Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Unfair and Exclusionary Practices

By Nour Azaiez_ 3rd Science2_ Jan 2017

It has always been evident to me that the problem of homophobia is still well alive in our society. It is in fact one of the many discriminatory actions that are not only accepted, but also encouraged. This case has been proven to me beyond a shadow of doubt when I was wandering in the city with one of my male friends who happened to be openly gay. This guy had what some would call "feminine features" and was wearing earrings.

Along with the hostile stares, the shoves by guys and the occasional name-calling and insults, one incident in particular had marked that infamous day in my memory.
One middle-aged man had come up to us in a shop, raging with fury, and slapped my friend right on the face knocking him to the floor. It didn't stop there unfortunately; he proceeded to kick him in the gut violently while shouting "DEATH TO HOMOSEXUALS".

I couldn't believe what I was witnessing; that someone would act monstrously to a peaceful stranger who never did him any harm.
I stepped in immediately and started to push the guy off him. I shouted for help but no one intervened. They only watched silently, some laughed, and some even cheered. It took a lot of energy and time of me to get the man off my friend because of how considerably heavy and strong he was compared to both of us.

Even then, the man wanted to continue beating my friend. Yet this time I stepped between them before he could jump at him asking him what the hell he thought he was doing beating a person half his age and strength for no apparent reason.
He roared with laughter saying that "she" is no man and that she indeed did him great harm by merely existing and being gay, that this is an insult to the public that this "thing" is out and walking freely along "our" streets.

Apparently, the man, and everyone else around, thought it high treason and blasphemous that my friend being a homosexual, was somehow some kind of blow-in-the-face to their religion and God.
They also agreed that he is a public danger, "he WILL sexually harass us" cried the men with conviction. They are certain that he WILL, just because he happens to be attracted to men rather than women.
"Ironically", I told them, "that's what every woman suffers from on a daily basis her whole life. Yet when we complain about it, we're immediately silenced by your "not all men" and "men are not animals". It is the same situation here." They did not think so. "It's not the same" they said. "Women can take it… It's just how it is working."

What they were saying was "sexual harassment is okay as long as we're the doers not the (potential) victims." It is a belief deeply rooted in their minds that men have always been immune to harassment and always should be. Now that other men "might" do the same to them that they do to women every day, it's suddenly blasphemous. It's degrading. It's unacceptable. And the (potential) doer must die.
This is absurdly ironic because if we go down using the twisted logic of theirs, all men must die. Most sexual predators are men… So all men are "potential harassers"! Yet no one advocates for a mass killing against men …

I tried to convince them that their arguments were illogical and inconsistent. And talked to them about how scientifically, homosexuality is NOT regarded as a mental illness as they think. It is an inherited belief… And if we followed their allegation, we might as well start burning women for wizardry.
I told them that they have absolutely no right telling my friend, nor any person for that matter, who he was "supposed to be" attracted to. The matter is completely personal and is not, and should never be, a public matter or a debatable topic in every corner.
It is highly unlikely that that man changed his perception of homosexuality. But at least neither he nor the others could disprove my arguments.

I have made it my business since then, to raise awareness over this huge issue. I have gone to protests against the laws made against homosexuals, was involved in debates where the subject was raised and went to Gay-pride and similar parades advocating for their rights.

What I continuously do now, is a new age kind of activism that has been growing over the years. It's "social media activism" which is an effective way of giving people the power to call out injustices,  misconceptions and bad social representations and bring about a better understanding of other people and their culture. Posts shared could change mindsets, laws or even start revolutions.

Through these posts, I made it a point to raise people’s awareness through peaceful debates and conversations mainly by disproving the arguments against homophobia and xenophobia. I wanted to show everybody that it’s unconceivable to bad-mouth and insult someone and call it freedom of speech.

May be the reason why such males are homophobic is their deep down fear of being emasculated. Society's exaggerated directives of “hyper-masculinity” have degraded “femininity”.

I have received a lot of positive feedback and thankful wishes which I am proud of. I will not stop fighting for the oppressed –whoever they are, whatever their tendencies- and so should everyone else (I suppose).

My motto is:  "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to death your right to say it." 

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