Saturday, 31 May 2008

Times: Woman born a man determined to win right to marry
31st May 2008, Claudia Calleja

A woman who was born a man but was legally declared female following gender reassignment surgery is determined to keep on fighting for her right to a married life after a court revoked a ruling that had given her the green light to wedlock.

Speaking to The Times, the woman - who insisted on describing herself as a person with gender identity disorder rather than a transsexual as labelled by the court - expressed her disappointment at the ruling.

"One court allowed me to get married but another took it away from me," she said, insisting she will pursue the legal battle to marriage. On February 12, 2007, Mr Justice Gino Camilleri, sitting in the Civil Court, ordered the director of Public Registry to issue the marriage banns for the woman after noting that the union between her - who had been recognised as a woman on her birth certificate - and her male partner did not contravene any provision of the Marriage Act.

On February 28, the director of Public Registry, in his capacity as Registrar of Marriages, filed an application, also in the Civil Court, requesting the reversal of the court decree permitting marriage banns to be issued.

Earlier this month, Mr Justice Joseph R. Micallef noted that the Marriage Registrar had refused to issue the marriage banns because, despite the fact that she was registered as a woman, he believed she was essentially still a man and the Marriage Act did not allow a union between two men.

The court questioned whether, through such a decision, the Registrar was saying that the woman could not marry at all or that she could only marry a woman (since he considered her a man). It seemed that the Registrar's position was that a person who underwent gender reassignment surgery could not get married to a man or a woman, the court noted.

Mr Justice Micallef observed that the European Court of Human Rights has delivered various judgments suggesting that the European Court separated the fundamental right of marriage from the right to a family. However, the court left it up to the individual countries to
determine issues of legal recognition. The judge noted that Maltese law allowed a marriage to take place between a man and a woman.

The difficulty lay in that Maltese law did not define what makes a person a man or a woman. The evidence of various independent medical experts showed that the sex of a person was determined by the genetic, anatomical and psychological make-up. On hearing the evidence and
exploring various definitions of sexuality, the court ruled that the woman will never be considered to be a "woman" according to the relevant law, that is, the Marriage Act.

The court, therefore, upheld the requests of the Marriage Registrar and declared that the change in the woman's birth certificate, allowing a change of name and gender, was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment.

The court also ruled that the marriage of the woman in question to a man was in breach of the Marriage Act and revoked the February 12, 2007, ruling saying it was based on an "unrealistic premise" as the parties were not of the opposite sex.

Lawyers Josè Herrera and David Camilleri represented the woman.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

CNN: New York to recognize gay marriages

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Gov. David Patterson of New York has told state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where they are legal, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

New York agencies have been told to recognize same-sex marriages performed in places where they are legal.

The governor's legal counsel told state agencies in a May 14 memo to revise policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in California and Massachusetts as well as Canada and other countries that allow gays and lesbians to marry, said Erin Duggan, the governor's spokeswoman.

The memo informed state agencies that failing to recognize gay marriages would violate the New York's human rights law, Duggan said.

The directive follows a February ruling from a New York state appeals court. That decision says that legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition in New York.

"This was in direct response to a court ruling," Duggan told CNN. "Just to make sure all the state agencies are on the same page."

Duggan says that the court's decision was consistent with the findings of several lower courts in New York State.

The governor's legal counsel sent the memo one day before the California Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay marriage in that state. Court officials in California counties may begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 17, state officials said Wednesday.

Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages in 2004, and gay couples need not be state residents there to wed. However, then-Gov. Mitt Romney resurrected a 1913 law barring non-resident marriages in the state if the marriage would be prohibited in the partners' home state.

Subsequent court and agency decisions have determined that only residents of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Mexico may marry in Massachusetts, unless the parties say they plan to relocate there after the marriage.

New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut permit civil unions, while California has a domestic-partner registration law. More than a dozen other states give same-sex couples some legal rights, as do some other countries.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Pink News: Delay in Irish civil partnership bill exposes coalition tensions
By Staff Writer, May 27, 2008

The leader of Ireland's Green party has said that civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples are "a step towards full equality." However, John Gormley indicated that there are disagreements between the main governing party Fianna Fail and the Greens, their junior
coalition partners. Speaking at the launch of Dublin's Pride festival, Mr Gormley said the delay in publishing the proposed new legislation was due to the complexity of the issue. The Irish government was expected to produce a draft bill by March. However, a change of Prime Minister and a Cabinet reshuffle have both added to the delays. Ireland's Department of Justice told the Irish Times: "The Attorney General has given advice to the Department of Justice which includes very detailed views in relation to the proposed legislation. It is currently being examined by the department." The Greens support full gay marriage in Ireland, while the government contends that aid civil partnership is easier to achieve, because gay marriage would require a constitutional change that would split the country. Homosexuality was decriminalised in the Republic of Ireland in 1993. Both discrimination and incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation are illegal. Article 41 of the Irish constitution states: "The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack."

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

La Republica: Palermo, Italy - Father stabs gay son, "It was a disgrace"
26 May 2008, Translated from La Repubblica by Wendell Ricketts

For a 53-year-old ex-offender, having a homosexual in the family was "intolerable."
The 18 year old, attacked during an argument, is treated at the hospital. He says: "My father has never accepted me. It's not a illness."

PALERMO, SICILY - "I was in the shower when I suddenly saw my father
standing in front of me, holding a knife." The reason? A question "of honor and of family shame." Knowing he had a gay son was intolerable for a 53-year-old ex-offender in Palermo. He attacked his son, Paolo, 18 years old, during a furious argument in their apartment in the Brancaccio neighborhood in the city's eastern suburbs. The police arrested the man, who was charged with domestic violence and assault. He is now behind bars at the Ucciardone jail.

"My father has never accepted me," the young man says. "He couldn't tolerate the fact that I'm gay. I tried to convince him that I'm not sick, that it's not something dirty, but it wasn't any use. I realized I was gay a year ago, and I told my mother. She understood. She tried
to help, to stay close to me, and to convince my father to get used to the idea, but the last year has been hell in our house. This is the way I am, though, and there's nothing I can do about it."

For the boy's father, the news simply wasn't unacceptable. He followed Paolo when he left the house and spied on him; he didn't want him seeing his friends. "He thought I was a prostitute," the boy says, "but I was just hanging out with my friends, with other people who are
like me."

Paolo's mother, who had always defended her son, tried to salvage her husband's reputation as well. The man has been in jail since Saturday, accused of domestic violence and assault. "All (my husband) wanted was for (Paolo) to get a job," she explains. "(Paolo's) got all kinds of
ideas in his head—he wants to be a model, he wants to live some kind of fancy lifestyle. We're not rich. We can't support him." "I asked (my father) to help me find a job," the victim responds, "but he refused. He said he was ashamed to introduce me around because I was gay."

