Tuesday 18 May 2010

International day against homophobia

Avignon, place de l'horlogeYesterday 17th May was International Day against Homophobia. In Avignon, a vast array of conferences, debates, exhibitions and events takes place this week to raise positive awareness about the gay and lesbian cause. The programme started last Saturday with a large kiss-in on place de l'horloge. Why do I care? Because I am shocked to hear that today people are still rejected and humiliated on the basis of their gender, skin colour, origin or sexual preference. These prejudices are unacceptable to me. The study of history and literature show that same sex love has always existed, in every culture and every era. It may be a minority tendency but no doubt that it's a natural one. I grew up in a society where homosexuality was treated with unease, heavy silence or mild jokes but in recent years I met several gay or lesbian couples who became good friends of mine. The more time I spend with them, the more I hear them speak, the more I admire them: they are good people with healthy minds - and brave too. I believe that everyone is entitled to a life that is open and free from discrimination.I am proud to report that my photo above made the headlines in yesterday's edition of the local press (Vaucluse Matin). You will find the full week's programme here.

Hier 17 mai c'était la journée mondiale contre l'homophobie. A Avignon une semaine entière de conférences, de débats, d'expositions et d'actions est organisée par le Pôle LGBT Vaucluse pour faire avancer la cause des homosexuels. Le programme a commencé par un grand kiss-in sur la place de l'horloge samedi dernier. J'y étais. Pourquoi ? Parce que je trouve absolument choquante toute ségrégation et toute humiliation d'êtres humains au nom de leur couleur de peau, de leur sexe, de leur origine ou de leur préférence sexuelle. L'étude de l'histoire et de la littérature montre que de tout temps et dans toutes les sociétés des êtres humains sont tombés amoureux de personnes du même sexe. Si c'est une tendance minoritaire, elle n'en est pas moins naturelle. J'ai grandi dans une société qui gérait l'homosexualité par la gêne, le silence lourd ou la dérision, mais ces dernières années j'ai rencontré plusieurs couples gay, hommes ou femmes, dont certains sont devenus de bons amis. Plus je les regarde vivre, plus je les entends parler, plus j'ai de l'admiration pour eux - ce sont des gens bien, des gens sains et courageux. Je pense que chacun a droit à une vie libre et ouverte sans discrimination. Je suis heureuse de vous annoncer que ma photo ci-dessus a eu les honneurs de la presse locale hier (Vaucluse Matin). Découvrez ici le programme de la semaine de lutte contre l'homophobie.
Physical or verbal attacks, despair, loneliness, suicide... homophobia still kills today.
These cards bear the free helpline number that can save a life: 0 810 108 135.

Attaques physiques ou verbales, solitude, désespoir, suicide... l'homophobie tue encore.
Ces petites cartes portent le numéro azur qui peut sauver une vie : 0 810 108 135.


Nathalie H.D. said...

Ce billet vous a-t-il choqué ? Suivez-moi bien : les français adorent voir les amoureux se bécoter sur les bancs publics... mais pas quand ce sont des couples homosexuels.

Le Kiss-in de samedi n'a rien eu d'agressivement perturbant dans sa conduite ou son esprit. C'était simplement la demande d'une reconnaissance et d'un traitement égals.

Le couple qui s'embrasse sur ma photo, ce sont deux amis que j'aime beaucoup. Je les remercie de m'avoir autorisé à publier leur photo. Je ne les avais jamais vus s'embrasser, ils sont toujours très discrets. Mais l'heure était venue de dire que ce serait bien de pouvoir exprimer librement son amour en public.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Are you shocked by this post? Please bear with me.
The French are usually very open to lovers kissing in the streets... but not same-sex couples.

Saturday's kiss-in was far from disturbingly aggressive in spirit. It was a fair request for equal treatment and recognition.

The couple kissing here are good friends of mine. I'd like to thank them for letting me post their photo. I'd never seen them kissing before, they are always very discreet. But it was time to say that being able to express their love in a more open manner would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathalie,

I agree that everyone is entitled to a life that is open and free from discrimination. Isn't there enough hate in the world already?

Thanks for the lovely post.


Brigetoun said...

non bien entendu, mais j'ai eu la flemme d'y aller; et seule en outre - merci de l'avoir fait - ils sont charmands

Marie-Noyale said...

Il est ou, le banc public!!

J'ai vote pour ton sejour en Croatie, juste a temps!!

Nathalie H.D. said...

Aha Marie-Noyale, le banc public est devenu un accessoire inutile. Embrassons-nous debout! :-)))
(et merci pour ton vote!)

vignette design said...

I agree with you Nathalie. Good for you for posting this. When will the prejudice end? I too have many gay friends and my wish for them is the same freedom that I have as well.

chri said...

Partout où l'amour circule vaut mieux qu'ailleurs!

Olivier said...

très beau post, sur un sujet qui ne devrait même plus faire débat...malheureusement ;(

Jilly said...

A great idea there is a National Day against Homophobia. I agree with every word you've written. Nice shots too.

Michel Benoit said...

