Russia and Gay Marriage – Putin’s reasons

According to a new biography, ‘Cameron at 10’, Prime minister David Cameron and Vladimir Putin had a ‘candid’ discussion on gay rights late at night during a G20 meeting in 2013. According to the biography, it was more of a ‘bickerfest’ rather than a discussion.

Putin stated that should gay people be allowed to marry in Russia, the percentage of children in the country would reduce drastically, and there wouldn’t be enough children to support Russia in the future. Well…

  1. Has he never met a gay/lesbian couple and their never ending quest to have children? Being gay doesn’t generally remove your desire to have children. So this is kind of an invalid argument.
  2. Considering the number of children in orphanages (who are treated pretty badly according to research), maybe less children may be a good idea? So that they’re not just abandoned at a random orphanage. or…even better….
  3. Gay people could adopt children in orphanages. Now wouldn’t that be fantastic? Couple gets child, child gets a loving family? No? ok. I did some research, and reality is that Russia won’t let gay couples from abroad adopt Russian children. According to a newspaper article, when Malta (a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea which adopts a lot of Russian children) was discussing civil unions [which is now legal there], Russia threatened Malta that should the law pass, they would no longer let Maltese people adopt Russian children. So not only are they ‘punishing’ gay people for …. being gay, they are also punishing and neglecting babies from a loving family.

Needless to say, I find Putin’s excuse (should this be the real reason, which I doubt) empty. And like I said, it’s probably not even the real reason, if it is, then he didn’t really put much thought into it. Which I guess is even worse.

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Religion and Homosexuality

Currently, the main religions of the world (I’m going with Christianity, Judaism and Islam), see homosexuality, and homosexual ‘acts’ as a sin. Each religion has its own way of punishing these ‘sinners’, but the most annoying thing is that people feel that their religion is justification for hurting someone else, regardless of if they are of the same faith.

And even if you are of the same faith, how can that allow you to treat someone else as a lesser human being? Or justify you hurting them?

I’ve studied up on various religions and philosophies, and from what I gathered, the main thing about ‘god’ or let’s just say ‘higher power’ is that this being loves all humans equally and without discrimination. So in that case, how can this higher being then be ok with the way homosexuals are treated?

In all honesty, if you are homosexual and you’re religious too, then embrace it. You are one of the few people who actually understand that your god/higher power does not hate you for being in love. Higher powers will never discriminate against love between two consenting adults.

So if higher powers don’t discriminate against it, why should we? 

What is identity?

Simply put, your identity is everything about you. Therefore, this comprises your sexuality, gender and gender expression. So what’s the difference between them?

Sexuality

Your sexuality involves what kind of people you are attracted to, sexually or just romantically (if you are only ever romantically attracted to someone, then you are asexual, which is a sexuality in itself). It also involves what stuff turns you on. Are you more into traditional stuff, or do you prefer to be more adventurous in that department. This is all personal, and as long as you are not harming yourself or the other person(s) then no one can tell you it’s wrong.

Gender 

This basically means what you identify as. Do you identify as male, female, non-binary, agender (no gender), bi-gender (2 genders), demi or whatever? All are legit. Once again this is private, and honestly, no one has to know your gender unless you tell them. Of course, it can be uncomfortable for people to just take a look at you and label you a gender or the other, but really, it’s up to you whether or not to tell them. Think about your safety first.

Gender Expression

This is basically how you project yourself to the world. For example, you may identify as male, but express yourself in more traditional feminine ways (such as being very sensitive and calming). You could also project yourself in the traditional way, for example, you identify as female and project your gender in traditionally feminine ways.

Other forms of gender expression can involve clothing – so wearing clothes which make you feel like you. 

For trans* and non-binary people who experience dysphoria, our gender expression can help us keep that dysphoria at bay. Because even if we are misgendered, at least with our clothing we are trying to tell the world what kind of people we are. Do we like cute things, or are we more hardcore, do we wear bright colours, or are we more nondescript. Even if you do not experience dysphoria, clothing and body language are the perfect ways to subtly express to people who you are…and if they are attentive, they will pick it up.

So with all of these things (and other stuff, like likes and dislikes etc) comprise your identity. For this reason, no one should look at one aspect of you (say your sexuality) and judge you – because it is not all that there is to you. So if someone actually does judge you because of one aspect of who you are, then they are not worth it. People should get to know your full identity first before they can make a judgement of how nice you are as a person.

Dear Parents

It’s not your fault, your child being gay has nothing to do with your parenting skills, or because you didn’t buy them that one toy they wanted when they were 5. 

They were born that way.

