBT community are extremely unlikely to want to share anything about their sex lives with you, so if what happens in their bedrooms enters your mind at all, it's probably purely down to you.
  • Contrary to popular scare-mongering, nobody is going to be recruiting children to the LGBT community ... but children will be encouraged to be themselves, without the fear of being disowned, excommunicated, beaten up or driven out.
I hope that clears things up somewhat.  If you're not the oppressed, then there is only one other group you fit into.  Also, please please PLEASE remember the importance of straight allies in all of this.  If you support the LGBT community, please let it be known.  Your voice is needed.  Blog, petition, sign, write to your MPs ... whatever, but remain engaged and help improve the lives of others.

Thank you.

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