On ne voit pas non plus des tonnes d'hétéros qui s'embrassent sur la bouche dans les rues...
J'ai raté le kiss-in !
Ne devrait-il pas y avoir un genre de gay-pride vers la fin juin ?

jeandler said...

En matière de mentalités, on avance plutôt à petits pas - de très petits pas - du style: deux pas en avant pour deux pas en arrière!
Et tant que les autorités, civiles ou religieuses, ne changeront pas leur vision, les yeux ne s'ouvriront pas.

Bravo Nathalie pour cette note.

Drew said...

Well Nathalie, I must say I do not agree with your post today. As a medical professional and a man of the gospel I clearly will agree that homosexual behavior has existed for centuries. As we examine the behavior of the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah we clearly see that God has condemned such behavior. If He (God, the creator of all life) has clearly stated the behavior He will not tolerate, should we as humans defile ourselves against His will... and if we do should we be surprised if His judgments fall upon us for being disobedient. Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit from the tree in the midst of the garden otherwise death would enter into the human race. I've seen men and women die for years now as a result of their disobedience. I have an extended family member who is gay and I assure you he is aware that his behavior is completely unacceptable in the eyes of God and he admits he will be judged accordingly. He is aware the Bible clearly says that unless he changes his behavior he will never see Gods heavenly kingdom. God has given us the power of choice and our outward behavior clearly represents the choices we make and God will honor our decisions even if we die an eternal death. If God did not spare the lives of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah should we expect Him to spare the lives of homosexual individuals today. I've personally witnessed the death of a 34 yr old physician after he acquired AIDS from his homosexual partner. He was a brilliant physician who could have prolonged the lives of thousands of people yet he was unwilling to give up his lifestyle of homosexuality. Not even individuals with my level of education and knowledge were capable of preventing his death. We should always exhibit love for our fellow man but we should also be willing to accept the truth that God will not accept sinful behavior in the end. Any man or woman who truly seeks to find not only life today but eternal life will have to seek forgiveness and forsake a lifestyle that God says is sinful.

ftylos said...

Good morning Nathalie..Nice to see this post of yours..On June 5th we also have The Athens LGBT Pride festival. I hope that the festival will have success and will bring smiles in our concervative society..Kisses from Greece

ftylos said...

Oh i forgot...you can see the page of our festival here: http://www.athenspride.eu/v2/

kisses again

nathalie said...

Drew, thanks for expressing your views. The thing is I was raised a protestant in a country that was 90% catholic. I grew up as part of a minority. Perhaps this is why I tend to be so supportive of minorities today.

But perhaps it is also because I was taught to turn to my conscience and to speak to God when in doubt as to what was right or wrong. And I was told that God was a loving father whose love was universal and unfathomable. I cannot see how a loving God could dislike good people.

The God I was taught to pray was a loving one, not one of fear.

But today I have moved away from all this. While I fully recognise the strong Christian values on which I was brought up, I know humanism is the real foundation of my beliefs.

I have become an agnostic, or an atheist actually. I no longer believe in God and the Bible.

I believe Christianity takes its place in the history of religions. Eventually people will move away from it and on to other beliefs. Elements of current Christian beliefs will eventually be incorporated into new religions just like elements of paganism were recycled by Christianity.

In the future the Bible will be seen as the holy book of a past era just like today we read with curiosity about the Roman and Greek gods that people believed so strongly in in pre-Christian days.

I have no idea what comes after death and honestly, I don't care. The only thing I'm sure of is the here and now.

And today the world I want to be part of is one of sharing and caring, not one where God is an excuse for passing hasty judgments, condemning and excluding.

My values are strong.
My choice is a solid one.
My world is beautiful.

Nathalie said...

Ftylos, thanks for the info and the link to the Athens gay pride!

Nathalie said...

Olivier - un sujet qui ne devrait même pas faire débat oui, c'est ce que me disent mes filles de 17 et 22 ans qui ont toutes les deux des amis gays bien acceptés par leur entourage et qui ne comprennent pas pourquoi je fais un plat d'un sujet qui pour elles n'en est plus un.

Je me souviens qu'à Sydney en 2007, les pionniers de la gay pride se demandaient s'il y avait encore matière à défiler dans la rue alors que toutes les grandes institutions avaient leurs chars : la police, l'armée, les grandes banques... et que la gay pride se voyait presque récupérée par les hétéros sympathisants.

Mission accomplie, la gay pride pouvait donc s'autodétruire ?
Pourtant Sydney n'est pas l'Australie et l'Australie n'est pas le monde.

Tous les LGBT à qui j'ai parlé m'ont rappelé que cette vision idyllique est loin d'être une réalité partout. Il reste encore 80 pays de l'ONU où l'homosexualité est considérée comme un crime.

En France, le taux de suicide de jeunes homosexuels est cinq à six fois plus élevé que celui du reste des ados. Découvrir son homosexualité, l'accepter soi-même et la faire accepter autour de soi n'a rien d'évident.

Et pour un(e) qui réussit et affiche une popularité qui semble facile, combien d'autres restent cachés, honteux et malheureux ? La route est longue et nous les hétérosexuels, nous leur devons notre soutien.

Sharon said...

