A Psychologist’s Advice On “non-traditional”… love!

In the past, light blue and pink were simply the happy colors of childhood: children sang of the blue brook or the pink elephant, not thinking to give these simple words a more complicated meaning. Nowadays, even first-graders know that “light blue” is a term that refers to male homosexuals and “pink,” to lesbians.

Today we will be talking about the “light blues” and “pinks.” Incidentally, those with non-traditional sexual orientations speak about themselves using these words. A little history: non-traditional sexual relations have always been around. You can find examples of such relations in the historical chronicles of Ancient Greece and Rome and, later, in the Renaissance period in Europe.

Different societies have responded with varying levels of tolerance and understanding to this inescapable, ubiquitous phenomenon-that of love and relations between those of the same gender. Christian culture (as was the case with the Jewish culture that preceded it) has, on the whole, responded negatively to such people. In various countries this has manifested itself in different ways-from censure to imprisonment. The Soviet Union is among those countries which has criminally prosecuted homosexuals. Even in the 1980s many citizens of the USSR were put in jail based on the Soviet law on homosexuality.

However, with the approach of the third millennium, the situation throughout the world fundamentally changed. Members of sexual minorities have been recognized as normal people, no different from any other citizens, protected by laws, having rights, and first and foremost, the right to personal safety. In all civilized countries it has become illegal to persecute, degrade, or refuse work to “pinks” and “light blues,” among other things. These people’s right to be who they are, love one another, and not fear persecution has been recognized.

A pioneer in the protection of such citizens from all forms of discrimination is Holland. This same process began in the United States with several important legal battles won by homosexuals a few decades ago in various American states. In these cases, the plaintiffs were allowed to return their former places of work-that is, they were considered to have been unfairly laid off on the basis of their non-traditional sexual orientation. All of these cases were won by the plaintiffs. In America, England, Spain, France, and Portugal, as well as in many other countries, the recognition of the rights of citizens with non-traditional sexual orientations has even become a matter of high-level politics: we can think of at least a few mayors of several large cities who publically announced that they were homosexual or battles for the candidacy for the presidency, wherein the candidates won the votes of the gay and lesbian community.

It would seem that justice has triumphed. Almost triumphed, anyway. There still remains one sphere in which gays and lesbians are discriminated against in many countries: they often are unable to officially register their marital relations. Unofficial unions are permitted, certainly, but official registration, no. In many European countries, however, this problem is also being resolved, and homosexual couples are being granted the same marital rights that heterosexual couples have. But even in Europe same-sex marriages are denounced by the Catholic Church. The Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, has called from his papal throne for an unwavering battle against abortion and same-sex marriage.

But that is all over there, in the West. And what about here, in Russia? Thank God gays and lesbians are no longer condemned in court or destroyed in camps, as it was under Stalin. But nevertheless, the Orthodox Church categorically rejects same-sex marriages and condemns them in every way possible. We remember well what kind of persecution a certain Orthodox priest faced after he chose to marry two men who were in love with one another. Official same-sex marriages are also forbidden. Attempts at gay parades in Moscow and St. Petersburg were suppressed by the authorities of the two capitals. Unfortunately, we have not yet had the successes that Holland has.

The first, and so far only, international gay film festival in our country took place this year in St. Petersburg under conditions of strict secrecy. No entertainment establishment in the city was willing to grant an outlet from which to officially conduct the festival, each business offering various excuses for its refusal. Yes, this, the “Northern Capital,” that very “window to Europe,” was not able to repeat that which has already long ago successfully taken place in many cities throughout the world. Gay and lesbian film is an important subset of modern film, of non-traditional film. Unfortunately, this part of international cultural heritage was left inaccessible for St. Petersburg’s wider public. And I, to this very day, remember a film that was strong in its cast and its content called “Priest” which I saw in 2000. This film is about the tragic choice of a young priest between his love for God and his love for another young man. And he makes an agonizing decision in favor of his boyfriend, suffering unprecedented humiliation at the hands of his former congregation.

Our society as a whole suffers from deep-seated homophobia. “Homophobia” is a specific psychological term that refers to the fear felt with respect to homosexuality and/or individual homosexuals.

And what is socially acceptable in our society when it comes to the “pinks and light blues?” An indulgent (and even condescending) and humorous attitude towards such popular show business performers as Boris Moiseev. And that is it. And those who are not in show business, who are not related to art in any way, really have no chance of being understood by the people around them.

And thus, my dear readers, I have given you a short course on non-traditional relations. Why did I do this? What, did I hope to convert you to the side of same-sex marriages? Not at all. As a psychologist, I want to stave off your fears, your prejudices against such people, people who are among us, who come from all nationalities and hold all types of professions.

Fear #1: Gays and lesbians are mentally ill. This is not true. Think, for instance, of the famous composer Tchaikovsky.

Fear #2: Gays and lesbians, in terms of their reproductive health, are somehow defective. This is also untrue. Many of them have children.

Fear #3: These people are maniacs and rapists. This, too, is not true. According to criminal statistics, maniacs and rapists most often are “family” people who love their spouses and children.

Fear #4: People with non-traditional sexual orientations are sinners. None of us are without sin. And in the end, when we are judged, if it comes to that, we can only be judged by God. So let’s leave it do God to sort out our sins.

Fear #5: Friendships with such people will make us, in the eyes of other people, just like them. Well, who are these people who are judging you? If they are not as intelligent as you are, then what difference does it make? And if they are intelligent people, well, then let them with their superior intellect figure out these questions on their own.

Fear #6: These people are dangerous to children. No! They are no more dangerous than you or I. Very commonly these people are confused with pedophiles. But pedophilia is a completely different problem.

Now it is appropriate to turn to several legal issues regarding non-traditional gender relations. Love between two consenting adults (of the same-sex or of different sexes) is not punishable. When someone is forced to love another person, on the other hand, that is already violence and therefore criminally punishable. Moreover, forcing minors (children and teenagers) into any type of sexual relations is a crime.

Incidentally, about minors: much of the research conducted by academics, doctors, and psychologists indicates that real homosexual relations among teenagers is a great rarity. Instead what we usually see is an “excessively” close friendship, namely friendship, between two boys or two girls. This type of friendship is often mistaken for same-sex love. However, whatever the case may be, I would like to warn you that any relationship between teenagers should be approached with caution and respect. If you do not like your child’s friends, trying to talk your child out of any such friendships (you as the parent have the right to do this) must be done very carefully. Otherwise you risk ruining your relationship with your child, which could give rise to depression in your child. And a teenager who is depressed because he or she is separated from his or her best friend-that is always a dangerous situation, i.e., your teenager might be inclined to consider suicide.

I would like to close this article wishing you peace, great love, and friendship that does not take into account skin color, the shape of your eyes, the thickness of your wallet, or the sexual preferences of your friends.


Your psychologist

I. Berdyshev


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