Monday, March 26, 2012

Stop Sacrificing "Fem" Boys

The following article appeared in yesterday's New York Times opinion section, written by Moroccan-French writer Abdellah Taïa.  It outlines one young man's experience of growing up in a strict Islamic society and being effeminate, yet it resonates so closely with a similar experience in our own so-called "Christian" culture.  This article can be found here.

Morocco was the most sexually complex environment I've ever been in, now 14 years ago, and only briefly. I met a young guy like Abdellah when I was there, not long after I came out in my own world. I can't say I can't imagine his fear. I think a lot of gay men and lesbian women can relate to a fundamental lack of safety, to being sacrificed to an ideal of religion or society that demanded someone had to die. 

Yet, in our own culture, the hatred by gays of "fems" is not uncommon. "If I wanted to date a girl, I'd be straight," is a line that all of us gays have heard, or said, at some point or another. 

Although bands of drunken "straight" men might not come to our houses and call us out for sex in the US (*this* is akin to sodom, not same-sex couples who want to get married), they do throw us against lockers, down stairs, and tie us to fence-posts. They do lust after us, while hating us and our "sin," mocking us, and making us at times kill ourselves, while wanting to get off on us. They make some of us *want* to sacrifice ourselves. 

But we who are gay do that to ourselves as well--we beat up each other and ourselves for some of the same reasons. We eat our own, as I've heard it said. And I'm not beyond reproach in this. Such is the price of being marinated for years in a culture of homophobia--we all come out smelling the same.

My heart breaks for all the boys who still endure this here and abroad, and for the boy that I was who ignored what other boys did to one of us who was effeminate, who couldn't "pass" as I could, the boy I was who was perhaps glad that someone else was getting the torture. 
Never again. The world, starting with me, and I hope with you as well, must support and protect them.  We must stop sacrificing them and encouraging them to sacrifice themselves.  Nothing is worth that sacrifice, certainly not ideals of behavior and religious principles.