Shyam Anand Singh: Logic And Empathy Should Guide LGBT Discourse

I refer to Mr Walid Jumblatt Abdullah’s letter “Don’t let secular fundamentalism be the norm” (May 15), and Mr Hairol Salim’s letter “Efforts of Pink Dot ambassadors should be lauded, not condemned” (May 13).

Although I agree that each of us possesses a unique code of values that conditions our moral beliefs, I contend that Mr Jumblatt has misinterpreted the context of Mr Hairol’s letter, which does not state that all religious beliefs are based on emotions.

Mr Hairol’s statement about not letting religious-driven emotions cloud our judgment was made in relation to personal attacks on Pink Dot ambassadors based on their religious affiliations, and was not a wider critique of the state’s secular principles.

Despite the fact that religious mores play a role in societal discourse, it is critical to distinguish between ideas rooted in logic and sentiments based on emotions, especially when discussing an issue as complex as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights.

Given that religious doctrine has traditionally been wielded over centuries as a tool of persecution, it is vital to underscore that religious-driven emotions can often double as hate speech against LGBT individuals.

This is distinct from religious perspectives grounded in logical thinking. While the line between the two may be thin, the former has a tendency to vilify the self-worth of sexual minorities.

Religious views guided by logic, conversely, facilitate dialogue with a greater degree of self-reflexivity and openness to accommodating alternative notions of sexuality.

Such an approach would benefit religious sexual minorities facing difficulties reconciling their sexual orientation with their faith.

Often, these individuals encounter double discrimination: From religious groups for their sexual orientation and from segments of the LGBT community for their religious convictions.

Ensuring that religious perspectives refrain from mischaracterising homosexuality as a moral hazard would aid in the personal and social struggles of LGBTs, religious or otherwise.

Exercising logic and better empathising with the struggles of sexual minorities would therefore be a positive reflection on the progressiveness of our public discourse and be a harbinger for a more inclusive society.


*This article written by Shyam Anand Singh, was published in Voices, Today, dated 19 May 2015


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