Posted by: G-AZZI | December 21, 2010

About Tolerance

We have heard a lot of discourse calling for tolerance and acceptance towards LGBT people in our time. I have always wondered what it is exactly that we are asking people to tolerate.

Tolerate my choice of lovers or sexual partners?

Tolerate me for asking them to stop invading my private life?

Tolerate me for asking to be treated like any other citizen and to be offered the protection I deserve as an active member of this society – which should be a given to begin with?

I was browsing a Jordanian website recently, and I came across an article that used invective language against the LGBT community without really making any point other than expressing blind hatred, with no will to understand or debate. Suddenly it hit me: All throughout this time, we are the ones who have shown tolerance; from Beirut, to Amman, Cairo, Marrakesh… Basically throughout the entire Arab region, LGBT people have been the ones to deal with unethical, idiotic, ignorant, and irresponsible journalists (and others) on a daily basis. And each and every time it is we who take a deep breath, is it we who try to understand where they are coming from and their points of view, and it is we who do our best to respond in the most respectful pacifistic way.

We have put up with journalists who accuse us of the most absurd things: natural disasters, weather conditions (a recent Jordanian article blamed the LGBT community in Jordan for the drought – click here for a citizen’s response to those claims), wars etc… Any educated and ethical psychologist could point out that these people need serious help; it is not a random layman judgment.

We have been repeatedly (and groundlessly, may I add) accused of being Israeli collaborators by journalists who seem oblivious the fact that they are actually serving Israeli propaganda against Arabs the most by promoting this inaccurate, misguided, and nonsensical image of us. Seriously, being an Israeli collaborator is not an accusation that can be taken lightly. It is not something to be used left and right whenever you want to get the attention of your readers. If you cannot get real news, it is not really our problem, and we should not have to be the scapegoats for you to get some ratings.

We have been forced to give history lessons to journalists who called us threats to our Arab culture. You cannot make such claims without having a solid background in history. It just makes you look bad, and it further reduces the levels of knowledge of the people reading your material. As ethical journalists who take themselves and their jobs seriously and do not consider themselves mere dabblers in yellow journalism, you cannot disperse misinformation.

We have read quite interesting fantasy articles about us and our “secret lives” by journalists who have wider imaginations than J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien put together. Writing successful fiction is great, commendable, and admirable; believing it is real is a serious mental health issue.

We have kept quiet about our brothers and sisters who are deep in their closets, and who have attacked us endlessly in their TV programs and magazines in desperate attempts to divert the public attention from their personal sexual orientation. It does not take much thought to understand the harm that these programs and articles are causing, yet we have adamantly refused to be involved in their dirty games or to out them, despite having solid proof.

Dear journalists,

If you are currently writing, or contemplating writing an article which would at best be a smear campaign against LGBT people in your country, please do keep in mind the following:

1)      This is not a scoop anymore. It has been done, it has been overdone, and it has been exhausted.

2)      Your articles do not scare us. If anything, we may gather and read what you have written, possibly laugh about it if it is not morbidly lame, and ask if there is anyone among us who has some free time and patience on their hands to write a reply.

3)      You do not need to go to dark underground places to find us and expose our “rituals.” We are everywhere and within every society: it could be your brother, your aunt, your upstairs neighbor, your hairdresser, the chef making your food at a restaurant, a minister, your grandmother, your student… If you haven’t been able to spot us, it doesn’t mean we’re not there. And if you need someone to talk to, to interview, to get information from, you can contact Helem, Meem, or any independent gay activists in the region.

4)      If you have no arguments and justifications to your homophobia other than what I have mentioned above, please contact your nearest (qualified) psychologist.

5)      Always remember, there is always room for understanding, discussion, debate, restructuring of ideas, explanations, and healthy dialogue that will lead to mutual understanding. The solution is very easy. Just use your mind, open your eyes, and listen to others before you spew random venom that makes you look like you’ve never read a single book in your entire life.

Dear LGBT people and friends,

Thank you for your tolerance and acceptance. Homophobia is a serious illness. It would be much simpler to just turn to a life of crime and go by the “I am whatever you say I am” principle, and accidentally push homophobes off the roof of a very, very high buildings, but we are better than that. It is more than certainly a difficult fight which requires a lot of patience and effort, but I am optimistic that we will one day find a cure for homophobia.

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Responses

  1. Great peice as usual. I so much enjoy reading your blog. I share with you the opinion and believe that it is time we start writing and exposing “journalists” who spread myths instead of dispelling them.

  2. nice Piece Georges! 🙂
    thanks for sharing it withus!

  3. This is beautiful and refreshing!
    Thanks for putting these wise thoughts into wiser words.
    I hope your message reaches everyone in the world.


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