by - Juni 06, 2017

TANGERANG, Indonesia – In the dawn of postmodernism, people have come up with more ways to identify themselves and defy what is considered the norm in society. More people are being made aware of the existence of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered – or LGBT, as people are more familiar with.

LGBT's flag. (source: https://images.fineartamerica.com/images/artworkimages/mediumlarge/1/lgbt-rainbow-flag-semmick-photo.jpg)
These LGBT issues have started to rise within our country, drawing responses from citizens. Some of them are positive, but some are negative. However, rarely do we hear about actual members of the LGBT community speak up about these issues save for the people who are open about their sexual and gender orientation and publicly run organizations to provide resources for other LGBT people. Most of the time, members of the LGBT community prefer to stay hidden within their figurative closets and stay mum about their own opinions on the matter. The sources we have managed to contact told us that not even their families know about their sexual orientation as they want to avoid conflict.

“Many of my friends know [that I am gay], but even though my family may have an inkling about it, which family would want to accept something like that?” said A.P, our gay source.

P, a bisexual source, attested to this. “It’s a personal choice why I don’t tell my family,” she said, “but they’re quite old-styled. I’ve triggered them to talk about LGBT issues and no one responded positively, so I decided not to tell them. I don’t want to bring us a problem.”

Aside from conflict, many LGBT people also choose to stay silent for fear of being estranged and ridiculed. CC, our lesbian source, admitted that her friends often talk about her behind her back for liking other girls. “It hurts, but I can’t do anything,” she said. “I can't tell them not to talk about me like that. I can only hope that they can accept me.”

Even people who are not necessarily LGBT are also affected. N, someone who is questioning her sexuality but has not yet determined if she was truly LGBT, also attested that she hasn't told anyone about her sexuality aside from close friends. “I think people who don’t agree to LGBT people’s lifestyles are wrong. They’re stereotyping them and hating them. How can you hate someone just because of their sexual orientation?”

However, many people still view the LGBT people as being in the wrong. A citizen stated that he thinks LGBT lifestyle is wrong no matter how he sees it – health, religion, or social norms. “Even animals would know their opposite sex,” he said. “If we want to treat them humanely, we should bring them back to the right way of living. If I let them be, then I’m not treating them humanely.”

What people sometimes overlook when they weigh the rightness or wrongness of LGBT lifestyle, however, is how the LGBT people themselves come to the conclusion that they are not straight. CC, for example, had been cheated on by the men she’d dated and found that girls understand her more than boys ever do. N, despite not being sure about her sexual orientation other than she was not straight, had mulled over this problem for a few years.

P (the sitting girl)
People also often don’t understand that being LGBT also put the members of the community at risk.  Being shunned by family, friends, and the society at large makes the LGBT people more prone to mental illnesses such as depression.  Attempts to turn them back to normal, such as conversion therapy, have larger risk of putting them through severe mental trauma and even suicide than actually making them straight. Many people especially in religious settings have expressed condemnation for LGBT people. Radical religious groups are also likely to express their intolerance violently. Also, while the general public doesn’t necessarily bring out their torches and pitchforks, many people would rather not share the same spaces with LGBT people. This sort of rejection drapes heavily on the LGBT people’s shoulders and reminds them constantly that they are considered outcasts even within spaces they are supposed to feel welcome in, such as families.

Many also misunderstand these different orientations as mental illnesses instead of simple difference of preference. While homosexuality was considered a mental illness pre-1970s, this classification was changed was completely crossed out of the American classification of mental disorders by 1987.

Perhaps CC had put it best. “You don't know how we feel, who are not accepted [for who we are], so try understanding us. We're a minority, but we can't change who we are.”

 Despite the rejection from community, it is easy to say that all LGBT people, especially in Indonesia, wish to be accepted for who they are. “I hope people would just leave people be and let them be whoever they want,” said P. “As long as we don’t harm you, it’s not your problem. I hope people can be more respectful to others.”

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