In Second Life I meet many people who use it as a platform to explore living differently from the way they do in the real world – playing with gender identity and different forms of relationships. While that’s a positive in a way, it’s also quite sad that people have to resort to an anonymous, online environment to explore these aspects of themselves, usually because of fear of how they would be treated in real life if they were to be open about their feelings.
And we have to acknowledge that, even in the most “tolerant” and liberal of western societies, homophobia, along with other forms of hatred, still functions, still hurts people, and still leaves many people isolated and afraid to be who they really are. Those fears are real.
It’s a very topical issue here in the UK, because the Government has announced an intention to legislate to recognise same-sex marriages, and this has brought out many homophobic voices, speaking in the name of the Church, arguing, for example, that gay marriage will undermine the very fundamentals of the Church of England (and, as a result, undermine the very state itself!).
When I was at school, I thought I learnt that the fundamentals of Christianity were to “love thy neighbour as thyself”, I really don’t recall learning anything about Jesus preaching about who should or shouldn’t love who, or how.
It’s always seemed ironic to me that those voices that shout loudest about preserving the current discriminatory position, whereby lesbian and gay relationships are not afforded the same legal recognition as heterosexual marriage, in the name of Christianity, are strangely silent on the subject of homophobic bullying in schools, as well as the many other forms of hate that are still prevalent in our society – actions that go directly against the doctrine of “love thy neighbour”.
I want to live in a world where everyone is free to love and be loved in return, where all forms of love between consenting adults is accepted, respected and valued, and where bigotry and hatred are things of the past. A world that has no place for hate.
So, I have to congratulate the organisers of this campaign, and ask everyone who reads this post to do something to show your support – visit the STAND4LOVE blog to find out how to get involved, or like or share or tweet this post to get more readers – it’s a small thing, but small things can make big changes in the end! Open your heart, open your mind, and stand for love today!