Some argue that God created male and female, as recorded in Genesis, only as a means of procreation. Homosexual behaviour is condemned on the assumption that it does not produce offspring. Since gender difference exists, they say, heterosexual contact is the only way god meant sexuality to be expressed.
Procreation was only one of God’s purposes in creation of humanity as recorded in Genesis. The other, equally important, was that God did not wish us to be alone. God gave us relationship with one another. It is dangerous to argue from simple biology when talking about ourselves as the image of God. Jesus told us that “God is Spirit” and we are created in the image of God. Human beings differ from animals in our spiritual nature. We are capable of relationship and this is the context of our sexuality. Our “natural” capacity for sexual expression, homosexual or heterosexual, is given meaning by our capacity for loving relationship.
“I would add that if you look at nature – that makes things confusing as sea horse males have babies and even animals have gay relationships – so the conclusion comes that being gay must be natural”
The sin of Sodom is clearly explained in Ezekiel 16:49-50. It was not homosexual behaviour, but for its deep and general sinfulness, the men in the story may have intended sexual abuse of the divine visitors (the translation of the verb “know” here is not clear).
The issue is not that the objects may have been homosexual but that it was to be abuse. This was in character with the whole of their uncaring, greedy and Godless lives.
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13-14
These verses are found in the “Holiness Code” which emphasized to the Israelites that they were to be set apart to God.
The context is prohibition of practices found in the nearby fertility cult of Molech. “Abomination” is a translation of the Hebrew word which specifically means idolatrous practices (not necessarily sexual).
The condemnation here is a reference to the fertility worship which the Israelites were to shun.
The seriousness of this idolatry in Hebrew eyes was compounded by the belief that “to lie with a man as with a woman” violated the dignity of the male sex. Women were property but men were the direct image of God.
To treat a man the way a woman was treated was to reduce him to property and, thereby, to violate the image of God. The issue was idolatrous activity which failed to acknowledge God’s creation
1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1Timothy 1:10
At issue are two words: malakee (found only in 1Corinthians) and arsenokeeteh, which is in both verses. Tradition assumes a homosexual meaning of the words. Actual study reveals that in its use there, malakee means “morally weak” or, perhaps, “immoral persons”. (The translation “effeminate” in the King James Version was an archaic one and, in any case, did not imply homosexuality in Greek–as it does not today.)
Arsenokeeteh means to refer directly to cult prostitution, again. Such practices were common both in Corinth and Ephesus (where Timothy was). It clearly refers, in this use and later uses in other writings, to prostitutes who engaged in both homosexual and heterosexual cult practice. Neither of these words can possible be translated to mean “homosexual” or any similar distortion of their meaning.
This is the only passage in Scripture which, apparently, talks about homosexual behaviour among women as well as men. The dangerous, traditional interpretation come from failure to relate it to the whole chapter. Paul talks about idolatrous people who put things or concerns before their devotion to God. As an example, he refers to fertility cult worship prevalent in Rome. The homosexual activity to which he refers is idolatrous. He implies that all of the cult worshippers engaged in it. (The interpretation that he is writing about homosexual behaviour in general would force this to say that all idolatrous people become homosexual–an obviously spurious interpretation.) The final sentence referring to their just reward is a reference to the venereal disease which was epidemic among such cults. This specific reference to fertility cult worship cannot be construed to condemn homosexual behaviour in general.
picute by artist – KRISTINA GEHRMANN
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
Metropolitan Community Church proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ that every person is loved by God. There is no condemnation because one is gay or lesbian. Perhaps you are gay or lesbian. Perhaps one of your loved ones or friends is. You undoubtedly know persons who are, whether you are aware of it or not. It may be that the traditional attitude of church and society toward gay and lesbian people causes you concern or pain. You may have become convinced that gay and lesbian people are shut out of Christ’s realm and out of the Church.
Many people have been taught that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Metropolitan Community Church believes that this is not the truth. We believe that gay and lesbian people are completely loved and accepted by God.
These verses have been applied to homosexual behaviour because of a mistranslation of the Hebrew. The King James Version reads “whore” and “sodomite“.
