Wear pink or wear white.
That’s the question that many will be asking this weekend. In case you haven’t heard, Pink Dot will be taking place on 28 June 2014 and there was opposition raised by different groups. Building on the current momentum, I felt that I should chime in with my two cents worth.
LGBT is a contentious topic and something that I’ve been thinking about for years. Is it right or wrong? That’s a debate for another time. Many have said that LGBT is a lifestyle choice. Let’s assume for a moment that that’s true. Since it’s a lifestyle choice, they say that other people shouldn’t comment or voice their displeasure over it. “It’s my choice, it’s my life, why are you judging me?” they asked.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that everyone judges and have the right to exercise judgment. The word “judging” has often been taken out of context and abused. Allow me to define the meaning of “judging” first before we continue with this post. “Judging” means exercising judgement or discernment. For example, when we head out for a meal and we see something strange in our food, we are making a judgment whether to continue eating it. In fact, exercising judgment or thinking about things is a hallmark of a living person. It becomes wrong when we “judge” in order to make ourselves feel better. For example, when we see the poor and we “judge” in our hearts that it’s because of their stupidity and mistakes that they are what they are today, that’s wrong and uncalled for.
Let me also say that no one is perfectly neutral or unbiased. Everyone of us carries baggages, thoughts and beliefs when exercising our judgement. We can try to be neutral or unbiased but we never really are. And if you think deeply enough, you will agree with me. So let me set the stage and lay things upfront, today, I approach this topic with my own set of beliefs while you may approach the same topic with a different set of beliefs. That’s perfectly alright.
Now, allow me to share my thoughts on this issue. Assume that LGBT is a lifestyle choice, I still have the right to say that I don’t agree with it. For example, smoking is a lifestyle choice and I don’t like smoking. In fact, I really dislike cigarette smoke but does that mean that I’m going to start an anti-smoking campaign and damn all smokers like they are some hopeless sinners? Well, no, I do have friends who are smokers and while I do not enjoy their lifestyle choice and will probably not make that my personal choice, I can still disagree with their choice and be their friends.
In the same way, I do not agree with LGBT and I do have friends who are in the community. Not agreeing with their choices doesn’t mean that I don’t accept them as human beings. At this point, some may say “there’s no such things as hating the sin and loving the sinner because it’s not possible.” Well, I believe it is and let me share a story with you.
A good friend, whom I see as my sibling, once asked me, “what will you do if your child expresses that tendency in loving someone of the same gender? Will you disown your child?” My answer was “I wouldn’t agree with his or her choice and I would be upset at his or her choice but I will never disown my child. I would disagree with the choice but I would still love my child.” In the same way, if my child were to pick up smoking, I would be upset at his or her choice. I would encourage him or her to stop it, but never would I disown that child. I don’t deny that there’s going to be some tension in the relationship but the crux of the matter is that the relationship will never change.
Switching topics for a while, choosing a political party to support is a lifestyle choice and my dad and I do not agree with the choice of the party or candidate. While I do not agree with his choice, he is and will be my father. My fiancee loves Korean food and that’s a lifestyle choice, but I utterly cannot find a reason to indulge in it. I don’t like it but does that mean I’m not going to marry her just because of the differences in our choices? Absolutely not! Another example of “hating the sin and loving the sinner”.
Let’s touch on something more personal to me and sensitive in this nation. Religion is a choice and I’ve chosen to be a Christian. Now, you may not agree with my choice, but I sincerely hope that you will not disregard me simply because I’m one. In the same way, I may not agree with your choice of religion but I would never want to break a friendship just because you don’t share the same faith as me.
In the same way, let’s assume that LGBT is a lifestyle choice. While I do not agree or accept that choice, it doesn’t mean that I’m against the entire community or individuals practising or choosing this way of life. Let me repeat, I do not endorse or support LGBT but I’m not against anyone who belongs to this community. We often like to emphasise our differences and minimise our similarities. We often like to divide rather than unite. I believe that when we look at our commonalities, we will discover that we have so much in common that it will start to dawn on us how foolish we are to fight over our differences.
So in the spirit of all that has been happening, I’m not going to wear pink (in support of LGBT) neither am I going to wear white (in support of the anti-LGBT movement) but I’m going to wear red in support of the common colour of the blood that flows within each of us and in support of our nation.
I think there’s enough lines dividing us as a nation and it’s time to stand united as one. Whatever your choice, I hope we will stop fighting and dividing but instead celebrate our common denominator – our shared humanity.
For those who have read this post and you’ll keen to show your support for unity (even if you’re going to wear pink or white or others), can I encourage you to take a photo of something red (whether a shirt or an item) and share them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #RedDot2014 and #sharedhumanity. I understand that a similar movement was disallowed by the authorities, but hey, I’m not starting a movement. This is unofficial and not meant to constitute a “formal march for peace or something”.
Update: In this post, I’ve focused on the LGBT issue as a lifestyle choice, yet this thinking is quickly diminishing and more and more people believe that it’s something you’re born with. Even if that is true, I still stand by my decision that I do not agree with the issue. And let me just quickly explain why. We are all born with the tendency to do wrong. We never have to teach a young child how to do wrong, it comes naturally. Yet, are we going to say that just because it’s natural and something I’m born with, that it’s alright and acceptable? If I’m born with the tendency to torture animals, is it then acceptable? If I’m born with the tendency to rape others or steal things, can I stand behind my nature and justify my actions? Ok, before you start to comment, please read the following disclaimer.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to discuss the legality of the issue, it’s not to start a movement of people fighting for or against it, it’s simply for me to say that while I do not agree with the choice, I want us to be aware of the commonality we share. I hope to see a world where people can put aside their differences, their agendas and live harmoniously together.
We often fall into the trap of attacking the personality of the other person when we disagree with their arguments. It’s human nature for us to attack the character of another person whenever we disagree over something. I hope to see a culture where we can agree to disagree. It would be exciting to have a world where we can debate intensely and fiercely over a certain topic and then share a drink after the debate. It would do our nation so much good to have constructive debates and sparring in all areas of society, including our political scene, without causing a fragmentation in our society.
Featured image by Anna Dziubinska