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Homophobia has no place in civilised society

by June 20, 2016 General

JUNE 20 — A same-sex kiss has been banned from the production of Les Misérables in Singapore following complaints from the public. With the heart breaking tragedy of the Orlando shooting still so painfully fresh, this small example of senseless homophobia is a little too unsettling.

You may not see how these two acts can be associated. The comparison of the senseless killing of 49 people and the prohibition of an on-stage kiss is indeed an extreme one, but at the root of each of these actions lies a troubling and toxic belief — homophobia.

The banning of a kiss may appear to be an innocuous event to many, but it is this slight but deep-seated homophobia that gives rise to the toxic environment in which another Orlando can happen. 

Homophobia is sadly riddled throughout society and it is instances such as these that act as a stark reminder to the LGBT community that, whilst progress has been made, they are still far from universal acceptance.

In both Singapore and Malaysia, the act of being homosexual is still illegal. Gay people do not enjoy the same liberties as their heterosexual counterparts and they are continuously reminded of this. 

They are reminded every time they go to hold a partner’s hand in public and feel the fear of reproach; they are reminded every time they have to hide aspects of themselves to gain acceptance and they are reminded when a simple act of expressing their love can be met with a prison sentence.

How has this been allowed to continue in a civilised society? We are intelligent and educated enough as a society to accept a world in which LGBT people can openly express themselves just as any heterosexual person can; without fear or shame. And yet so many people still hold these outdated and bigoted views.

For a person to be so concerned with the completely harmless actions of another is unreasonable. To be so consumed with hatred over actions that have absolutely no impact on your own life and to then spew forth this hatred with the sole aim of inflicting needless pain on others is quite frankly insane. 

You have no place carrying out such intrusion and judgment on those who do not concern you. Let’s be perfectly clear, you do not have the right to infringe on others’ rights.

By expressing these views, whether it be through verbal and physical abuse or banning a kiss in a play, we are doing a great injustice to our society as a whole. By acting on these bigoted opinions, we are teaching our children that love is somehow wrong in certain instances; allowing them to believe that two men sharing a kiss deserve to be persecuted. 

This is confusing to a child, it doesn’t make sense to them, and it is only through our teaching that they eventually accept these prejudiced views that they then take in to adulthood.

The fact that this is still a talking point is troubling in itself. The discussion on gay rights should be a thing of the past; it should just be an accepted part of human rights and the fact that it is not is deplorable. 

In this day and age, a person’s sexuality should be of no concern to anyone. But sadly this is not the case. The abuse persists, the attacks go on, the shootings happen and rights continue to be unjustly infringed upon.

So, to those who complained in Singapore, I implore you to reflect on your actions and think rationally about what drove you to carry them out, for facing our own homophobia is the only way in which we will counter it. 

Prayer will serve no purpose, to pray for Orlando is futile and distasteful. The LGBT community has been continually persecuted and derided by religious institutions, to pray for them now is simply too little, too late.

This is a time for contemplation, self-reflection and action. So ask yourself, what sort of world do you want your children to grow up in? A world of hate and intolerance or that of love and acceptance? For me, that’s an easy choice.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.