The Subject of Boys

Lady Gaga and "Born This Way"

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Today someone told me that a psychologist was recently warned against trying to “treat” homosexuality because it wasn’t supposed to be considered as a subject for “treatment”, in other words, “leave us alone, we like it this way”, it’s our “right”.

In response I used the phrase, what’s wrong with being born this way, and I remembered all the fuss back in March over Lady Gaga’s hit song “Born This Way”. Her title hit me with a new of sense of profundity. She uses ‘this’ for us, the human race, not ‘that’ the other, the aberrant, but rather she includes and broadens what being human could mean and now I read her ‘alien’ look as being more than artistic expression. The ‘alienation’ sets us on edge and reminds us to be accepting of what we might find strange. That humanity is bigger than we think.

To recap: on March 25th, 2011, the Daily Express an independent national newspaper of East Malaysia ran the headline: “Lady Gaga deemed to have gone overboard” followed by a number of statements by religious organizations urging censorship of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way.” The statement from the Malay Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women is what made me take notice:

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Baha'u'llah & "The Subject of Boys"

The following contains mature content of a sexual nature so if you are squeamish, a prude or a minor, please move along. Maybe check out some kittehs or bunnies.

The subject of homosexuality continues to be a difficult topic within Baha’i theology. For many it presents an insurmountable challenge to their ability to accept the Baha’i Faith and for believers it is a topic of seemingly endless polemics.

There are many approaches we can take to attempt a better understanding of this issue. One of the most basic is to go back to the source and try to understand exactly what the Baha’i writings say.

{josquote}The way that we understand and define homosexual relationships today simply did not exist during Baha’u'llah’s time in the Middle East.{/josquote}

If we search Baha’u'llah’s writings, we find something quite remarkable. Nowhere in Baha’u'llah’s writings is there an explicit mention of homosexuality. Arguably, the only reference we have is an extremely brief mention in the Aqdas (more on that a bit later).

To understand why there is no wider mention of homosexuality and what exactly Baha’u'llah was referring and what Shoghi Efendi translated to the seemingly cryptic words, “the subject of boys”, we have to take a few steps back.

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Abuse in Bahai school in Suriname?

{josquote}Heymans said she was not aware that Sjerome S. had been dismissed for the same reasons by Roman Catholic Diocese Education from another inland school Masiakriki.{/josquote}

In Suriname (on the North coast of South America), the media and a member of parliament have been focusing on accusations of child abuse in a Bahai-run primary school in Bofokoele. The Dutch teacher who was principal of the school, named as Sjerome S., has been suspended for three months and asked not to come near the school. Hedy Heymans, Chairwoman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Suriname, says that although Sjerome S. has not been proven guilty, no risks can be taken with the well-being of the children and the good name of the Bahai communty. Heymans says that the public can be assured that the Bahai community takes the case very seriously. “We consider it a very, very serious matter, and not one we can accept.”

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Lady Gaga deemed to have gone overboard

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Kota Kinabalu: Concerned Malaysians, here, Thursday condemned controversial British artiste Lady Gaga for urging young Malaysians to protest the censorship of her lyrics in a hit song "Born This Way" that encourages alternative sexual behaviour, notably gay and lesbianism.

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Malaysia does not promote gays and lesbians, and has rightly banned the offensive content in Lady Gaga's song, said Yong Su Sien, a member of the Baha'i Office for the Advancement of Women.

{josquote}We do not condone abnormal sexual relationships...{/josquote}

"We do not condone abnormal sexual relationships, so we don't want her song to influence the minds of youngsters," she said.

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Bahai Views On the Message of the local BNASAA Friends:

Gay or straight, Baha’u'llah’s love is unconditional

The local group of the Baha'i Network on Aids, Sexuality, Addiction and Abuse presented before a recent Baha'i Cluster Reflection Meeting to describe the work they do. Like every body of believers within the Baha'i community in this day, their focus is on teaching the Baha'i Cause. They look to provide support to the population so affected by the pervasive issues addressed by BNASAA and to educate all of us, Baha'i or not, to the Message of Baha'ullah, as needed.

What is that message? "Regardless of who you are, what you do, Baha'u'llah loves you, and we love you, and we accept you, period, without reservation." Whatever the shortcoming, whatever the personal struggle, the love is unconditional. The discussion they led was spontaneous, brief, frank, and open. It went as follows. -gw

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