Heard that one before?
I remember my Dad looking at a man who was supposedly gay (not officially). Dad (note: I mistyped God here first… Freudian slip?) told us kids that God hates “fags”. Sodomites! Perverse ones who engage in perverse sodomy. I had not the slightest clue what sodomy really was – it could’ve been a sinful game of cards for all I knew. But Dad said that God hated fags, so I hated fags too. I said that out loud when I was small and those were the days I was Daddy’s girl.
My Dad told us kids that sodomy – being gay – caused AIDS. In the 20th century, when more and more sodomites appeared, and when people started taking drugs and sleeping with each other without being married, he made AIDS to make all of those people suffer and ultimately to kill them. I was really afraid of getting too close to gay people. I didn’t want to get their AIDS! I was afraid that their gayness would rub onto me and then I’d have AIDS and die and go to hell because I committed sodomy. Some days I was so afraid, I didn’t even want the guy at the checkout counter touch my hand when he gave me my change. He looked so stylish, I bet he was one of those AIDS-fags. I once saw a transvestite when we took a day trip to a bigger city, and it scared me half to death. I swear, if he had come into the shop we were in, I would’ve run out crying, afraid of him spewing out AIDS.
I’m thankful I don’t have to think that way any more. I’m not afraid of gay people any more. But that took a lot of convincing. And a lot of making sense of it. I want to go through some of the questions I asked myself in order to understand what it’s really about.
1. AIDS is something gays and promiscuous people get.
Partially true. Being faithful to each other helps prevent AIDS. But so do condoms. Aids is mostly something careless people get, excluding the ones who got it for other reasons (rape, trusting their spouse and being cheated on, blood transfer etc). I don’t believe that infected people run around forcing people not to use condoms. It’s a mutual decision. It can be prevented if everyone takes responsibility for themselves – and others. I do not mean to offend infected people with this. We all make bad calls, trust the wrong people, get carried away by the moment. It’s human. It takes an effort to constantly remind yourself not to make those bad decisions and I don’t mean to blame anyone who made one or two mistakes – I make them all the time, too.
2. AIDS is something gay people are punished with.
Not true at all. If two gay men get tested, get married and live faithfully together, they won’t get it. If a heterosexual couple doesn’t get tested or cheat on each other, they might get it.
What’s funny to me at this point is that the fundamentalists point out that it’s a curse for all homosexuals. But what about lesbians? You hardly ever hear of infected lesbians! Shouldn’t they be affected just as much as gay men? Matter of fact, You hardly ever find them in the statistics even. Because AIDS transfers via massive exchange of body fluids, and even better if it’s anally due to physical aspects. Women don’t produce massive amounts of fluids to begin with, hence it’s very hard to get it even if you’re sleeping with an infected person. The logic of the punishment for homosexuals crumbles when you look at this. Because, simply by this logic, I’d have to supposed that being a homosexual man is more sinful than a heterosexual person is more sinful than being a homosexual woman. If I don’t apply this sentence, that means that God fails to punish certain people for the exact same sin, and that doesn’t make sense at the end of the day. If God wanted to punish anybody, I’m sure he would do it right – read the old testament for more information on this.
3. Aids is a punishment period.
0.8% of the world population are HIV-infected. 1.3 Million in North America (including Canada, so take out some here to get the US number).
6.5 Million US-Americans have (diagnosed!!!) cancer. No numbers on how many people actually have it including those who don’t know they do (obviously).
I was taught that people who have Aids are being punished. You can actually have a decent life with Aids these days. Imagine how many people die a cruel, slow death from cancer. How many more have it. How many fundamentalists have it. So what’s that talk about punishment?
Oooooh I forgot. Of course. If a non-christian gets sick, he’s being punished. If a christian gets sick, he’s being tested. Silly me.
I feel terrible that I used to think that way about people, no matter if they’re straight, bi, gay, whatever. Seriously ashamed. I swallowed up everything I was served. At one point because I was too young to know better and get informed, at another because I was too ignorant and scared to question it. I really wish I could make up for it somehow, but I don’t think that works. I wish I could apologize to every gay man (because, funny enough, I never even considered gay women!) as well as to every HIV-infected person (whatever they might be) for thinking that way about them.