For those who don’t know what day is today and what make it a special one: IDAHO stands for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Just like today, on May 17th 1990, homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of World Health Organization.
This blog supports the rights of all people to love and a healthy sexual life. Because we’ve experienced bullying for one reason or another. Because we know the agony and struggles of not being accepted by people that play a major role in our lives. Because we want to see this world change for the better.
To commemorate this day we share with you personal stories, our opinion on some articles and our thoughts. Acceptance of yourself and the others is a journey. Let your mind open up!
Foxy Lady: Looking back on my first personal messages with Neko in the anime forum where I met him is a mix of embarrassing and hilarious – and I’m not referring to silly flirting that most of you might picture happening (but never did). The reason behind my mixed feelings are our conversation on homosexuality, marriage and adoption. I was among the people who didn’t hate gays but weren’t fond of them either, and from the point I’m standing now I see my old-fashioned upbringing coming forth when expressing the ridiculous doubts, if it’s good for gays to adopt, if there’s a chance of influencing the kids… Or feeling repented from watching anything sexual involving two people of the same sex. I was a bit homophobic wasn’t I? The efforts to conceal it to save face make me giggle. And yet, here I am, 5 years afterwards a totally different person, a supporter of the community, and well, a lot bit curious about the sensations of another female body… (Neko, don’t take offense, I love you and you know it)
I admit it- this kiss, the one that makes me now go kyaaah~ and hnnn~, made me cringe back then. The full nudity of the characters in that scene didn’t help exactly to make me feel comfortable either. There was an article on net about this kiss on a symbolical level, denying the obvious homosexual tones of the movie, and the coward I was, stuck with this interpretation to save me from angst. I had tried a lot to overcome the cultural shock of years ago that was stirred by the discovery Michiru and Haruka from Sailor Moon were lesbians…
I recall it very clearly: how I started sweating up when I read on the internet those two were a couple, how my appetite was lost and when I was called for lunch I exerted effort to straggle my nausea. I was watching the show dubbed in Greek when I was 6 years old and the innocence I had didn’t allow me to see things, even though censors weren’t as ridiculous here to make them cousins. I never really had anyone in my small circle of people in my half-baked urban surroundings to explain to the adolescent-me taboo concepts like homosexuality and gender relations, much more a lgbt person in flesh and bones that would allow me to see homosexuals as ordinary people. My stepfather always blabbered about how in his times they’d beat such people in the middle of the street just for showing their face… My mother was and is pretty much a sheep without distinct voice… I was totally alone with my fears and my insecurities.
This guy here is the one that helped me cope a bit with my inner turmoil. I say he, since Nuriko by the end of the series identified as a man. For those who don’t know him, he comes from Fushigi Yuugi, and we meet Nuriko as a woman, a courtesan in the emperor’s chamber rooms. As a she, Nuriko was in love with the Emperor, but later joined ‘Miaka’s fan club’ and stopped crossdressing. Back in high school I saw Nuriko as the gay character with a tragic past and an equally tragic end. It’s transparent to me now how he was a transgender with a messed up storyline, but let’s not go into unnecessary details. Let’s just say that I got emotionally invested in his character and story and thus I had a reference point to be more tolerant.
Chatting with Neko in university, I started seeing some things in a totally different light. It was also around that period I tried yaoi… hey, don’t laugh! I found out that “giving pleasure to another isn’t about being a man or a woman” and that despite what the thoughts in my confused head and my mixed feelings, my body did respond in a way that denotes pleasure *ahem*. I’m not sure when it dawned on me; at some point I realized that throughout my student years I kept having obsessions over pretty girls with whom I pursued friendships that I saw shipwrecking. In other words I had crushes… So at some point I embraced my sexuality and stepped away from denial, even though I ended up finding my soulmate in a person of the opposite sex.
In any case, homophobia and transphobia have roots in:
1) lack of exposure to lgbtq people. Especially some years ago there was no gay character in mainstream series and if there was, it was a bunch of stereotypes. Things have gotten better over years, but there’s still plenty room for improvement, especially for the transgender population. People are scared of the unknown.
