Is the conservative nature of our country to blame? Is it the discriminatory overtones that still exist in black culture? Are religious affiliations the main dilemma?
We were bred for development- not just on an individual level, but on a societal level. And it absolutely worries me that we haven’t made enough progress on accepting gay people; especially with Caitlin Jenner making headlines.
I know I tend to harp on and on about gay acceptance, but there are transgender people, in every part of the world, not just the United States. Inspired by Caitlin Jenner, others will emerge from their cocoons of secrecy, and come out as transgender.
The scary thing is, if homophobia is this rampant, imagine the outbreak of transphobia.
A family member of mine encouraged me not to come out as gay to other members of my family, because it is ‘none of their business’. My right to privacy is duly noted, and indeed, correct. But I have to argue; why is wanting to let your family know about who you are considered ‘too open’? Why is it that gay men and women have to constantly be living in Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell territory?
Who is to blame; a homophobic society, or a gay person who wants to exercise their right to freedom of expression?
By encouraging gay people not to come out, we are sending out a message that it is wrong to be gay; that it is a type of dirty secret not suitable for public (or even familial) knowledge. Then we wonder why we have such things as internalized homophobia, or gays shaming other gays.We are mostly a homophobic society, period.
While I have my reservations about them being the only public gay figures in South Africa, I respect people like Bujy, 3Sum, and Mika Stefano. They broke barriers for gay acknowledgement. Without them, I would imagine that most gays- myself included- would be pretending to be heterosexual, and forging relationships and marriages with women we do not love.
They had courage. And I hope, one day, we all discover our inherent courage, too.