Gender stereotypes: combating irrational hate stemmed from superstitions

My road to atheism was a short but simple one. I was raised in a traditional Chinese Family, full of Buddhist rites, Taoist rituals and worship of ancient Chinese pantheons.

My journey to atheism was triggered, unfortunately, by peer pressure in an opposite direction. In school, I used to be an introverted and closed up student, who was wary of the world around. I was coaxed out of my shell thanks to the help of a friend. However, my other schoolmates had the impression that I was being extremely nice to this person even though I felt like I was treating everyone equally. It began to devolve into rumors saying that I was a closeted homosexual.

All the comments about homosexuality were disgusting and hurtful. This was during a time where sexual education was sparse and gender stereotypes were expected to be conformed with. This was further propped up by the indiscriminate and unreasonable teachings, which contributed to a climate of fear and hate.

At the time, I was uneducated about language and labels used when referring to sexuality. However, I could feel that the negative connotations associated with homosexuality were impossible to repudiate without offending some religious groups. Even though I was not gay, I began to internalized [sic] the damage and hate that was targeted at homosexuals. And as reason and rationality could not convince my friends, I was expelled -forcibly- out of their circle.

Many years have passed. Looking back at my formative years, I now realize that this episode has been especially painful and it took me 8-9 years to recover from it. Until now, none of those ‘friends’ have recognized the damage they have inflicted back then. On the contrary, they have become more homophobic throughout these years. But I have walked out of it stronger and realized that to combat such irrational hate, I needed to combat the superstitions that give rise to it.


This story was first published on ‘Ask An Atheist – SG’ Facebook page in 2016.