Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Straight facts about the queer!

I am not a homophobic. Neither am I a gay basher. I even have good friends who are gay. And I am comfortable amongst gay people. Yet it was with a great sense of trepidation I entered the auditorium of the British School to watch the play “If you promise not to tell” billed as a performance of stories from queer men’s lives, organized by Sakhi Collaboration a organization that works with Lesbian, Gay ,Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) persons. “Would they think I am gay too” this was the first question which went through my head. This was the first time I had been amidst such a large amount of people from that communityWill someone try to make a pass at me? Or behave in a manner which would make me feel uncomfortable? These were some of the questions which were going through my head a couple of days before the event. But I am glad I overcame my fears and made it to see the performance. My reaction was a sense of sadness and dismay and relief. “Thank goodness I am not gay because it’s a terrible thing to be gay in this country” is what I said to myself after watching all the stories most of which were based on real life situations. You are harassed, you are persecuted and you are misunderstood. From society from friends and even your parents. How sad. There were two scenes which caught my attention and stuck to my mind. One was the story about a boy who loved to dance but he dances in an effeminate manner and how he is harassed and beaten in the end. It took my down memory lane to Wilpattu where I can recall a young boy who was our tracker telling us proudly how he and his friends assaulted some “Ponnayas” at a music show in their area. What makes this terrible is that this young man was a nice young man who was otherwise a very respectful hardworking and kind person. But in his environment this kind of behavior was as natural as killing a cockroach would be for me. He works in the police today and I hate to imagine what queer people in his area of jurisdiction must be going through. The second scene was the one of a mother trying to dress her homosexual son as a man shouting “Aiyo Samaje!” in an anguished way. After all “what will other people say or think?” controls the actions of lots of people. This too reminded me of what one of my friends mother has said when he came out of the closet. Believe it or not her words were “Aiyo Son if you are homosexual at least can’t you marry a lesbian” Pathetic actually Sympathetic isn’t it? The direction of the play by Matt Tyne was very good. It was very simple and minimalist. The acting was good too though it was quite clear that they were amateurs. And the production values were pretty good specially the music which impressed me no end. Even the individual stories were excellent. Some were funny and some were serious though there was nothing funny about the message they were trying to communicate. We need to teach the people around us to treat gay people with more respect. Educate them that being gay is not something you choose to be but rather a manner in which people are born just like some are born with brown eyes whilst others are with black. Or straight hair and curly hair. It is the way god intended them to be. Now I know that if some of my fellow church members saw this statement there would be a holy uproar. But I stand by what I say. And most importantly we need to make people understand that Gay people are human too and hurt and bleed just like the rest of us. After all being Gay in Sri Lanka comes with its own set of dangers. We don’t need to add to it do we?


sittingnut said...

what an ulgy post . ignorant and logically confused
"I am not a homophobic. Neither am I a gay basher. I even have good friends who are gay"
ppl who make this well worn cliche are usually opposite of what cliche says. and your post confirmed it.

ppl like you who claim that we should treat gay ppl same way as we treat others, bc "it is the way god intended them to be"/or bc it is genetic, are in fact anti gay and irrational .

we should treat everyone equally (as long as they treat us same ) regardless of how they come by their lifestyle, whether due to factors beyond their control or their own choices.
btw gay lifestyle is a choice. i am yet to see any grounds/proofs it is not.

we should respect free choice to be "Lesbian, Gay ,Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex" whatever.

you should have also asked why Sakhi Collaboration and other so called gay rights organizations in sri lanka are confined to the english thinking pseudo elite , and exclude the ordinary gay ppl of sri lanka .
contrast between sri lanka's exclusive expensive, polite, 'gay pride" parades and ones in countries where this s popular celebration, is telling.
holding this play in "British School" is just as telling.

cj said...

Hi Sitting Nut thank you for your comment. Also appreciate the fact that you said what you had to say without hiding yourself as an anonymous person. I will not comment on what you said about my observations of the play other than to say you are entitled to your opinion and that I respect it very much regardless of the fact I agree with it or not.
However one thing I do know is a lot of the work Sakhi collaboration does is among the poor and sinhala speaking LGBT community. If you check their facebook page this is quite evident as well. And as a person who has been to the play I can assure you those who took part in it did not belong to Sri Lanka's exclusive expensive, polite gay community.

Denver Peterson said...

It's funny when sittingguts says being gay is a choice when the World Health organization has said it's not ??? We all do have our opinions on other things but when we write some thing we need to get our facts "true".

Being gay is not a choice. get the facts clear.

And the play was in Sinhala and Egnlish British school auditorium is just another auditorium like other ones. That arguments is very immature I suppose.

Shame !!!

And Sakhi Collaboration is NOT an funded organization and it's NON profit peer led peer support group. So another thing that sittinguts needs to get it clear.

Who are the ordinary gay ppl ?
Ppl from colombo 7 says they are ordinary. ppl from the middle class says they are ordinary. ppl from the slums says they are ordinary. So who's exactly ordinary here ?

Do u call ur self not ordinary ??? ( Facts )!!!

Denver Peterson said...

hmmmmmmmmm.. wonder lional wendt represnt which class ??? :-/

Nelum Pokuna :O

Oh shit Vistor Rathnayake had his last "SA" performance there???

Shaaaa he's now in pseudo elites club then huh ??? :D

Anonymous said...


Im happy to see all your comments as different ppl bring different aspects of the truth,
and to complement all of your ideas im sharing the following link where you can reach the updated evidences we have. (to find about being queer is a choice or not, is there a genetic cause or not etc) Unfortunately we dont have any Sri Lankan published queer related causative evidences.

One last thing, according to available evidences there is no choice over being queer (LGBTQTs) or having queer feelings but over expressions of the feelings may be. But the negative impacts of hiding true identity and manipulate feelings forcefully are definitive paths for mental disorders like depression, anxiety and stress. This is clearly seen in many of Sri Lankan gay men who marry women and suffering silently for the rest of their lives. This impacts not only him but his wife, kids and the rest of the family. Its a call for disaster but having a smiling face.
True that we have to address this issue with a Sri Lankan way but one of the most important thing in this is to make people aware about true facts of being queer (sensitization. Im happy this organization has started to do it and no ones perfect and there is always a room for improvement. So I hope it will be a success.