It's a hard thing to articulate in just a few words, especially if you have never been the subject of people constantly trying to bring you down, separate you, hate you, in some cases eradicate you and all to often, dominate you. I am not saying that the race debate and the homosexuality debate go hand in hand 100%, but for me, there is some solidarity in the struggles we have faced and sadly, continue to face.
This was brought into question with me the other day when I spoke with a gay man here who was severely beaten in an all to often occurrence in Brazil, "Gay hate crimes". When he went to the police, he was laughed at and told "he was lucky to be alive" and "to get out of the station". On further investigation of the laws in Brazil, there appears to be NO law(s) that protect the rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered people here. The subject of gay hate crimes is not isolated and I am pretty sure most if not all gay people will have experienced this at some point in their lives, me included. I have been in many situations in "tolerant" São Paulo, where I have witnessed effeminate gay men being called names on trains, many times other passengers laughing along at the mockery of these people. Not one person in the myriad of incidences I have witnessed here has stood up to those people. Before you even think it, YES I DID.
I am questioned as to why I look to role models like Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone etc. It's simple. These people lived with hate, A LOT of hate, suppression, violence, injustices and constant degradation of something they had no control over, the beautiful colours of their skins, their culture, and ultimately, themselves. Now, there will be some that are opposed to comparisons that I have dared to draw here, of course, they will be people that have never walked a day in my shoes, this I can guarantee. I am not saying and NEVER would say that I know what it is like to walk in the shoes of some of my role models I have mentioned above, even my friends that I so dearly cherish, because we all have a different journey. A journey that if you think about it, really does lead us to the same destination in the end, no matter what you do or don't believe in, who you love or even the colour of your skin.
Loving someone of the same gender is NOT a choice, you don't wake up one day and say "Hmmmm... Guys or girls today?" and anyone who thinks that really needs to try and live life as a gay person and get back to me. The sacrifices we face on the daily whether it be via acceptance from family, friends etc or even the danger that is all to apparent, is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. Don't even bring the cultural or religious argument into this either, the death penalty still exists for homosexuals in 10 countries and the "act" is illegal in a staggering 77 countries. I am not apart of a lifestyle choice, I am not doing this for attention, I am not perverted and I most certainly AM A CHILD OF GOD (Whatever or whomever he or she may be) and THIS UNIVERSE.
My point is, at the end of the day we are all just the same, it's only our experiences that ultimately give us some difference and even those are what bring people together, and of course our own inabilities to view others as our equals. I see colour as just that, something beautiful and different, no matter whether it be white, brown, black, golden or red. The same goes for love. It's something we are all entitled to, right? Love? Isn't that what is preached to us via our religious mentors, our family life, the TVs and movies we watch, the music we listen too, don't we all just want to be loved?
I met some ladies the other night that truly inspired me to write this, to think deep about this subject and go beyond all the stereotypical associations I have become accustomed to, to get real with me and you know what I found? L.O.V.E. Yep, pure, plain and simple, love.
Be kind to each other friends, stand strong in what you believe in and always make your words and actions count.