Join Date: Mar 2010
Re: Dominic's Dominion of LGBT Issues
An Open Letter To Heterosexual Americans
On Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life at the age of 14. Earlier this year he had participated in the "It Gets Better" Project, but just a week before the suicide, he wrote, "I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. ... What do I have to do so people will listen to me?" It didn't get better for Jamey, and he's not alone. While the focus of many anti-bullying campaigns has been to empower LGBTQ youth and create community around them, I think it's time for all Americans to make it better.
In my early teens, much before I became comfortable with my gender and sexual identity, I found myself being bullied. Because I was young, confused and vulnerable, I found it very difficult to defend myself, so I know the important role courageous peers and responsible adults play when facing down bullies. When we are reminded of the vicious behavior of some children toward those considered different, we "different" adults see it as our responsibility to respond with education, therapy, hotlines and activism. But what is needed to create real change is real action on the part of our heterosexual citizenry. After all, these are your children who are driving other kids to suicide. Where are they learning that it's "OK to hate"? In part, young people are learning that it's "OK to hate" by pushing boundaries and getting away with it. Isn't that what young people do, test boundaries? Why are they forbidden to chew gum in class yet allowed to torture their LGBTQ classmates? We've come to an understanding that smoking should not be allowed and have given teachers the moral authority to stop it; we've made it illegal to sell cigarettes to minors because we recognize that it's harmful to their health. But the number of deaths from LGBTQ bullying is mounting. When will the deaths of these children be recognized as an imperative to make change now?
Parents and educators are allowed, sometimes even forced, to be passive in the face of shameful and outrageous behavior on the part of their charges because they have had their own hands tied by legislators and a "moral" minority who claim to represent "our" values. But remember, the civil rights movement would not have been nearly as effective if white people hadn't joined with African Americans to create the necessary changes to end institutionalized racism. It should not only be the responsibility of the LGBTQ community to protect certain youth. It is time for you to stand up for and be accountable to all America's children -- not only LGBTQ children but all the children who are forced to live in a world of unnecessary cruelty, and also, maybe even more importantly, the bullies who are being allowed to destroy their own chances at happiness by passive adult bystanders. It is time for all Americans to come together and end homophobic and transphobic language, and to take action to protect the childhoods of all of our children, not just some.
Justin Vivian Bond
Taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin..._b_981552.html
This must be read by heterosexuals all over the world, not just in America. Bullying will never be OK, and it must end now. It's high time the silent heterosexual allies out there start speaking up and fighting the discrimination against the LGBT community. Even if your religion disagrees, remember that no religion or God would ever condone bullying.
S'pore's first fully ordained gay pastor
Miak Siew is a passionate and outspoken man. Just ordained at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, Miak is now a pastor at Free Community Church in Singapore. He preaches on Sundays and conducts programmes to reach out to the community. He is an advocate of social justice and feels strongly about issues concerning poverty and equality. He is big on compassion. He is also an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activitist and is open about his own sexuality.
Over multiple cups of coffees at a restaurant on a quiet weekday he talked to me at length about the many things that stir him.
?I think the gay issue is such a big thing in religion because people are wrestling with orthodoxy,? he explains. ?The gay issue is a litmus test of who is orthodox and who isn?t. You see, the LGBT community was hidden in the past and so was an easy target for Christians to unite against. It became the bogey man. And it has been a very powerful way to garner support, raise money and unify groups of people who needed to prove that they were Christians. Part of my education and going away was to learn more about this and come back and say, well, this is a form of Christianity but it?s not Christianity.?
?A lot of this stems from insecurity about sexuality,? Miak continues. ?The two most policed things in religion ? in any religion ? are food and sex. Controlling sex controls a lot of things. It controls the bonding between two human beings?and in some ways the intimate bond between divine and human. The other thing it controls is politics and lineage. By controlling sex, the church could control marriage. In the past marriage was a civil contract, it was not a spiritual union. Jesus attended the wedding at Canna not because he presided over it but because he was a guest. Later on marriage became more and more political, and the church realised if they controlled marriage, they could control who got married to whom and thus control the political alliances in Europe. That?s how the church got involved. So when people say that marriage has always been a divinely ordained thing, I go ?huh? have you read history? We are only hearing what we want to hear. Why? Because we are cherry picking what we want to live by.?
Miak certainly lives by what he preaches. Besides being a pastor, he has been a member of People Like Us since his university days, and has given over a lot of his life to reaching out to the LGBT community. ?As I was exposed to Christianity, without being locked into certain ideas about what Christianity is, I reached a certain point in my life where I started a support group for gay men wrestling with their sexuality and their faith,? he says. ?We studied passages from the Bible that condemn homosexuality or supposedly did. I did it for three years and a lot came out of that. A lot of people came and benefited and were reconciled to a degree. And I thought to myself, if doing this two hours a week can achieve this much, how much more will I accomplish if I dedicate my life to this??
?Sexuality is part of being human; there?s nothing wrong with it. Sex can be used for good or bad, but is not bad or dirty in itself,? he says emphatically, talking without a break. ?We attach so much shame and stigma to sex that we are unable to talk about it in a healthy way. Homosexuality to me is something that, whether you are born this way or not, you cannot change. It?s who you are, it?s who I am. I did not decide to be this way one day out of the blue. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Is it something bad or something to be fought against? I don?t think so.?
I then ask Miak what he thinks about the belief that while the homosexual orientation is not wrong, the act is ?sinful.? Without mincing his words, he replies, ?I feel that is very unhealthy. You are telling someone that they cannot express their full authentic self. Can you cut yourself into ten pieces and throw away one part? You can?t, every part is integral to ourselves. Denying another human being of an integral part of who they are is not loving. My sexuality is not just what I do in bed, it has shaped my life so much; it has sensitised me to other people?s suffering. Because I have suffered in my life as a result of my sexuality, I understand what it feels like to be in the minority, to be oppressed. I am more astute, more sensitive to people?s suffering and feel the need to do something about it. If you remove my sexuality from the equation, you remove that part of me as well.?
To be a pastor and have such clarity about a controversial moral issue that Christianity is wrestling with, at best, is remarkable. And to stand up for this in a community that, for the most part, isn?t comfortable with it, is brave.
We are barely through our first coffee.
Part 2 of our interview with pastor Miak Siew will look at what it means to be gay in society.
To find out more about pastor Miak Siew and Free Community Church visit http://www.freecomchurch.org
Taken from: http://www.publichouse.sg/categories...-publichousesg
I'm impressed with Singapore. Now how about Malaysia doing the same thing?
"But what do you say to taking chances,
What do you say to jumping off the edge?
Never knowing if there's solid ground below
Or hand to hold, or hell to pay,
What do you say,
What do you say?"
And thus laments the hopeless romantic that is yours truly.
Last edited by Dominic; 29-09-2011 at 09:59 AM.
Reason: Automerged Doublepost