Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Today on May 17th 2014, homophobic violence is still so prevalent around the world.
My friend went to Jamaica recently and upon returning, she told us a story of when she was talking to a Jamaican resident about gays in the country:
He said to her,
if you ever see two men or women walk down the street holding hands, all you do is count down from 5.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1…pap pap. They’ll be dead in 5 seconds.
Jamaica along with many other countries around the world continue to perpetuate a strong culture of intolerance for homosexual activity to this day.
However, we are sometimes not even safe in our own backyards. People continue to be discriminated and violated based on their sexual preference in Canada as well. I am damn lucky that I live in a metropolitan city where I don’t have to worry about someone jumping me down a street, or being yelled homophobic slurs to every 5 minutes. (Though, even in a city as open and liberal as Toronto, there is still perpetuating homophobia). Not to demean or minimize gay-hate violence, but sometimes a knife through your chest is better than one to your name.
People are so quick to turn to words of hate that sting and bite harder than any weapon or physical attack. They hit to the core of a people who have gone through and continue to go through so much struggle to be understood and accepted widely.
My first reaction is to love those who are ignorant about what it means to be homosexual. To embrace their blind hate with words of understanding and persuasion.
The longer we allow this negative mindset to perpetuate generations, the longer it will take to become fully accepted. Here is my dream – having homophobia widely abolished before humanity begins to colonize on Mars. You may laugh and think, we are far ahead as a society – of course it would happen sooner than that. Think about it, which pony would you confidently bet on?
*Side note: It was actually my little brother who told me today is IDAHOT. It warms my heart because here it is, looking at the next generation in our lineage, and though I cannot speak to if I was never his brother, but knowing that this young man is growing up learning, appreciating and trying to understand gay culture really speaks volumes as to how quickly you can influence someone’s life for the better.*