Christina Engela's picture

Out And About


How do you feel about it?

I'm referring to the willful public exposure of individuals against their will, and without regard for their health or well-being. Quite often this is an intentional act of spite - sabotage - intended to ruin the life of the victim. An act of malice, to injure them, sometimes an act of revenge.

On Saturday I heard from a young friend that he had been outted and he was very distressed. It seems a love interest of his had tricked him into holding an intimate conversation via blackberry messenger, which he then showed to other people as proof that my friend is gay. There was also a phone call in which they discussed intimate details of getting together and formalizing their relationship, which had been something of an on-again-off-again thing over the past 2 years. My friend is 20 and the love interest 21. This guy shared the entire conversation with his mother, who is connected to my friends family by way of a second marriage to one of his relatives. Apparently she had also been allowed to listen in on the telephone conversation. My friend told me this woman had been calling all his close family and informing them that he is gay. His sister had called him to inform him of the situation and to ask what was going on. He was left with little choice but to come out to his mother before she received the same phone call.

This love interest of my friends seems by all accounts to be one of those guys who suffers from internalized homophobia, being incapable of accepting his own sexuality, while maintaining an overt heterosexual dating life, being all macho and outwardly homophobic - and meanwhile back at the ranch, he is equally comfortable in the sack with a guy. But just don't tell anyone about it. It is our little secret. It is little wonder then that this malicious act leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. Was it some last ditch attempt to prove to the world, at the expense of another person's dignity and privacy, how "straight" he is?
Christina Engela's picture

Driving While Blind

It is ironic in the extreme that there are people out there who are very vocal about their feelings or so-called "moral convictions" on what you or I do in our private lives, who we love, how we choose to express ourselves, about what makes us happy or how we differ from them in any way, shape or form - regardless of whether or not we cause any harm to anyone else or not.
The irony of course lies in the detail that the same folks can't stand the heat when others apply the same heat to them in the same kitchen.
I'm a firm believer in the principle that what you believe is your own business. That is because by implication it also means that what I believe is none of your business. Conversely, what we do out of our beliefs that affects other people - such as either good works or acts of bigotry or terror - are everybody's business.
So where people plan to blow up buildings, or themselves in order to kill and maim other people, because they believe it will "somehow" make a better world - then as far as I'm concerned, that is where these beliefs become my business. If people want to force private businesses to sell their beliefs by threatening them with boycott and closure, then I want to know about it. If people want to force TV and the media to report from a particular bias or to enforce a particular religious view on society, I want to know about it. When people want to force their personal beliefs on government and through government, onto society then we should all be alarmed. What I mean by this, is entrenching the religious beliefs of one group into law so that all people have to abide by them in their daily and private lives. (In case you haven't noticed, all the above has been happening here in SA lately.) Where people are put on the rack for who they happen to have a relationship with, or what gender their partner is (or was), or put on trial for what they believe where it doesn't harm anyone, then what business is it of mine (or yours) to sit in judgment of them? Are you that person? Am I? Have we lived that person's life, walked in their shoes? Have we rolled with the same punches they had to? Are they going to be the ones to hold them at night when they lie there, alone and unhappy, telling them "Thanks to me your life is shit - but it's ok, at least now you can go to heaven"? I didn't think so.
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