To criminalise homosexuality or treat a segment of our society as criminals for something beyond their control is a worst crime.Sexual Orientations in humans should be decriminalized as a first step towards future legalizing of same-sex marriage.
A …businessman, who owned a large fleet of boats in the fishing village in the western coast in early 20th century, was under pressure from his ailing mother, had married a beautiful young damsel from the adjoining village and settled down in his newly-built house following a week-long ceremony [hath-dhaa magula]. The well-to-do middle-aged man who never ‘visited’ the main bed room would drive his brand new Baby Austin car with a ‘X’ number by himself leaving his young and good-looking ‘driver’ at home. The young man was paid handsomely as he was committed to serve the householders in fulfilling all their desires. The very understanding threesome was in a love triangle, and had lived happily ever-after with the six children who addressed the ‘driver’ Bappa (paternal uncle).
A harmless private arrangement by the ‘family,’ - does it sound criminal? We generally hate to adapt to anything new that makes us feel uncomfortable!
"Some pundits think the gay people need psychiatric treatment to change sexual orientation. Researchers have found that homosexuality is a normal deviation in sexuality and does not cause any negative psychological effects"
Ignorance of third gender
‘Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’, more famously known by its acronym GLAAD, the American organization advises the media to use the term - gay - a word originally clinched by homosexuals as a positive expression instead of the term homosexual. As Daily Mirror reported a few days ago, ‘the Cabinet have rejected surreptitious attempts by some to decriminalize homosexuality’.
President Maithipala Sirisena, the conservative personality who chaired the session no doubt would have found himself in a somewhat embarrassing position being hesitant to look straight in the eyes of some senior and junior members when the matter came up for discussion. To be fair by one senior minister, he had already and openly divulged his inclinations when he declared a year ago.
“My private life is no secret”
However, as cabinet spokesmen and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, put it at his weekly media briefing, anybody is free to practise the art…but the government does not want to establish the phenomenon as officially decriminalized unlike in some European States he said. Though he quoted religious and cultural reasons for the decision, the minister being a hetero-sexual did not know that our giant neighbour had already decriminalized the act through Lokh Sabha a decade ago. We are not attempting to guess who is supporting the tradition in the Cabinet, we have to appreciate that there are diverse sexual orientations among the animal kingdom that includes humans as well. They no longer are considered unnatural and the practitioners should not be persecuted for their sexual desire. After all, every man and woman has the right to be free.
Religious vs scientific views
A few ‘religious’ people believe that homosexuality is unnatural but scientists differ; they have found more than 600 species in the animal world who practise same sex engagement. Some pundits think the gay people need psychiatric treatment to change sexual orientation. Researchers have found that homosexuality is a normal deviation in sexuality and does not cause any negative psychological effects. Discrimination by heterosexists has caused homophobia in many gay or lesbian people not to identify as gay or lesbian, therefore the ratio of people who have same-sex sexual experiences are hard for statisticians to estimate reliably.
The colonial rulers from Europe are responsible for spreading anti-gay stances in Asia and Africa. Existence of a third gender has been a scientifically proved fact; recognition and provision of rights due to them is our foremost duty. Homosexuality is a lifestyle, there should be no social stigma associated with it. Buddhism and other eastern religions have no issue with gays/lesbians. It is the politician who lacks knowledge in Dhamma who say it is against Buddhism.
Gays in ancient Greece and pre-historic era: Socrates and Pinguttara
Homosexuality in 5th and 4th century Greece was almost an essential part of social life. As for Socrates, if we look at the writings about him, though he was married and had children, he had engaged in sex with men as well, because that was usual for a man in that point in time and place to practise pederasty. Pederasty -- is a homosexual relationship between a grown up male and a boy which was relatively well accepted and widespread act in ancient Athens.
Most men in ancient Greece seemed to have been more interested in having sexual relations with young men – some of the early philosophers seemed to meticulously work and talk about homosexuality, and Socrates, known as a great philosopher, even portrayed himself as being “experienced in the pursuit of men.” The dialogues of Plato – a student of Socrates wrote, - pederasty and homosexuality had been a part of everyday life, mainly for aristocrats.
