Please pardon me if I use wrong words. Know that there is no offence intended as I am still learning.
Isn’t it interesting how our attitudes change towards something/someone we knew of but had never met, seen or experienced? One of the things I hated, was confused about, did not accept was homosexuality because not only does the Bible say it is a sin, but this never happened (at least overtly ) in the society I grew up in. What I knew in my heart of hearts was that:
- Gay people will go straight to hell, no two ways about it
- I will and can never interact with a gay person
- I will never have anything in common with a gay person
Homosexuality was something that I never knew about until I was in my early twenties, at least. Zambia was very conservative and closed when I was growing up in the seventies and eighties and so I was not exposed to other lifestyles. The first gay man I met was a German man who was my boss at one company. At first I did not know what was ‘wrong with him’ but I used to laugh at his mannerisms because they were so feminine and looked weird to me. Zambian society likes a macho man. This German man very funny naturally and I just took it that being effeminate was part of him just being funny and silly. It was not until someone mentioned that he was gay that I understood what was going on. He actually married a man in South Africa. I was in my early thirties at this time. He moved away and for me that was that interacting with a gay person, or so I thought.
Well, being in the west, I now interact with a lot of homosexuals and I will tell you that I was actually shocked, but pleasantly surprised as well, that they are not weird human beings as I expected them to be previously. They are just like me [said as if I am the best human specimen :)]. I came to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Yes, I have different beliefs but those are my beliefs and I don’t have to impose them on anyone else or expect them to agree with me. I realize too that my beliefs (Christian, cultural, social, etc.) may be strange to someone else and I am fine as long as they also don’t try and impose them on me or expect me to agree with them. Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, but we are seeing or hearing of people who are gay/bisexual/bi-curious.
However, in spite of the positive things I have written above, I will help a girl friend of mine hold a grudge against one late famous gay male singer. She had had a crush on from a young age until he passed on about 20 years later. All she knew about his private life was that he was single, period. It was only made public after his passing that he was gay and had kept his relationships private so that his career would not be jeopardized. She was heartbroken when she heard this and vowed not to forgive him because he had wasted her time ‘letting’ her fantasize about him for all those years. We laughed a lot about her broken heart and still laugh after ten years since his passing and yes, she claims that she is still mad. Being a loyal friend, I am mad at him, too! 🙂
It has been liberating to know gay people as I have learnt so much from knowing that we can have different beliefs, dispositions and preferences but still get along because there are many more points that we are similar in except this ‘small’ one. I think it’s just like someone who I wonder what my 25 year old self would have thought to see me having this attitude towards gay people. Isn’t gaining a little knowledge enlightening and liberating?