Congratulations on this post and your photo in the newspaper. I totally agree with you. I heard on the news this morning that a gay couple will be sentanced today in an African nation where homosexuality is against the law. so sad.

Virginia said...

Bravo for this photo and your words. I applaud you. I too have gay and lesbian friends. They are good people who did not choose this lifestlyle. Who would? They are so often persecuted and condemned by so the very ones that claim to be spiritual and loving. Jesus also told us to "Judge not" and I believe we were all created in His image.

Your blog is a place where we can all express our opinions. I'm glad for that.


AnneduSud said...

Immense merci pour ce billet,j'aurais écrit le même si j'avais la même aisance que toi à m'exprimer...
Mon oncle, le frère de mon papa, était homosexuel, et cela a toujours été accepté, sans en parler, mais sans le cacher non plus. Même si c'est resté pour mon papa très douloureux.
Mon oncle après une carrière de décorateur d'intérieur en France est parti aux Etats Unis vivre sa vie avec son ami dans les années 70. Il est malheureusement mort du sida là bas.
De ce fait, je suis toujours très sensible à ce sujet et rêve qu'un jour les couples homosexuels deviennent une configuration banale, un non problème.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Thank you Virginia, it's good to read your words.

Drew said...

Nathalie I believe that God loves all people is a correct statement. He does not love sin. God has proven His love for the human race by allowing Jesus to be crucified upon the cross for our sin. If God did not love us He would have let us perish forever. There is a sad misconception that God hates people. It is not true.

Virginia you may find this surprising but I can line up a whole room full of physicians with MD, PhD after there name and every one of them will tell you no one is born into homosexuality. It is a decision people make....
Food for thought... when all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah decided that homosexual behavior was acceptable God destroyed their cities. The Bible says the end of the world will be just as in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. Noah informed the people for 120 years regarding Gods word but the people refused to accept what God said.

We can decide to be friends with a murderer or a rapist or someone who practices homosexuality but that does not mean their behavior is acceptable.
I also agree with Virginia that open discussions are very important otherwise people would never have a chance to realize there are consequences regarding our choices and behavior.

BLOGitse said...

I agree with you 100%!
I have many gay friends, also I know gay parents, and they are all just like you or me or our neighbors!
What I do not understand why always religion brings negativity to this kind of discussions? We are all humans. Dot.
If there was a God he would be the same for all of us - not different depending where you were born!
Who is a human being to judge another human being to love same sex? It's not anybody's business what two people feel.
It would be great if all religion people would put all that energy what they put against homosexuality to all those BIG criminals who are doing bad to children around the globe - human trafficking, sex slaves, child soldiers etc.



Nathalie said...

Drew - to compare someone who practices homosexuality with a murderer or a rapist is unacceptable. Just unacceptable.
With homosexuality we are talking about love between two consenting adults.
Rape and murder are about someone exercising physical power to damage another human being in the most atrocious way. How can you not see the difference? Is your judgment so altered?

So far I have never applied censorship on my blog so I will leave your comment as is but I cannot let any such thing said without STRONGLY OPPOSING it.

Petrea Burchard said...

Beautiful post, Nathalie, and I agree with you. My gay friends and neighbors are lovely people and many of them are Christians.

The Bible, lest we forget, was written buy humans who needed a way to explain phenomena they didn't understand. It has been rewritten many times over the centuries by powerful people with agendas.

Straight people have died of AIDS, too. Married people whose spouses slept around, for example. I suppose they deserved it?

Nathalie again said...

And honestly I believe that if reading the Bible leads people to make such erratic statements, humanity would better off without the Bible and with more common sense.

Nathalie said...

Petrea, Blogitse, thanks for your beautiful comments.

Bob Crowe said...

Well, I'm on your side in this one. I am horrified by the attitudes of people like Drew but, in a way, it is understandable. His opinion is quite consistent with a set of religious beliefs that you, I and millions of others reject. And I bet that with little effort you and I could fill a room with Ph.D.s and M.D.s willing to certify that the earth is flat, Darwin was a dope, cold fusion is the hope of the future and global warming is a hoax concocted by Al Gore. Like you, I hope and expect that his attitudes will fade into history. It's certainly happening in this country: in general, young people, even those with conservative politics, are just not concerned with sexual preferences.

Now, to answer the questions you asked about two of my recent posts:

Yes, that passionate kiss was a complete set-up, a Doisneau wanna-be. I'm is a lighthearted photo competition league. For eight weeks there is a weekly theme, people vote, there are prizes and so on. This week's theme is Love. Like with CDP theme day, I can't play it straight. So, one night last week, I got my paralegal and her husband, one of the lawyers in our office, to set this up in front of one of the tawdry clubs on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

And about Who Dat? New Orleans' (American) football team, the Saints (as in When The Saints Go Marching In, the most famous Dixieland song) won the Superbowl this year. They've been terrible for years. A slogan developed during the playoffs, like a bit of rap: Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat the Saints? See also http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobcrowe/4600029242/in/set-72157623918653051/

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how people blindly accept religious doctrines without apparent contradictions.

Every religion has the one and only true God and this contradiction does not bother anyone of these fanatics they just keep going in this vain.

