Saturday, December 6, 2014

Marriage Equality



            Equal rights between heterosexual and homosexual couples have been a growing dispute in recent times. Homosexuality in general has been an issue throughout history. In contrast, in ancient Greece sexual intercourse between men was considered masculine and men were free to do so as long as the sex was in the dominant position because that dominant position was considered sophisticated and signified higher social class (Nussbaum 11). Today, discrimination amongst straights and the lesbian, gay, bi, and transgendered or LGBT community is prevalent and continues to be a taboo and uncomfortable subject in society. Not until the 1970s was homosexuality decriminalized in the developed countries of the world ("United States Sodomy Laws"). Letting marriage be allowed for all persons no matter their sexual orientation is a given civil right for all human beings and banning marriage is against the constitution of the government.
The demographics of homosexuals are essentially unknown due to the taboo around the subject. Most people choose not to reveal their sexual identity because of the discrimination. With regards to the taboo surrounding homosexuality, research has shown children in homes of homosexual couples live and grow up in the same environment as children of heterosexual couples (Bernheim 46). This taboo becomes a problem when the rights of heterosexual couples supersede same-sex couples. Comparing same-sex marriage equality to the Black Civil Rights Movements has also been controversial because of the view that homosexuality is a choice. However, would it matter even if homosexuality is a choice?
The religious affiliation to the opposition of homosexual marriage is also debated because of the deep view amongst religious people that the religious texts have stated by God that homosexuality is sinful and should be punished (NeJaime). However, the same religious people ignore other parts of their religious texts. For example, the Bible and the Quran state that if a woman has sex outside of marriage, she should be given the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10; Azim). There is this entire social stigma around something simple like marriage. Whether society likes to admit it or not, discrimination against the LGBT community still exists as well as subtle racism in the workplace, sexism, and other issues that can be taken care of if everyone stood up for these issues, but these issues are instead swept under the rug because no one wants to face them. Not everyone has a religion with the same rules, and one group does not have the right to force its rules on other people.
            A recent article about a gay man who was arrested for refusing to leave his partner in the hospital has surfaced. Even though he has power of attorney, there is now a restraining order stopping him from visiting his partner (Edwards). For everyone still asking, what's the big deal with gay marriage, why not just give them civil unions or some other separate-but-equal label, this is why: until the laws recognize gay men and women as being the same as heterosexuals, the LGBT people will still have to deal with this sort of hateful discrimination. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Most people do not realize that this story is not an isolated incident.
One of the main arguments against gay marriage is that if gay marriage becomes legal than what’s to stop incest, pedophilia, or bestiality from becoming legal? (Bernheim 44). First of all, marriages between members of the same-sex are all consensual. Bestiality is between an animal and a human. An animal cannot consent to anything. Pedophilia is between a child and an adult. The child is not psychologically capable of making decisions about sex or marriage. Also, having sex or being in a relationship with the child can harm the child physically, psychologically, and physiologically. For example, sex can harm them with birth defects and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Homosexual couples consent to sex; they are infertile unless they adopt, surrogate, or get a sperm donor. They choose to have children unlike when straight couples often times don’t have a choice in having children. Marriage does not always have to involve sex, but involves being recognized the same under the law as everyone and as well as being socially accepted. This goes to the next argument, which is incest. Incest also causes birth defects and psychological problems. However, because of the view towards homosexuality today, the psychological trauma is also associated with same-sex marriage because of the ridicule and harassment one would receive by bigoted individuals. Another argument is that making gay marriage legal would make it the norm for gay men to be more adulterous; therefore, everyone would follow their lead. There have been developed nations where same-marriage is legal, and they are some of the most powerful nations in the world. The religious argument is the most complicated and popular argument. However, interpretations of religious texts have changed over centuries and many human beings throughout history have added to the texts to embellish their own selfish agendas. Catholic priests have been involved in child molestation more than non-religious individuals.
A person living in a country where all citizens supposedly have their rights and everyone is equal under the law is considered ideal. However, when citizens fail to recognize that one person is not receiving the same rights as them, that’s when human rights are at stake. According to Michael D. Shear, White House Correspondent, “Indeed, as both law and culture have increasingly recognized lesbian and gay equality, discrimination against lesbians and gay men has shifted from per se rejection of homosexuality toward rejection of lesbians and gay men as same-sex couples, including but not limited to married couples. Mitt Romney’s position is illustrative of an increasingly common conservative position- professed opposition to anti-gay discrimination and simultaneous opposition to legal recognition for same-sex couples” (qtd. in NeJaime 1175). This statement directly reveals the fact that many people are still against rights for same-sex couples.
In 1979, “A number of people in Sweden called in sick with a case of being homosexual, in protest of homosexuality being classified as an illness. This was followed by an activist occupation of the main office of the National Board of Healthcare. Within a few months, Sweden became the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness” (Quistbergh). In 1944 homosexual acts were legal in Sweden and in 1972 transsexual people could legally change their sex in Sweden. However, this primitive view of homosexuality is still apparent in recent times in different parts of the world. The laws may change, but the discrimination is still alive and western culture is reluctant to adopt the modern view.
            Humans are naturally sexual beings and natural parts of the body are not in the control of humans at all times. Humans have no choice when it comes to sexual orientation. As geneticist, Sven Bocklandt explains, “Human sexual preference is a sexually dimorphic trait with a substantial genetic component” (et al. 1). However, human beings do not like others who are different from them in the slightest. They still abhor change and diversity in the world. Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Australia are some of the few developed nations who are on the way to equality in terms of marriage and in terms of equality between straights and non-straights. Homosexuality is becoming ‘normal’ in society, but the process is slow and this process will take society some time because it is still a foreign concept to some. Even in the United States, where about 70% of the population identifies as Christian, several states have legalized same-sex marriage. Yet, Christian nations today, like Uganda where a homosexual person can be put to death, are still suffering. There are Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, where capital punishment is possible for same-sex sexual activity or even just a man being seen in public holding hands with another man. Returning to the main point which is that loving other human beings and making this love legally binding under the law is a natural right that belongs to all individuals because no one can choose their sexual orientation just like no one can choose their own skin color.