The Hebrew actually uses the same noun in its masculine and feminine forms, the words are best translated “temple (or cult) prostitute“. These verses have nothing directly to do with homosexual behaviour.
Cult prostitution flourished throughout the ancient world and this fact sheds important light on the other passages in this brochure. Fertility cult worship involved sexual activity in the temple, often with a sacred prostitute who was like a priest or priestess. This sacred sexual activity was believed to encourage the god(s0 to bestow fertility on the earth and its creatures.
HOMOPHOBIA IN THE ASIAN, AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN COMMUNITIES
Men were more likely than women to cite homophobia as the main type of discrimination that they had experienced (29% of men compared to 17% of women), whereas women were more likely to cite racism (55% of women compared to 35% of men). This links up with an earlier point that male respondents are less likely to come out to families, friends and work colleagues, which may be due to a fear of experiencing further homophobia.
More than half the sample, 57%, had experienced homophobia from the Asian African and Caribbean communities. People of mixed heritage backgrounds (80%) and Black respondents (61%) were more likely than Asian people (48%) to say this. This ties in with the fact that Black and mixed heritage respondents were also more likely to be open about their sexuality.
Most of the experiences included name-calling, verbal abuse and general homophobic comments. A significant proportion (19% of those experiencing homophobia from the Asian African and Caribbean communities) said that homosexuality was taboo in their communities. Some people mentioned that there was an ongoing ignorance within the communities that Asian African and Caribbean people could be gay, but, as indicated in the previous section this ignorance is demonstrated by white LGB communities and mainstream society too.
Lesbian of mixed heritage, 30-39 years
When I came out to my friend at college he said God would punish me. I have also been spat at by a stranger whilst walking with my girlfriend.
Caribbean Gay man, 30-39 years
I could write a book. Names like battyman and faggot have been shouted at me in the streets. In face-to-face settings, it’s a lot more middle class and insidious, ‘Are you married yet? Look at my sons wedding pictures, he has a baby daughter now you know!’
HOMOSEXUALITY IS UNMENTIONABLE:
African Gay man, 20-29 years
Homosexuality is a taboo… I am always ostracised as soon as people from Asian, African and Caribbean backgrounds know about my sexuality.
Caribbean Bisexual female, 20-29 years
They tell you it is wrong from a Biblical perspective.
Respondents’ comments support a need to address homophobia in Asian African and Caribbean communities. However, any campaign would also need to address that white heterosexuals can be homophobic too – and that homophobia is not just a problem within the Asian African and Caribbean communities. However these communities have traditionally been faith-based and religion still plays a large part in their lives. Many religions, including Islam and Christianity consider homosexuality taboo.
In order to break down barriers, BLGB workers need to build links with sympathetic individuals in religious communities so that they can raise awareness of the specific needs of the BLGB communities and the discrimination that they encounter. In doing this they could:
Address why Asian African and Caribbean communities consider homosexuality a taboo and how this belief has developed;
Highlight the varied and rich histories of the BLGB communities;
Build links with the discrimination faced by Asian African and Caribbean communities and the BLGB experience of homophobia.
USE OF SERVICES
RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES OF USING A WIDE RANGE OF SERVICES:
Lesbian Gay and Bisexual services.
Black Lesbian Gay and Bisexual services.
The majority of respondents had used mainstream services, including health services, counselling, and advice services.
Most of the respondents did not use services targeted at the LGB community, (or those targeted specifically at BLGB people), preferring to use mainstream ones.
The LGB media (such as The Pink, Diva, G3 and internet services such as Queercompany and Gingerbeer) were used by 34% of the respondents, with 79% finding them useful.
USE OF SERVICES
People stated why they already prefer to use BLGB services or would use BLGB services if they were available:
BECAUSE IT GIVES ONE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY:
Indian Gay man, 20-29 years
It is useful to share thoughts with other like-minded individuals. The Asian community not only has the social phobia associated with being gay but I also have to deal with peer pressure, which in most cases is harder to deal with. Some other communities may not understand what kind of pressure it is.
