Gay Sex Is No Sin; World Leaders Should Stop Spreading the Stigma

Hate Needs To Be Called Out. Especially, If It Comes From People In Power

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Why do world leaders think mocking LGBTQ+ folk is okay?
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Gay Sex Is No Sin; World Leaders Should Stop Spreading the Stigma

Recently, the Supreme Court of Brazil voted to criminalise homophobia and transphobia, making it a crime equivalent to racism. Not so surprisingly, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was critical of the judgement and went on to say: “But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families”.

Bolsonaro has had a history of offensive statements against various minorities including the LGBTQ community. He also went on record to say, “I’d rather have my son die in a car accident than have him show up dating some guy.”

This had me thinking about how deadly statements like such could foster internalised homophobia in teenage kids who are fighting a secret battle with their own individuality.

Loose Statements By Prominent People Can Further Stigma

In this age, where we still lack safe spaces for sexual minorities, any such remark not only furthers the stigma that surrounds the LGBTQ community, but also acts as one of the prime reasons of self-hate among the closeted teenagers who are still either questioning or sadly trying to fit-in according to the conservative standards of the society.

However, this was not the first time when a head of a nation or a prominent leader unapologetically made homophobic and transphobic remarks. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, while attending a gathering of Filipino community in Tokyo earlier this month, asserted that he was ‘cured’ from being gay by his ex-wife.

How Is “Minority Stress” Different For Sexual Minorities

The portrayal of sexual orientation as a disease by someone in power only reflects the abuse of the platform to propagate ignorant and loathsome remarks against a minority community that is striving to attain recognition in all the spheres of the society. Therefore, it becomes crucial to discern that homophobic and/or transphobic slurs contain devastating psychological impacts on the people belonging to that community.

Ilan Meyer’s landmark research on “minority stress” reflects that within a heteronormative society, individuals belonging to the sexual minorities are prone to high rates of mental health issues that may include depression, chronic stress conditions, anxiety etc.

Unlike other marginalised sections of the society, people from the LGBTQ community do not grow up among people like themselves due to which the stigma of non-acceptance starts to stem from their own families.

This leads to distress and anxiety among the LGBTQ youth that furthers the adoption of poor coping mechanisms like substance abuse. Such a recurring cycle only extends the deterioration of their health.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a youth belonging to the rainbow community is two to seven times more likely to commit suicide than any heterosexual youth.

Hate Needs To Be Called Out. Especially, If It Comes From People In Power

The leaders of the world today should, therefore, be called out for propagating hateful and demeaning remarks against any vulnerable section of the society, for it is them who are chiefly entrusted to ensure human rights and securities to the people. At a time when the figures of gun violence incidents and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are skyrocketing, what they need is more allies who not only stand with them but also become their ‘chosen family’ when the actual families show no regard whatsoever.

Therefore, it is high time for the leaders of the world today to recognise that homophobia is an expression of hate that only triggers hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community and any remark or legislative decision by them could potentially accelerate such aversion.

(Yajat Bansal is a law student currently pursing his LL.B at National Law University Odisha. This is a ReadersBlog and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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