Works Cited
Azim, Sherif. "Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition The Myth and   The Reality." IslamiCity. Queens University. Web. 11 Apr 2013. <http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/w_islam/adul.htm>.
Bernheim, Gilles. "Homosexual Marriage, Parenting, And Adoption." First Things: A Monthly Journal Of Religion & Public Life 231 (2013): 41-50. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
Bocklandt Sven, Horvath Steve, Vilain E, Hamer DH (February 2006). "Extreme Skewing of X Chromosome Inactivation in Mothers of Homosexual Men." Hum. Genet. 118 (6): 691–4. Print.
Edwards, David. "Missouri man arrested at hospital for refusing to leave gay partner." Raw     Story. (2013): n. page. Print. <http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/11/missouri-man-arrested-at-hospital-for-refusing-to-leave-gay-partner/>.
Kim, Suzanne A. "Skeptical Marriage Equality." Harvard Journal Of Law & Gender 34.1 (2011): 37-80. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.
"Leviticus 20:10." bibleapps. N.p.. Web. 11 Apr 2013. <http://bibleapps.com/leviticus/20-10.htm>.
NeJaime, Douglas. "Marriage Inequality: Same-Sex Relationships, Religious Exemptions, And The Production Of Sexual Orientation Discrimination." California Law Review 100.5 (2012): 1169-1238. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2013.
Nussbaum, Martha C. "Other Times, Other Places: Homosexuality In Ancient Greece." Annual Of Psychoanalysis 30.(2002): 9. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
Quistbergh, Frederick. "I Feel a Little Gay Today." quistbergh.se. Perrito, 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. <http://www.quistbergh.se/view/514>.
"United States Sodomy Laws." Alliance of Sodomy Supporters, 28 Jan 1998. Web. 11 Apr 2013. <http://www.sodomy.org/laws/>.

My Anxieties and Revelations

I have never truly discussed my personal feelings before especially about my anxiety. Every day of my life I would say I go through some form albeit minor form of social anxiety. It's strange. I will get up for school and feel nervous. I get butterflies in my stomach. But wait this isn't the first day of school. This is every day. Before I go into a grocery store I'm nervous. What's wrong with me? I always never could understand it. Is it some form of chemical imbalance? I try to think about it. I realize that I care too much about what people think about me, but at the same time I don't.

When I'm in class, I want to speak and participate in class so bad. However, my anxiety gets the better of me. If I do speak I make sure it's short, forgettable so no one notices. And if I begin to stutter or reveal my nervousness then forget about it. I will not speak for the rest of the semester. I can't help it. I've tried working on this and I will admit it as gotten much better. But this has been going on ever since I can first remember. Perhaps, ever since I started school. In middle school I was always the "quiet kid" then I remember in 8th grade I was the class clown. When I got to high school, I became the quiet and nerdy kid once again. I didn't mind that because I still had my friends. Although, I had very few friends who I actually hung out with outside of class. Today, I'm in college my anxiety is better and I don't think anyone even notices I'm nervous. But I am. My friends from high school all went off to college to other states and I don't really have any friends. I blame my awkwardness. I'll have acquaintances at school, but never someone to hang out with outside of class. I do have a boyfriend. Okay, lets move to the revelation part of this post.

