REBEL   WITH   MENOPAUSE   by   Kate   O'   Hara

I can't believe this still needs to be said, but homosexuals and lesbians do not choose their sexuality, any more than the rest of us do. I would hope that anyone reading this 'zine already knows this, but just in case...

I am really sick and tired of hearing people rant and rave against gays. Just think about it: who would choose to be part of such a misunderstood, harassed and -- I am loath to say it -- hated group?

When I was a younger girl, I was attracted to certain boys, had crushes on them. As I got older, I had boyfriends and even fell in love a few times. This is pretty natural, right? I'm sure all of us can say the same thing, whether male or female. I didn't have a choice in who I was drawn to: it was inborn. I could have been attracted to girls, but I wasn't. But some girls are attracted to other girls, as some boys are attracted to other boys. This is innate in them as well. There was never a time in my life where I sat in my room and pondered whether I'd like boys or girls, did you? I didn't think it over and then decide to be heterosexual. Nobody sits in their room and decides to be homosexual or lesbian. It is what they are. It is natural to them.

And what business is it of mine, or yours, or anybody else's, to whom someone else is attracted? I certaintly don't want people mocking and harassing me, telling me I'm evil because I'm heterosexual. Yeah, I know that's not going to happen, because I'm in the majority. But why do some people think it's their business to know or care about who other people love? Are people's lives so empty and banal that they have nothing to worry about than what goes on in other people's beds?

People fighting for gay rights are not trying to indoctrinate children into their "lifestyle". They are fighting discrimination and working to educate people, to end prejudice, and correct the misinformation that is so prevalent about them. They are trying to end the gay-bashing that goes on in schools (and in society in general) so that kids who are now growing up gay can enjoy the same quality of life and freedoms taken for granted by heterosexuals.

Think about growing up in a society where everyone with blue eyes is scorned and hated, or everyone who is left-handed. It's just silly, don't you think, to hate everyone who is born gay?

I wish some of these Bible-thumping hate-mongers would stop and consider that some of them are teaching their own children to hate themselves. A certain percentage of children are growing up gay, and are being told what is natural to them is a sin, abhorrent, evil, etc. I find it hard to believe that some parents reject their own children who finally get up the courage to come out to their families. I even heard a guy say that his father could accept the fact that he was dying of AIDS, but not that he was gay! "It's okay if you die, Son, just don't be a fag!"

As for using the Bible as evidence that homosexuality is a sin, I don't remember any quotes of Jesus condeming gays. I do remember quotes of him saying, "love one another", and "judge not, lest you be judged". So I can't take seriously anybody who claims to be Christian on the one hand, while spouting hatred on the other. That is not Christian, people!

Most of their arguments are skewed, anyway. They pull out the old one about not wanting gay teachers because they will sexually prey on children. I would like to point out that using that logic we should also get rid of all heterosexuals teachers as well, because there are more straight pedophiles in the world than homosexual ones. Being gay does not make you a pedophile or any other kind of "pervert". anymore than being heterosexual does. Some people are sick; they are sexually attracted to children. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

And then there's the argument against allowing gay people to be parents, because their kids will be gay. So what if they are, but that's not the point. Two straight parents have a child who is gay. Their heterosexual indoctrination "failed", right? So why do they think that gay parents will have gay kids to? What is important is that children are loved. I don't think they care if they have two Dads or two Moms. They have one more parent then a whole lot of kids being raised by single parents, so they get double the love and attention.

One of the saddest things in all this is that people who are the most misinformed on this subject are the people who refuse to listen. I really admire the Act-Up types who will go into the lion's den of a PTA meeting to try and explain the concept of gay rights to an angry mob of unenlightened, hateful, fearful parents. In their efforts to speak, they are shouted down, get abuse hurled at them, and risk physical harm. If these parents and school board members would shut up for a few minutes and open their minds instead of their mouths, they might learn something.

If you know someone who is homophobic, please discuss this with them. Contact your local gay and lesbian centre and get some information pamphlets to distribute at your school or in your home. Perhaps you could get a speaker from the centre to come to your school or youth group. If a friend takes you into his/her confidence and comes out to you with the information that he/she is gay, be supportive and respect that trust. Imagine how difficult it must be for them to live with the fear of being rejected and scorned for something that is natural to them. The knowledge that they are gay should not change a thing. They are the same person as they always were, and you can prove your worth as a friend by standing by them.

Kate O'Hara, PEPPERPOT! 'zine, RR6-S15-C20, Gibsons, BC V0N 1V0 Canada [PEPPERPOT! is $2. per copy (Cdn. of U.S. Funds). Issue 4 out now, all back issue available. Subscription $7, for first four issues, postage paid, cash, MO or Cdn. funds cheque.

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