An idea popped in my head when I started following tweets from Sepoci Kopi about bullying towards lesbians. It is discussed so clear and obvious on how the society mistreats and abuses minority. Especially the LGBTIQs. Within some tweets mentioned that such abuse took place at school. As a former teacher for young (umm, younger) students, somehow it made me think how the 'value' of abusing minority socialized to generations in the simplest way. But today, it reminded me, as well, of how I was taught and informed about LGBTIQ existence.
Before that, I need to make a confession. Scene of kids screamed 'faggot' to others in my early school years wasn't something new. In this opportunity, I'd really like to say sorry, truly sorry, that I was also one...
You might find it funny as today I'm a straight supportive to LGBT people. And how I can be so mad when there's bullying act towards them. Here's the explanation why. We, as kids, were taught that gay/lesbian/transvestites were only... a joke! Details, anyone?
I went to a strict religious school in Jakarta, where the majority of the teachers were Javanese women. Not a way of defense I'm going to give out. But feudalism is the colour of our teacher-student relationship. One-way communication that we couldn't speak up our opinions, except to agreeing. That was the culture we had back then. And we were just born fitting in like that. Just like that. One day, there was a joke from a friend of mine in class, saying that one of the boys was dating with a boy from another class. We were all around 6 or 7 years old at the time. All of us laughed while I was also wondering if that could happen.
Then, my teacher said to us, "well, if it's a boy and a boy... they're just making a joke". I didn't remember how exactly she said it, but she explained more that gay relationship was only a game, and wasn't (and wouldn't be) serious one like a boy and a girl could have. She said that gay stuff like that would only happen to kids like us because we were not mature enough to understand the concept of a real adult relationship. "When you guys grow up, you'll understand better, so there's nothing like that happen in your adulthood," she explained. "C'mon, dating is just for adults, you're still kids!"
On the other hand, it's easy to find a singing transvestites on streets in Jakarta. Yet, that didn't change the fact that we, again as kids, were told differently apart from the truth. A man, wearing woman's clothing. Another teacher in another chance, said, "the man is entertaining you. He wants people to find him funny and amusing, that''s why he wears girly dress." I re-think of it again and all I find is that teacher was actually equalizing transvestites as clowns---wearing 'costume' for fun?
And there's nothing funny with girl's clothes to make fun of!
I know it's the culture everywhere. A man wearing girl's clothes for a prank. It's a patriarchal view if a man is downgrading if he's 'becoming' a woman. Something stodgy, of course, as I believe in gender equality.
Last year, I read one of non-fiction book about Jakarta, Jakarta Inside Out by Daniel Ziv. The author wrote, according to his research for years, "...Jakarta's gay community enjoys a surprising degree of openness and freedom. This is partially because government position on homosexuality is that it doesn't exist." That fact make me realize why my teachers lied to me about LGBT. It's like a slap on my face. They probably hope that we can clear our LGBT tendency or something like that out of our lives, so that we all could be straight?
During grade school years, we had a boy in class, that most of people called him 'the faggot'. One boy with feminine attitude. The teachers weren't that strict to him for how he behaved. But they told us if he could be 'more masculine' when he grew up, sooner or later. In details, the teachers said it's just some kind of 'habit'. I used to call him 'faggot' too. Why? Because I think he's trying to be funny! Not only me, we all did. So, when there was a vote for 'the funniest in class' at the end of each school year, he won! We agreed that he had been funny all the time, you know, he acted like that most of the time.
...and for another silly thing is, knowing that it was a joke, I used to have two girlfriends when I was 7. I thought we were joking, right? A way to have fun, so I did it. So teachers, explain better next time!
So, when did I start to realize that LGBTIQ do really exist?
I was in grade 7 in a new school. Another almost-the-same-religiously-mad school. Seniority ruled over our school life. Where juniors were so fear of seniors that they could just let the 'older' creatures to do anything they wanted. Or, where a junior deserved to be SOOO proud when a senior came up to her class, bringing flowers and said, 'I like you and I want you to be my girlfriend'. Surprisingly, on one special day, there was a female senior did that to a female junior. Yeah, so you know... That incident made me think. We were not kids anymore and we were already 'legal' to have boyfriends, but why some girls 'still' prefer to have girlfriends. I wondered why. Firstly, I guessed that they probably weren't mature enough. Forgive me, I was 12 and innocent. Too innocent.
When I was 15, it happened to me. A girl who were 7 years older than me....umm, yeah, she liked me too.
The root of not accepting LGBTIQ can be (well, maybe) starting from here. By thinking it's funny, weird, and not exist. They're then just a target to bully. When a religious approach came up, you know it's just going to be worse. If we were educated in the contrary, the views of 1000 students in my school could deliver better changes. In our grade school graduation, one of my friends said, "I wonder what if our faggot boy will be another singing transvestite on streets we could see when we grew up." Daaang! I didn't know why we were so damn stupid.
I worked as a teacher since my second year in university. In that phase, I also joined a community, crowded with LGBT people. For your surprise, I'm happy. And I know better in almost everything directly rather than through the education I got. Unfortunately, I'm happy because I know more great friends, and not because they're acting differently of which I might find as 'funny'. Once a student made a joke about gay people. I explained to him nicely and told him that it's something not nice to do. If he's getting even madly incontrollable, I'll scowl him. Simple.
So, if you think being LGBT is being funny, errr, better try to play creating avatar of yourself, ok?
...what happens in my bedroom stays in my bedroom...