Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marriage Arrangements

Art by Ashraph

I would think it unforgivable not to acknowledge the legalising of gay marriage in the United States. So in some senses I feel some duress yet am not sure what I want to say, just that something has to be said. Not a good place to start perhaps but it should be valued for its honesty.

In recognition of Pride 2015 the group I am 1 is hosting a weekend of events at Big Black Box culminating with an HIV Memorial on Sunday 28.

I was at the opening night event which was called Taboo Conversations and was done in collaboration with TedxPortofSpain. It started with the showing of a TedX Talk by a doctor that had treated teens in their gender reassignment. It was interesting in that it again showed me that the world is a many varied place and sometimes it takes some exposure to remind me of that. I would say I was comforted by the presentation in that not only did it show children with the right to self determination, one I sometimes feel yet to attain, but it also showed the humanitarian irony of Science to aid in the evolution if you will of the human experience.

Following the presentation was a discussion on LGBT issues, (I know that it now also includes, Intersex, Queer and Questioning). It took a relay format. The first two speakers and hosts who were in their early 20's and identified as gay opened by posing a series of independent questions to each other. As the second was finished she asked a question and left the stage open for any member of the audience to come and answer it. That person would then ask a question and leave the stage for another person to come and repeat the process.

One of the early questions was from a woman who wanted to answer the question posed if it was necessary for persons to "come out"  - to declare their sexuality. She said she felt compelled to answer because she was bipolar and understood having to "come out" and from that perspective thought that it should be left up to the person to decide but it should not be mandatory for everyone. Sounds like a "bi" answer to me lol.

The question she posed was why gay people got defensive when presented with religious teachings against the lifestyle. She felt as is she was being robbed of her right to dissent from a religious perspective by the plaintive defence of the oppressed minority (my words). I wanted to answer but didn't. I would have asked why those who interpret the Bible that way as opposed to all embracing and premised on love feel they have the moral authority to define God's word?

The word homonormantivity came up. It was in response to a most interesting question in that I have heard few gays ask it. Assuming the young man was gay and my 'gaydar' is the original model so it works well, but, he asked why do gays aspire to marriage. I don't want to misrepresent him but he may have said something about why not imagine a new model as gays to represent the epitome of our love. I agree with him.

The reality will change but for now it remains the same. In heterosexual marriages in the Caribbean it is taught in tertiary level Gender courses that a characteristic of the regions male is a"village ram" syndrome where the man is expected to and excused for being unfaithful. As a Caribbean man is that what I should expect in a marriage or is this what I am allowed? Where is the foundation set to have provided me with the healthy mindset required to uphold the values of marriage inclusive of commitment, loyalty and devotion?

Many marriages in Trinidad and Tobago are informed by the society. They met at church or through a family member or it was actually arranged. What mechanisms are in place to help gays in the Caribbean succeed at this esteemed tradition? These are real questions and I'm not asking them just to be negative. I feel as if the gay agenda was foisted on me and it's now to the point where people are prepared to end friendships over it, I know of what I speak.

It would be great if we could all glibly or otherwise applaud the ruling of SCOTUS but had it not been for the appointments to the bench made by the Democrats it would not have happened. Would it have been a sad day for me? No it would have been just as this is, no more than what happened, simply. I have no control over a decision like this, I never protested for it, I never wore a button or posted a status in favour of it.

The victory belongs to Americans, those who grow up as some do with support, acceptance and love and so are less damaged in some senses than we assume those who grow up in strict religious homophobic societies and countries are.

On the upside as noted by CAISO Green Card weddings have gone pink. When the world sees a bold move like the one made by SCOTUS this week for many people America will remain an attractive and progressive place to live and as well it will continue to set the agenda and the trend for many lives around the world for better or for worse and seemingly till death do us part.

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