Ideas to increase tolerance and understanding?

Having recently moved from Holland to the south of the USA, I see huge differences in tolerance towards homosexuality.

Somehow I think in Holland I was raised differently than I would have been here in the USA, but I still can't fully grasp the huge difference in tolerance. It could be the overwhelming presence of Christianity here, but I'm not sure.

As a straight guy, I will never fully understand homosexuality, but it can't be that hard to explain to people that falling in love is basically the same for everyone.

To create an ideal world of understanding and tolerance, where would you start? Teaching about homosexuality in schools? More celebrities coming out, to make people see it's 'normal'? We have to start somewhere, but how? Any ideas?

Update:

TS_Queen: "Young Lady" ? Mark is a male name, my avatar is male. If I were a "young lady" I'd be gay... Is that what you want?

13 Answers

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  • Snark
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Bigot - one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.

    (Example - calling a person a pervert for being a homosexual is intolerant and hateful.)

    Bigoted - adjective, having the quality of being a bigot, being or characteristic of a bigot.

    Opinion - A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.

    Bigoted opinion - a belief or conclusion held without positive knowledge or proof that is intolerant or hateful in nature.

    Ergo, "Homosexuals are perverts" is a bigoted opinion, and one I certainly didn't expect to come from that particular direction.

    Is any given person entitled to a bigoted opinion? Sure. You're entitled to any opinion. But does the fact that you have a right to your opinion mean that your opinions are immune from being called bigoted? Um, no.

    Anyway...

    I think we've already started. Things are WAY better now for homosexuals than they were only a few decades ago. So what's the next step?

    As Pink Floyd might say... "It doesn't have to be like this.

    All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."

    Keep talking. Keep being a voice for tolerance, and keep being a voice against bigotry.

    And keep pressing forward, item by item, until homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else.

    Just remember that you cannot change the minds of the people with laws. You must keep talking.

    Let's also remember that if you see a person who is different from you in some way - they are another race, they are a different religion, they are gay while you're not - whatever it is, remember this - the best way to learn what it's like to be them is to ask THEM, not to just sit around and decide what that person's feeling, thinking, and experiencing as a result of that difference.

  • Neilly
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I am Adventist. Many of you think that my religion is a cult. I don't care what you think and I have laughed at the books and articles that I have read that have tried to define my church of choice a cult. I think that gays and lesbians are wrong if they practice their thing in life. Now when a church tells me that I cannot worship there because of given sin then I must as a person evulate if I want that church to help me change or if I want to continue living as such. I am sure many members of my church would be irate to say the least that I have in the past voted straight ticket Democratic. Although last election I voted straight ticket Republican. I feel that a person has a right to choose if they live in sin or not. No I am not just talking about the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Straight couples living together in the same household unwed fall here too. I believe that God gives us the freedom to choose too. However when my behavior or your behavior or anyones behavior is different that what God has commanded then I believe that it is ALWAYS distrasterous.

  • bamboo
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Dialogue. I think all the people in the world are aware already of homosexuality, and the discrimination that comes along with it. Awareness has been dealt with, but the informed and guided step after being aware is still not happening.

    I think an inter-sexual dialogue (like inter-religious dialogue) must be considered. Open communication about people's ideas of it, what they do about it, how they contribute to it's development or deterioration, is helpful and necessary.

    Media. Create ads to encourage people and move people to understand homosexuality. Stage plays to correct their misinformed and improper perceptions of homosexuals. Satire is a bitter necessity, I read that somewhere.

    I'm not so sure if the parents are open to having their kids attend a school teaching about homosexuality, for quite understandable reasons...I think, more than educating the kids, it's the adults that has to be taught and guided. At the end of the day, these kids learn from their parents the most.

  • I gotta be honest with you. I wasn't always secure about my homosexuality. I was raised in a religious family, and was born in the Middle East, it's worse there than the United States. Way I say it education does help, but unfortunately once the child goes back home, his/ her parents stuff his/ her head with their religious beliefs, and kids usually see their parents as "gods" and flawless, so all the education they received in school goes poof. It needs a lot of mending and attitude changing. 2 states now allow gay marriage, and hopefully more states will learn that love is love and do the same and keep religion off state matters.

