Friday, June 19, 2009
Carlos Davis on Gay Nigeria
Over the past few weeks, news reports have surfaced about a rise in attacks and killings of gays throughout Iraq, where men—both professed and allegedly gay—are being targeted and harassed. But now there's a shocking new story that the men are being tortured to death in a most vicious way: by having their anuses glued shut and then are forced to consume a beverage that causes diarrhea, resulting in death.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) translated a report that appeared on the Arabic-language news station Alarabiya, which said: "A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using 'Iranian gum.' ... Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, 'Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.' According to her, the new substance 'is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery.
After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.' According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.
"Gays in many parts of the world face persecution, but this is just plain horrific. How can a society, especially one in which Muslim leaders claim that Islam allegedly doesn't preach violence, allow this to occur? How can world leaders stand by and not put an end to this targeted abuse? The news that gay people are being attacked doesn't come as a surprise; the Muslim world is vocally anti-gay (the claim by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his country didn't have any gay people living there was absurd). Sure, many will say that there are bigger issues we have to deal with, but if we can't keep innocent people safe in their own homes, how can we call ourselves civil and human? Obviously people are abused all over the world, but when something as shocking as this surfaces, the senseless abuse needs to be squashed. What sort of pain must these men endure? And how long does their torture exist before they're spared with death?
The IGLHRC sent a letter to Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, urging her to take action to protect her country's LGBT community. With Iraq's current unrest, it's unlikely anything will happen to protect these people. Hopefully they will be given asylum to leave their country.
Identity Awareness. The point when the child or adolescent begins to realize he or she has feelings that are different from others and different from what they have been taught.
(2) Identity Comparison. The individual begins to explore his or her feelings alone and to compare them to the beliefs of society, parents, and peers.
(3) Identity Tolerance. During this stage, the individual will often rebel against his or her feelings and attempt to deny them. After all, nobody wants to be gay in a straight world.
(4) Identity Acceptance. After realizing that sexuality is a part of who they are, they begin to embrace it, explore their feelings and desires, and start to find a place in the world where they are accepted and belong.
(5) Identity Pride. Often involves anger toward parents, society, religion, or other aspects of the world that tells them that they are bad, wrong, immoral, or mentally ill merely because their feelings are directed toward the same sex. They embrace the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ and explore their newfound sexuality. It is during this stage that the gay or lesbian may start fighting against what society has taught them.
(6) Identity Synthesis. The final stage in which homosexuality becomes a part of who they are rather than the defining factor. Instead of being a gay man or lesbian, they begin to see themselves as parents, employees, leaders, teachers, supervisors, coaches, and volunteers who just happen to be gay. In the final stage, they are able to accept themselves more wholly rather than seeing their sexuality as separate from the rest of who they are. When counseling a homosexual client, it is important to understand where they are in terms of their sexuality.
Those attempting to convert to a ‘straight lifestyle’ are likely in stage two or three. They have not yet accepted themselves as gay and have not likely experienced friendship and love from others who know their sexual orientation. While conversion therapists have reported limited success, this success is often in terms of behaviors and not thoughts and feelings. In other words, a gay man may be able to avoid sexual contact with other men, but they still have feelings and thoughts related to being gay.
And, since sexuality is often present at the onset of adolescence, research has shown that it is not real amenable to change. (Individuals who return to a straight life after changing their sexual behavior due to a trauma such as rape were likely not gay in the first place. They merely engaged in homosexual behaviors.)
Those in stages four and five are likely trying to reinvent themselves with this newfound acceptance. They may be seeking out gay friends, engaging in sexual behaviors less discriminately, or ‘shouting it from the mountain tops,’ so to speak. They have accepted their sexuality but have not yet learned to integrate this aspect of their life into their sense of self. In treatment, the strength these individuals feel should be embraced and treatment should be focused on what they can do, not to make the world accept them, but to show the world that they are worthy of acceptance.
In other words, gay parades, demonstrations, email campaigns to congress, are all worthy efforts, but so is living an honest life, helping other people, sharing, loving, and being a friend. Individuals in stage six are often seen as no different from most clients we see in therapy. They have accepted their sexuality, have developed relationships, and don’t see ‘gay’ as the issue, but rather as one of the many issues they deal with in an imperfect world. Being gay is often seen in a positive light. They can now begin to give back to others, become a mentor, volunteer, run for office, or otherwise use their whole self as a means to make the world a better place.