A year's worth of tension, in any case, exploded in violence last Saturday. Returning from a day at the beach, Paolo told his parents that he planned to go out again shortly. His father became furious. He didn't stop at striking his son; this time he stabbed him as well.

"I just couldn't take it anymore. The shame and the dishonor all this has caused is too much," he told police. The young man, terrified and in shock, suffered stab wounds to his forearm and right hand and a facial injury. He was taken to the Community Hospital, where he was
expected to recover in eight days.

Interviewed by Tg3 television news, the boy described the attack: "I was in the shower when I suddenly saw my father standing in front of me, holding a knife."

A similar incident took place some ten days ago in Pesaro (Marche). In that case, a mother stabbed her 16-year-old daughter because she had admitted to having a relationship with an 18-year-old girl. The blade lodged in the young woman's belt buckle, but the mother was
nonetheless charged with attempted aggravated assault.

Apparently insurmountable prejudices appear to have motivated the parents in both cases. A 2003 Europe-wide study by the University of Bologna's Cattaneo Institute reported that 10 of every 100 individuals are homosexual. Of every 100 homosexuals, meanwhile, 20 accept being gay while 80 are not accepting but "tolerate" their condition; 22 consider suicide and 5 complete suicide attempts.

See also:
La Stampa
Corriere della Sera

Monday, 26 May 2008

MLP Leadership Candidates: Divorce and Gay partnerships
Sunday Times: It's my party
Sunday, 25th May 2008
Herman Grech and Mark Micallef

Here are excerpts from the interview.

What are your views on divorce?

George Abela
We need a clear strategy for minorities like gay rights, cohabitation rights and the issue of divorce. We need to have a clear distinction between the Church's moral stand and the rights and civil obligations of our reality.
As a progressive party in the EU, we can't ignore these realities. As a party we need to start a serious discussion.
However, we must always take into consideration the need to strengthen the family.
See also:

Evarist Bartolo
We have a lot of couples who are facing problems and we should have a debate and find solutions that address their problems. I don't believe we should be EU members just to receive funds, while ignoring the important values of social coexistence. I have a happy marriage that is still going strong after 31 years but should I give the cold shoulder to people who are in a different situation and want a fresh start?

Joseph Muscat
I am in favour of the introduction of divorce and if elected and if Labour is in government I will be putting forward my own draft legislation and will give a free vote to our parliamentarians on this issue.

Michael Falzon
Again, I don't think I should pre-empt the party's position.
See also:

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca
There will come a time when divorce has to be introduced. I would give a free vote to my MPs to decide.

Julia Farrugia, Illum, 18.5.8

Joseph Muscat, Taqbel li l-MLP għandu jipproponi ż-żwieġ għal koppji gay?

Naħseb li hu prematur ħafna li wieħed jitkellem fuq dan. Ma naqbilx mat-terminu ‘żwieġ’.
Int iżżewwiġt imma….

Ma naħsibx li fil-każ ta’ koppji omosesswali wieħed jista’ jitkellem dwar żwieġ. Naħseb li hemm lok ta’ diskussjoni għal civil partnership.
Irridu nibdew billi nirrikonoxxu l-pożizzjoni ta’ eluf ta’ koppji f’pajjiżna li jpoġġu u mbagħad l-aktar ħaġa li tinteressani hi d-drittijiet ta’ uliedhom. Minn hemm irridu nibdew. Dan m’għandu jixxokkja lil ħadd. Meta qalha l-Gvern Nazzjonalista, meta qalha Lawrence Gonzi ħadd ma tkellem u ma naħsibx li xi ħadd għandu jixxokkja ruħu jekk inkun qed ngħidha jien bħala Mexxej Laburista.
Julia Farrugia, Illum, 25.5.8
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca,
Taqbel li l-MLP għandu jipproponi ż-żwieġ għal koppji gay?
Le, ma naqbilx. Però naqbel żgur u din anke fid-dokument li għamilt dwar il-familja li kont responsabbli minnha jiena ipproponejtha, li għandu jkun hemm l-għarfien tad-drittijiet ċivili ta’ dawn in-nies. Dawn huma ċittadini daqs kulħadd u għandhom ikollhom id-drittijiet kollha tagħhom imħarsa.

As as side-note it is interesting to take a look at the MLP's document on the electoral defeat. There is no mention of gays or homosexuals and there is only one reference to divorce:
Pg. 104 (pdf file) or pg. 97 (on paper)
Jekk il-politika hija l-arti tal-konvinzjoni, l-MLP m'għandux jibża' li joħroġ bi proposti ġodda għall-pajjiż, li fil-bidu jafu ma jkunux popolari. Bħala eżempju nistgħu ngħidu li l-Partit m'għandux jiddejjaq jiftħu hu d-dibattitu nazzjonali dwar id-divorzju jekk huwa jħoss li leġiżlazzjoni bħal din ikun jaqbel magħha. Attitudni passiva rigward drittijiet ċivili simili ma tpoġġix lill-Partit Laburista bħala wieħed viżjonarju, anzi pjuttost tqiegħdu fil-kategorija ta' dawk li dejjem jieħdu l-attitudni ta' "nistennew u mbagħad naraw". Hija appuntu l-ħila fil-mod li jikkonvinċi li jrid ikun armat biha l-Partit Laburista, biex imbagħad jasal biex ma jibża' xejn li jkun viżjonarju. Il-Partit Laburista għandu l-ħtieġa li jħajjar lin-nies joħolmu l-ħolm li jkun qed joħlom hu.

Friday, 23 May 2008

UK Gay News: Russian Health Ministry Ends Ban on Blood Donations by Gays

MOSCOW, May 23, 2008

Russian gay activists celebrate their first major victory two years after the start of the campaign

The Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development has repealed the ban on blood donations by homosexual people, it emerged last night.

This move by the Russian authorities is a victory for the activists from Russian LGBT Human Rights Project, who have fought the restrictions for more than two years.

Tatyana Golikova, the Minister of Health and Social Development signed the decree on April 16, it emerged yesterday.

The decree amends the rules on blood donations which were implemented on September 14, 2001.

According to the amendments, provisions for absolute ban on blood donations by people from the so called groups of high risk (homosexuals, drug addicts and prostitutes) are being repealed.

Activists at GayRussia.Ru have been campaigning against the ban since April 2006 when they sent a letter to the Ministry of Health and Social Development as well as to the Russian General Prosecutor asking for the repeal of the ban because it contradicted the Russian Constitution and federal legislation.

They repeated their demand a year later. The Ministry responded twice to the activists, saying that the amendments will be implemented, and that the issue is being discussed within the Ministry.

A third letter was sent to the Ministry last month. Nikolai Alekseev and Nikolai Baev reminded officials that "since May 1993 homosexual relations between consenting adults in private are not considered a crime in Russia. Since 1999 Russian psychiatry does not consider homosexuality as a mental illness as it joint international classification of mental illnesses".

