Greg Laden’s Blog talks about “Panic among Kenya’s gays” following the passing of a UN resolution which makes it tantamount to the fact that killing gays is OK.
In a measure on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the African and Arab nations managed to edge out three words in the final resolution which would have afforded protection to the homosexual people by denouncing their arbitrary killings. This is tantamount to accepting the fact that it is OK to kill the gay people.
In a shocking turn of events, as Greg’s blog point out, there is a chance that the Kenyan officials will be rounding up the gay people, many of who are infected with HIV and are suffering from AIDS when they come to collect their medications. He advocates a ban on tourism to Kenya and Uganda, which would be debilitating to the nations’ economies.
The problem with this approach is that you cannot strong arm a nation to change its psyche. Yes, on the first view it may seem to be true that crippling the nation’s economy would be a great way to come around to “our” point of view, but that is not going to last. Besides a lot of pain to the common people (well, I do not know about Kenya per se, but my experience is that the man on the street is not as worried about these issues as some of their leaders would make them out to be – in fact, the common man often turns out to be more tolerant than their leaders) this is not going to achieve anything. In 30 out of the 50 African nations, homosexuality is illegal. Only in South Africa same sex marriages are allowed legally. If Greg, or anyone else, thinks that mere economic sanctions will cause them to buckle, they will be wrong. What about the Arab nations? Surely, with all their oil-money, they do not need to be dependent on the European or American tourism to subsist? What about the Vatican? The home of the Western religion is so anti-gay in its stance that it seems almost Fascist in its approach. Would economic sanctions help them back down? I think that is highly wishful thinking.
The bottomline remains that in order to bring the change the world needs, there has to be more intense efforts on spreading awareness. On bringing out sex and sexual issues from behind closed doors. On making the media realize that sexual titillation to sell stuff is not always OK when they themselves are hyprocrites who decry the sexual minorities. On usage of terms like sexual minorities.
The question is how this can be achieved. And that indeed is a very difficult question. The first thing which should be done is that there should be a massive movement, starting from the common man, from you and me, which speaks out against this abomination. Surely, however homophobic you are, you will not agree to the fact that they deserve to be killed for their orientation? Surely, you will not agree to the argument that there is no foundation for gays in international human rights instruments as there was in cases of race, gender and religious discrimination. I find it ridiculous that the African nations, the people who fought Apartheid and racial abuse are heading this race to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
I believe in a world where people are free to choose. And choice does not always mean endorsing promiscuity. I find it hilarious when people say that allowing sexual liberty engenders promiscuity. I just want to ask one simple question: why can’t people stop being judgmental and just accept that this is a personal choice, and something which is an inalienable right of every person?
Why can’t we stop hating and start caring?