People pick and choose what they want to use from the bible again despite contradictions.People should turn the other cheek if you are offended yet it is alright to have a vengeanful God who destroys cities, yes a God of violence.

The christian bible also preaches marriage to one person -until death do us part so this must mean that a large percentage of americans that are filing for divorce are doomed.

Here in my canadian province people have really developped an open mind towards homosexuality. Gay marriages are now legal in my province.In my city there are a lot of night clubs where straights and gays both attend.People and friendships mix.

Virginia said...

Apparently we both consider ourselves Christians, although I don't think we share the same views on this and probably other issues. My dearest friend's son is gay. I thank God that he was born into that family and not yours.

Anonymous said...

people blindly accept religious doctrines with apparent contradictions I meant to say.
Ew I need another black coffee.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know anyone considered this a controversial issue any more. Guess I've lived in L.A. too long -- which can be a good thing. (Of course, we are behind the curve when it comes to some other matters.)

Lovely photo.

Catherine said...

Je pense qu'il en faudra des "Journées" pour accepter l'homosexualité comme une aspiration naturelle et non contre-nature.
Ce qui me réjouit est de constater l'évolution des mentalités de la génération qui nous suit. Nathalie, nous qui avons des enfants, constatons que cette ouverture d'esprit est à portée de main. Mais peut être nous leurrons nous en jugeant que cette compréhension que nous constatons chez nos enfants, toi et moi, est générale. La réaction de Dew qui me foudroie est là pour démentir. Peut être que nous avons transmis à nos enfants cette ouverture d'esprit que certains parents ne partageront pas avec leurs enfants.
Je regrtte l'aveuglement arbitraire préconisé par les religions en général. Il semble essentiel de penser par nous-mêmes.

Je pense aussi que cette incompréhension, ou pire ce rejet des minorités (homosexuels, étrangers....) provient du fait que les oeillères empèchent certains de connaitre ces minorités et les conduisent à les diaboliser plutôt que les accepter, voire les apprécier.

Il suffit en effet de fréquenter des homosexuels pour savoir que ce sont de hommes et des femmes aussi normaux que les hétéros, avec les mêmes aspirations, les mêmes qualités et les mêmes défauts.

Jilly said...

Yesterday, Nice-Matin published a great photo of three gay couples kissing in the street in Nice. The article talks not just about the Lutte contre Homophobie but also against Lesbians and Transvestites. Interesting because I always think of the word gay as covering both men and women - perhaps it's a French word thing?

Sadly, I'm aware there are people with closed minds and dangerous prejudices like Drew who hold appalling views that went out with the arc! Our world is the poorer for such dreadful prejudice.

Too right Virginia.

Once again, good for you Nathalie. We shouldn't even be discussing this tho - as if gays are any different from non-gays. It's too ridiculous!

Janet M Kincaid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet M Kincaid said...

Nathalie: Thank you for this. While I respect Drew's right to his opinion, that doesn't mean I agree with it. At all. In line with Robert's comment, I'm sure we could populate a room with numerous Ph.D.s and M.D.s who will tell you that sexuality falls along a spectrum and is not a choice.

My partner and I actively and openly choose to display our togetherness in public by holding hands when we are together. Straight people never have to think about whether it is safe to hold hands in public, but we do. In an effort to make the world safe and equal for all, we take this risk and make this statement. For the most part, we're either well-received or just ignored. In a few rare instances, we see disdain and hatred.

I've been photoblogging for a few years now and I count among some of my dearest friends Virginia (Birmingham, US), Robert (St Louis, US), Rob (North Metro Minneapolis/St Paul, US), Kim (Seattle, US), Peter (Paris, FR), Petrea (Pasadena, US) and many others. These people have welcomed us into their homes and their lives and we are blessed for it. I hope we are a blessing to them, too.

Nathalie said...

Janet, thanks for your visit and sharing with us your personal experience.
Yes there are many parts of the world where holding hands in public remains an act of bravery - congratulations to you and Maya for taking the risk.

Isn't it amazing though that altadenahiker wrote "I didn't even know anyone considered this a controversial issue any more. Guess I've lived in L.A. too long -- which can be a good thing"
Yet she, Drew and you all live in the same country.

The US is a country of such contrasts!

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Bonjour! Nathalie,
Let me "echo" what your previous commenters' have said,

I agree with every word that you say here and most definitely, this sentence...

Nathalie said,"Because I am shocked to hear that today people are still rejected and humiliated on the basis of their gender, skin colour, origin or sexual preference. These prejudices are unacceptable to me."

On a different note:

..."my photo above made the headlines in yesterday's edition of the local press (Vaucluse Matin). You will find the full week's programme here."

Congratulation! and thank-you, for sharing the link too!

DeeDee ;-D

Nathalie said...

Thanks DeeDee, glad to hear your voice here.

For the benefit of my English speaking readers I'll translate into English what I wrote in French in an earlier comment above:

Olivier - a topic that shouldn't even open a debate yes, that's what my two daughters aged 17 and 22 say. Both have gay friends who are popular and well accepted at school and in their everyday life, they just don't see what the fuss is about. My daughters actually got a bit annoyed with me for presenting this as an issue.