Campaign coordinators also suggested that "according to Article 23 of the Russian Constitution, "every person has the right to private life, personal and family secrets". According to Article 19 of the Constitution, discrimination is prohibited on all grounds.

On September 14 last year gay activists wanted to picket Ministry of Health and Social Development in Moscow to demand an immediate repeal of the discriminatory ban on blood donations by homosexuals.

But the Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow banned the picket on security grounds. And unsanctioned public event led to arrests of the activists near the Ministry. They were later fined by the court for conducting an unauthorised picket.

The same day – September 14 – several Russian gay activists, including the organizer of Moscow Pride Nikolai Alekseev, tried to donate blood as openly gay men in the Central Blood Transfusion Centre in Moscow but they failed to do it.

During a conversation with Nikolai Alekseev – in front of journalists – deputy head of the centre Sergei Oprischenko admitted that the ban could not be realised in practice and should be repealed.

All this time it was used to stigmatise gay people, who were equated to drug addicts and prostitutes.

Speaking from São Paulo in Brazil, Nikolai Alekseev said today: "I am very happy that the Ministry took this decision to repeal a discriminatory ban on blood donations by homosexual people.

"We conducted our campaign against the ban for two years and it brought the results. Not so many people believed in our success but we proved that actions can lead to serious results."

He suggested that "this decision reflects the most liberal tendencies which can be witnessed in most democratic countries of the world".

"Russia will become an example in this respect for other countries, including western democracies, where such restrictions are still in force.

"Russian legislation finally got rid of the last direct discriminatory provision against homosexual people. Now we are going to ask for positive actions of the authorities in order to directly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Russian law as well as criminal prosecution for hate speeches and aggressive homophobia."

Mr. Alekseev is in São Paulo to receive the city's Gay Pride's "Citizen Award for Respecting Diversity". Gay Prides in São Paulo, the world's largest, and Moscow are 'twinned'.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Hate, hypocrites and human rights
by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

In 1936, the SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler created the Gestapo’s Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion. As a result, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, and some 50,000 of these men were sentenced.

Some spent time in regular prisons, some were forcibly castrated as an alternative to incarceration, and thousands were sent to Nazi concentration camps.

Men with pink triangles were often treated particularly severely by guards and other inmates alike. Some homosexuals were also victims of cruel medical experiments, designed to change them into heterosexuals. Estimates are that more than half were executed or died from disease and malnutrition, but for those who survived, the liberation from the Nazi concentration camps did not end the suffering and humiliation.

They were not acknowledged as victims of Nazi persecution, and compensation was refused. Some homosexuals liberated from the concentration camps were even forced to serve out their terms of imprisonment.

Sixty years later, no one has apologised for this tragic and shameful treatment of camp survivors. Regrettably, the wall of prejudice, discrimination and hypocrisy has not yet disappeared, and Europe is often more tolerant of homophobes than their victims.

While it is true that, also thanks to the work of the Council of Europe, sexual orientation will no longer get you jailed, the bigots in several European countries are free to speak and act on their homophobic beliefs without any fear of sanction from the authorities. Very often the officials themselves – mayors, parliamentarians and even ministers – will be the first to voice and promote homophobic ideas. Many individuals in positions of moral authority endorse or even encourage hatred against gays and lesbians, demonstrating a deplorable failure to practice the tolerance they preach.

As a result, homophobia in parts of Europe is on the increase, and there are very few governments ready to speak out to defend the human rights of gay and lesbian people in other countries. This is one minority which is left to fend for themselves. In the Council of Europe we are not telling our member states how far they should go in recognising the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry or adopt children, because any such extension of rights at the European level would require a consensus of all 46 member states. But when it comes to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights - which prohibit discrimination on any grounds - there cannot be any compromise, and we should defend these rights with conviction, perseverance and force.

Legally binding Council of Europe standards and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights are clear and unequivocal –those who discriminate against gays and lesbians are not only offending the memory of the victims of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, they are also breaking the law. The victims of discrimination have the right to complain to the European Court of Human Rights, but this should be the last resort. It should not be the only way to protect the human rights and dignity of gays and lesbians across Europe. The fact is that the situation in a number of countries is a reason for concern. If individuals and institutions with responsibilities to enforce laws are allowed to propagate intolerance, it is not only the human rights of gays and lesbians which are at stake. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law cannot function in a society which tolerates bigotry, prejudice and hate. If we continue to look the other way, an outburst of homophobic violence is only a matter of time.

That is why we must end the hypocrisy of silence and stop treating homophobic attitudes as a cultural eccentricity. It is time to apologise for the past and act for the future. It is time for Europe to say clearly and with force – no longer and never again!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Grey's Anatomy: Terminally ill Gay soldier

CNN: California ban on same-sex marriage struck down
May 16, 2008 -- Updated 0904 GMT

The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying sexual orientation, like race or gender, "does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights."

Gay couple John Lewis, left, and Stuart Gaffney celebrate outside the California Supreme Court on Thursday.

In a 4-3, 120-page ruling issue, the justices wrote that "responsibility to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation."

"We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority.

The ruling takes effect in 30 days. Video Watch what the ruling means »

Several gay and lesbian couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, filed a lawsuit saying they were victims of unlawful discrimination. A lower court ruled San Francisco acted unlawfully in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling surprised legal experts because the court has a reputation for being conservative. Six of its seven judges are Republican appointees.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he is "profoundly grateful" for the decision and for the court's "eloquence" in its delivery.

"After four long years, we're very, very gratified," he said.

Shannon Minter, attorney for one of the plaintiffs in the case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the ruling "a moment of pure happiness and joy for so many families in California."

"California sets the tone, and this will have a huge effect across the nation to bringing wider acceptance for gay and lesbian couples," he said.

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, issued a statement saying, "Today's ruling affirms that committed couples, gay and straight, should not be denied the duties, obligations and protections of marriage. ... This decision is a vital affirmation to countless California couples -- straight and gay -- who want to make and have made a lifelong commitment to take care of and be responsible for each other."

Groups opposing same-sex marriage also reacted strongly to the ruling.

"The California Supreme Court has engaged in the worst kind of judicial activism today, abandoning its role as an objective interpreter of the law and instead legislating from the bench," said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for the group Concerned Women for America, in a written statement.

"So-called 'same-sex' marriage is counterfeit marriage. Marriage is, and has always been, between a man and a woman. We know that it's in the best interest of children to be raised with a mother and a father. To use children as guinea pigs in radical San Francisco-style social experimentation is deplorable."

The organization said that a constitutional marriage amendment should be placed on the November ballot and that national efforts should be made to generate a federal marriage amendment.

"The decision must be removed from the hands of judicial activists and returned to the rightful hands of the people," Barber said.