BECAUSE IT SUPPORTS ONES SENSE OF IDENTITY:
Indian Bisexual man, under 20 years
Because you feel you are not the only one with the same problem
African Caribbean Lesbian, 40-49 years
I feel more comfortable with a group or service that understands my sexuality and my culture/colour BECAUSE OF ACISM/DISCRIMINATION:
Lesbian, ethnicity not specified, 40-49 years
Because I don’t have to explain obvious things and I don’t have to deal with racism.
Lesbian of mixed heritage, 30-39 years
Black Lesbians and Gay men’s needs are distinct from their white counterparts as we suffer discrimination in a twofold manner (homophobia/racism).
RE – Edited by Black Members Rep Proud
Training by GALLOP
EDITED BY JAY IN 2012
Respondents were questioned about their experiences of different types of discrimination: racism, sexism or homophobia.
RACISM IN THE LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL COMMUNITIES
More than half the sample, 57%, said that they had experienced racism from the white LGB communities. A number of respondents said that the LGB community was no different from mainstream communities when it came to racism. The types of experiences varied
FACED WITH INDIFFERENCE OR AN UNWELCOMING RESPONSE:
African Caribbean Lesbian, 30-39 years
We went to a women’s holiday centre in Yorkshire. I thought it would be welcoming but the reception was cool. I felt that only white check shirt wearing lesbians were really welcome – the whole weekend felt more of a toleration of us rather than the warm welcome we had expected.
African man, sexuality not specified, 20-29 years
People have the tendency to make you feel ‘outside’, when the community should be inclusive.
BEING DEALT WITH IN A STEREOTYPICAL WAY:
African Caribbean Gay man, 40-49 years
I have been sought out in a club and asked where drugs are available.
DISCRIMINATION – THE LOW DOWN
Mauritius Lesbian, 30-39 years
Most lesbian clubs are geared to white people. If there are more than 10 black lesbians the security becomes more visible. Certain music is not played, as they don’t want to attract black lesbians. Went to one bar near closing time, a member of staff said the bar was closed but they had just let some other people in.
NAME-CALLING AND VERBAL ABUSE:
Black Gay man, 20-29 years
Someone I liked in a club said they didn’t want to talk to me because I was black.
Indian Lesbian, 20-29 years
At LGB conferences/workshops someone always brings up how homophobic Islam is. People feel justified in being racist because they are gay and believe that all black people are homophobic.
BEING TREATED AS A SEX OBJECT OR EXOTICALLY:
African Gay man, 30-39 years
White gay men treat me with contempt; I’m either a sex object or I’m invisible.
LACK OF AWARENESS OF LGBT BME NEEDS:
Lesbian of mixed heritage, 30-39 years
Lack of facilities/entertainment venues/acknowledgement of our differences – assumptions that we are all the same.
African Caribbean Lesbian 40-49 years
Generally white lesbians do not see a difference in our needs and so do not cater for us either socially (venues, music, food, events) or politically (need for our own spaces, support groups etc)
LGB projects and venues should address racism through training and awareness raising of both staff and users. Issues such as the following need to be challenged and addressed:
Assumptions and Stereotyping
Training by GALLOP and survey details by GALLOP
EDITED down BY JAY IN 2012
IDENTITY AND COMING OUT
Indian Gay man, 20-29 years
I am not open about my sexuality at home with my parents or other members of my family, as the topic tends to be Taboo, something that is not spoken of. Although I have come out to my parents, they seem to be in denial.
Asian respondents also cited a lack of parental understanding of sexuality issues in general, as a reason for not coming out to their families.
Indian Lesbian, 20-29 years
My parents would not understand. I think they may know but I would not explicitly tell them, unless I had too.
Those respondents that did come out to family, friends and colleagues generally found the reaction to be positive or neutral, but this was mainly because respondents tended to be open to people whom they judged would react in this way.
Caribbean Asian Lesbian, 30-39 years
When I came out to my parents there was lots of disbelief. Dad always thought I would get married, but is now resigned to it. Mum knows and accepts me for whom I am.
Gay man of mixed heritage, 20-29 years
I tell people if I feel comfortable with them and if it is relevant to our acquaintance. I’ve never told anybody who reacted in a very negative way but I basically know how they will react before I tell them.
