How should we view the LGBT movement in Singapore (or even worldwide)? I think they are gradually gathering momentum and mass support. People in general empathize with them. They see them as victims, or being victimized, for being different as against the order of nature and religion. In our open society, modern and liberal, the discrimination against the LGBT seems to be undergoing a trans-engendering change.
In the past, they were the minority seen as fringe groups of society; at times even treated as social pariah. Religious authorities then viewed them as an abomination condemned by the hand of the divine. Now the unspoken secular value of society is all about understanding, diversity and tolerance; if not peaceful coexistence. Although they still exist in the minority, they are garnering more respect and positive support.
Surfing on this social crest of secularizing modern values, the LGBT want the world to know that they are only human, flesh and blood, with conflicting emotions no different from others. They want the world to know that their struggles are real. Their tears are real too. They want to be understood. They do not want to be hidden in the closets like social fugitives or tucked away in secret basements like illegal aliens. They do not want to come out only under the covers of the night and go home before the dreaded rising dawn like vampish entities afraid to be seen in the discriminating public light.
In short, they do not want to keep up with appearances or pretensions anymore. They do not want to be ashamed of what they are or who they are. They reason that they had been around even before Sodom and during the imperial reign of the Romans, were prevalent throughout the rise and fall of great empires, had flourished at the birth of the Renaissance, were economically active but religiously disavowed in the industrial revolution, and are now more open and accepted in modern times.
Some are even allowed to marry with the blessings of the state and the church. Basically, they are just not going away because they desire more than anything to be integrated into the traditional, cultural and terrestrial estates of humanity. Strangely, the more they are opposed, the more resilient they become.
However, they are intimately aware that theirs is an existence of mind-bending paradoxes. Although they are not a recent historical invention, their alien-ness will always be. Although they are not the result of a social experiment gone wrong like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, their mere presence is somewhat socially unnerving. Although they are not spawn of sin, wantonness and debauchery, their avowed passion for each other seen to be squirmingly unnatural. Although the society would not consider them a psychological aberration, the religious squints with discomfort and indignation when they unite in holy matrimony.
In essence, their humanity differs little from ours. They are born no less human than the rest of us. Their burial pit and crematorium are no deeper or bigger nor the incinerator any hotter than the rest of society. Neither are their lives any different from ours for they are equally flawed, their love equally fallible and their desires equally worldly.
In the name of religion, many had tried to change them, convert them, turn them around, relegate them to second-class denizens when all else failed, dismiss them as a confused minority, and treat them as freaks of nature; yet they still persist, more united now than ever, collectively clamoring for understanding and acceptance.
In the name of the love of God, many have welcomed them as sons and daughters of the most High. But the hand that warmly invited them to join the flock of believers to worship the God of love is also the same hand that wishes for them to turn from their sins of unnatural sexuality so as to receive their forgiveness from the God of mercy. Their invitation is conditional. Their spiritual agenda cannot be hidden. And their sincerity is unfortunately layered.
Good intention and unnaturalness aside, this scrupulous game of bait-and-switch as seen by the victimized have been tried and tested and tried and tested for ages with little to show in historical success. The LGBT are still fighting back, growing in numbers ever since and stubbornly hanging on to the cloak of justice demanding equal rights, equal treatment and equal recognition. Their audacity and fervency have gathered even more traction in our modern age thanks to the social media and the deference to individual rights, freedom and autonomy.
Will LGBT one day rule the world, take over top leadership positions, make socioeconomic decisions favoring their kind, discriminate and suppress any opposition threatening their hard fought status, and conspire with atheism to turn this world into a godless, morally fungible and religion-free place? Will heterosexuals become an oppressed minority or worse, a disfavored alternate sexual identity? How will our children and our children's children turn out in such a world then?
I think we are giving them way too much credit. And I guess such alarming crystal-ball fixation only robs us of a present waiting to be collectively redeemed as one cradle of humanity for a remote future kept artificially alive by the straw-men of dread, fear and prejudices.
Alas, one day, it is hoped that science could unravel the cause or source of this gender identity mystery so that the genuine cases can find enduring gender resolution and deepening moral exoneration. But I am afraid the damage has already been done and the seed of division and discord has been sown for generations past and for generations to come.
For this reason, I draw neither inspiration from the past nor the present to bridge this seemingly irreconcilable chasm between those who sincerely want to accept them but only conditionally and those who sincerely want to be accepted but only unconditionally.
Maybe my hope lies somewhere in the distant future of humanity, beyond the horizon of human tradition and perceived unnaturalness, over and above the undulating terrains of obdurate intolerance, and stretching out to the furthest summit of understanding that is untainted by the primal prejudices of this world.
But then, maybe the truth is nearer home, residing in our hearts, and we are just too distracted by the loftier goals of life and tradition to ever notice it. And this truth is found simply in the words of Jesus when he called us to love God and to love others, and let this love be the final arbiter of all our motive and actions. This love is of course not to be used for self-serving justification, but for genuine, unbiased dialogue that aims to move all sides forward and close the gap of their differences; and not exposing it to show politely disguised moral superiority.
When this is ultimately achieved, and when love finally rules all, maybe then and only then, can this seemingly irreconcilable chasm be bridged and be bridged in such a way that transcends our current level of moral understanding and social tolerance. Cheerz.