“Sentinelle in piedi”, standing sentinels. It’s an Italian movement that in the past five months -since talks of a new law on gay unions came out- has brought thousands of people into Italy’s squares to protest silently against said law. These people basically meet, open a book in silence and light a candle by their feet, then walk away. It’s a flashmob. Their website is not entirely clear on what their mission is, but since the news section opens with “say NO to the law against homophobia” I gather that what brings them together is a varying degree of hate for gay people.
I am relatively young, so I have not seen millions of protests, but from what I know you generally protest against someone who is evil; against someone, to be more specific, who you know is evil because of their actions. And as much as I believe there are evil gay people, I understand that these sentinels protest against ALL gay people. They are protesting against a share of the population -their own population, same culture, same upbringing, same language, same schools attended, same favourite gelato flavor- because this slice of the population has something in common that they don’t have, namely sexual orientation.
But if this is so, why not protest against fat people? Blondes? Hot girls? People who wear glasses? I really cannot stand those who pick their nose at the red light, do I stand in a square surrounded by my peer nose-pickers-haters to request the Government to take away their rights (or, like in this case, not give them their rights?). Do I say “people who pick their nose should not get married and have children because they’ll teach their children to pick their noses?”, do I stand there and request not to pass a law that condemns those who hurt them?
I do not, because I was raised to believe that one’s personal sphere is personal and as long as there is no violence against another human being (and as far as I know rapes in Europe are mostly perpetrated by men against women, I acknowledge and condemn the existence of same-sex rape but it is statistically less significant) no one is entitled to poke their nose into other people’s lives.
This, and I don’t mean to offend my enlightened religious friends, clearly has a religious base: by a mere misunderstanding of most scriptures homosexuality has been considered by many cultures as intrinsically wrong. But are those who so vehemently defend the traditional family, God fearing catholics (in this particular case)? The answer is: generally not. They eat meat on friday (what’s aperitivo without prosciutto?), they have premarital sex and a loooot of them are divorced too. Then there are all the minor things (not helping those in distress, beating wife and children, cheating on husband)… peanuts! What really matters is fighting against gay people who corrupt our society! So, I wonder, why is it that if we follow the scriptures to the word on homosexuality we break almost all other rules on a daily basis?
Because those who are different are scary. Sex is pleasurable, so we do it. The pleasure of sex makes up for the sense of guilt long enough so that we stop feeling guilty for having sex in the first place (which, I tell you as a happy atheist, you shouldn’t feel anyway!). But sex with a person of your same gender challenges you with something that you didn’t know and for that reason you feared. A lot of men I talk to when I’m back home tell me “I don’t mind gay people, as long as they keep away from my ass”. So please gay community, do me a favour and make it crystal clear that you don’t walk the streets of Italy swinging your birds left and right, hoping to find a nest for it every time you see another man. On the other hand I also need to tell my lovely heterosexual male acquaintances: Flattered? Don’t be. Chances are that no gay men ever noticed you, you are far too straight! It goes without saying, if the gay person involved is a woman most homophobic men will find themselves not so homophobic after all and will start drooling over the possibility of participating in a three some. Shut out to you guys: not a porn movie, real life…
Anyway, although the reason why someone can be so scared of someone –guiltless– else (including their neighbour, their doctor or the guy at the counter of their favourite pub) to stage a protest against them escapes me, I do try and understand the reasons behind such movement. The law clearly states that adoptions are not on the table, gay couple can get in vitro fecundation abroad but then the child/children are only the biological (and legal) children of the sperm donor, and have no legal relation whatsoever with his/her partner (the other one they call dad, just to make things clear).
So why, why, why on earth do you devote your energy to making someone else’s life worse? They have the right to spend their life with whoever they want, to have their partners visiting them in hospital and make end of life decisions, they have the right to love someone and feel safe knowing that, should they die, he or she will inherit their home, their memories, their clothes.
As my friend Daniele rightly pointed out, a sentinel is generally one who watches over you, it does suggest a sense of protection: with a sentinel beside me, ready to protect me and warn me of dangers, what could I possibly fear?
In this twisted scenario, the one to fear is the one who is trying to protect you. To protect you against gay people who will rule the world and force everyone into gaytude, enslaving them in a Dantesque inferno of sodomy and all sorts of perversions. Should a law on gay union (not marriage people, less rights and no children!) pass, they will wipe out mankind with their insane sexual habits before you can scream “Noooooo!!!!”.
It is a sad sad world, diseases, violence, brutality. I work on a programme trying to prevent child trafficking, every day I learn things that make me sick to my stomach and force me to look into the dark soul of men and women. There is only one thing that I need to restore my faith in human kind: love. I love Love, I want to be in love and be surrounded by people who love each other.
You, sentinel, if you put your rage against someone who has done nothing to you into loving someone you don’t know you’ll be happier.
(Healthy) Love tends not to kill, rage almost always does, so before you get an ulcer or before you kill someone because he or she is different, sentinel, stop being enraged and start loving!