And no, your genes are not to blame.
Let’s face it. it’s no one’s fault, because it’s not actually a bad thing. There are so many things which a child could do or be – addicts, vandals, members of a gang, pregnant/parents at a young age, before they’ve even had a chance to be children themselves. Being gay does not belong in this list.
You don’t want them to be gay because the life is tough? well, everyone faces their own struggles everyday. Yes, in certain places being gay is even more of a struggle, where hurdles can be found everywhere: in their personal life and even at work. So be a parent and support them more. They’re going to need it, don’t be part of the club which makes their life an even harder one. 

You have a problem with your child’s desire to get married and have children? it’s unnatural?

Who decides what is unnatural? Biracial marriages were unnatural just 50 or so years ago. Would you still consider it unnatural? 

Do you really think God (or whoever you believe in – if at all) would be opposed to love? Love is love, no matter the gender of the adults involved. Is it consensual? if it is, then great, it’s love. 
And not all heterosexuals can have children ‘naturally’. That’s what IVF techniques and adoption are there for. Does that make them any less of a parent? Not in the slightest. The same applies to a gay person who becomes a parent. It is the way you parent them, even today, which will show them how they should raise their own children.

Hypocrisy at its Best

I couldn’t help but follow the Duggar Scandal going on. For those of you who (thankfully) never heard of the show ’19 and Counting’, the Duggars are highly conservative, patriarchal Christians. They don’t approve of things like women wearing short sleeves or short skirts, and they definitely do not approve of kissing before marriage. That stuff is just not done. To be sure that nothing like the sort happens, unmarried couples need to be chaperoned… well…

The eldest boy, Josh, got into a bit of trouble a few years back. When he was 12, he sexually assaulted a bunch of girls…including his own sisters. What makes it even worse is that his own parents knew of this and hid it for a few years before realising how disgusting and horrifying they were and reported it to the police.

So why bring it up now? Well, when you’re such a conservative family, who basically declare that everyone else is going to hell, then you wouldn’t really expect for them to not only have a son who sexually assaulted girls, including his own siblings, or to hide it once they found out. What happened to ‘God’ seeing all and judging all?

Another point which I’d like to make is that this family, with all its hypocrisies is fundamentally flawed. First off, the bunch of children they are spewing out is ridiculous. It feels like they made it their personal mission to populate the Earth alone. And with all those children, how much time are you actually using to parent them, to teach them, to listen to them? Or is the focus to hope that god will educate them and show them right from wrong?

Secondly, the exaggerated amount of rules they have for women is insane. So women cannot show their elbows? And why can’t they? Because they’re afraid it would be too much for men to handle and control themselves? That sort of reasoning is one of the various flaws we have in our general thinking, which we can see perpetuated even in schools, where girls are sent home because they are dressed in such a way which would ‘distract the boys’. Which not only tells women that they need to always accommodate men, or that men cannot control themselves ‘cause boys will be boys’, but it also ingrains in them the thought that their education does not matter as much as a boy’s.

So what happened here with Josh Duggar? He was 12, starting to hit puberty, felt sexual urges which no one would discuss with him at home. So he followed those urges. Is this excusable? Definitely not. But his family philosophy is that boys are right, girls are wrong. Boys are superior, girls are inferior. He wanted to touch a girl’s breast? He can trust that breast.

His parents ingrain this superiority complex even more when they choose to protect him to the detriment of their own daughters. Who are also their flesh and blood. No, they’re fine with not tending to their psychological and emotional needs, because they have just been sexually abused, just so that they can protect their prized boy.

This isn’t just a case of a 12 year old boy sexually abusing girls and being inappropriate (to say the least). This is a case which perfectly shows how society allows this to happen by turning a blind eye. Lets face it, the second Kim Kardashian filed for a divorce a mere 72-hours after her wedding, everyone heard about it. But how many heard of this case of a man sexually assaulting women, and how many cared to learn more and criticise the story. Yes, 19 and counting has been removed from the air, but I haven’t been reading many people commenting on the bigger picture. And I have yet to hear people from the conservative community criticising these actions.

Being Valid


  

To be honest, I’m terrible around the LGBTQ community (I’m not going to speak about the I – Intersex part of the community because I’m not intersex).


At first I always put it down as me being awkward around people. Until I realised that I could actually interact with people who were cis or non-heterosexual with ease. I could also interact with people whose gender identity or sexual orientation I was not aware of.


But put me in a room of LGBTQ people and I freeze. I feel awkward. 


Did I look up to them? after all, they were people who came out. I’m out too for the most part, but I would automatically assume that these people came out before me. So maybe I saw them as my heroes, but after spending time with them I would be able to calm down.