"Homosexuality is a lifestyle, there should be no social stigma associated with it. Buddhism and other eastern religions have no issue with gays/lesbians. It is the politician who lacks knowledge in Dhamma who say it is against Buddhism"
Siri Kaalakanni Prassnaya is an episode narrated under Ummagga, in the Tales of Buddha’s past births, or the Jataka Potha. As the story goes, a youth named Pinguttara, having gone to Taxila, studied under Disapamok, and soon mastered them. Returning all the books, he said to the teacher,“ I shall now bid you good bye”
Now there was a custom that obtained in the family of the teacher that if he should have a daughter who had attained womanhood, she must be given to his best pupil. This teacher had a daughter as beautiful as a goddess, and he told the youth, “My son, I shall give you Udumbara, my daughter, and you may take her away.”
The sight of this maiden did not excite the youngster. He thought, ‘I will not disregard the words of my master,’ and so accepted the arrangement. At night the youth got into the prepared bed and laid him down to sleep. As soon as the young lady followed him to bed he got down from it, grumbling, and lay himself down on the ground. Young Udumbara then got down from the bed herself and went towards Pinguttara, when he again rose up and got on to the bed. The bride followed too; and the youth once more got down from it. The damsel therefore remained in bed while the dejected man slept on the floor. After seven days, he took leave of him and set out on the journey homewards with the bride, although he bore no love towards her. On their way, no words exchanged between them. Pinguttara, who was very hungry, saw a dimbul-tree laden with fruit, so he climbed up and began to eat them. Udumbara, also being very hungry, said, “Give me also some fruit.” “Why, have you no hands and feet? Climb up the tree and eat them,”he said.
As there is no suffering greater than hunger, the girl climbed up; the young man seeing that she had climbed up, covered the foot of the tree with thorns, and walked away, saying, “I have at last got rid of that woman”
The maiden, not being able to get down, had to remain on the tree till late in the evening when the king returning home passed the place, riding on decorated elephant…, the rest is history.
Was Pinguttara the oldest recorded gay?
Mental disorder or natural inclination
The practice is not a mental disorder that need psychiatric help and is legally accepted in many countries in the world, including UK, as affirmed by World Health Organisation, [WHO]. It is pathetic; the unprovoked discrimination, hate, stress, violence and name-calling, that’s how this issue is viewed by a Buddhists society. The criminality lies with those who oppose gay. No man or woman would choose to be gay, they are born like that, and it is not a disease or sickness. Those who engage in research in re-birth believe the inclination is a habit continued from previous birth. A ‘gay man’ had been born a female for several previous births will continue to have a sexual attraction for and a desire for a man. It is due either to hormonal changes in their bodies or born with it, as they explain.
There have been cases in the past, especially in village life, where gay people are forced to marry by parents that end up in creating broken homes, unhappiness, misery and other social issues. Just like you cannot make a man a woman or vice-versa [not even JR’s Constitution could…] one cannot make a gay person hetero-sexual, not even the almighty. The pious religious hypocrisy that makes hurtful and disparaging comments should realize criminalization of homosexuality or treating a segment of our society as criminals for something beyond their control is a worst crime.
A few years ago in one of those European countries, where they legalized same-sex marriages; a couple, males, queried by a journalist soon after solemnisation by local marriage registrar.
“What’s special tonight?”
The senior of the two, who was 62 years, [I cannot recollect the name, but certainly not the legendary singer, pianist, and composer Elton John] and yet holding the hand of his 56-year-old partner [what else can we say, Husband and …..?] said, “Oh, no, nothing as such, we have been together for the past 32 years!” What crime have they committed?
Civil partnership to gay marriage in the UK
In 2005, a Bill known as Civil Partnership Act became law in England, for gay couples to register their union, which was subsequently revised to be known as Gay Marriages Act in 2014. If someone is a gay, it’s his/her right. The State or religion cannot dictate terms on its queer citizen unless there is commitment of an apparent criminal act.
"No man or woman would choose to be gay, they are born like that, and it is not a disease or sickness. Those who engage in research in re-birth believe the inclination is a habit continued from previous birth"