Monday, June 20, 2016

Orlando Shooting: LGBTs Need To Bear Some Responsibility

Much have been said about the Orlando shooting, from poetic speeches about organized religion and its prejudicial preachers loading those bullets of hate, about Islamophobia becoming intense after the tragic events, and even how Omar Mateen may have been acting out his own reverse homophobia in a violent manner.

However, there is one thing many failed to realize; we, the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, we too bear some fault. Because we pride ourselves in having segments of the population that accept us, but ignored other segments that still misunderstand us. We caused it by inaction based on complacency, to address hate in a wider, more critical scale. We too have failed.

We allowed Orlando to happen.

Too many of us have centred our activism with strong attachments to ourselves. We fly the rainbow flags or form a sea of pink, within our circle of friends, allies and accepting folks. We internalized our meetings, preaching to our own choir, and bask in the acceptance and accolades within.

In the end, neither education nor information, got out to the folks that matter – those out of touch with the realities of LGBTs or have been brainwashed by myths of stereotypes and religious indoctrination. We are groups patting ourselves at the back with allies. Little outreach has been done by too few of us to share to others who still wrongly think we are sexual predators.

The big prejudicial part of society wants us to know our place. Instead of responding by earning our seats with them, we label ourselves as victims and blame the anti-LGBTs for all our problems. We fight for rights to work on the streets for sex, and get angry at them when they think that is all we are good for. We want to defy conventions instead of taking our place in society. We wish to sensitize the public to our queerness, instead of normalizing ourselves as human beings to them.

We go to politicians and legislators for protection. We demand repeals of laws, whether it is the archaic 377 laws of old, or cross-dressing laws, or push for gay marriages. We are celebrated by those who agree with us. However, those who disagree with us look differently, truly believing we want special rights above everyone, thinking we wish to rearrange the social-cultural mapping that defines who they are. We did not really talk to them. Even if we did, we stopped trying and label them as our enemies. The true message about our lives failed to get across to them.

We change our Biblical and Quranic interpretations to justify our existence, when we do not even need to. Nothing in these books mention even the minutest relevance to who we are today. Yet, we attempt to rearrange the very book from religious institutions that many others hold dear. We are accused of manipulating religion. We just shove off what beliefs our dissenters may have as wrong, without understanding how we have amended our own spiritual beliefs to suit ourselves and force it on others as the religious truth.

We do not even want to begin to realize what the extremities the public opinion of the anti-LGBTs are on us. Many of our allies asked of us to be left alone, yet we think of it as positive, while some of these very allies believe we are just like junkies that harm no one but ourselves. We do not have a proper information system that properly addresses exactly who we are, and instead we throw ourselves into the world declaring this is who we are, without explaining what, when, why and how. We exist in a world where many thinks there are no such thing as homosexuals, only heterosexuals with a homosexual problem. They wrongly think transgender people are all about cross-dressing. When was the last time we had a diplomatic discussion to address this? How many times in a year do we speak to the anti-LGBTs? What is the mode of our communications with them; ridiculing or sharing?

We have to face it, majority of people in the world are assuming who we are, but know nothing. There are too many of them who hate us. We shake them off like Taylor Swift. They hate us even more. Remember, many of these people, conservatives, radicals and militants, seriously think we are sexually addicted perverted folks. And many more people are parroting these myths every single day.

All the while when we are in our Facebook groups or pages among our friends, chatting and complaining about discrimination, a lot of people in the world receive wrong information about LGBTs from preachers to politicians all the way down to equally ignorant friends on a daily basis, especially thanks to social media. And what visibility we can offer to deny these lies is drowned by a sea of gay prides, queerness, prostitutes, drag shows and everything glittery that alienate the people who are uncomfortable with us from seeing the human beings we are.

We were too busy being fabulous, and wanting people to believe in our fabulous-ness, we forget to show, we are human beings. We want to teach society how to accept us, but the best educator does not teach, but share. We want them to stare at the very things that disgusts them, instead of relating to them at their level. They think we are animals, and the larger LGBT population did little.

So the bullets of hate were loaded. Perhaps it was homophobia, maybe it was Islamic extremism. But there is nothing, no compulsion nor compelling reason for one who has so much anger in homosexuality and transgenderism, to unload it. To not kill. To consider us human beings worthy of life and relationships in equivalence to any other. That the gay lifestyle is just for a chosen few, and not every lesbian or gay is living it. To have him know, we are valuable. The shooter only hears and remembers that there is something extremely wrong with people like us. We were not there to make him hear and remember otherwise. And there are a lot more out there who keep on sowing the seeds of hate given to them.

We are bastardized every time Islamic Friday prayers happen, and treated like second class human beings by churches who believe there is something critically evil with us. What have we done to address it? Where is the counter voice? How are we going to stop the hate if most of us keep on ignoring the parroting of rubbish about us?

It is time to extend our advocacy from mere self-affirmation, to getting more of us to start venturing out and share the truth about who we really are. We are too engrossed with ourselves and our lives, and form too much attachment to a certain movement that separates itself by fences we create, instead of aligning the movement to walk with humankind as a whole.

We reject conformity to society’s standards, yet expect society to conform to ours. We blame the hateful folks for their ignorance, yet expect them to learn about us themselves. But from what voice will they listen to? Forced acceptance is non-acceptance, and true acceptance comes with communication and understanding. The sooner we realize that, the better. We speak to ourselves too much. It is time we speak to the ones that matter, those who have issues with us, to discuss with them, opening ourselves to them, and most of all, we need more of us to counter all the unfounded accusations, as ambassadors, and not put ourselves into the same stereotypical box that the anti-LGBTs expect us to be in.

We own some responsibility for Orlando, and need to play a much bigger role to reach out to anti-LGBT communities now.