*This article is featured in The Huffington Post *Illustration by the author, Sara El-Yafi
There are three lessons that I believe if we all learned about societies while we’re alive, life would fare better for us all:
1. Progress in society is inevitable; it advances through the good times and bad times, invariably and inevitably, whether you are on board or not.
2. Progress is a result of several factors, but there is only one factor that is proving itself to be the only obligatory ingredient for progress to materialize, and it is social equality.
3. If you say “so what?” repeatedly over and over again, sooner or later, you either will be slapped by an aunt or be taken into custody.
For the sake of this article, I will only focus on the first two points.
A country with no social equality is a country that stagnates. That is a fact. UNICEF issued a report stating that child wellbeing is not at all related to average income in each country, but is strongly related to inequality. Mental illness is more common in unequal societies. Violence, drug addiction, low life expectancy, high infant mortality, obesity, low educational performance, homicides, high imprisonment rates, slow social mobility, teenage births and lack of social trust are all, again, more common in more unequal societies, regardless of how rich the society is. In fact, some of the richest countries do worst in terms of social problems. Inequality is the newfound poison.
There even is a natural explanation for this phenomenon. You see, nature naturally subsists in a state of dynamic equilibrium. To sustain life, a natural system needs balance, or an equal distribution of constituents. As long as the system is balanced, it remains stable and alive. However, if the weight of things shifts onto one side of the scale, imbalance sets in, and the natural state of affairs gets distraught. The natural order of things will attempt to rebalance things earnestly, but if it fails to do so, nature will then cancel the system altogether. Indeed, it seems nature everywhere does not appreciate imbalance, that is why it resorts to a monumental reformatting of the state of affairs every time any imbalance sets in (wildfires, predation and extinction are examples of how nature chooses to regulate imbalance.) Thus, to recap, a system with a healthy balance is the only sustainable system in our natural world, and an imbalanced system, if not corrected, is a system that will die. That is the golden law of natural equilibrium. That law holds true for our human bodies (see body temperature and blood pH regulation), it holds true for the ecological succession and biodiversity on the planet, and it holds true for human societies.
In a human society, if any group of people gets repressed and excluded from society legally, socially or endemically, a dire state of imbalance eventually takes place, which threatens general stability. Consequently, as with the natural world, the state of affairs will attempt to move things around to create a new balance to ensure survival: That is the force of “dynamic equilibrium” at play, as discussed above. If the equilibrium succeeds, the system will be mutated into a new adapted system (compare American democracy of 1810 versus American democracy of 2010). If there is resistance (as there usually is), the oppositional forces will collide, which will either result in the destruction of a part of the system in place (like, say, with the Confederacy in 1865) or in the annihilation of the whole system (see all empires of history). But no matter what occurs, social imbalance will simply not be sustained for long. It is unnatural and it is the reason many civilizations fall: They miss the brink of equality and the state of affairs collapses them. And that is the unequivocal history of humanity.
The American LGBT community is estimated to be anywhere between two percent and 11 percent of the American population, with results varying depending on the anonymity of the survey (The Williams Institute and Gallup’s most recent poll estimate it to be about 3.5 percent). That’s a scope ranging between a very conservative estimate of six million human beings to a lavish 35 million human beings, with the latter number being almost equal to the African American community in the USA (surely with overlap). The United States, whether analytically or unsystematically, recognized that by keeping the LGBT community ostracized, it was going to pay a heavy price for it. Sequestering a population of that size, legally, socially and ethically affects the dynamics of the entire group, and it already has in the American society on so many levels. The health issues, psychological issues and suffering from dignity violations of the LGBT community carry a hefty price for all, but more significantly, there is a noteworthy economic burden on all: the LGBT community is poorer than the population at large… But note this interesting piece of data: a working married gay couple is richer on average than a working straight couple… Surprised? Don’t be. It’s called the magic of equality. By tying down the LGBT community to selective unequal norms on the outskirts of the system, by attempting to push them into exclusion, it bodes trouble for both the LGBT community as well as the whole society; it decreases the standard of living, arises health and social problems, which in turn, slow down progress and increase societal agony. Everyone suffers. In fact, violence, civil unrest, poverty and pandemics multiply in environments of inequality and harsh social classification, but peace, security and progress multiply within environments of equality. Indeed, when brought up in dignifying environments of tolerance and equality, people naturally thrive. You can even compare, within the United States, the level of tolerance of a state versus the measure of its wealth and/or its standard of living. There seems to be an astonishingly strong positive correlation between tolerant states and a high standard of living. It’s not a secret. Equality is progress. Progress is equality. And best of all, it seems to be nature’s only sustainable choice.