I'm gay. I've been with two people in my whole life. Right now, I'm happy with my boyfriend. He's great. He makes me so happy. However, I can't help but wonder if I'm missing out on a life of friends. A college party or something. My boyfriend has a full-time job right now. We are both 21, but he decided to work and finish college next year. My parents are Muslim. They are good people. They used to be pretty liberal and they still are a little bit and I guess that's why I have so much free thought. I question everything. However, they are still religious. I have not told them I'm gay, but I know they would still love me if I told them. The reason I don't want to tell them is because I don't want to disappoint them. My sister got married last year and they were so happy. Hopefully, they'll get over the fact that I probably won't have the same experience. I mean I would love maybe someday getting married. Even though I hate society's idea of marriage and children, etc. I tend to wonder if my anxiety stems from me being gay and not being able to talk about it to anyone. Or is it because I live in Georgia and in most of my life I was pretty much the only non-white in the room. Well, my high school was pretty diverse and even college obviously. But I've noticed as I have gotten older that I see race more. I think because I care about what people think of me. I mean no one has treated me differently or said anything to my face. But I know what they're thinking. Sometimes I wish I could just be straight and maybe even be born in a typical American family. I feel like when I'm talking to anyone I just make sure to put a wall up to not continue the relationship because I'm afraid they don't want to be friends with me. Like I'm afraid of friend rejection. In high school I never joined a sports team or club and I wish I had. Even in college I never did, until now. I hoping things will get better.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why do we criticize the ones closest to us?

Have you ever wondered why we criticize our significant others, brothers, mothers, sons, or daughters? The main reason is that they're an extension of us. So when we see them in the real world doing something that we ourselves would not do then that automatically puts us into a scary position. 

It's almost as if anything that your loved ones do comes straight back to you. You're connected whether you want to be or not. So, it only makes sense to want to criticize these people and make them perfect in every single way just like you are right? That's where the problem lies. We become hypocritical. We focus on them more than we do ourselves. The next time you want to criticize any one just look in the mirror first.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Is patriotism wrong?



We all think that having pride for our nation and loving Americans is great. And it is too a certain degree. But when we start thinking that Americans are better then we lose credibility in terms of trustworthiness. People are people and humans are humans. It doesn’t matter if you’re American or Australian. American exceptionalism and patriotism is a problem when we forget that not everyone has the same luxuries as us. Not everyone lives like we do. 

We have to understand that America is great, but that doesn’t mean only we’re great. It doesn’t mean that we come first and everyone else comes second. I mean we should be united and work together to build a strong Pangea to thrive for years to come. Right? Am I living in some fantasy land when I say that? Not necessarily. Americans shouldn’t act like politicians and shouldn’t say America is great so screw everyone else. What everyone else does affects us. In other words, if something is happening in China or Russia directly and indirectly is affecting us whether we realize it or not.

I’m not saying our children shouldn’t take pride in their country, but they should be made aware how this nation came to be and where it came from. And how these other countries play a role in America’s existence and just cultural integration in general. Our children shouldn’t be mindlessly reciting the pledge of allegiance for America and studying American history without even thinking about it or without questioning it. 

Not saying we live in places like North Korea or a place like Nazi Germany, but that definitely doesn’t mean we don’t have propaganda. Just because our government doesn’t send us to concentration camps or enforce a totalitarian government does not mean we don’t have our fair share of propaganda and government surveillance. To think so is na├»ve, but some choose to remain ignorant and some are just ignorant. This is why we could have almost had Sarah Palin as vice president. We believe what we’re taught to believe unless we choose to question it and find our own answers. For that reason, I’m against patriotism, but I try not judge those who practice it because you’re just doing what you’ve been taught. My advice is to never trust anyone, but yourself which is easier said than done.

I don't mean we should take it too far though:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why being on our phones is really not a problem

No, look down.


We all know that being on our phones while driving is dangerous. So is eating while driving, changing the radio station, driving while sleep-deprived, and other non-drug/alcohol related things. We also know that using our phones while talking with others is rude, especially our children. Yet, we continue to do these things. So, I say, go ahead. Yes, I said it. It's not reverse psychology, I'm serious.