A constitutional amendment initiative specifying that marriage is only between a man and a woman is awaiting verification by the secretary of state's office after its sponsors said they had gathered enough signatures to place it on the statewide ballot. The parties cannot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Herrera said, as federal courts do not have jurisdiction over the state laws. "This is the final say," he said.

In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Marvin Baxter wrote that although he agrees with some of the majority's conclusions, the court was overstepping its bounds in striking down the ban. Instead, he wrote, the issue should be left to the voters.

In 2004, San Francisco officials allowed gay couples in the city to wed, prompting a flood of applicants crowding the city hall clerk's office. The first couple to wed then was 80-year-old Phyllis Lyon and 83-year-old Dorothy Martin, lovers for 50 years.

"We have a right just like anyone else to get married to the person we want to get married to," Lyon said at the time.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called the ruling a victory not just for the city "but for literally millions of people. ... What the court did is simply affirm their lives."

CNN's Ted Rowlands reported that "huge cheers" went up in San Francisco when the ruling was announced.

In California, a 2000 voter referendum banned same-sex marriage, but state lawmakers have made two efforts to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both bills.

"I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued Thursday. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."

Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages in 2004, and gay couples need not be state residents there to wed. However, then-Gov. Mitt Romney resurrected a 1913 law barring non-resident marriages in the state if the marriage would be prohibited in the partners' home state.

Subsequent court and agency decisions have determined that only residents of Massachusetts, Rhode Island or New Mexico may marry in the state, unless the marriage partners say they intend to relocate to Massachusetts after the marriage.

New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut permit civil unions, and California has a domestic-partner registration law. More than a dozen other states give gay couples some legal rights, as do some other countries. Check the law in different states »

"It's a throwaway line, but I think it's true: As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation," Newsom said. "And I don't think people should be paranoid about that. ... Look what happened in Massachusetts a number of years ago. Massachusetts is doing just fine. The state is doing wonderfully."

The state law in question in the case, which consolidated six cases, was the Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 22. Oral arguments in March lasted more than three hours.

"There can be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most consistent with our state's general legislative policy and preference," the ruling said.

"Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of Section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a 'union between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples."

Newsom compared the ruling to the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Virginia case overturning that state's ban on interracial marriage.

"This is about civil marriage. This is about fundamental rights," he said.

The ruling may make the same-sex marriage issue more important in November elections.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain supports "traditional" marriage but opposes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, saying individual states should decide the issue. He also backs some legal benefits for same-sex couples.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton both oppose same-sex marriage but support civil unions. They also oppose a constitutional ban.

BBC News: California lifts gay marriage ban
Page last updated at
18:43 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 19:43 UK

Two men hold hands (file image)
California's ruling is expected to have an impact on the nationwide debate

California's top court has ruled that a state law banning marriage between same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

The state's Supreme Court said the "right to form a family relationship" applied to all Californians regardless of sexuality.

The ban was approved by voters in 2000 but challenged by gay rights activists and the city of San Francisco.

The state legislature twice passed laws to legalise gay marriage, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed them.

He said California's court system should rule on the matter.

The seven-judge panel voted 4-3 in favour of the plaintiffs who argued that the 2000 law was discriminatory.

"Limiting the designation of marriage to a union 'between a man and a woman' is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute," California Chief Justice Ron George said in the written opinion.


The decision was met outside the courthouse by cheers from gay marriage supporters.

"I'm profoundly grateful. This is a historic day," said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who argued the city's case to the court.

"Everybody being entitled to equal protection under the law probably carried the day," he said.

The ruling paves the way for California to become only the second US state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriage.

The decision is expected to re-invigorate the fight for same-sex marriage rights nationwide, say gay activists and legal experts.

California's Supreme Court has a history of landmark rulings that are later picked nationally.

The state currently offers same-sex couples who register as domestic partners the same legal rights and responsibilities as married men and women.

Other states, such as Vermont and New Jersey, have similar civil union provisions.

Californian voters approved the ban against same-sex marriages in a 2000 referendum. The law stated that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California".

In early 2004, San Francisco became the first place in the US where gay couples were able to marry after the city's Mayor Gavin Newsom authorised same-sex marriage licences, claiming the state legislation was discriminatory.

In August of that year, California's Supreme Court ruled the mayor had overstepped his authority and nullified the hundreds of marriages.

Gay rights group Equality California was joined by nearly two dozen gay couples and the city of San Francisco in bringing the case to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Pink News: Pope's ban on gay priests is "without exception"

Pope Benedict XVI approved the letter from the Vatican Secretary of State
Pope Benedict XVI approved the letter from the Vatican Secretary of State

A senior Vatican official has written to every bishop of the Roman Catholic Church reiterating that the ban on gay men entering seminaries to train for the priesthood applies to all such institutions.

Pope Benedict XVI approved the letter from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

It confirms that candidates from the holy orders and missionary seminaries and "all houses of formation for the priesthood, including those under the "Dicasteries for Eastern Churches, for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and for the Institutes of Consecrated Life" are subject to the gay ban.

The Cardinal said he was responding to various queries about the rules, which were set out under Benedict in the 2005 document Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.

"The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'.

"Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.

"One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

"Candidates who show a homosexual tendency will not be allowed into the priesthood unless they can demonstrate that they have been able to remain chaste for at least three years."

The Vatican's current stance on homosexuality dates back to 1961 where a ruling said that being gay was a "perverse inclination."

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Repent Sinners: Ban Gay Marriage in California

I have nothing against fat people but I like the logic.

It-Torċa: Il-harsien tad-drittijiet fundamentali ta’ persuni LGBT.....Skond il-ħaqq u s-sewwa

(Ghad m'hemmx l-artiklu fuq s'issa)
18 ta’ Mejju 2008

Madwar id-dinja l-bierah kien imfakkar il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija, jum simboliku izda mill-aktar importanti ghal persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali. Aktar minn kull haga ohra, l-ghan li jitfakkar dan il-Jum huwa sabiex iservi bhala pawsa ta’ riflessjoni u fl-istess waqt tkun artikulata l-azzjoni mehtiega fit-taqbida kontinwa kontra kull tip ta’ vjolenza fizika, morali u anke simbolika relatata ma’ orjentazzjoni sesswali jew ma’ l-identità ta’ generu sesswali.

Jum mahsub biex jispira, jifrex u jsahhah l-appogg u s-solidarjetà, kif ukoll jikkordina l-inizjattivi kollha mmirati li jwasslu ghall-ugwaljanza fil-fatt u fid-dritt bejn ic-cittadini ma’ l-erbat’irjieh tad-dinja. U fuq kollox, biex dan kollu isir fl-ambitu l-aktar wiesgha tad-difiza u l-harsien tad-drittijiet umani.