So when same-sex marriage is formally adopted in a leading world society of 319 million people, that is testament to progress in a scientific and natural sense. It’s not a “pro-gay” stance, it is not an “irreligious” stance, but it is a self-dignifying stance that will give a healthier society for everybody regardless of what gay people do. Even if you may never get in contact with a gay person, chances are, as an American, you will live a happier and longer life because that is what equality does, it raises everyone’s quality of life. As for the rest of the world, the spread of equality in the superpower that is the United States also bodes good news for you. More equality in the United States means a more healthy, peaceful and balanced society will be lit, it means less inner conflict, it means less trauma, it means less anger, which maybe means that the United States would feel less compelled to invade everybody all the time, and this is not even a joke. A harmonious, equal society is not a violent society, there is scientific and statistical proof for that. Officially recognizing the dignity of others is a monumental gain for all peoples in all places. There simply is no better return on investment than treating fellow human beings with dignity and equality. The angry religious people should know the value of this truth better than anyone because it was Jesus who said it first.
So congratulations to all human beings. A victory of equality anywhere is a victory for human beings everywhere. Balance wins. Always.
And mostly, congratulations to the American LGBT community on winning its battle for marriage equality; you now can marry each other and legally sleep on opposite ends of your beds while browsing your social media too.
Beautifully said Neo.
Thank you, Omar. It truly means a lot that you think so. I look forward to your comments.
Thank you, dear Adib, for such a wonderfully eloquent comment. I am truly inspired by how refined you have worded a truly humane approach to the Christian perspective. Thank you for showing us that being Christian means believing that love and dignity should be awarded to all humans equally regardless of personal belief. That is the only essence of life, and thank you for wording that out loud.
I read your commentary with great interest, and I was very impressed by its content and its style. You have clearly built on the genetic foundation of brilliance and of creativity that you inherited from each of your parents. While my Christian faith prohibits me from condoning sexual activities among members of the LGBT community, I believe that they should be treated with the same degree of respect and love with which society treats heterosexuals. Homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders are the way they are because, to a large degree, that's the way they were born. They should not be judged for the way they are wired. God hates sin yet He loves sinners, so who are we to discriminate against them? Gender equality is fair and right, and I am pleased that the Supreme Court acted accordingly, albeit from a Christian perspective I do not recognize marriages among people of the same sex. Nevertheless, if that's what they choose to do they should have the right to do so. Kudos on a brilliant commentary, Sara.
I love your article Sara because it develops, at last, a theory about the missing link between the pros & cons of the LGBT issues. Bravo!
Oh my oh my…
It actually applies to all matters. This piece should be used as a template for any issue in regards of inequality by just replacing few words and voila!
Most difficult article you have written? Yes. Immensely enriching and meaningful? Definitely.
I am proud of you Sara.
Very very impressed by the argumentation of this article!
I was compelled to share this very enriching and meaningful piece.
It is your right to debate or disagree with LGBT rights, still it is a must for you to read this article and learn about inequality and society. May it be sex, race or religion, etc…
So proud of you Sara.
Really interesting read! Keep up the inspiring work Sara!
“A system with a healthy balance is the only sustainable system in our natural world, and an imbalanced system, if not corrected, is a system that will die.”
Worth a read people!
“There simply is no better return on investment than treating fellow human beings with dignity and equality. The angry religious people should know the value of this truth better than anyone because it was Jesus who said it first.
So congratulations to all human beings. A victory of equality anywhere is a victory for human beings everywhere. Balance wins. Always.”
im a big fan of Sara El-Yafi’s thoughts on everything. And especially on this
Congratulations Sara, I am impressed by how beautifully you write and how beautifully your mind works smile emoticon 🙂 great article!
Sara, I am an American. I have been following this issue for years on end. And I think this is, by far, and I mean, BY FAR, the best article that has been written about this controversial matter. This article is educated, it is grand, it is shockingly enlightening, it is humorous and, above all, it is inspiring. Perfect dosage of everything. I am forwarding this. Thank you.
Very well written Sara. We need more of you and your thoughts. Your words should reach the minds of all lebanese. There should be a #teamSara working on making that happen
Very interesting and thought provoking article!
You keep amazing me Sara! Bravo!
Sara, I hope you reach the highest leadership position very soon because people like you can change the world.
isn't it amazing? just now nature has never written it's laws, yet by adapting, readapting over time just to keep an equilibrium, it still remains in control over all things & above all others..as if her laws were indeed written & must never be questioned.
..Perhaps Nature is God after all..
Incredible writing style. Thorough and responsible analysis. Amazing references. Witty and funny humorous tidbits. I feel inspired and illuminated. Also, I will add all this new information to my bouts of conversations. What a fabulous piece of responsible argumentation. Bravo.
Incredibly well written and researched piece. It has now become a big part of my personal ‘armoury’ 🙂 Sara is a very talented writer and illustrator
Fabulous illustration. As for the writing… This is by far the deepest, wisest and most thorough analysis I have read about the subject. Hands down. I’ve read it twice. And will read it again.
Possibly one of the most enlightening things I have read in a very long time.
Astonishing. Incredibly well-written and researched piece of writing. Compelling. Deep. Moving. You have convinced me more than anyone else. Plus, how you manage to even be funny when you talk data and facts is amazing. You are a talented writer and illustrator, and above all, an inspiring human being.
What an article. Rare are the analyses that combine such depth, wisdom and intelligence. It genuinely made me optimistic about life. There is hope in this world..