I remember that for the 2007 edition of the Sydney Gay Pride, the people who pioneered the event were wondering whether it was still worth keeping it up. Every large institution had a float in it: the army, the police, the city council, every large bank and corporation, and the event was almost being taken over by happy gay-friendly heterosexuals.
Nothing left to fight for? Maybe it was time to give up, go home and live happily ever after?

But Sydney isn't Australia and Australia isn't the world.

Every LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual, that's the official acronym) member I spoke to reminded me that if the situation has markedly improved in many countries, it remains catastrophic in many others.

There are 80 countries in the world where homosexuality is still considered a crime.

In France only, the number of teenage suicides is five to six times higher for gay teenagers than within the heterosexual population. Discovering your own homosexuality, coming to accept it and then getting your parents, family and friends to accept it is no mean feat.

My LGBT friends also suspect that my daughters are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. For every happy, popular, well accepted gay person you see, how many teenagers and young adults out there who remain hidden, distressed and unsure of how to handle what is happening to them?

It's a long road to universal acceptance. I personally believe it is our role as parents and citizens to do our share to make this happen.

Nathalie said...

Jilly, it is true that people engaged in the cause here tend to avoid using "gay" as a global word. They prefer using the official acronym LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans-sexual)which is an all-inclusive term.
I noticed that the Athens Gay Pride is also organised by a LGBT association so this seems to be the general acronym used in Europe. In the US as well I suppose?

Ginnie said...

I have been referred to this most interesting discussion via Virginia and have read every comment carefully. My temptation is to say nothing because this is a battle that cannot be won today in this forum...as long as there are those who do not have ears to hear on either side.

My credentials are "weak" perhaps, in the sense that I am not a PhD. I did, however, grow up in a Baptist preacher's home in Michigan and graduated from the U. of Michigan with a degree in Linguistics to become a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators for 3 years, learning how to translate our holy scriptures. I then married my husband of 21 years and worked 16 of them with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, learning how to interpret our holy scriptures in their historical and cultural contexts.

During that time I led many seminars on Women and the Bible (bottom line question: are they "allowed" to preach?) in both So. California and Madison, WI. Once that topic became "old hat," the new topic was Homosexuality and the Bible, which, too, led to many years of seminars in and around Atlanta as the HIV/Aids epidemic was getting under control.

To those who sincerely struggle with the homosexual issue from the Biblical perspective, there has been a lot of work done by respected theologians, seminarians, preachers, and educators alike. I highly recommend the following site: http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible.

To those of us who have given up on the Christian church or religion altogether (whether God remains bedrock or not), I highly recommend the work of those like Brian McLaren who are advocating a new way of looking at Christianity: http://www.amazon.com/New-Kind-Christianity-Questions-Transforming/dp/0061853984. The old wineskins are no longer working! Why? Because we read the Gospel of Jesus through the grid of the Greek and Roman empires, not through the Kingdom of God, as preached by Jesus, as a peaceful kingdom of love...where all those of different beliefs/religions, Jews and Gentiles alike, learn to live together as one family of love. Is this possible? Jesus believed so, but it will take Christians a lot of hard work to understand this gospel because it's not the one we're presently being taught.

My initial temptation to say nothing is also because my time is extremely limited right now while I study in college here in the Netherlands to learn Dutch. I'm 65 years old (in June) and am no longer a spring chick. HA! But I am determined to learn the native tongue of the Dutch woman I married in February. I married her before the face of God and finally feel that I have found the Home I have always wanted. It's easier for us gay women, I think, than the gay men to show our expressions of love (my guess is Natalie's image would have a different reception if the two were women?). One day, however, I pray that it will all be received as naturally as Apple Pie and Baseball....God-willing and the creek don't rise!

Drew said...

Let me thank each one of you for sharing your thoughts. I would like to respond by making a statement. Have any of you considered the number of medical professionals who dedicate their life everyday to caring for men and women who are gay and lesbian. Yes, I'm referring to myself and others who have spent years of their life caring for people in the homosexual community regarding the diseases that affect men and women who are gay and lesbian. Without the care that individuals such as myself and others have provide to them there would be thousands more who would have already lost their lives.
Next point, how many of you think we should ask a man who has AIDS not to have sex with other men or his wife so that hopefully more people will not die as a result of their sexual activity. How many of you think we should explain to him that God prefers that he not give this terrible death to more people and that he consider that other people should be able to live a life of freedom without having to worry every night if tomorrow they will reach the end their life because they now have AIDS.
Next point, how many of you think we should tell people who have AIDS and are about to die that God loves them and if they will ask Him for forgiveness Jesus is willing to allow them to find an eternal home in heaven. Should we deny them having someone such as myself who will love them and care for them even if other people reject them and insult them because they have acquired AIDS.
And how many of you think we should hold their hand while they are about to die because no one, yes that's right no one will come to see them or even tell them that they are loved. So why don't you each condemn my love and willingness to serve the needs of gay and lesbian people who benefit from my dedication and others such as myself who help them live as long as possible. If only they would understand God has a better way to live that does not have to end in such tragedy and death. If you throw rocks at me and other Christians like me then you throw rocks at the gay and lesbian individuals we risk our life to care for over the years.
We can decide to reject Gods advice and instructions if we like yet one day we will have to deal with the fact that God is God, not me, and that He is the ruler of the universe. I decide daily to surrender my life to God so that He can allow me to share His love and care with all people including gays and lesbians.
Last point, how many of you have personally witnessed an individual including someone who is gay or lesbian die from AIDS. Have you witnessed the look on their face as they can no longer breathe and finally wait for their heart to stop.
Jilly, I'm sorry that you think that Christians who love and care for others including gays and lesbians are dangerous. I think that is the worst statement I have every read in my lifetime. I can only imagine what the rest of the medical community will think regarding your thoughts.
Thank you for your time.

