bell hooks (via tabularasae)
This is such an amazing summary of how I also feel about gay marriage movement. Most people miss (consciously or unconsciously) how nation-state oriented current institution of marriage is. It is fundamentally and structurally patriarchal, statist, nationalist, and heteronormative. In most instances it is also not just functionally but also structurally situated within the racist and classist framework of the government. Just changing the entry rules to this fundamentally problematic institution will not ever make it truly “queer” or “fair” or “equal” either.
People should have the right to form intimate relationships with legally binding agreements/contracts such that they receive legal protections and civil rights associated. But the nature and content of these agreements (first and foremost of which include “who” they are forming the relationship with) should be up to them, not to the State. We should be the owners of our own recipes and not just blindly adhere to the State’s recipe that is created not with the best interests and liberties of the individuals in mind but the best interests of the State in mind.
I’ve made homophobic remarks in the past, writes Mehdi Hasan, but now I’ve grown up — and reconciled my Islamic beliefs with my attitude to gay rights.
Mehdi Hasan has written an article about LGBTQ rights and Islam from a very personal point of view and it has generated quite a bit of discussion.
To be honest, I stand, in terms of religion and theology, rather far far away from Mehdi Hasan in general and within the context of LGBTQ, I am much more closer to say Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle. I believe that a text never has a single meaning or reading but rather as many as those who read it and try to understand it, and this stance has led me to understand Qur’an in a may be rather marginal way. I do not believe that Qur’an essentially condemns differing sexual orientations or genders or sexual identities; but rather, I believe you could extract any meaning or condemnation from Qur’an if you wanted. The text is just too rich.
Alas, this is not the topic I want to discuss. The problem is views like mine are nowhere near mainstream nor do they need to be mainstream nor do I think they have to be mainstream; I like plurality and diversity with all shades of its greys and not necessarily like that of mine. I also know the inevitable reality of plurality and diversity of opinions. Thus, what should be mainstream, I think is not necessarily a single mode of thought or a single set of norms of ethics; but rather a norm of plurality itself with an emphasis on staying away from infringement of rights and privileges. To put it simply, social justice and equality.
Thus, I find Mehdi Hasan’s piece and stance important because it speaks to this: you do not necessarily need to agree with one’s actions to believe and stand for equal rights of that person. Due to your ideology, personal understanding of ethics, religion, or even personal likings, you may disapprove a behaviour of others but that does not necessarily mean that you should hate them for it or infringe their rights for it. Legal lines are not to be drawn based on what one approves but on more solid terms of say losses and harm.
I have always believed in this so when I first started to be involved with LGBTQ rights, I did not really have much of an idea about religious status of LGBTQ. For I, for example, believed that consumption of alcohol was haram/religiously forbidden but would nevertheless stand for the equality and rights of alcohol drinkers as well, because the fact that I find their action adverse or problematic did not mean that they are not entitled to the same rights and liberties as I do. In fact, I found this to be a religious obligation: without freedom of committing sin, committing good deeds and not committing any sin is meaningless, I thought and still think that religion itself requires the utmost liberty of individuals to be able to commit sin (and thus then religiosity is ‘choosing’ not to commit it).
I do not regard the diversity of sexual identities, orientations, and gender identities to be unethical or sinful. I am actually very much adverse for them to be seen that way, especially within a religious discourse. Many might disagree with me and many might agree with me. But I think that all of us should agree that regardless of what we think of them within our personal understandings of ethics or norms, these should not be bases for discrimination… that nobody should be discriminated against, that nobody should be stripped of their rights or liberties.
Within this context, I agree with Mehdi Hasan, quite a bit.