Matul il-gurnata tal-bierah, waqt li rriaffermaw l-oppozizzjoni taghhom ghal kull forma ta’ omofobija, persuni LGBT flimkien ma’ dawk kollha ta’ rieda tajba, kellhom kull ragun li jhossuhom sodisfatti bis-success miksub matul dawn l-ahhar ghexieren ta’ snin bis-sahha tal-hidma sfiqa mwettqa fi kwazi kull rokna tad-dinja bil-mira li jintlahaq dan l-objettiv. Izda kull persuna LGBT taf sew li minkejja kull progress li gie rregistrat, ghad fadal hafna x’isir. U ghalhekk bhala werrieta ta’ din it-tradizzjoni, iridu jkunu huma li jxammru l-kmiem u jkomplu jahdmu biex jirrinforzaw l-kisbiet diga’ mirbuha, jikkonsolidaw l-ghaqda ta’ bejniethom li maghha ggib is-sahha, waqt li jsahhu hidmiethom biex tassew igawdu l-milja tal-hajja u dan f’harsien shih tad-drittijiet umani, minghajr l-ebda ombra ta’ diskriminazzjoni kif ukoll b’rikonoxximent shih quddiem il-ligi.

Bhala ezempju, harsa hafifa lejn l-istorja turina kif fl-Ewropa tas-seklu tmintax u dsatax, imgieba sesswali bejn persuni ta’ l-istess sess jew il-fatt li persuna ma kienetx tilbes skond il-generu sesswali taghha, kien ikkunsidrat bhala socjalment mhux accettabbli u punibbli kriminalment, inkluza ukoll il-piena kapitali. Minhabba f’hekk, dak li jkun kien jghix din il-parti tal-hajja socjali tieghu fil-mohbi u b’mod sigriet. Minkejja dan, matul is-snin kienu saru diversi attentati ghal riforma fil-ligi dwar l-omosesswalità izda kien biss fl-1791, wara r-Rivoluzzjoni Franciza, li Franza saret l-ewwel nazzjon li nehha l-omosesswalità mil-lista tar-reati kriminali.

Kienu zmenijiet fejn, ferm izjed mil-lum, hafna kienu dawk li batew il-vjolenza u d-dizugwaljanza, u gieli wkoll it-tortura u anke l-mewt, minhabba dak li kienu, kif kienu jidhru jew minhabba lil min kienu jhobbu. Daqstant iehor kienu hafna dawk li, ghax kienu struwiti u kuraggjuzi li johorgu ghonqhom biex ma tkomplix din id-diskriminazzjoni sfaccata, malajr sabu lil min jaqtghalhom iz-zarda u ghaddewhom mill-istess matirju, ... jekk mhux aghar.

Izda b’xorti tajba, dawn l-atrocitajiet ma zammewx lil ohrajn milli jqacctu l-kappestru minn quddiem ghajnejhom u s-sarima minn ma’ halqhom, li kien hemm min azzarda jaghmlilhom, u komplew jissieltu kontra l-halel li sabu ma’ wicchom billi sfidaw it-taboos li kienu jdawwru l-omosesswalità ghax kienu jemmnu u jsostnu li l-orjentament sesswali hu aspett integrali ta’ dak li jkun u ghalhekk m’ghandu qatt iwassal ghal xi forma ta’ pregudizzju, diskriminazzjoni jew abbuz. Kienu generazzjonijiet successivi ta’ individwi ordinarji li ma riedux jghixu hajja ta’ misthija fejn jirrifjutaw lilhom infushom u jsiru invisibli, izda minflok sabu l-kuragg u d-determinazzjoni li jitkellmu mal-membri tal-familji taghhom, ma’ hbiebhom u fil-komunitajiet li kienu jaghmlu parti minnhom.


Kien bis-sahha ta’ dawn it-talin, meqjusin bhala martri tal-principji li fihom kienu jemmnu, li matul is-snin f’ghadd ta’ pajjizi sehhew riformi socjali li wasslu ghall-avvanz tad-drittijiet ta’ persuni omosesswali u dawk transesswali biex bil-mod il-mod bdew ikunu rikonoxxuti u accettati socjalment bid-dinjità li tixraq lil kull persuna umana. Dan kollu witta t-triq ghall-holqien ta’ movimenti li biz-zmien saru maghrufin bhala gruppi LGBT, li b’vuci wahda bdew jinsistu li l-ligijiet isiru aktar umani biex tassew jaghtu gharfien lid-drittijiet umani ta’ kulhadd minghajr l-ebda distinzjoni li minnha nfisha twassal ghad-dizugwaljanza, ghad-diskriminazzjoni u ghall-abbuzi.

“Il-bnedmin kollha huma mwieldin hielsa u ugwali fid-dinjità u fid-drittijiet”. Din l-ewwel sentenza li biha tibda d-Dikjarazzjoni Universali tad-Drittijiet Umani, adottata 60 sena ilu mill-Assemblea generali tal-gnus Maghquda, ghadha tigbor fil-qosor l-agenda politika tal-persuni LGBT. Minn dakinhar, bil-mod il-mod hafna pajjizi accettaw li l-bnedmin individwali huma differenti fejn jidhol is-sess, ir-razza jew l-origini etnika, jew ir-religjon li jhaddnu; u li dawn id-differenzi ghandhom ikunu rispettati u mhux uzati ghal ragunijiet ta’ diskriminazzjoni.

Izda hafna mill-pajjizi ghadhom sal-lum ma jaccettawx zewg aspetti importanti ta’ din id-diversità umana: li hemm persuni li ghandhom orjentament sesswali differenti u li hemm min ma jiddentifikax ruhu mal-generu tas-sess tieghu. U ghax ikun hemm min jazzarda jkun hu nnifsu u jimxi fuq l-aktar impuls baziku tal-bniedem li jfittex l-affezzjoni, l-imhabba u l-intimità, jew ghax jiddefendu d-drittijiet ta’ haddiehor li jaghmlu l-istess, jipperikolaw li jisfghu vittmi tal-vjolenza, li jigu arrestati u diskriminati minhabba l-orjentament sesswali taghhom. Sfortunatament, wiehed ghadu jsib miljuni ta’ persuni mxerrdin f’kull parti tad-dinja li ghadhom ibatu l-oppressjoni, il-pregudizzju u d-diskriminazzjoni.

Waqt li d-Dikjarazzjoni Universali tad-Drittijiet Umani tghid car u tond li l-bnedmin kollha huma membri shah “tal-familja umana”, xorta ghadek issib gvernijiet li jattwaw ligijiet ripressivi u prattici li jcahhdu persuni LGBT mid-dinjità taghhom u mid-drittijiet umani l-aktar bazici. Persuni lesbjani u gay ghadhom jintefghu l-habs bis-sahha ta’ ligijiet li jissendikaw il-kamra tas-sodda u li jaghmlu reat kriminali minn semplici bewsa; ghadhom jigu ttorturati biex iqerru “atti devjanti“; stuprati biex jigu “kkurati”; maqtulin minn “skwadristi tal-mewt” f’socjetajiet li jharsu lejhom bhala xi haga li jistghu “jiddisponu” minnha; u ghadhom ukoll jinqatlu minn stati ghax ipinguhom bhala xi forma ta’ theddida ghas-socjetà.