Jilly said...

Drew, you should probably read what I wrote properly. Nowhere did I use the word Christianity or medical community. I think anyone regardless of religion or job who has a bias against homosexuals is dangerous because that ends up with such minorities being beaten up in the streets, being afraid to 'come out' - we need, in this world, people who accept all of us for what we are, be it black, white, gay, pink or candy-striped.

I'm not entering into this discussion any more as it makes me too mad.

Anonymous said...

There will always be gay bashers especially as homosexuality is in the minority.There will always be bashers of many things and people as an outlet for hatred and a fear and insecurity of what is in onesself.At one time people were burned at the stake if they were not christian.To be different shakes the world.It causes insecurity in the weak of heart and mind.
-more black coffee

I salute the medical profession for all the work they do. Curing aids or treating aids is not any different than treating any disease. Heterosexual people die of aids also.There have always been venereal diseases that people die of before a cure is found.

Anonymous said...

Désolée, mais le simple fait de désigner une personne comme homosexuelle n'est-il pas un signe de discrimination ? Vous viendrait-il à l'idée de présenter un couple d'amis comme des hétérosexuels ? Après tout, il ne s'agit pas de déballer ce que la personne fait dans son lit. Personnellement, je ne présente pas mes amis par leur profession non plus. Une personne a un prénom et des qualités humaines, point barre. Le jour où il ne sera plus nécessaire de s'embrasser dans la rue pour prouver quelque chose de naturel est vraiment très loin...

Anonymous said...

je suis d'accord avec vous------sur un niveau-- au commentaire précédent mais c'est trop idéal votre idée.
Il y a une lutte et en l'ignorant elle ne va pas disparaitre.
merci Nathalie pour la protestation

-un autre café noir.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Anonyme - au sujet de "le simple fait de désigner une personne comme homosexuelle n'est-il pas un signe de discrimination ?" - voilà bien une remarque sans intérêt. Tout dépend du contexte : à l'école de ma fille je suis "la maman d'Inès", à la gym je suis "celle qui arrive toujours 2 minutes après le début", auprès de beaucoup d'entre vous je suis blogueuse, point. Me présenter comme blogueuse, est-ce me nier dans tout ce que je suis d'autre? Evidemment non. End of the story.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Drew - We all know that some people in hospital are dreadfully lonely and die in total solitude. I respect the work you do and you certainly do it well.

But when you write "I've seen men and women die for years now as a result of their disobedience." everyone knows you're on the wrong track. As Petrea remarked, "straight people have died of AIDS too. Married people whose spouses slept around, for example" - what sort of disobedience are they paying for with their life ?

So I'm sorry to say this but it seems to me that your attention to the gay community affected by AIDS is biased - biased by the desire to save souls. Preying on people near their death in the hope that they will forgo their homosexual "choice" in exchange for an eternal life in heaven doesn't seem right to me.

All right, I am probably not being fair to you by using the word "preying upon".

But one thing's for sure : When you say "how many of you think we should tell people who have AIDS and are about to die that unless he changes his behavior he will never see Gods heavenly kingdom" I say NOT ME.
Mother Teresa caring for the dying people of the slums of Calcutta never asked for their conversion or renouncement of any kind in exchange for her loving care. She practiced unconditional love. You don't.

I see her as a role model. I think she was much closer to Jesus's message than you ever will - sorry I'll correct that - closer to Jesus's message than you currently are. But perhaps you will change.
You are asking other people to change - can you do it yourself?

I hope one day you see the true light of Jesus.

Maya said...

I think people like Drew would do well to read this letter:

Also, it is great that kids like yours are accepting LGBT kids these days. It shows some progress. Alas, it is not a "non-issue" yet! The U.S. is a large country and views on this subject vary widely depending on where you live. It is still a cause that needs fighting for! Not to mention the countries where people can be put to death for such things.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Maya thank you, thank you for the link. Reading this mother's poignant letter is worth every second of anyone's precious time.

Janet M Kincaid said...

Just for information sake, the GLBT community also includes I and Q.


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Intersexed, Queer.

As for Drew's comments, you, sir, insult the lives and memories of hundreds of thousands of individuals--gay and straight--who have stood by the bedsides of dying friends. Can we imagine all of the scenarios you outlined? Of course we can! We aren't sociopaths.