African man, sexuality not specified, under 20 years
I don’t talk about sexuality. In past my mother used to pray for me – now she is happier because I am less flamboyant about my sexuality.
There is a need to set up external support mechanisms for the BLGB communities. The Naz Project co-ordinates a support group, KISS, for South Asian and Middle Eastern, lesbian and bisexual women. The group ran in Hammersmith and Fulham for a year before it went London wide in March 1999. The group has over 140 women on its mailing list and the monthly KISS meetings held at The Glass Bar attract on average between 35/40 women.
Asian female respondents spoke about why they enjoyed attending the KISS group, the benefits they received from attending and how the group could be developed further.
Pakistani Lesbian 20-29 years
It is comforting to know that KISS exists.
Caribbean Asian Lesbian, 30-39 years
KISS is brilliant for meeting Asian women, feeling safe. It’s not cruisey/scene based and I can talk about issues.
Indian female, sexuality not specified, 20-29 years
The KISS group is very important. But it is not funded; volunteers run it. It could do with telephone/volunteer led Counseling. Financial and formal support would help so that Asian women coming out could talk to Asian female counsellors.
The above responses point to a need for support groups to be set up where LBGT BME people can explore and address the coming out.
IDENTITY AND COMING OUT THE LOW DOWN
Experience and begin to come to terms with sexuality issues in relation to their families and friends.
Research should be undertaken to evaluate its impact.
Black Minority Ethnic (BME), BLGB and LGB organizations need to consider developing support groups for the BLGB communities.
Links between schools and LGB youth workers/Organizations need to be developed.
All senior teachers need to be committed to tackling homophobia in schools.
LGB agencies/Schools need to look at how the Citizenship Curriculum can be used to explore homophobia and sexuality issues in schools.
RE – Edited by Black Members Rep Proud
Training material above and survey by GALLOP
EDITED BY JAY IN 2012
Coming out in the UK can be difficult. It means accepting, and telling people, that you’re not part of the supposed norm which is perpetuated by the media, advertisers and popular culture. It means potentially leaving yourself open to abuse, both verbal and physical, discrimination in the workplace and, in some cases, the danger of being shunned by friends and family.
However, we’ve got it relatively easy in the UK. It’s no longer illegal to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), discrimination is outlawed and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse, beit physical or verbal, is now classified as hate crime.
It’s not so easy elsewhere.
Imagine being an LGBT person so scared for your safety that you’ll leave your friends, family and life behind to take an arduous, dangerous journey to a strange country, unsure of what you’ll find there, only knowing that whatever you find will be less dangerous than what you’re leaving behind.
Imagine having taken that journey as the LGBT dependent of an asylum seeker whose claim has been rejected and finding yourself faced with the prospect of returning to a country where, if your sexuality or trans status were discovered, you could be in danger of intimidation, assault, murder, imprisonment or even state execution.
Homosexuality is still illegal in 80 countries. It carries the death penalty in five.
The UK is still sending LGBT people back to these countries.
In July 2010 The Supreme Court said:
To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is.
Home Secretary Theresa May responded by saying:
We have already promised to stop the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.
I do not believe it is acceptable to send people home and expect them to hide their sexuality to avoid persecution. From today asylum decisions will be considered under the new rules and the judgment gives an immediate legal basis for us to reframe our guidance for assessing claims based on sexuality, taking into account relevant country guidance and the merits of each individual case.
These are just two of many cases. There are few statistics available for LGBT related asylum claims, rejections and appeals. One of the few statistics that is publicly available indicates that 98-99% of LGBT asylum claims are rejected, compared to 73% of non-LGBT claims (figures from the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group’s Failing The Grade .pdf, published April 2010.)
There are other issues which affect LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. Refugee Support’s Over Not Out report (.pdf, May 2009) found that:
LGBT asylum seekers in the UK are encountering high levels of homelessness, discrimination and exploitation due to their sexuality or gender identity. Whilst asylum seekers generally face difficulties with poor accommodation and discrimination, the report finds that LGBT asylum seekers not only experience these problems, but their sexuality or gender identity can add significantly to the problems they face adding layers of multiple disadvantage, arguably more acute than for other asylum seekers.
