Homophobia: The New Epidemic Sweeping the Globe Off Its Feet

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We all have a face, a body, a mind, and a soul. We all want to be happy and successful. We’re all human yet people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are treated differently.

The unfortunate reality is that for centuries, many cultures have promoted keeping a distance from those who are LGBTQ+, telling the straight population that they are mentally unstable. This is completely bizarre; as long as the person is comfortable under their skin and is living their life peacefully, their personal lives shouldn’t matter to anybody else.

For instance, in Indian culture, the opinions of others are very prevalent. People are raised with the fear that if they do anything that bends the norms, others will gossip about it and their reputation will go down the drain. This is insane; if society despises this community enough, they would want to keep them at a distance. Thus, they should have no reason to be so affected by them. These people, who have little to nothing to do with the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community, don’t possess the authority to make assumptions and judgments about a person solely based on their sexuality.

In Brunei, a country ruled by a sultan, most of the population consists of Muslims who follow the strict interpretations of Islamic laws, or Sharia. One of these enforces that same-sex attraction or relationships are haram, not allowed, for Muslims. In early April of this year, the sultan passed a law, under the Syariah Penal Code Order, that any gay/lesbian couple spotted in public (with proof) would be sentenced to death. This received a lot of media coverage and sparked international outrage, and celebrities called for a boycott of luxury hotels linked to Brunei. Homosexuality was already illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, in May of the same year, the death penalty from the “crime” was removed, but people would still be horrendously abused physically and punished in jail. This is ironic since, in 2015, the Brunei Project did seek to promote human rights, including religious freedom, free speech, and LGBT rights. In 2016, this group organized a community event to celebrate Brunei’s first “International Day Against Homophobia” event. Nevertheless, that was the past. The current violation of human rights has left Brunei’s gay community in shock and fear at the punishments, which is utterly disgusting and disturbing.

Certain Christian families in Eastern Europe and Russia are extremely homophobic, believing that every gay couple they see on the TV is propaganda. A lot of people in Azerbaijan have gotten disowned because they weren’t straight. In Eritrea, a small country in Africa with a bit less than half the population consisting of Christians, being part of LGBTQ+ is punishable by 14 years of jail. This is probably due to a conservative Christian slogan, stating “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

 Such a situation — not letting a person be with someone they love due to religious and legal restrictions — can be compared to not letting someone else eat at all because the other is on a diet. The only factors that should define or be used to judge a person should be their personality and character. Judging someone by their sexuality is similar to judging someone by their gender or race. Instead, we should look at and love for what truly makes us who we are. At the end of the day, we are more productive when we focus on each other at a soul-to-soul level, rather than judging the ocean’s wildlife by the tides we see on the surface.