Anke jekk ma mmorrux daqstant fl-estrem, ghad hawn pajjizi li jippretenduha bhala mill-aktar civilizzati, liberi u demokratici li ghadhom jiddiskriminaw kontra t-tgawdija ta’ drittijiet civili, politici, socjali u ekonomici. Bhala ezempju nistghu nsemmu kif persuni LGBT ghadhom f’hafna pajjizi mcahhdin mid-dritt li jsibu l-impjieg li jixirqilhom, li jinghataw saqaf fuq rashom kif ukoll ir-rikonoxximent taz-zwieg jew kull forma ohra ta’ ghaqda li jaghzlu li jkollhom mas-sieheb jew is-siehba taghhom. Prattikament dawn hafna drabi jigu mcahhdin milli jkollhom access ghal protezzjonijiet u rimedji li suppost kulhadd huwa intitolat ghalihom. Biex wiehed ma jsemmix ukoll l-indifferenza ufficjali li tista’ twassal biex delitti jew attakki omofobici ma jkunux investigati kif ghandhom ikunu.


Izda l-ghala ghad hawn daqstant gvernijiet u individwi madwar id-dinja li ghadhom jirrezistu b’certa qawwa milli sahansitra jirrikonoxxu li persuni lesbjani u gay huma “indaqs fid-dinjità u d-drittijiet”? F’hafna partijiet tad-dinja ghad hawn hafna li jsostnu illi li tkun gay jew lesbjana hija xi haga hazina, ta’ barra minn hawn. L-omosesswalità hija kkunsidrata bhala dnub, jew marda, speci ta’ devjazzjoni ideologika u tradiment tal-kultura ta’ dak li jkun. Aghar minn hekk hu l-fatt li din ir-ripressjoni fil-konfront ta’ persuni LGBT hafna drabi ssib ir-refugju u d-difiza ta’ gvernijiet jew individwi f’isem ir-religjon, il-kultura, il-moralità jew is-sahha pubblika. Difficli li wiehed isemmi t-tikketti kollha li dawn jinghataw, tant li kien hemm sahansitra President ta’ pajjiz li ddeskrivihom bhala “aghar mill-majjali” u “inqas umani”.

Meta lil persuni gay inezzghuhom mill-umanità taghhom u jemarginawhom bhala “l-ohrajn”, mexxejja bhal dan jafu li jkunu qeghdin jinstigaw klima fejn il-pubbliku jibda jigi jaqa’ u jqum mid-drittijiet umani ta’ persuni LGBT. Wara kollox, jekk dawn huma inqas minn umani, l-ghala ghandhom igawdu d-drittijiet umani kollha? Meta dawk fil-poter jtttimbraw membri ta’ certi gruppi bhala “inqas minn umani” unikament ghax l-identità taghhom tissepara “lilhom”, “minna”, ikunu qeghdin iwittu t-triq ghal abbuzi u ksur tad-drittijiet umani ta’ gruppi simili.

B’xorti tajba l-kongura tas-silenzju li kien idawwar dan il-ksur tad-drittijiet umani ta’ persuni lesbjani u gay, inkiser u l-ghajta favur id-drittijiet michudin ghal xejn, illum hija ferm aktar qawwija milli kienet f’dawn l-ahhar tletin sena. Intrebhu battalji legali u sehhew bidliet f’attitudnijiet kulturali. Izda tassew li post il-promozzjoni tad-drittijiet fundamentali lil persuni LGBT huwa fl-agenda tad-drittijiet umani universali minhabba n-natura u l-iskala ta’ l-abbuzi sofferti. Jekk nittoleraw ic-cahda tad-drittijiet ta’ kwalunkwe minoranza, inkunu qeghdin nimminaw l-qafas shih protettiv tad-drittijiet umani ghax inkunu qeghdin indghajfu pedament ewlieni - id-dinjità u d-drittijiet ugwali ghall-bnedmin kollha. U meta jkun hemm gvernijiet li jinjoraw r-responsabbiltà taghhom lejn xi settur wiehed tas-socjetà, allura id-drittijiet umani ta’ hadd ma jkunu certi. Kif qalet darba personalità maghrufa: “Jekk ma tridx tkun diskriminat, trid tiggieled kontra tipi ohrajn ta’ diskriminazzjoni”.


Ligijiet u prattici mmirati biex igieghlu individwi ibiddlu jew jichdu l-orjentament sesswali taghhom, jattakkaw aspett fil-gewwieni nett tal-personalità umana. Dawn jikkawzaw vjolenza psikologika, jekk mhux fizika, ghax jisfurzaw lil certi individwi jitilfu dik l-esperjenza li, ghal hafna, toffrilhom l-akbar potenzjal ghat-tgawdija ta’ hajjithom fil-milja taghha. U billi tirrelata ma’ materji l-aktar profondi tal-qalb, l-akbar xewqat tal-mohh u l-aktar espressjonijiet intimi tal-gisem, l-orjentazzjoni sesswali tmur fil-qalba ta’ x’ifisser li tkun uman. Ghalhekk, id-dritt li wiehed jiddetermina l-orjentament sesswali tieghu u d-dritt li jesprimih minghajr biza’ huma drittijiet umani fil-veru sens tal-kelma.

L-affermazzjoni tad-drittijiet ta’ persuni lesbjani u gay bhala drittijiet umani ma tfissirx talba ghal drittijiet godda jew “specjali” Tfisser li kulhadd, irrispettivament mill-orjentament sesswali tieghu, huwa ggarantit it-tgawdija shiha tad-drittijiet civili, politici, socjali, ekonomici u kulturali. Ghalhekk jaghmlu sens kbir id-drittijiet u l-libertajiet li gew iddikjarati bhala li ghandhom ikunu universalment garantiti lil persuni LGBT. Dawn id-drittijiet u libertajiet huma inkluzi f’“Id-Dikjarazzjoni ta’ Montreal” imsensla mhux biss mill-akbar gabra ta’ rapprezentanti ta’ persuni LGBT f’post wiehed izda wkoll uhud mill-krema fost l-esperti internazzjonali inkluzi guristi u akkademici maghrufin, mexxejja ta’ knejjes u attivisti ghad-drittijiet tal-bniedem. L-istess principji nsibuhom ddikjarati f’dawk maghrufin bhala “Il-Principji ta’ Yogyakarta” kif ukoll dawk li tahdem ghalihom u tistinka fuqhom Amnesty International.