Let's get down to the basics: when we use our phones to connect with other people our brains immediately get a dose of dopamine thus controlling the pleasure centers of our brains. Each text we send, or status we post, or game we play releases a continuous amount of dopamine one small dose at a time. This isn't a bad thing per se. However, it's about moderation. The average person is not going to ignore their child for their phones or ignore their phones for their friends because it's not possible. Most of the time we use our phone because of these people. If we allow ourselves to embrace technology for what it is than we're not losing precious time with our loved ones, but we are merely amplifying. I hope you enjoyed my contradictory post, and just get the fuck off your phones.


Why parents are the ones too distracted by their devices



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Internet censorship and feminism quickie

"Dissident bloggers can be arrested, blogs can be shut down, but they are like wild grass with deep roots that can't be dug up," she wrote in a posting on the blog on Tuesday. "The government cannot control information on the Internet, because no one can control the thoughts of other people."

From: Al Jazeera Article

 

If the above quote isn't ironic then I don't know what the definition of ironic is. We all know I already contradict myself and I'm a hypocrite. What a coincidence. Or how ironic? I'm not sure, but you get the picture.



In other news, Shailene Woodley speaks about why she's not a feminist. I think I agree with her that we should have balance and neither have a patriarchy nor matriarchy. But can we really get there if we've never really had women at the top or equal like ever? Even to this day. We need to have a matriarchy first for a little while at least to make up for all the sexism in history. I mean that's just like the rules of feminism. I can't wait for the next lesbian Muslim Latino transgendered president of the United States because that would just solve all our problems.

TIME Article

Monday, May 5, 2014

Atlanta sex trafficking, Armenian genocide, and you.



20 voices the Turkish government could not silence

I live near Atlanta, Georgia. Certain problems that exist in this community are unspeakably horrible. There are sex trafficking victims and a high rate of crime that is rampant specifically in downtown Atlanta. I feel it is important to be aware of politics not just locally, but universally because in the long run it is bound to affect everyone. I wish for people to learn beyond school and college because learning is honestly about yourself. If you choose to understand what is going on in the world around you and how it affects you and how you can change it, then I feel that is much more beneficial for future generations. Speaking about this issue in my community about sex trafficking, most people do not know what is happening. Yet we have some volunteer services who educate people about the situation such as Innocence Atlanta. 

The people who participate in sex trafficking are our brothers, fathers, and coworkers. They are teachers, pastors, politicians, and artists. According to the Innocence Atlanta website, "Vulnerable individuals are coerced into sex slavery in trafficking rings throughout the Atlanta area and are forced on a daily basis to perform sexual acts. The harsh truth remains that every two minutes a child is sold as a sex slave. At young ages, children are victimized and exploited, sold into prostitution at the hands of ruthless pimps and traffickers." I feel it is important to to spread the word so more can be done to end this problem.
Before we look at the politics of foreign nations such as Syria and Afghanistan we should look in our own backyards as well. Not to say that these political issues do not involve us because they do. However, there are certain issues of today that could be simply resolved if people were not distorted by their own selfish ideologies. The stories which deserve to be shared are the ones from the people who struggle each and every day. 

The people who suffer from social anxiety, discrimination due to race, sexual orientation, and culture. People who are abused by their family members. The ones who are bullied in school. The underdogs.The stories that teach others the value and meaning of life. There is a specific story of a woman named Berjouhe Tutuian. People always assume things like genocide could never happen to them. 
That's what the survivors of genocide say as well. She was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. After the Ottoman empire sent Tutuian's family a letter that they will be deported to a much safer region due to the war, her life was never the same again. She remembers starving constantly. Because she was too young to understand what was happening Tutuian remembers the events as less threatening than they actually were. Her father was forced to join the Turkish army and was killed sometime in 1915. Unfortunately, there are worse stories than Tutuian's and they are similar to Holocaust stories.
I believe that listening to others speak about their philosophies, experiences, and skills are productive for yourself. As technology is increasing and improving, I hope to learn about how it is going to affect society in the future, positively and negatively. I am most passionate about contemporary political issues that are happening our world today and what we can do about those issues other than just spread the news. I enjoy writing about political issues that most people do not really like to discuss such as same-sex marriage, sex trafficking, pedophilia, and rape. Once again, I also like discussing how technology is improving medicines and surgical equipment, but also limiting us by making us lazy and destroying our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle. It's fascinating to see how far society has grown just in terms of technology. 
People who talk to others without staring  at their computer or cell phone screens are what’s improving society. This leads to actually having engaging, intellectual conversations with others who share similar interests. Maybe one day, I’ll get maybe someone share my thoughts with and I look forwards to reading theirs.