Discrimination of gays and lesbians
I am writing in reference to the recent attack on an AIDS awareness forum held in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta on Nov. 11, 2000 and I would like to state the following:
1. The bottom line is the attack was directed at gays, lesbians and transgenders as they formed a significant number of attendees at the discussion. Unfortunately, this was not properly exposed by the media and I am curious to know why. Even The Jakarta Post, as a reliable media and one I had expected would raise the issue, hardly said anything on it.
2. The attack obviously shows that gays, lesbians and transgender members of the community are still vulnerable. They are discriminated and under constant threat by the mainstream regardless of the fact that these particular members of the community are just as human and have contributed to the well- being of the society in general. In fact, gays, lesbians and transgenders also contribute academically, professionally, financially and religiously as they are found in all walks of life.
3. The attack plainly shows how weak our law is. The authority did nothing to protect the civilians from this attack. Instead of taking stern measures against the mob, the police in Yogyakarta released them. I saw no reason why the police could not arrest the barbaric mob.
4. Shame on the mob and its mastermind as they only manipulate fallacies and myths on gays and lesbians to attack them and justify their barbaric acts. If they think being gay or lesbian is sinful or shameless, they could channel views through discussions and debates.
5. In order to prevent similar incidents in the future, the authorities should be consistent in imposing the law, educators should add gay, lesbian and transgender issues in their curriculum and religious leaders should advice their followers not to be manipulated by evil people.
6. Acting God solves nothing in this case. Instead of naively believing that homosexuality is against God's will, I strongly challenge the mainstream to embrace gays and lesbians to show their love of God. Will they be able to do so? Through our perversion and imperfections (if this were so), then the glory and perfections of the Divine Providence shall be revealed.
7. To my gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters, allow me to encourage you not to be afraid or disheartened. Let's take this as an opportunity to defend ourselves with compassion, dignity and pride. Read and learn a lot so that we could defend our rights in a more dignified way. Be proud of your decision to be gay or lesbian. Be thankful to God for endowing us with this very special grace. Being gay or lesbian is our very right and grace. Even God would say nothing to your choice made of your own free will. Do not let others dictate you. Instead, let's educate and enlighten them. Let's make the world and God smile.
REGINALD Y. RIADI