Irresponsible sexual behavior is not the bastion of GLBTIQ folks alone. Some of the most immoral people I've met in my life have been straight Christians. (And let's look at the latest news out of Washington, D.C., shall we? Another Republican and Christian who expounded the virtues of abstinence and fidelity couldn't keep his pecker in his pocket. Oh, how the mighty fall. Lest you think I'm gloating, let me disabuse you of that perception. Far from it. I'm hardly surprised, and still it saddens me. Meanwhile, I know GLBTIQ couples who have been faithful to each other for decades. And yet, we're the supposed threat to the traditional family. As if. But I stray...)

Someone evoked the name of Mother Teresa of Calcutta as an example of true Christianity. She exemplified all that we--gay or straight--would hope for in those around us, including (if not, especially) our doctors and nurses. We expect you to care of your patients because THAT'S YOUR JOB. We don't expect or ask you to judge us. We may seek your opinion for matters of a medical nature, but we do not seek your opinion for matters of a spiritual or religious nature. Physician, heal thyself. In other words, tend to your own spiritual defects and shortcomings and leave others to tend to their own as they see fit.

God gave us two commandments: 1) to love Him with all that we have and are and 2) to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. There were no qualifiers before or after these commandments and my version of the Bible contains no footnote that says, "Except gays, lesbians, Republicans, Muslims, black people, women, or Christians who interpret my teachings like the Pharisees."

The commandment was to love. Full stop. Nothing more, nothing less.


chri said...

For Drew:

Ils s'aiment comme avant
Avant les menaces et les grands tourments
Ils s'aiment tout hésitants
Découvrant l'amour et découvrant le temps
Y a quelqu'un qui se moque
J'entends quelqu'un qui se moque
Se moque de moi, se moque de qui?

Ils s'aiment comme des enfants
Amour plein d'espoir impatient
Et malgré les regards
Remplis de désespoir
Malgré les statistiques
Ils s'aiment comme des enfants

Enfants de la bombe
Des catastrophes
De la menace qui gronde
Enfants du cynisme
Armés jusqu'aux dents

Ils s'aiment comme des enfants
Comme avant les menaces et les grands tourments
Et si tout doit sauter,
S'écrouler sous nos pieds
Laissons-les, laissons-les
Laissons-les s'aimer

Et si tout doit sauter
S'écrouler sous nos pieds
Laissons-les, laissons-les
Laissons-les s'aimer

Enfants de la bombe
Des catastrophes
De la menace qui gronde
Enfants du cynisme
Armés jusqu'aux dents

Nathalie H.D. said...

People, you know what makes me happy? It's that at the end of the day we've had to face no other disturbing comment than Drew's.

All right I'm not suggesting for a minute that my blog has any statistical value in representing the world but I think this post has brought lots of good people together and I'm very grateful to you all for this.

I wasn't necessarily expecting that many people to stick their head out in support.

For me this has been a very rewarding experience. Thank you.

May we walk in peace.

Nathalie H.D. said...

Visiteurs, savez-vous ce qui me fait plaisir ? C'est qu'au fond nous n'avons eu comme commentaire négatif que celui de Drew. C'est peu.

Evidemment je sais que la proportion de commentaires sur ce blog n'ont aucune valeur statistique mais l'essentiel, c'est que ce billet a permis de révéler et de réunir de belles personnes.

J'ai reçu, en plus des commentaires publiés ici, des e-mails personnels très forts.

Je vous en remercie tous vivement.

Je n'imaginais pas forcément voir autant de gens s'exprimer de façon aussi clairement positive. Vous m'avez épatée.

Merci à tous.

Que la paix soit avec nous.

Virginia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia said...

And perhaps I can speak for your readers dear Nathalie in saying that we appreciate you opening your blog to all of us and for daring to post a controversial photo and topic that most of us, including myself, wouldn't have had the courage to do. You handled all it all in a fair and sensitive way. And yes, la paix soit avec tous!!

Jérôme said...

Nathalie, I arrive a bit late here but I thank you for your blog post. Things are slowly getting better in France and in other places, but such manifestations are indeed necessary to 'shake' society at large: not only straight people, but gays as well. If it weren't for this I probably wouldn't be the man I am now, comfortable in my relationship and out to my family, friends and co-workers.

To finish on a lighter note, here is a extract from one of my favourite US TV shows - The West Wing - where President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), a devout Christian, bashes a 'PhD' ultra-conservative talk show. Enjoy! ;)


"President Bartlet" walked into the large room where most people were standing and talking, but "Dr. Jena Jacobs" who was played by a blond women prettier and younger than the real Dr. Laura (though with the same hair style), remained sitting, the relevance of which you'll soon see.

Bartlet saw her and became distracted, leading to this exchange followed by a sermon from Bartlet: "Forgive me Dr. Jabobs, are you an MD?"

Jacobs: "A PhD."

Bartlet: "A PhD?"

Jacobs: "Yes sir."

Bartlet: "Psychology?"

Jacobs: "No sir."

Bartlet: "Theology?"

Jacobs: "No."

Bartlet: "Social work?"

Jacobs: "I have a PhD in English literature."

Bartlet: "I'm asking because on your show people call in for advice and you go by the name 'Dr. Jacobs' on your show and I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology or health care."

Jacobs: "I don't believe they are confused, no sir."

