Friday, May 12, 2006

Chapter 3: Religion and my sexuality

I grew up in a catholic church, went to a catholic Primary School and never missed Sunday Mass. I used to spend my spare time reading the bible at times because I found it very intriguing. Here is a book that most people claim to live by and those that don’t, are basically doomed to hell. The bible is no.1 when it comes to instilling fear in people.

Now as a young girl growing up in Soweto and from a highly religious background, I always thought that the bible was about love, respect and acknowledgement of my creator but with life that understanding changed. I learned that the bible to most ‘Christians’ was about discrimination, hatred, control, ignorance and judgement. I read once from the Bible that when the Pharisees brought in a woman who had committed adultery for stoning, Jesus said to them “Let him without sin throw the first stone, [John 8:7]” and yet even up to today we are still throwing stones at each other.

I do not deny that I’m a sinner, not because of my sexuality, but because I’m human and I falls into temptations now and again but then again…don’t we all.

When I first realised that I was different from other girls, I was so confused…and every article I read about homosexuals was saying how evil and wrong it was and how we are all going to burn in hell like the people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Then it was hate crimes against homosexuals that caught my attention because until then, I had thought people would never just hurt you without you provoking them. Now as an adult I realise that all this hate is perpetuated by the same people that claim to spread the word of God, the society is allowed to hurl insults at us; when lesbian women get raped…people are always saying “it’s their fault for pretending to be men”; people’s basic human rights are violated and ‘Christians’ are right there in front, leading the pack.

I am a believer in God and no Pastor, not even a Pope can change that. God is the God of Love and not hatred. Today’s Christians form political parties under the pretences of routing out evil from society. How did politics and God become one thing? Politicians are known to be manipulators and liars while Christians are known to be peacemakers and spreaders of love.

Just recently on TV, a well known South African show aired a programme on ‘violence against black lesbians’ where a group of boys was interviewed. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as I sat there in my lounge watching these boys. In a country where discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited, a country where violence against women is intolerable, men had the guts to appear on TV and say that they would rape lesbian women if they got the chance in order to show then that they’re women and that their ‘pussies’ are meant to bear children. I was shocked out of my mind! And two days later, no one from any political party or religious group had made a comment on the programme but had the programme been about lesbians getting married or adopting children…I assure you that the next day, there would have been a HUGE front page headline with the response from one of these groups.

South African police are always praised on the good job that they do when it comes to solving cases of high profile people but for us that have absolutely nothing, it’s a losing battle. I agree that not all police are corrupt and useless but there are more of those than the good ones. Try and report a rape case in South Africa as a lesbian woman, instead of being helped, you will be bombarded by questions regarding your sexuality and sermons on how wrong it is to be a homosexual.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that whenever I have a conversation with a stranger and the issue of a relationship and my partner comes up, usually the person will assume it’s a man but then when I politely mention that it’s a woman, they immediately feel a bit uncomfortable. Some are braver and don’t mind but then my favourite question will immediately follow: “Such a beautiful woman, what happened, were you hurt by a man?” As if being a lesbian is some sort of a getaway lodge or a stroll in the park. People assume we choose this life because we are just suckers for pain. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to be homosexual, knowing very well that anytime they could get attacked, physically and verbally, that they’ll spend their days looking over their shoulder, have their parents throw them out of the house, be ostracised from the church that they spent their whole childhood in, have people look at you as if you got some disease?

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