Pride Month: Asserting the rights of LGBTQ+
There is pride in resisting and fighting back against oppressive, exploitative, and abusive authorities. The Stonewall uprising in 1969 exposed poverty and inequality as we later learned that homeless youth and poor queer folk took refuge at Stonewall Inn in New York. Police treated gays like criminals. They would make their rounds and harass and arrest them.
This prompted the LGBTQ+ to fight back, which sparked the gay liberation movement. The Pride march is about asserting the rights of the ostracized, marginalized, and homeless LGBTQ+ who resist exploitation and discrimination and are fighting back against a system and structure that breeds economic, political, and cultural discrimination.
Religious teachings and polity must reflect the fundamentals of just relationships and treatment toward our neighbors. While religion is a private choice and public articulation of belief and spirituality, specific religious traditions and beliefs should not be imposed as a public policy, especially if it is destructive and prejudicial. Religion has a role in society like value formation. Religion’s fundamental influence and effectiveness is in how it shapes and acknowledges relationships—with the community, with nature, and with a Supreme Being. It must not surprise the human community if religion teaches the timeless and boundless practice of love, justice, hospitality, and solidarity.
Jesus taught the Gospel about loving God and our neighbors as we love ourselves. Unfortunately, some Christians are upset when love is viewed or understood beyond their narrow definitions. Religion teaches acceptance, not just pretentious tolerance disguised as “respect.” Acceptance is about embracing the total humanity of a person, one pointed out by Jesus as the “neighbor.”
In our country, the very bodies and lives of the poor are subjected to sexual and economic exploitation, oppression, and discrimination. The poor LGBTQ+ people are in the same tough and hard situations come disaster, militarization, and economic difficulties. The social marginalization has intensified under a tyrannical, misogynistic, and murderous regime.
If we love God, we must love our neighbor. Rather than exposing our turpitude, our own insecurity, and immaturity, we must avoid the “holier than thou art” attitude. Christians must remember that in Matthew 21:31, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” However, in fairness to the LGBTQ+ community, they are not synonymous with tax collectors who extracted money from poor people and gave it to the Roman Empire. The better analogy for the LGBTQ+ are “exploited women” who are victims of marginalization and discrimination by Christian communities and sexually assaulted, abused, and exploited. They will go ahead of us who feel “cleaner, normal, and straight.”
The way we receive the LGBTQ+ community manifests our religiosity. The fundamentals of love, justice, and solidarity can change laws, norms, and traditions.
Norma P. Dollaga,[email protected]
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