The recent passing of the law in Spain and Canada, giving full legal rights and protection to gay marriage, both happening within the space of 3 days, had flooded the LGBT community in a wave of euphoria. With a stroke of a pen, LGBT communities in these two countries are now given the choice of whether or not, to tie the knot with their loved one, and if they do, to enjoy the full marital rights enjoyed previously only by heterosexual couples.
These landmark decisions in the two Western countries contrasted sharply with another recent heart-wrenching legal judgment in Iran, where two teenage homosexuals were condemned to death by hanging for an alleged crime of rape against another teenager. Not only that the nature of the crime is questionable and dubious, but the execution of two human lives still in their innocent teenage screams a gross transgression of human rights, and disregard for life.
Gay rights are essentially human rights as the LGBT community wanted nothing more than the same, basic human rights accorded to the heterosexual community. But law, as a product of human beings, can only evolve as the community and culture which the
law governs, evolve and progress.
It is a known fact that homosexuality was regarded as a pathology and that gay sex was a crime in the West till as late as the 1960's. And as we read about the evolution and changes that had occurred in the West, it also struck us that the community had indeed come a long way to reach where they are right now.
Homosexuality is really nothing new. In the 17th century, during the Tokugawa period (1600 – 1867), Japan has the best recorded tradition of male same-sex love in world history. There was widespread prevalence of homosexual relations among men of the samurai class as well as urbanites generally.
In China, the first recorded male love dates back to Zhou Dynasty, 500 BC involving the Duke Ling of Wei and his lover Mizi Xia. Since then, China has seen countless bisexual and homosexual rulers. For two centuries at the height of the Han, China was ruled by openly bisexual emperors. The names of their male favorites were recorded in the official histories by Sima Qian and Ban Gu.
In other cultures as well, notably that of the ancient Greek and Roman empires, homosexuality was not only widely practiced, but was regarded as a more esteemed and elevated form of human love. Besides that, there had also been records that homosexual practices were in fact part and parcel of cultures of various communities in Africa and Oceania.
Nonetheless, the IDENTIFICATION of homosexuality is something new in terms of human history. While there were obviously homosexual relations between men and women in the past, the homosexual identity was not an issue. People just functioned as they would as a member of the society and did what they felt they had to do.
To be continued in Part Two.