Published: August 13, 2013
"When I was a child, I was told that homosexuals would burn in hell," said Ertugrul, a Muslim fighting for greater freedom for gays in a country where homosexuality remains taboo. Istanbul - "When I was a child, I was told that homosexuals would burn in hell," said Ertugrul, a Muslim fighting for greater freedom for gays in a country where homosexuality remains taboo. Ertugrul, who did not want to give his last name, is president of the group Muslims and Gays, which he says wants to "break taboos" in Muslim-majority Turkey, where gays are still subject to violence and abuse. "There are still regions where people kill gays and lesbians to keep the honour of the family intact," he said. "For religious clerics, homosexuality is a test. If you succumb to temptation, you will go to hell. If you resist, you will be pardoned and go to heaven," explained the 39-year-old, a practising Muslim. Homosexuality and transsexuality are not illegal in Turkey but police regularly swoop -- with or without authorisation -- on parks, bars or hammams they believe gays frequent to check for prostitution. People are then taken to police stations where officers check their identities and if they have a criminal record. Critics say the checks are a way of putting pressure on the gay community. In 2010, the Turkish minister for Women and the Family, Selma Aliye Kavaf, fell foul of gay rights groups when she classified homosexuality as "a biological disorder" and a "disease" which needed to be "cured". When anti-government protests swept Turkey in June, members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) association used the demonstrations to try and highlight their cause, but in vain, as violent attacks and even murders continue. Gulsen, a 24-year-old who is gay, told AFP that, just the previous day, a transsexual friend had been found dead. "We have lost count of the number of attacks, there are so many of them," he said. He was attacked in Istanbul's Gezi park, the site made famous after controversial plans for its redevelopment sparked the June protests. "I was talking to a young guy the other evening in the park when I was attacked by two guys who stabbed me in the face with a knife," said Gulsen, who like Ertugrul, preferred that AFP did not use his last name.
But reporting the attack is out of the question.
"Why would I?" he said. "We know that there will be another version of events and that the attackers will never be punished." As gay Muslims struggle to reconcile religious teaching and sexuality, some prefer to try and get rid of their feelings, eager to believe that being gay is merely a phase. "I couldn't stay gay -- my family and friends could not accept it," said Mustafa, 26. He underwent therapy to "better understand himself" and to "try to desire a woman's body". Convinced that he could change, Mustafa married a woman in June. "She knows that I am not in the least attracted to women but that I'm working on it," he said. He wants "to be normal", he said, "like everyone else whose lives are simple".
We all know for a fact that all men are created equal, yes, but are we all created 'equally'? The question may be vague. But, if you'll just look closely on your surroundings, you'll know that it's not just an easy-wheezy thing to answer.
Looking more closely now, God (for Christians) is believed to be the creator of all men and women, but, in what category would the homosexuals, or what we call, in layman's term, 'gays' and 'lesbians' fit in? I will try to be as deep as I could on this one, so I guess they should be.. standing on their own category. Yes. Even though a lot, and I mean A LOT, would criticize their existence, some would even mock and despise them, and some just won't care about them, we still can't change the fact that they DO exist. Actually, nobody can. Even those huge religions that we already have since the beginning of time that's against this type of 'deviant act’ can't do anything about it. Why? Because being a gay or a lesbian is not always about choice, but rather, more of a scientific cause. It has been always there right from the start, ever since they were just being nurtured inside their mom's bellies. It's science. It's been written like the stars in the night skies. It's more likely to be considered as a phenomenon, rather than a deadly, mortal sin.
So, is it a deviant act or not? Many of us (those who already are sure of their sexual orientations) are debating about this from time and time and again and yet, still, NONE of them stand justified in every aspect all at the same time. That is why same sex marriage is only acceptable in some parts of liberated countries like America, or Europe. Deviance is absolutely relative, just like one famous critical thinker from the past had said, and I believe that it still is, up until today. That being said, being gay or a lesbian is not a deviant act (for free thinkers) and a deviant act (for Christians, Muslims, and few other religions) at the same time. Only the highest of the highs, the omnipresent, and the omnipotent one can tell who's right, and who's wrong. Unless he/she won't show him/herself to the public, no matter how long, or in whatever manner we would argue on this, we can never decide and determine who's right and who's bald-faced wrong.
DISCLAIMER: All of these things mentioned above were purely extracted from my innocent, sleep-deprived mind whose always trying to be all-knowing when, in fact, it's certainly not. Please do consider all of these as an honest, personal opinion, and may it won’t hurt any other opinions, and feelings as well, nor spur any emotional stress and raging tension.
Thank you for taking your precious time to read. :)