Fost ohrajn dawn id-dikjarazzjonijiet jishqu ghall-waqfien ta’ l-ghoti tal-piena kapitali u ta’ kull tip ta’ vjolenza kontra persuni LGBT, kemm jekk bil-barka ta’ l-istat jew minn persuni privati. L-istati kollha huma mehtiega li jiehdu passi biex jipprotegu lil persuni LGBT mir-reati kollha ta’ mibgheda. M’ghandhomx jithallew isiru zwigijiet sfurzati ma’ persuni ta’ sess oppost, kif ukoll li persuni transesswali m’ghandhomx ikunu sottoposti ghal operazzjonijiet sfurzati ta’ kirurgija biex jikkonformaw ma’ mudelli rigidi ta’ karatteristici sesswali.

Il-komunità dinjija hija wkoll mhegga li tiggarantixxi d-dritt ta’ persuni LGBT li jorganizzaw u jiehdu sehem f’manifestazzjonijiet pubblici, fosthom dawk maghrufin bhala ‘pride marches’, li jiktbu fil-gurnali u jirregistraw organizzazzjonijiet mhux governattivi, kif ukoll li dawn id-drittijiet jkunu garantiti u ma jigux imfixklin minn awtoritajiet pubblici ostili. Hu propost ukoll li ghandha tinghata ghajnuna finanzjarja lil gruppi li jaghmlu kampanji favur id-drittijiet ta’ persuni LGBT specjalment f’dawk l-oqsma fejn il-hajja u l-harsien personali ta’ persuni ghadhom mhedda. Ghandhom jigu emendati jew imhassrin il-ligijiet kollha li ma jippermettux attività sesswali u konsenswali bejn persuni ta’ l-istess sess.


Barra minn hekk il-gvernijiet huma msejjhin u mheggin biex jiehdu azzjonijiet pozittivi li jippromwovu d-drittijiet ta’ persuni LGBT ghall-helsien mid-diskriminazzjoni f’oqsma diversi:

Il-Kummissarju Gholi tal-gnus Maghquda ghar-Refugjati ghandu jirrikonoxxi d-dritt ghal azilju lil dawk li jkunu qeghdin jaharbu minn persekuzzjoni bbazati fuq l-orjentament sesswali jew l-identità tal-generu sesswali. Il-pajjizi kollha mitlubin jaghmlu l-istess. Barra minn hekk, id-drittijiet ta’ residenza ghas-sieheb jew is-siehba barranin ghandhom ikunu hielsa minn kull deskriminazzjoni kontra persuni LGBT.

Il-familji huma ddikjarati bhala l-aktar parti importanti fil-hajja ta’ hafna nies. Ghalhekk qieghda ssir insistenza li z-zwigijiet ikunu miftuhin ghal koppji ta’ l-istess sess, il-koppji kollha mhux mizzewgin ghandhom ikollhom drittijiet simili ghat-tali unjoni kif ukoll li ghandu jkun assigurat access li wiehed ikun genitur, inkluz ukoll permezz ta’ adozzjonijiet minn persuni LGBT.

Hu sostnut li fil-qasam ta’ l-edukazzjoni ghandu jkun hemm taghlim dwar id-drittijiet umani ta’ persuni LGBT waqt li l-iskejjel huma mehtiega jiehdu azzjoni kontra bullying omofobiku. Il-media hija msejjha tghin biex jitkissru l-isterotipi u biex juru lil persuni LGBT b’mod realistiku. Issir insistenza li ghandu jkun hemm access ghall-kura tas-sahha b’mod generali u ghall-htigijiet specjali ta’ persuni LGBT. Barra minn hekk, gruppi religjuzi huma nkoraggiti li jkunu tolleranti lejn persuni LGBT.

Qieghda ssir ukoll sejha biex ikunu zviluppati programmi li permezz taghhom persuni LGBT ikollhom cansijiet gusti fix-xoghol u fin-negozju biex jassiguraw l-indipendenza ekonomika taghhom. Il-Gvernijiet huma mheggin jaghtu l-ezempju biex tkun eliminata kull diskriminazzjoni f’dan il-qasam u jaraw li jkun hemm l-ugwaljanza u l-harsien ta’ persuni LGBT fuq postijiet tax-xoghol fis-settur pubbliku.

Waqt li kien ikkundannat in-nuqqas tal-gnus Maghquda li tirrikonoxxi d-drittijiet ta’ persuni LGBT bhala drittijiet umani, din l-ghaqda tan-Nazzjonijiet Uniti kienet kisbet lura ftit mill-kredibiltà taghha meta l-Kumitat Ekonomiku u Socjali (ECOSOC) taghha kien ta lil grupp ta’ NGOs li jahdmu favur persuni LGBT status konsultattiv fejn jidhlu drittijiet umani bbazati fuq l-orjentament sesswali u l-identità ta’ generu sesswali.

Din il-harsa hafifa lejn il-verità tal-fatti taghti l-prova ta’ kemm minkejja li jinghad li l-omosesswalità qatt ma kienet hielsa daqs illum u li b’mod generali hija accettata u rikonoxxuta, tassew li ghad fadal hafna u hafna x’isir biex persuni LGBT jkunu assigurati mid-drittijiet fundamentali taghhom skond il-haqq u s-sewwa; u dan billi jinbidlu l-ligijiet, li tkun stabbilita u implimentata politika gdida, waqt li fl-istess hin jigu adattati prattici istituzzjonali. Huma individwali u gruppi LGBT li ghandhom ikunu fuq quddiemnett biex din il-bidla ssehh, waqt li jassiguraw l-appogg u l-impenn ta’ ohrajn f’din il-battalja li ghandhom quddiemhom. U int, li ghandek ghal qalbek il-harsien u r-rispett tad-drittijiet fundamentali tal-bniedem, fejn se tkun?

..... u f’Malta?

Biex ikollna idea zghira tal-qaghda partikolari li tezisti fil-gzejjer Maltin fejn jidhlu drittijiet ta’ persuni LGBT, tajjeb li wiehed jaghti daqqa t’ghajn lejn il-petizzjoni li l-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) ressaq lill-partiti politici ewlenin li kkontestaw l-Elezzjonijiet generali ta’ Marzu li ghadda, bil-ghan ewlieni li fil-programmi elettorali mfasslin minnhom, jinkludu l-appogg u l-impenn taghhom b’rizq dawn id-drittijiet waqt li bil-fatti u mhux bil-paroli jassiguraw li jkunu mharsin.

Din il-petizzjoni, iffirmata minn madwar 1,500 persuna, tinkludi dikjarazzjoni ta’ appogg shih ghat-talbiet maghmulin mill-MGRM ghal drittijiet akbar ghal persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali, kif ukoll sejha lill-partiti politici biex jindirizzaw b’mod adekwat diversi kwistjonijiet, fosthom:

Ir-rikonoxximent formali tad-drittijiet ta’ koppji ta’ l-istess sess.

