Opinion Opinion Feature

Faith and toxic love

It’s that time of the year again—as how it should be everyday—for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate and parade their true colors. People of different races and ages gather together to walk side by side with their friends and loved ones who support and embrace the community. Pride marches are extravagantly filled with rainbow flags in different sizes, large boards written with messages full of love and support, and pride marchers dancing—or maybe even “death dropping”—to popular Carly Rae Jepsen and Lady Gaga songs. More importantly, these marches are also a significant time for the community to voice out and seek acceptance for who they truly are. Unfortunately, there are always groups of people—whether religious or conservative—who oppose and invalidate the voices and happiness of the LGBTQ+ community, sending messages of disgust and hate toward a group of loving and open-minded individuals.

About a week ago, I came across a video from the Refinery29 channel in YouTube titled The Life Threatening Dangers Of Gay Conversion Therapy. The video is by a lesbian named Grace Baldridge, who is also a devoted Christian, and how she is exploring the balance between being a faithful Christian as well as being part of the LGBTQ+ community amid backlash.

One of the people Baldridge interviewed went through gay conversion therapy, which is a type of therapy involving “changing an individual’s sexual orientation” through spiritual or psychological intervention. The man that went through gay conversion therapy was told that he had to fix himself by “praying the gay away” and convincing himself that being a gay man is a sinful act. Another lesbian from the video shared how her mother reacted to her sexuality. She was repeatedly told by her mother that she “is not gay” and urged the “demon to come out” of her body. Despite the two members of the LGBTQ+ community being faithful and committed Christians, they still received damaging comments and discrimination just because their sexuality is not “within God’s standards” or not accepted in the Bible.  

After watching the video, it made me think of how hypocritical these people are toward the LGBTQ+ community. Using one’s religion to justify hate or resentment against the LGBTQ+ community is extremely rampant today. But, isn’t a Catholic, Christian, or any religious community supposed to be open and inclusive to its members, regardless of sexuality and race? Aren’t we all supposed to express our love and acceptance, according to what our own gods have told us to do as human beings? I have yet to see any doctrine that teaches hate and discrimination from these powerful religious institutions.

In the Philippines, intolerance is still evident within our society, despite being regarded as the second most gay-friendly country in Asia according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report. One of the major factors affecting this level of intolerance is deeply embedded in our identity—the conservatism and heavy religiosity of our country. The story of Adam and Eve is nothing new to us, and it created a notion that love between a man and a woman is the only accepted relationship within society. Because of this, relationships between two gay men, two lesbians, two asexual people, or anyone who identify themselves with the LGBTQ+ spectrum are seen as unacceptable by their own religions.

As a Roman Catholic myself, I believe that God wants me or anyone of us to fully accept everyone for who they are, regardless of their sexuality. I would rather they be genuinely happy with their own sexuality rather than force them to be someone they are not. Even if I came from an all-girl Catholic school, I learned how to express my love and acceptance to my friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I have always wanted to create a safe space for them to live life freely without prejudice. I strive to treat them like family as some of them are still afraid of being hated, or even be forced to detach, by their own.

If you say things like you “only support your friend who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, but not support the rights of the community” such as being equally treated within the country, then it simply shows discrimination. No matter how religious or faithful you are to your own beliefs, you should have the human decency to show respect and understand other people’s identities and rights, which exists and should continue to exist apart from
your own. 

Sofia Dimalanta

By Sofia Dimalanta

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