Gifts of the Greek Civilisation
Someone needs to say it: most fanatic homophobes are probably gay, but too afraid to deal with it. It’s the same scenario as the unclaimed fart. The person who smells it first, and accuses everyone else of farting, is most likely the farter.
If you are against gays, and it is because you feel that something may be going on with you that you are trying very hard to resist, repress and ignore, know that the stronger you publicly declare hatred towards gays, the likelier people will think you yourself are gay. So, until you figure out what’s going on with you, it would better suit your purposes to shut up entirely about the subject.
Pretty much all European countries allow gays to openly serve in the military, except Greece and Cyprus. In Cyprus, the anti-discrimination laws protect gays from all kinds of discrimination, but military law still classifies homosexuality as a mental illness and bars openly gay people from serving. Some people say that it would be uncomfortable taking common showers in the army with people who are openly gay. A very conservative estimate of the degree of self –reported homosexuality in the general population is 1%, even though studies of homosexual experiences (rather than identifying as homosexual) gives the figure at a much higher rate.
Using the very conservative margin of homosexuality in the general population at 1%, this means that in every group of 100 soldiers there is one who is gay. So, it is likely that soldiers are taking common showers with a gay man except they don’t know it. Which, I am told, is the point. They don’t want to know. Fair enough.
Turkey also bars homosexuals from serving in the army. Some other countries that ban openly gay people in the military are the U.S., Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen. But truth be told, even the countries which have no outright ban, are not entirely tolerant of openly gay people in the army. The most common practice is to tolerate gay people who do not proclaim their gayness. And many gay people choose to remain in the closet to avoid being harassed. This will change as society in general becomes more tolerant of difference and homosexuality shakes off the stigma it has carried for a long time and becomes a fact of existence on par with heterosexuality. Some people are gay, some people are straight. There is no denying it.
Interestingly enough, homosexuality has not always been shrouded in stigma. Plato, in the Symposium, remarked on the extra bravery that male lovers exhibit when in combat, because they are motivated to fight harder and be stronger. Ancient Greece is not unknown for homosexual love, and, as a matter of fact, when I was a student in the United States, I heard the term ‘greek style’ used as a synonym for anal sex. Greeks are famous for a bunch of things, I guess.
No one is saying that you have to love gay people. No one is saying that you are gay if you find gay sex repulsive. Just like a lesbian may wretch at the thought of a penis in her mouth, the same goes for a straight man. He doesn’t find the idea of a penis in his mouth too attractive either. But equal rights, however painful they may be sometimes, are just that. Equal rights must be guaranteed by the State. Beyond that, you are still allowed to have your personal opinions and do what you like, but the law must be the same for all.