This was supposed to have been posted on Tuesday but then it got postponed to Wednesday. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the links I needed with some sites down in protest over SOPA/PIPA. It can finally be posted today though.
In the previous post we touched on homosexual relationships which still lack acceptance in some parts of the world. In the US I only a few states recognise gay marriage while in Africa there are some countries have tried to criminalise homosexuality and others have succeeded, often with the anti-gay movements led by the religious, and even in South Africa, where gay marriages have been recognised for a few years, there are attacks directed at homosexuals termed “corrective rape.” Some in the Vatican even think the UN has a secret agenda to increase the number of homosexuals in the world.
There is the suggestion that perhaps further equality would be better pursued by making a separation between religious marriage, where the church can deny gay marriages if it so wishes, and secular civil unions which are available for all members of society and are recognised by the state. It’s actually a decent idea because it doesn’t require forcing religions to do something but it still opens up the full-spectrum of relationships for everyone. Churches will be able to make decisions on church policies and the state will make secular decisions. The complication is then tied to how religious the institution of marriage actually is and whether the gay movement is more interested in a real change or the symbolism of marriage.
That isn’t the only sort of relationship that is frowned upon of course. Inter-racial relationships were illegal in apartheid South Africa as part of the immorality act. Even now that they are legal, they are not as common as you might expect, if we didn’t pay attention to race. Again, the religious groups display their usual tolerance for non-traditional relationships such as in Kentucky, where a church refuses to allow inter-racial couples to partake in services.
One way to try combat the sort of hate that these groups face is to use stories to build sympathy and understanding. If no one ever sees a gay or inter-racial couple then they have no connection to them and less motivation to care. Ideally people would be open to rational discourse but that’s not always the case and it may be necessary to first open people to the possibility of alternative lifestyles.
To that end I have decided to share an excellent and emotional 5-part flash series, “There She Is!!” It tells the story of an anthropomorphic cat and anthropomorphic rabbit who fall in love in a society where cat X rabbit couples are ostracised. While the story is about cats and rabbits (or inter-racial couples) it can very easily be seen from a same-sex point of view.
The series is Korean but the episodes are visual with no dialogue so there is no language barrier. The background songs that set the mood are in Korean but the series does not suffer for it, and indeed gives my readers, who will probably be native English-speakers, the opportunity to build a connection to a different culture and language. A connection to other cultures and languages is also important as patriotism and ignorance can very easily turn to xenophobia, which was responsible for riots in South Africa in 2008.
I like to finish off by listening to John Lennon’s Imagine.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.