Bartlet: "Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality ‘an abomination.'"

Jacobs: "I don't say homosexuality is an abomination Mr. President. The Bible does."

Bartlet: "Yes it does. Leviticus-"

Jacobs: "18:22."

Bartlet launched into an impassioned diatribe which was interspersed with shots of an uncomfortable Jacobs fidgeting: "Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? [silence in the room] While thinking about that can I ask another? My chief-of-staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?

"Here's one that's really important, 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you.

"One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the ignorant tight-ass club, in this building when the President stands, nobody sits."

Unlike the real Dr. Laura, this one was silenced and after a long pause she acquiesced and stood up before a proud Bartlet walked out of the room.

Fardoise said...

J'ai lu cet article en premier, et je n'ai pas voulu, alors laisser le premier commentaire, lâcheté, sans doute. Car c'est idiot, cela me dérange de voir les gens s'embrasser dans la rue, sans doute parce que cela renforce mon sentiment de solitude. Le bonheur des uns fait-il forcément le malheur des autres ? Un peu. Mais c'est vrai, cela ne se dit pas.

Maya said...

Brilliant Jérôme, absolutely brilliant!

Nathalie said...

Jérome, thanks SO MUCH for this. What a treat! Exhilarating, uplifting, brilliant! It doesn't get any better than this!

Worth spreading. How can people who think like Drew pick themselves up after that?

(I hadn't seen the movie)

Nathalie said...

Fardoise, j'entends ce que tu dis. Merci de ta franchise.

Si je n'avais pas demandé à mes amis de poser pour un baiser, je ne suis pas sûre qu'ils l'auraient fait. Ils n'avaient jamais eu de geste démonstratif en ma présence. Et ce baiser là a été rapide, il a vraiment fallu que je l'attrape au vol. Une seule photo, pas deux.Ces deux-là n'ont rien d'exhibitionistes éhontés.

Mais ce jour là, dans ce contexte là, il était important de dire que se censurer sans cesse, c'est insupportable.

chri said...

Juste écrire que le texte "Ils s'aiment" est de Daniel Lavoie.
Une autre encore à propos des certitudes intangibles de Drew. Il fut un temps où l'Eglise brûlait ceux qui affirmaient que la terre est ronde et puis... il ont changé de point de vue!

Thérèse said...

Je n'aurai pas le temps probablement de lire tous les commentaires. Un sujet qui devrait pourtant toucher chacun d'entre nous.
Bien sur je suis pour la liberté de choix en toutes choses...
Par contre les "gay parades" il faudrait les réinventer (tout du moins chez nous...) elles ne sont pas toujours du goût des organisateurs, ni même de ceux qui défilent...)dommage.

crederae said...

JUst popped back to add-say hi to your two friends in the photo and thank them for posing. They look wonderful. They should be in the movies. A hug hug for each of them.I wish them a long happy relationship.

I am not shocked by seeing two men kiss as I have spent several years frequenting the gay clubs in my canadian city.
The gay clubs here are fun. They are so open and friendly and no one is criticized.There is sometimes quite a line up of straight people to come into the club because the clubs are fun. The drag shows are fun and there seems to be less violence as the men are too busy kissing to fight. ha ha.

actually Nathalie I had signed off of blogging until June but I glanced in at your debate and as usual I couldn't resist your debate!

more black coffee

David said...

My first visit to your site. Merci.

All that is best and highest within me salutes all that is best and highest in you.

Peace, love, happiness.

J. David Smith
Phoenix, Arizona

Kris McCracken said...

A great post, and worthy sentiments that I endorse 100%

Just for the record, HIV is a virus that it best transmitted by blood-to-blood contact, there is nothing intrinsically homosexual about it. We've got to move on from the perception that it is a 'gay disease', because it is nothing of the sort. So if God or whomever designated it to smite unrepentant homosexual sinners, by golly (S)He stuffed up and has killed an awful lot of men, women and children of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds!

Virginia said...

Sorry Natalie but I had to say hello to my friend Jérome whose Hanoi blog I use to follow. Jérome, I miss you. You still blogging?

Love the excerpt fromt the West Wing. That was great.

Nathalie said...

Kris - yes I am amazed that some people still remain stuck on the perception that HIV is a 'gay disease' - that was the general perception in the early 80s when we first heard about AIDS but that was 25 years ago! So much has happened since!!!

crederae said...

to Drew-if you read above you will note that my views are not your views however I would like to say-

Good luck Drew and may God bless you in your work and thankyou for your work.

Jérôme said...

Hi Virginia, thanks for the kind comment! I haven't been blogging since I arrived in Hong Kong in late December - though the city is amazing I find myself quite busy with other things and haven't got much time left for photography.. I'll try and change that soon!

(sorry Nathalie for the little apparte!)

Nathalie H.D. said...

Thanks Jerome for popping in again. If you start blogging in Hong Kong, please let us know here. I enjoyed your Hanoi blog too.

Virginia said...

Merci Jerome!! :)

MadAboutParis said...

"Friend of Virginia" popping in to support you Nathalie!!! Merci mille fois!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nathalie H.D. said...

MadAboutParis, nice to see you here!


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