I’m not gay. But I’m pro-Pride.
More importantly, I am pro-person.
It is heartbreaking that I cannot count the number of times I have heard comments about peers like, “Sayang naman ang kaguwapuhan niya [His handsomeness is going to waste]” or the like. Well, breaking news: If he’s handsome, he’s not handsome for women. He’s handsome for himself, and whoever he loves and loves him – be it romantic or otherwise – and anyway, true handsomeness (or beauty) is the state of the heart, not the face.
Others have it even worse, facing harassment in all kinds. But the one thing that these harassers fail to remember is that every single one of us is a unique human being, created in the image and likeness of the creator who loves us, with innate dignity that can never be taken away, not even by themselves. To think of one as less than human, or an animal, is inhumane and animalistic thinking in itself.
In his 2007 lecture Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues, Bishop Robert Barron defines lust as the objectification of a person, and treating them as means instead of ends, for the sake of one’s (sexual) pleasure. But let’s stop at objectification: That, in itself, already deprives a human being of what cannot be taken from them. Judging does just that.
Pope Francis does not judge. Jesus did not judge or condemn the adulteress. Or his executioners. Or St. Paul. Why should we, then, when Jesus himself taught us not to judge, that we do not get judged? When all we simply have to do is love? Is it really that difficult to love?
And love is at the cornerstone of the counter-virtue to the deadly sin of lust, which is chastity. Bishop Barron defines chastity as respecting the other’s otherness – understanding, appreciating, and treating them as fellow human beings who are not to be objectified, not to be treated as means, not to be “needed” the way we “need” possessions; but to love them for who they are, unconditionally, the same way God loves us unconditionally.
I, too, was judged since I was young – mercilessly teased for being too “soft”, not “macho” enough. I was thought of as gay, myself. A lot of times. But I’m not – and I say this not because I would be ashamed of it, were it the case; but because I am asserting who I am and who I am not. And I take pride in knowing myself, and that I can and will use this knowledge to serve and empower others.
And, anyway, sexual orientation is not what defines a person’s identity, inasmuch as skin tone, ethnicity, or name do not, as well. What does is how he lives, how he loves.
To be themselves, their fullest selves, that they can, in turn, empower others to be such as well. And so on.
I first published a slightly shorter version of this post as a Facebook post/status on 1 July 2019.