That never happened.


I tried joining my local LGBTQI group but I just could never interact. I didn’t contribute with my opinion on issues I could contribute on. So what was going on? 


I didn’t feel *gay* enough. I didn’t feel *queer* enough. And I feared their judgement. 


Was this way of thinking my fault, or theirs? I would say both.


It’s my fault that I feel like I’m not a valid member of the community. I need to learn that the way I feel and express myself are good ways, so long as I’m myself. I need to learn that just because I don’t identify as trans* it doesn’t mean that I’m not non-binary. 


But it’s also the community’s fault for being so aggressive. I can understand the need to fight for one’s rights, to have to justify one’s emotions because the *normal* people can’t get it. But it’s this aggressiveness which makes it so hard for someone to join that community, to say ‘here I am, in all my glory’.


It’s also the community’s fault for not fighting against the stereotypes which they themselves can perpetuate. Am I expected to look and act gay? and is there a point where I become *too* gay or queer to be accepted?


I’ve realised that I could never be part of the queer or pansexual community, and I’ve accepted that. But it’s still a very difficult thing to accept, after all, we’re all looking for our place in this world. 

STOP the Stigma

I’m going to start this by saying that all extremism is bad, and possibly a sign of an unstable mental health.

But that’s not what I’m going to talk about. This post is about mental health…and more importantly, how the stigmatization of an unhealthy mental wellbeing is going to ruin us.

As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, a few days ago a plane crashed in the French Alps. The story goes that the co-pilot intentionally crashed the GermanWings plane, killing 150 people (including himself, obviously). When it crashed the plane was going at around 700km/hr. As to be expected, no one was saved, and the entire plane was in ruins.

All people cared about was whether or not it was a terrorist attack, and they were significantly relieved to find out that the co-pilot had made no mention of ‘Allah hu akbar’ (which is what Muslim extremists tend to say before launching an attack). Here I’d like to point out that no one assumed that he could be a Christian terrorist, or a Jewish one. But I digress again.

The next step, since he was white, was to start looking at his mental wellbeing. Words such as ‘suicidal’ and ‘depressive’ started being thrown about. And then, some very *smart* people said “He should have just killed himself if he was suicidal”. Now, I get that people are upset. And they have every right to be. 149 innocent people, including around 16 school children were killed in one of the most atrocious ways. The likelihood of their loved ones recovering from this is incredibly slight.

But by saying that you’re just looking at the short term. This reasoning goes like this: Person A dies so Situation B never happens.

But if it wasn’t Person A, there will be another person who will do this.

Telling someone to just kill themselves is never the answer. And frankly, if you think this way (even after reflection about what you said), then you’ve completely detached yourself from the human race and lack compassion. Yes, I will be blunt.

So what actually needs to be done? Stop stigmatizing mental health.

Everyone has a mental health. And everyone can go through a tough time and get sick. Just like you can get a cold.

“I don’t stigmatise!”  I hear you say, or “I don’t feel stigmatized”. Well, 1. if a friend comes to you and tells you that they feel depressed, do you feel awkward and not know what to say? and try to cover up your feelings with humour without ever trying to take care of your friend? 2. Do you feel depressive, or are you self harming, but you hide it from the people you care about because you feel ashamed?

welllllllllllllll

that’s stigmatization

In an ideal world, people are comfortable and speak openly about their mental health. Visiting a psychologist or a counsellor wouldn’t be the walk of shame, something which needs to be hidden or whispered only to a very close friend. It should be something you can mention randomly, without anyone judging you. You wouldn’t judge your friend for catching the flu, so why  judge your friend for having anxiety?

In today’s world, no one can speak of their mental health issues, unless it’s anonymously online. Because it’s just not safe out there. Try telling your employer that you can get crippling anxiety when under a lot of stress. No matter how many times you tell him that you always pull through, he just wouldn’t hire you.

So what happens? People start hiding their problems. And people can get very good at hiding them. They learn how to function on a day-to-day basis, and no one would ever suspect otherwise. Because no one ever looks deep enough to see the cracks in these people’s armour.

And then what?

Well some people will keep on functioning until their natural death.

Otherwise will end their misery early. Because seeking help was never an option.

Some actually find the strength to seek help.

Others end their life in a tragic way which ends up on the news. Case in point, the GermanWings plane crash.

I’m not saying that the co-pilot was mentally ill. But the signs do point towards that. Why else would you deliberately crash a plane and kill all those people? Even if there was an ulterior motive, that motive would have been backed by an unstable mind.

The solution is not pushing mentally ill people to suicide. Quite the opposite. Push these people towards help. Towards support. Towards love.