Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Disease of Wonderment: Supporting the gay rights movement, whilst being Indonesian

Sarah Lawrence is a dream world, so much so that I frequently forget that a whole nother reality exists, fencing it in. Each time I fly home, the images of the campus begins to fade as if it were a sweet dream that passed slow enough to leave an impression, yet too quick to grasp and memorize. After years of living in a sanctuary, where different sexual identities and sexual orientations coexist, I forget of another universe, where homosexuality is rampant and lips are sown shut. With any metaphorical body modification, I am required to contemplate prior to sliding under the knife. As graduation nears, I would have to make the decision soon enough.

The Irony of Having a Photo of The Military
However, before I get carried on, I have a question, a very simple question, is there a place in this world for supporters of homosexuality? I bet there is. Unfortunately, I doubt that it is the same place as I call home. Should I rephrase the question, then? Is there a place for supporters of homosexuality in their respective homes, be it in Jakarta, New York, Berlin or Singapore? And I don't mean a space where we are allowed to maintain our thoughts and principles, yet lose the liberty to speak out. Is there? Is there a place for pro-homos in the Catholic church or on the dinner table? Clearly two different things, yet two very salient parts of my life. Is there a place where my own sexual orientation is not put on the stands for my supporting the same sex marriage movement?

Simultaneously, as I make my way through Sarah Lawrence, managing shows, taking classes, perusing New York City, and writing up conference papers, I have slowly learned how to behave. Just like a child, I relearned how to speak about certain subjects, how to stop mid-sentence when I realize I have gone too far, how to leave certain words out and settle for something less. I gathered that I may never be able to have one of my best friends act as my witness in my wedding, some day, due to religious reasons. I observed the ways more experienced friends tightly smack their lips and keep silent. And I wonder, will I have to install a zipper between these lips of mine? Or worse, will I feel the need to sow them in myself?

The world is becoming more progressive with each second, as different causes are raised and certain battles are won. Victory is in the hands of freedom and equality. Women, struggle as they might, begin to occupy positions of power. With the death of Nelson Mandela, the man who crushed apartheid and became one of the most celebrated men on earth, I wonder how other vehicles of change have flourished around the globe. I wonder what it takes to be an agent of change, if it is worth it, worth the sweat and time and funds, worth the losses of future prospects and existing support.

I wonder a lot, you see. Wondering is the disease of our generation. We write, we perform, we speak, yet sometimes we stop midway and retrieve. Or worse, we act like we've made change, when all we have done is speak of it. Yes, speaking of change is part of the equation, but it is not the end. I remember cleaning up a beach in high school. They said it was part of the school's Go Green movement. Though we left with a clean beach and happy memories, there must have been more that we could have done. Maybe it's the fault of our education system, instead of learning how to take action and organize for a larger form of impact, we learn to do tiny bits and call it quits.

I don't know, I really don't. I wish I do. But I don't.

Despite knowing which battles to fight, I have yet to decide if they are worth the risks. I wish I could share my thoughts on a page without feeling afraid, but I can't and I won't, because I doubt that they would serve any good to the larger plan. Instead, I would assume that it would only bring raised eyebrows and crooked smiles. Now, I am not making much sense.

Time for courage!
Taken from http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/les-miserables-gif

As Enjolras once sang,
It is time for us all to decide who we are. Do we fight for the right to a night at the opera now? Have you asked of yourselves, what's the price you might pay? Is it simply a game for rich young boys to play? The color of the world is changing day by day...

Here you have questions that demand honesty. Though, many of us may not die from our actions, we may lose life's pleasures in return for other types of torment. Moreover, as a supporter and not the protagonist, we have the privilege to stand back and zip our lips shut, after having it wide open in front of our friends or loved ones, who are at the very center of this debacle. The privilege to do so is perhaps the spine of our wonderment and our inner demons. Rather than being "rich young boys", some of us may have had the privilege to see and understand, to have the education to support our principles, and to have the desire to fight/play stir within us. However, "At the end of the day", to continue with the theme of Les Miserables, "you're another day older, and that's all you can say for the life of the poor. It's a struggle, it's a war." But, if I may interject, is there something that we could give?

*Author owns the right to the first photo

1 comment:

  1. I think you can definitely still be indonesian and feel that way in your heart, but at the same time, still support LBTQ rights. homophobia isnt tied to nationality... you can be dutch and a complete homophobe, for example. you just have to pick your battles wisely, imo. i dont think you can change homophobic views of older people but you can definitely defend your views when they're being overly judgmental, slowly show them about the facts and address their misconceptions. thankfully, a lot of younger people are substantially more open and respectful of these issues: so start young.