    Source(s): 23-year old Gay Man
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  • 1 decade ago

    as someone who has recently moved from the UK to Holland, i think that overall, people should take a leaf out of the book of how the Dutch take a logical attitude towards everything, not just homosexuality, but prostitution, soft drugs, environmental concerns, industry, policing, land reclaimation... the list goes on. My answer is that Dutch people should export their knowledge & attitudes by way of seminars!

    Furthermore, i think that an over-emphasis on religion in other countries, like the USA, is a cause for concern, as it increases intolerant attitudes, not only amongst minorities like homosexuals, but also amongst other religions.

    Fundamentalism is fundamentalism, even if it's christian fundamentalism.

    I've never been as happy as i am now that i'm living in Holland. Heel goed, hoor.

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi Mark, I have only visited the U.S. and Holland and as you rightly say very contrasting lifestyles they are.

    Unfortunately Christianity takes the blame yet again,Why? because people take bits out of bible and not understand the whole message only the bits that suit their arguement.

    Christianity began with Christs' ressurection.

    What did Jesus Christ try and teach us?

    To love one another (as I have loved you)

    Not to Judge (there is only one judge)

    Iff we all follow those teachings then there would be more tolerance to homosexuality, racism etc,etc

    Education? well sex education is taught in schools surely that

    should cover ALL sexualities

    the problem also lies in teaching Parents,its from them that youngsters learn prejudices

  • 1 decade ago

    I think that teaching homosexuality in american schools would help a great deal, especially during sex ed. A greater presence of homosexuality in the media and movies would help tremendously too. I also think that completely severing the church from ALL aspects of government would do a great deal of good as well. Start with the media. The government can't regulate the media as much and media has a greater impact on people than eduacation. That came third on the studies after peers.

  • Start by getting this 'religion' thing out of people's minds and make them realize that scriptures are not 'God', they are human written after all, hence are bound to contain prejudices.

    As you've yourself said, that being a straight guy, you don't fully understand homosexuality and I understand that...straight people can never 'understand' homosexuality but all I want is acceptance, because my homosexuality is as natural for me as your heterosexuality.

    The aim of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one. So, yes, making children aware of this fact that just like married couples...same-sex couples are also a part of the society would help a lot, because it is these kids who'll form the future society.

    I live in country where homosexuality is illegal. So, let's talk about LGBT rights everywhere in the world, let's not limit it to western countries. Make people realize that homosexuality is natural and gay people exist everywhere...in every country and in every society.

    Even if we do this, I know that bigoted minds would never open up but at least I expect that those people who have brains will realize that 'stereotypes' are just what they are 'stereotypes' and not reality....

    I'm gay...but I don't have AIDS, I'm no pedophile...the only thing that is different in me is that I'm romantically, emotionally and sexually attracted to the same sex. And remember that it's 'different' but not 'abnormal'....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Markyyy, I agree and wish everyone was as decent as you are.

    It's kind of sad, there's no reason why it should be, that especialy kids are so narrow minded and hatefull for no good reason.

    I would rather they taught all kinds of cultural acceptance in schools, and specificly not that homosexuality was wrong. Islamaphobia is also rife and disgusting.

    I wish morality wasn't about hating people in order to make yourself feel 'moral'... and that all people are just living the best life they can, why make it more difficult for others than it should be?

  • 1 decade ago

    Welcome to the Bible Belt, fellah!

    Seriously, though, it's not mere Christianity, it's fundamentalism that is the problem. About the only thing that is ever going to change them is time, lots of time. The younger people slowly get exposed to a better standard, but only slowly.

    You can be a voice of reason, but don't try to be a very loud one. Someone says something rude, you can say something like, "Oh, come on; they're not so bad. They're human, too." But be prepared to remain calm and reasonable in the face of some very agitated and unreasonable people.

    It is my experience that many people who feel like they are on the bottom rung of society need to believe someone is further down that they can step on. The poor white "cracker" needs to think that "at least he's better than [fill in stereotypically defined group]". This does not speak well for their religious upbringing, but I guess tolerance is not one of the virtues they prize. Sounds too much like demonic appeasement to them.

    P.S. To the guy above who talked about "not normal:" No, it's not. Normal is a statistical term which refers to the center of the bell curve. The center of the curve is not the whole curve: the entire curve shows what is NATURAL, not normal. And as one bright young man pointed out in another answer, homosxuality is as natural to him as heterosexuity is to the people in the middle of the bell curve. And bisexuality is also natural to many of us.

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