I have been, rather quietly, fuming in my little corner over recent developments on this sunny island and thought I was doing a pretty good job holding my peace in a semi-public space. Until the reactions to the Orlando shooting came in, and by golly, to stay silent is to be complicit.
I have some choice words for a young man, Russell Tan, whose letter to the ST today enraged me with his presumptuousness. However, I pride myself for being a mature adult and shall refrain from a full tirade against a 19 year old, who in a decade will rue the fact that this letter is available on the internet for his future employers to locate.
My Facebook feed has turned into a sea of rainbows. I suspect that is a result of self-selection: I am less likely to befriend anyone who holds a dramatically different view on LGBT rights from me after all.
Whatever it is, this sea of rainbows made me tear today.
I have written before that I had always been partial to the LGBT cause due to fandom, but really became a strong proponent of LGBT rights and anti-LGBT bullying after I lost two friends, one of them particularly close to me, in college to suicide. This one friend, Yuan, slit his throat after his father, in a pique, said that he, being gay as he is, would not be masculine enough to “go out with a bang”. In our last conversation, I had effectively told him to wait it out till he has the wings to leave his home. I really should have told him “Come stay with my folks”, but that will remain my lifelong regret.
What would Yuan think today? When so many well established corporations are coming out with statements supporting SCOTUS’ decisions? When profile picture after picture are changed to reflect those cheerful rainbow flags, that only seem to mock the decades and centuries of agony that the community had faced and still faces? When even the Catholic priests under the wonderful leadership of Pope Francis are coming out to ask their flock to stop focusing on homosexuality and remember that the core of Jesus’ teachings is “Above all else, love one another as He loves us”?
Would he have found comfort in the growing support for equality and take heart that progress can be made? Would he have plotted to relocate to the States when he could be free and regarded as an equal?
What would Yuan think of the Pink Dot movement? He was a daring, fiesty individual with fire in his soul – it would not be too difficult to imagine that he would have helped plan and execute the Pink Dot every year. Would he have raised his fist at the lack of movement on
377a repeal, or would he rejoice at the fast expanding Dot and the triumph over the “conservative lobby”?
He did not live to see this day. For him, progress had come too late.
For many others in my country, it will continue to come too late – because it has been allowed to become the war of the vocal minorities: the out and loud minority that is anti-establishment and does not utilise the levers of power well, and the “conservative lobby” that knows how exactly to use those same levers and holds a weak leadership hostage to their demands.
I have been bitter, because there is still a vocal minority that perverts my faith to justify their hatred and discriminiation against the LGBT community. I have been bitter because a good friend of mine is no longer here to fight this fight. Today, my bitterness grows exponentially because SCOTUS’ decision only just shows up how far behind the human development curve my society is.