I want to start off by saying that I am in fact a gay man. I have been since I was around 15-16 years old. I’m sure a lot of people who consider themselves a minority or are labelled as such will tell you that the last thing they really want is special treatment from other people and that they just want to be treated the same as anybody else. I agree with this to a certain degree.
For one thing, I don’t think they truly and fully understand what they’re saying and have too much hope for something that can’t physically be possible; everybody getting along. Equality is purely about every single person in this world being treated exactly the same. That’s it. There isn’t any guarantee that you will be treated better than without equality being enforced, just that you will be treated the same as other people. In fact, you could even be treated worse if equality is established. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people should be treated unfairly but there’s a difference between fair and equal. Equal is an absolute whereas fair is personal.
Let’s not forget also that people are intolerant to those who are intolerant. How can you fight fire with fire? Should you tolerate other people for being intolerant? Does showing you can tolerate another person’s opinion affect their tolerance towards you? A lot of intolerance is born from stereotyping, so why isn’t more effort being put into changing that stereotype or to educate people on how stereotypes don’t work?
The fact is that stereotypes, more often than not, do work. Judging something by the cover is how humans have survived for millions of years; don’t eat the brightly coloured things because they are more than likely poisonous, don’t go near any animal that’s bigger than you or it might kill you, etc. Even reproduction is based on appearances. So if it’s all biological and natural to do all this, isn’t it a waste of time for governments and the law to attack people who are seen as being discriminatory? No, because laws are man-made and their purpose is for the shaping of a better society for the future. Humans now have the capability to have their minds moulded and shaped through education and can learn to go against natural instincts in certain situations because of other alternatives. We don’t need to judge a lot of things based on appearances anymore.
A big problem though comes from the fact that laws change from country to country, state to state, which goes to show that no one really knows for sure what is considered absolutely illegal, (though murder is universally bad, which is a hard thing to justify when there are a lot of exceptions; police killing a criminal in self-defence, a potential victim killing a criminal in self-defence, etc.), and that can have an effect on society as a whole compared to the community of a particular town, county or state, or even country. How can we have an equal world if you are treated differently based on laws alone in different places? What are the chances of worldwide laws? Should we enforce other countries to follow our lead? What makes us so sure that we are doing the right thing compared to other countries?
An argument that bugs me the most with equality though is one that LGBT people like to use against religious opposition. ‘Homosexuality is natural because it has been observed in the animal kingdom’. There are a lot of things I can say about that argument. Firstly, just because an animal has been observed to practice homosexual behaviour, it doesn’t mean that it is using that behaviour in a purely sexual way, or in an emotional way, (since homosexuality in humans is more to do with their love towards the same sex rather than who they have sex with). It could be a social act of dominance between two animals or in a whole hierarchy. Some even use homosexual sex as practice for better reproducing when mating season comes along. Even so, there have been homosexual animals that have been partners for life and raised their young together so it’s not a completely incorrect observation. Secondly though, (and this is my main gripe), there are other sexual behaviours that have been observed in animals that unsurprisingly haven’t been commented on or used as ammunition in the same gun. Necrophilia, paedophilia, incest/inbreeding, polygamy, interspecies, the list goes on and on. Any sexual fetish in humans, legal or otherwise, you can think of has probably been observed in animals too. In fact, one thing that makes sense to us, monogamy, is quite a rare behaviour for animals. The reason I have a problem with this is that if you are going to make an argument for one aspect of an entire catalogue of things, doesn’t that give power to people who want to use the same argument for one of the other things? Can I not say, ‘Well, you should stop persecuting paedophiles because animals do it too.’? Of course I shouldn’t be able to make that argument, but now it seems I am at least able to point it out.
Is equality really what we want? Can we learn to tolerate other people’s intolerances? Should we accept that judging people could actually save lives in certain situations? While I do hope for a more cohesive, open minded and tolerant society in the future, I still feel like we have a long way to go before that happens, if it ever really does.
Lastly, I want to say that I was once mugged in my home town, not too far from where I lived. I was biking to work at around 6 in the morning when two men suddenly jumped on me, attacked me and threatened me before stealing my bike and running away. If I had looked at them before all of that happened and thought to myself ‘they look dodgy’, I could have got away and prevented that from happening. It’s a common thought victims of crime have, how they could or should have seen what was coming. While this is just one example of how discrimination can sometimes work in your favour, I am merely using it as an example and not as conclusive proof that discrimination works every single time. I’ll leave it to you to make your mind up on whether or not people are just people and that nothing else matters.