Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love the Person, Hate the Discrimination

With the Supreme Court hearing two cases on marriage and rights for gays, many of us who support ending discrimination chose to show our support by posting a red equality sign as our avatar on facebook. What I didn't expect was the back lash from family who are opposed to ending discrimination.

I was surprised by this, as I expected silence at most, some support at best, not outright opposition. Many of the opposition is couched in, 'love the sinner, hate the sin' or 'being gay is a lifestyle choice, therefore I oppose the lifestyle but love the person'. It is all the same to me, it is discrimination. Any time any privileges, power or money is with held from a group of people, it is discrimination. I have to ask, 'how does being gay harm anyone? If it is so wrong, why is it so prevalent in the animal kingdom? Is it possible to look at sexuality as more than procreation in both humans and animals?

First, the scientific evidence that sexual orientation is not a lifestyle, if it was then heterosexuals would also be making a choice.  BYU professor Bill Bradshaw of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology has done extensive research in this area and this is what he has to say: sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice

Hormones and steroids that an embryo is exposed to inutero; genes, play a role in sexual orientation. Target cells, molecules, cortisone, all play a role in sexual orientation. The processes are complicated and different for males and females. There are continuums as well, from hetro-to intersex to homosexual behavior in people as well as animals: intersex

Second, what about the animal kingdom? Homosexual and bisexual behavior is widespread within the animal kingdom.  Here is a link to some of the animals that engage in homosexual behavior: animals

Third, if sexual behavior is only for reproduction, then why would animals engage in non-reproductive sexual behavior of  a heterosexual,  homosexual, or bisexual nature? (I am going to assume that non-reproductive sexual activity is accepted in humans) Could the answer be the same in the animal kingdom as it is in the human kingdom?  Many studies suggest that such behavior enhances their social standing, sexual behavior is enjoyable, to resolve conflicts, to establish life long bonds, for sexual gratification, or for domination.
nationalgeographic             wide spread in animal kindgom          livescience      nbcnews

over 1,500 animal species observed

I understand confirmation bias, that people have been told their entire religious life that god says it has to be only one way and people look for information to support their beliefs.

When I was in college taking social work classes, one of my professors had several students talk to us about their personal experiences of being gay. It was profound. They spoke of their families shunning them, of people discriminating against them. Of people saying such things to them as, 'you are a sinner' or 'you chose to be that way, you can choose different'.  I was experiencing cognitive dissonance and after class I asked the teacher for her time and said that I was confused because I had never questioned my sexual orientation. She looked at me and all she said was, 'exactly'.

Does being gay harm people? The answer to this is no. It does challenge people's belief systems. This is the
core of the problem, is it not? That people's belief system that they have been taught through their families and religions are being challenged.

If a person's behavior is abusive to others, then that behavior should be expected to be changed or that person can not be allowed in my life. If a person's behavior just annoys me, I can ask them to change that behavior or ignore it if they choose to not change it.

Someone's sexual orientation does not fit into either of these categories, anymore than being heterosexual. It is nobody's business. Currently, there are laws that discriminate against them. I support ending this discrimination because sexual orientation does not harm people.

Love does not harm.


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