I could never truly grasp the bigoted mind. Yes, I can understand bigotry from an intellectual standpoint. I know that many social institutions and nations use bigotry to control their followers. But I just don’t get how seemingly “decent, loving” people can hate other people so much as to deprive others of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As a member of a targeted group, I know bigotry, first hand. I’ve experienced the end result of homophobia most of my life. So, yes, I know there is a dark, deep evil that lurks as a dark side within many of my fellow humans.
Maybe I should have chosen psychology as a career. Trying to understand what makes our species tick, has been a hobby of mine ever since I was a kid. I’ve often puzzled over the phenomenons of mass popular movements, patriotism, overt mass religiosity, and war. I’ve never deeply understood how people can be convinced that harming and killing other people over mere ideas is a good thing.
Again, I understand the nuts and bolts about group psychology, but I don’t get it personally. This lack of deep ideological furvor is probably the result of my life-long exile from mainstream society. No, this is not a superficial, hand-wringing victim mentality. It’s not an imagined, invented faux oppression used by the majority culture. Victim mentality is not it at all. Actual, social exile is the probable root of my point of view.
Experts have studied and written books about the various flavors of bigotry and hatred. I’ve read books from Mein Kampf, to the Bible, to the Bhagavad Gita in order to get a grasp of it. I can relate and debate about the evils of hatred and bigotry all day, but not put a dent in it.
My point, today, is that there are still a few socially acceptable forms of bigotry and hatred that infect humanity. Some of them are highlighted internationally on this date. The cruelty and negativity of homophobia are put up for examination today. Today is IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia. Included under this umbrella are biphobia and transphobia.
IDAHO is actually a very positive day. The founders created the commemoration in order to promote a world free of hatred, oppression, and violence, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The positive virtues of acceptance, diversity, and freedom are celebrated. The date was selected because the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of disorders on May 17, 1990.
The IDAHO Committee, civil rights groups and the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups have come together to be a part of the Global Prayer Initiative to bring together various people of faith to bring understanding and voices to recognize the need to eliminate homophobia.
Many metropolitan areas will be holding vigils as a part of this initiative. The vigils are meant to draw attention to the acts of intolerance and religion-based homophobia and transphobia. Religious and non-religious people, whether a member of the LGBT community or straight allied are invited to participate in commemorative or memorial vigils and celebrations today.
Because some people use supposed religion-based arguments to condone bigotry, it is important to bring faith communities together to have calm, thoughtful, compassionate discussions about brutality, discrimination, and hatred towards LGBT people. Better interfaith and international dialogue can help dispel ignorance and hatred.
In many places IDAHO has added the letter “T” to form the acronym IDAHOT. The addition recognizes transphobia as another major problem worthy of address. So, you might see more transgender awareness and reference made this year and in the following years on May 17th.
If you are not a member of the LGBT community, today is a good day to learn more about homophobia and transphobia. Maybe you know or are related to an LGBT person. Now is a prime opportunity to reach out and better understand him or her.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the President of the U.S. “No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”