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GLBT acceptance/ equality.
Personal stories

A lesbian comments on the suffering
caused by sexual apartheid

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The harm of sexual apartheid:

Alexandra Mankowitx lives in the UK and wrote an article titled "Sexual apartheid causes suffering.." It was published in Times Online on 2010-MAR-08, and concerns her experiences with the internalized homophobia that she absorbed growing up in Britain. Her story would differ little if she were a resident of the U.S., Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, etc.

Excerpts are reproduced below. We were unable to reprint the entire article due to copyright restrictions.

She refers to Reverend Chad Varah who founded the Samaritans -- a distress/crisis/listening service staffed by caring volunteers in offices around the UK.

We were unfamiliar with the term "infra dig" that Alexandra used; you might also. It means something that is beneath one's dignity to deal with.

She wrote:

"When I realized I was gay I wanted to die. I was 17, the sense of shame was unbearable and stretching out in front of me was a life of abject loneliness."

"That year, the vote to reduce the homosexual age of consent from 21 to 18 took place. I still remember the debates which played out on the television and radio."

"I learned then that there were many apparently respectable people who thought I was a filthy pervert to be avoided at all costs and who was probably doomed to burn in Hell. I hadn't done anything apart from grow into the person I was born to be."

"This played out against a constant deafening drip drip of social cues - the assumption of heterosexuality, the paucity of positive gay role models and the ubiquity of homophobic bullying in school ... which sent a very clear message; that being gay was categorically infra dig."

"All of this was magnified by the silence of my isolation in the closet and led me to conclude that I was disgusting - possibly evil - and better off dead. I achieved that level of misery without the help of physical threats or direct personal bullying."

"Homophobia is the only prejudice that victims suffer without the support of their family. ... I could rely on my parents' support but that didn't save me from internalizing the homophobia served up by the outside world."

"I was not forced to listen to the homophobic ranting of a priest, rabbi or imam either. Tacit disapproval is pernicious enough. …"

"My father likes to quote the Anglican priest, the Reverend Chad Varah, who said, 'We should not prevent people expressing their love for one another in any way they have both agreed on.' Varah founded Samaritans and knew more than most that the consequences of curtailing love are dire. My experience as a teenager was far from unique. Young gay men and lesbians are twice as likely as their straight peers to attempt suicide according to the American Journal of Public Health."

"Life is already a struggle without constructing barriers for love between human beings which, let's face it, is the only thing that gets us through the night, apart from (for some) love of God. There are lesbians and gay men around the world, particularly in countries dominated by more fundamentalist religions, who are living lives so miserable that we ought all to mourn."

"Even as I am now at peace with myself, it breaks my heart to see their suffering. I cannot not fully enjoy my own liberation until I can toast theirs. ..."

"It isn't very complicated. We're all human beings. Our needs are very simple: somewhere to live, something to eat, someone to love. There's no gay conspiracy. In asking for full equality we are not asking for much. It's beyond me how my joy in love can diminish anyone else's, and even less how it can bring them pain. ..."

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Site navigation:

Home page > Lesbian/Gay issues > Stories.... > here

Home page > "Hot" religious topics > Lesbian/Gay issues > Stories.... > here

Home page > "Human rights" > Lesbian/Gay issues > Stories.... > here

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Original posting on this website: 2010-MAR-13
Latest update: 2010-MAR-13

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