Long before I started this weblog, I made the conscious decision not to use it to falsely attack or defame any single person. Defamation is one of those things that I tend to take very seriously; not only due to the legal ramifications, but also because I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, unless they’re a public figure that has said or done something so against the grain that it has already been vetted out in the mainstream media. Then again, calling someone out who is not a public figure, over publicly posted statements on a publicly viewable Facebook page is another matter entirely…
I’m going to break with my rule regarding a focus on private citizens, and I’m doing this for a good reason; to expose the mindset behind the issue of bullying and intolerance where LGBT youth are concerned. The person whose comments I will be exposing, parsing and refuting here is a Facebook user named “Shima Uma.” Since there are several Shima Umas listed on Facebook, some degree of anonymity will be maintained. In addition to this, in an unusual step for The Cybersattva weblog, I will be posting the actual screenshots of this user’s comments so that everyone who reads this article will know that I am not simply making any of this up. (I will also be using linked text source citations, as opposed to the customary superscript notations.)
The important thing to keep in mind here is the differentiation between out-and-out “Homophobia” and simple, uninformed youthful ignorance. Shima Uma fits into the category of the latter, being a young (possibly even high-school aged) female. A quick perusal of her Facebook page reveals a conservative bent on issues. Within the past day, she has posted several comments to the Support Viki Knox page on Facebook. Let’s begin by observing what she has to say regarding the LGBT community on the whole;
From the point of view of the “traditionalist” or conservative crowd, there’s just something “not right” about LGBT people, something that the former does not understand about the latter. It has been my observation (and experience, I still remember what it was like to be young!) that youth tend to be far more reactionary than rational, given to basal instincts and behavior(s). Fear of the unknown is a basal instinct, one that has played a significant role in the survival of humans throughout our time on this “big blue marble.” As a response to this fear, we have developed the “fight or flight” reaction. If we think we have a strong advantage over that which we fear, we attack it. If we doubt the advantage, we flee. Since words and ideas are easier to fight with, verbal and typographical attacks become the default reaction in this case. For the uninformed, the only way to possibly overcome this fear / attack cycle is through information and enlightenment.
Shima posted these words from her perspective; that others who were angered by what she was positing on the page were posting things about her, that she was “telling the truth” and that since she wasn’t about to be “hurt by their meanness,” she blocked the respondant(s). In fact, the same can be said about her initial statements; that she was posting things about people and a concept that she was attacking, even in the face of these people (the LGBT community) being truthful, and that these people could be quite hurt by her meanness.
Now let’s look at some of the “truths” that she posits:
Having googled this, I found several conservative websites that posit this misconception, including WND (formerly WorldNet Daily) and Hobbs Ministries. Again, this is a case of willful ignorance being propagated to the uninformed youth. While it is true that abstinence may slow the spread of many STDs including HIV, it is not a “cure” per se, since a cure would also be applicable to those already infected with the virus. Also, there are several other vectors for transmission of STDs other than intercourse, including blood transfusion, intravenous drug use and incidental blood-blood contact (e.g., a “good samaritan” in the same vehicle accident as a poz person assists that person without either knowing that the poz person is in fact poz, by whatever means.) Oh, but don’t take my word as gospel folks, these facts can also be readily found online, in such places as the UK Coalition website.
Shima also makes the assumption (something she holds as being “truth”) that all gay people are sexually active. This also, is not entirely accurate. She goes on in the same thread to explain the origins of the HIV virus…or more accurately, her misguided assumptions as to its origins;
Let’s get this straight. According to our resident “expert” (keeping in mind that an “ex” is a has-been, and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure!) Shima Uma, HIV happened because a man had intercourse with a monkey, and that’s a “fact.” (Pardon me at this point, fine young readers, while I snee…..ah…ah….BULLSH**! Sorry, I’m just highly allergic to bullsh**.) Given the behavior of simians in the wild, I find this extremely unlikely, and so do several established authorities in such fields as Anthropology and Epidemiology. The leading theory (and it’s all “best guess,” since we weren’t there to witness the event!) is that the practice of “Bushmeat hunting” caused the transmission of the SIV virus between simians and man, at which point SIV mutated into HIV. (HIV has been traced back to the SIV virus.) Applying the principle of “Occam’s Razor” (latin: lex parsimoniae) in this case seems not only prudent, but also feasible. As before, please do not take my word as gospel…instead see the correlating data here, and here.
Also evident in the above thread is the degree of Shima Uma’s committment to her lie (yes, let’s call a spade a spade at this point!) in that she will go so far as to actively block those who disagree, thereby willfully disregarding any evidence that contradicts or debunks the lie. It is at this point, that true homophobia starts to emerge. Youthful ignorance crosses over into willful ignorance, which precludes the possibility of rational thought. As we all know from previous discussion on the topic, homophobia is an “extreme or irrational fear or aversion to homosexuals and / or homosexuality.”
Being as Shima Uma is still young, I don’t blame her entirely for this saddening display of utter ignorance. I blame the people that are providing her examples. I blame her parents, her teachers and her role models. I blame the people who are providing the rhetoric and talking points that she’s drawing from, to form the opinions (not facts!) that she has formed. The thing to pity here, is that this young woman will quite likely go on to pass these misconceptions and prejudices on to the next generation.
Update, 07 February: Prod someone enough, and they’ll let on a bit more as to who they are. It seems that Shima Uma is actually in her forties! (A forty-something female who is also a ComicCon fan and plays D&D?) Reading her posts since this article was published, it becomes even more evident that this person is entrenched in the mire of willful ignorance and discriminatory language where the LGBT community is concerned. Sadly, homophobia has claimed another victim.