Being gay is okayBy Leanne Marie Torrato
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I got very, very angry this morning. To be specific, I got angry, frustrated, disappointed and sad. My head is throbbing and I feel like screaming. I want to cry because I just can’t take bigotry and discrimination, especially toward the people who are very close to my heart, the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community.
I teach in a Catholic university that is very open in its stand against the reproductive health (RH) bill and same-sex marriage. On the other hand, I am a staunch advocate of the RH bill, the anti-discrimination bill, as well as the LGBT agenda, including same-sex marriage.
I knew what I was getting into when I applied to teach at the university this semester. My brother had told me stories of how they would be required to attend mass actions against the RH bill, or else they’d be marked absent. Friends who go to the same university had told me that they tried several times to hold an RH forum with representatives of both pro and anti camps but the Student Affairs Office would not let them because the students supposedly needed to know only the truth. By “truth,” the school authorities apparently meant their stand, and nothing more.
Despite all this, I entered the school with the positive idea that I could get my students to understand these progressive bills. All I wanted was for my students to think critically, to learn how to scrutinize information and carefully select what they should believe, and not to blindly follow orders just because the Church says so and even if these are derogatory and discriminating.
Earlier today, I attended a forum on homosexuality in our school. They called it “Unmasking the Homosexual Agenda.” To say that listening to what was said was a painful experience is to mouth a grave understatement. How will you react if a doctor who is supposed to discuss the genetic basis of homosexuality talks about it being a sin and a work of the devil? How will you feel when every time he shows pictures of gay people and mocks them, the students laugh along with him?
To think that these are Catholics—people who are taught to love and accept their brothers and sisters despite their differences. I would have understood if they merely wanted to get students to disapprove of same-sex marriage. But to discuss homosexuality along with pedophilia, to say that most pedophiles are gay, and that being a homosexual is inherently immoral because you are inclined to satisfy your carnal desires? That is crossing the line.
What I gathered from all of it was hate—hate that was being implanted in the minds of the students. And they dared say that homosexuality leads to loneliness? My response: Yes, it would if people like you continue to look at them as flaws of nature! What hurt the most was knowing that the LGBT movement is trying so hard to be accepted and yet these people choose not to listen simply because the Church has never approved of it in its thousands of years of existence. Never mind present realities, never mind societal acceptance and equality, just follow the Church, period.
It took a lot of courage for me to come forward and express my opinions on the matter. After all, my job was on the line. But I had to say it: Being a homosexual does not make you a sinner! It’s a fallacy to generalize that all homosexuals are merely hungry for the flesh. It’s inappropriate to say that they are not normal because the Bible says so. It’s misleading to simply say that one should abandon being a homosexual and turn back to God. And it’s downright stupid to say that homosexuals will destroy the military as an institution. (Yes, that popped out of nowhere.)
As far as I’m concerned, for as long as a person is happy with who he/she is and he/she doesn’t cause harm to others, that person should be allowed to live his/her life with dignity and freedom. I don’t know what will happen to me after my little stunt. Maybe I’ll be reprimanded or, worse, I’ll get fired. But it was worth it. I stood up for something I really believe in and for the people I love (even if that meant debating against two resource speakers, a priest, and a nun). Being gay is okay, and if you can’t understand that, maybe you’re the one with the problem.
Leanne Marie Torrato, 22, graduated from the University of the Philippines Visayas. She is now a law student and working as an instructor at a Catholic university in Bacolod City.
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