Things are likely to get worse before they get better. The UKBA’s already overstretched, under-resourced workforce (many of them PCS members) are going to be hit by 20% budget cuts while cuts to Housing Benefit and the Local Housing Allowance are likely to lead to more people being forced in to cheaper, more crowded accommodation, exacerbating the problems of discrimination and harassment suffered by LGBT asylum seekers.
There is also the threat of the far right, who thrive in times of economic adversity, and the regular attacks on asylum seekers in the press to contend with.
Fortunately there are support and campaigning groups working to help LGBT asylum seekers in the UK.
NB: not all of the following are officially supported by PCS or PCS Proud
Organisations focussing on LGBT people include:
The UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG): http://www.uklgig.org.uk/index.htm
LGBT Asylum News: http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex Association (ILGA): http://ilga.org/ilga/en/index.html
Iraqi LGBT: http://iraqilgbt.org.uk/
Organisations supporting asylum seekers more generally include:
Refugee Support: http://www.refugeesupport.org.uk/
The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC): http://ncadc.wordpress.com/
Over the last forty years we’ve won many battles and made Britain a safer place for LGBT people. Now we need to help those who aren’t so fortunate. Please spread the word, sign the petitions, send messages of support, email your MP, follow the twitter accounts, join the Facebook groups…
Special thanks to LGBT Asylum News for providing some valuable information for this article. Twitter: @LGBTAsylumNews
How long would it take for makes relationships between gay men and women to also be acceptable on the scene? The problem is that this kind of prejudice does not only come from the white community, it also comes from from other communities like the Asian and black and Chinese communities.
So what is the answer?
Maybe I should try and accept and love myself and others with out restraint.
To accept a laugh other people for who they are, no matter, what their sizes, there disability, but traditions, colour, sexuality, gender or background.
To set an example of love and to remind all people what can be achieved when you accept people for who they are. Hopefully we can pass this on light. Like in the movie, pay it forward.
Down on the scene gay people put others down because it makes them feel better and superior to others on the scene.
That is not love or acceptance, which is what we are all crying out for.
I must accept my colour, background, difference and personality and must not be ashamed of those things.
If others fail to see the real me then they have not reach that place of love within themselves and they are not people to be around at that stage.
I do not think it is wrong for people to fancy all be attracted to people who are similar to them.
I know that it takes more courage to explore and get to know people of different cultures and backgrounds.
To straight people gay people of very different. should straight people reject other gay people just because of their sexuality?
Should gay men reject others because of their colour race or creed? When people’s state on their profiles “ no blacks or Asians”.
This statement is very similar to the ones written on restaurant doors and shops in the deep south in America.
It has the same nasty taste of discrimination and prejudice and that rejection can went deep, because it does not know who you are and also does not want to give you a chance to show who you really are underneath the colour of your skin.
There was an example, where men read my profile and really liked what he had seen on the profile, and he asked to see a picture of myself. As soon as he saw the picture he was not interested, as he was not attracted to people of my colour. The message I received was, I was not good enough only because of my colour.
On the gay scene, this can happen very often and hurts other people’s saying these kinds of things, without thinking or being sensitive and do not see the damage or hurt in their behaviour or what they have said.
Gay people know how hard it is to be accepted, but they forget it is much harder to be accepted if you are also of another culture, colour, creed, religion and background.
One size does not fit all, not all Chinese people are clever.
Not all black people can sing.
Not all black people are un- intelligent.
Not all people with red hair have hot tempers.
Not all Irishman are alcoholics.
Not all Asian men are Muslim.
All these are stereotypes because all people are different.
There may be similar traits and customs but we all different. Discrimination and prejudice are the same.
And people of minority groups should learn to be aware and to do to others and treat others the way they are being treated, and not reject people because they are different.
It is something I hope we will all learn soon, so that we will be marching on the same road together in harmony against all kinds of discrimination, fighting for better world.
Jeremy Bedford © 2012