Thursday, May 13, 2010

Religion vs Family?

he last segment of my talk at Pelangi Pride is the most important. It holds the Holy Grail to the step forward for the Singaporean LGBT community. It is also the hardest part for many. Harvey Milk spoke of it in America in the 70s, and in the last few decades, gay Americans saw the wisdom of his words: COME OUT OF THE CLOSET - at least to your own family.

Coming out is never easy. It is also tougher for the parents than the gay children. We must remember: our parents went through very turbulent times in their youths. Thanks to decades of reinforced stereotyping, having a gay son or daughter is seen as a big setback. Sometimes, after surviving years of political and social changes, to be confronted by a gay child may seem like one more cruel joke Life plays.

Yet, I firmly believe that if a son or daughter is gay, then his/her parents are meant to deal with the issue. It's not different from, say, when a parent must learn to love an autistic child. Every child is perfect the way he or she was born.

Certain segments of the religious population may make things difficult for gays and lesbians in the public sphere, so I can understand why many people choose not to come out publicly. However, coming out to your own family is absolutely essential if there is ever a hope for local LGBTs. 

At the end of the day, if a religious leader turns family members against each other by his teachings - even if the family member is gay or of other faiths or non-faiths - then he is not a religious leader I respect.  


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