2) ignorance. Back when AIDS was rampant and a new disease, people saw homosexuals as dirty, dangerous people by whom you could catch the disease just from touching the same things as them for example. And today, bias such as the hereditory nature of homosexuality or the promiscuous lifestyle continue to cause negative reactions from the majority of people. And then again, there are some bias which are simply offensive, like beautiful girls can’t be lesbians or that lgbt are doomed to unhappiness…
4) uneasiness. When people are pushed out of their comfort zone, they react pretty ugly. Sex and sexuality are still issues parents are unwilling or unable to talk about. School is just a place of cold feelings and/or misinformation. In countries where the school infrastructure includes showers for after the gym classes, issues about voyerism arise. And for transgender individuals that haven’t fully transitioned there’s always the ‘toilet dilemma’…
5) insecurity and an identity crisis. Since sexuality is a fluid thing, it’s not that difficult discovering another aspect of yourself that you hadn’t notice before or you simply suppressed. And because bigotry is a major problem in spite all the supporting activities and groups, realizing you are out of what it’s considered norm is very stressful. Some are brave enough to live an honest life. Others are indecisive or turn their self -hatred towards others.
6) adherence to religion or any other dogmatic ideology. No need for much explanation. Fear and the rationalization of the irrational are basic elements of almost every religion. Science can also be a form of religion, if someone lives his life according to its absolute truths that are said to be proven.
All of the above are related to one another. And none of the above is an indefinite situation. Situations and people change. Even slowly. Even if not 100%. The important thing is that they do.
Neko : Foxy Lady has managed to, more or less, say most of the stuff I think and feel about homophobia and transphobia.It is for this reason that I will not give much emphasis to the roots of homophobia, or get into political arguments, but rather mention some of my personal experiences and feelings on that subject.
As I have said on tumblr, my first connection to a form of non heterosexual love was my fantasy of being a girl who loved another girl. As a kid, I saw that sort of love to be a pure and innocent one and as a teenager I also considered it sexy. Of course this fantasy never became a reality since I am a guy, but it was the first sign of a more-or-less messed up orientation and gender identity.
For various reasons, the most prominent being the negative reactions of third parties, it took me quite a while to accept the fact that I liked individuals of both genders. Until that time came, I had to swing from label to label, meet different -not always kind- people to whom I confessed my feelings, experimented in quite unhealthy ways with my body and soul, in a few words put myself through a procedure that I think is quite common for many youngsters of our time. Finding your identity is a difficult goal to achieve.
Thus I discovered, due to my experiences, that one of the serious problems the lgbt community faces is not from without -not the social conservatives and the religious right, not the close minded political left- but from within: and its nature is not so much communal, but individual; in this messy journey to discover one’s soul, many of the members of the community expose their body to dangerous activities, lock themselves up on labels or prefer to stay away from the typical state of stable relationships and follow a different approach, more irresponsible and unstable than they themselves would like it to be.
People less open to the community may ask “why then shall I support the lgbt community? Why should I passionately defend the rights of a group vulnerable to hurting itself?” My answer to these ill thoughts is that such attitudes tend to become less of the rule and more of the exception as time goes by. As Prof. Dale Carpenter often argues, it is the couples who are in stable, strong relationships that benefit the most from the rise and spread of the “gay rights movement.” Such people see a rise in their numbers, not a loss, which make me think that they are the future of the community.
From my experience, having the chance to compare my own stance and the one of my lesbian and gay friends who preferred to be patient, to dedicate themselves in a relationship -or in the preparation of one’s self for a healthy, stable love life- the second approach works in a much finer way. That is why I am happy to see that many people younger than myself prefer this way than letting themselves get lost. And I think it is the responsibility of those who have been hurt by such ways, to advise and help the new members of the community.
In short, the day against homophobia should not only focus on what others who dislike us may wish to do in order to harm us, but also on ways we can improve the community and ourselves. It is a matter of personal responsibility that each and everyone of us performs his/her best, so that such a day can have a true meaning for all men and women who wish to love freely.
Further reads that are worth checking:
“Born this way”
When same sex marriage was a Christian rite
Posner on same sex marriage
Ten reasons against Gay Marriage- satirical approach
Letter to Dr. Laura
1. The manga scanlations are from Gunjou, Sasamekikoto and Hourou Musuko respectively.
2. “Giving pleasure to another isn’t about being a man or a woman” is what Al says to Ranmaru in Ikoku Irokoi Romantan. This quote and the hot sex scene that follows it are the only good things about this anime…
3. In celebration of the Pride festivals that take place around the world from mid May to first days of August we’ve decided to watch some lgbtq related movies and review them for The Beautiful World along our yaoi/yuri recommendation project. But don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of other material, too 🙂