• Li jidhol artiklu gdid fil-Kodici Kriminali li jkun jitratta l-vjolenza omofobika u transfobika, kif ukoll li titfassal strategija cara li tindirizza l-bullying omofobiku u transfobiku fl-iskejjel.

• Li tinghata protezzjoni legali kontra d-diskriminazzjoni fi tqassim ta’ xoghol u servizzi fuq il-bazi esplicita ta’ orjentament sesswali, identità u espressjoni ta’ generu sesswali.

• L-estensjoni formali tal-hidma tal-Kummissjoni Nazzjonali ghall-Promozzjoni ta’ l-Ugwaljanza (NCPE) biex tkun tapplika ghal kazi ta’ orjentament sesswali, identità u espressjoni ta’ generu sesswali.

• L-introduzzjoni ta’ operazzjonijiet ta’ l-ormoni ghal persuni transesswali bhala parti mis-servizzi tas-sahha pubblika.

Pass importanti fid-direzzjoni t-tajba kien il-fatt li d-drittijiet ta’ persuni LGBT kienu diskussi formalment ma’ l-erba’ partiti politici ewlenin li kkontestaw l-Elezzjonijiet generali. Fost dawn kien hemm il-Partit Nazzjonalista - li rega’ jinsab fil-gvern - li kien ippronunzja ruhu favur fost ohrajn li tkun estiza l-hidma tan-National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) biex tara li ma jkunx hawn diskriminazzjoni, kif ukoll li fl-ahhar issir il-ligi dwar il-koabitazzjoni li ilha mweghda madwar 10 snin, u li d-drittijiet ta’ tali koabitazzjoni jkunu jinkludu wkoll dawk ta’ koppji ta’ l-istess sess.

Il-MGRM tat l-assigurazzjoni taghha li se tkun qed taghmel il-pressjoni kollha necessarja biex tara li l-ufficjali tal-PN iwettqu bil-fatti l-weghdiet li ghamlu qabel l-Elezzjoni generali, “ghax bhala votanti u cittadini li nhallsu t-taxxi, l-persuni LGBT f’Malta jixirqilhom l-istess rispett, l-istess rikonoxximent u l-istess drittijiet bhall-bqija tal-poplu”.

It-Torċa: Le ghall-Omofobija… Issa hu l-Mument

(Ghad m'hemmx l-artiklu fuq s'issa)
11 ta’ Mejju 2008

Jekk tfittex fid-dizzjunarju l-kelma ‘omofobija’ x’aktarx issib li din tfisser il-biza’ fir-rigward ta’ persuni omosesswali. Ghalkemm hemm min ma jaqbilx ma’ din id-definizzjoni, fil-fatt huwa minnu li f’hafna modi, din hija biza’ mill-omosesswalità jew ghallinqas minn persuni omosesswali. Biza’ li hafna drabi tissarraf ukoll fi stmerrija u anke mibgheda lejn persuni umani bhali u bhalek sempliciment ghax ikunu lesbjani, gay, bisesswali jew transesswali (LGBT).

Hemm min ukoll jishaq li l-omofobija mhix biss kwistjoni ta’ mibeghda lejn persuni b’orjentament omosesswali imma hi wkoll strategija dixxiplinarja mahsuba u mhaddma kontra tista’ tghid kull persuna biex ikun assigurat li dawn igibu ruhhom skond il-“preferenza socjali” ghall-eterosesswalità.

Jekk wiehed kellu joqghod biss fuq ir-rizultati ta’ l-istharrig pubbliku jasal biex jghid li llum il-gurnata, l-omosesswalità hija aktar hielsa milli qatt kienet qabel. Hija prezenti u visibbli kullimkien: fit-triq, fil-gurnali, fuq it-televizjoni u anke fil-films. Suppost li hija wkoll accettata kompletament, jekk wiehed jiehu kont ta’ l-izvilupp legislattiv li sehh f’hafna pajjizi, inkluz wkoll ir-rikonoxximent ta’ koppji ta’ l-istess sess. Izda, certament, jonqos x’isir biex tkompli tinbidel l-opinjoni pubblika bil-ghan li jitnehhew darba ghal dejjem il-fdalijiet tad-diskriminazzjoni.

Imma, ghall-osservatur aktar attent, is-sitwazzjoni globali hija hafna differenti minnhekk. Ta’ min jghid li s-seklu ghoxrin kien bla ebda dubju ta’ xejn l-aktar perjodu vjolenti fl-istorja: deportazzjoni ghal kampijiet ta’ koncentrament taht ir-regim Nazista; il-gulags Sovjetici, rikatt u persekuzzjoni fl-Istati Uniti fl-era McCarthy, ecc. Ovvjament ikun hemm min jghid li dak iz-zmien ghadda u spicca. Izda, fil-verità, anke llum il-kundizzjonijiet li fihom iridu jghixu persuni b’orjentazzjoni omosesswali jibqghu xejn favorevoli.

Biex ikollna perspettiva cara ta’ l-omofobija bizzejjed naghtu daqqa t’ghajn lejn l-istatistika. L-omosesswalità ghadha tigi diskriminata kullimkien: f’mill-inqas 75 pajjiz, atti omosesswali huma projbiti bil-ligi (fl-Algerija, fis-Senegal, fil-Kamerun, fl-Etijopja, fil-Libanu, fil-gordan, fil-Kuwajt, f’Puerto Rico, fin-Nikaragwa, fil-Bosnija......); f’hafna pajjizi l-piena tista’ taqbez l-ghaxar snin prigunerija (fin-Nigerja, fil-Libja, fis-Sirja, fl-Indja, fil-Malasja, fil-gamajka......); gieli l-ligi tistabilixxi wkoll l-ghomor il-habs (fil-Gujana, fl-Uganda......); u f’madwar tuzzana pajjizi ohra, tista’ wkoll tkun applikata l-piena kapitali (fl-Alfganistan, fl-Iran, fis-Sawdi Gharabja......). Fl-Afrika kien hemm sahansitra presidenti li haduha fuq spalliethom biex b’mod brutali jikkumbattu personalment din “il-flaggellazzjoni” li huma jqiesuha li tmur “kontra l-interessi Afrikani”.

Izda anke f’pajjizi ohrajn fejn l-omosesswalità m’ghadhiex ikkunsidrata bhala reat kriminali, l-persekuzzjonijiet immultiplikaw. Fil-Brazil, per ezempju, skwadri tal-mewt u skin heads xerrdu t-terrur: bejn l-1980 u l-2000 gew irrapportati ufficjalment 1,960 delitt omofobiku. Kollox juri li f’hafna pajjizi deskritti bhala civili u demokratici, l-omofobija ghadha tgawdi gheruq hafna aktar sodi milli wiehed jahseb jew jimmagina.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu, huwa difficli li tahseb li “t-tolleranza” qieghda twarrad. Ghall-kuntrarju, f’hafna mill-pajjizi imsemmija, l-omofobija llum tidher aktar vjolenti milli qatt kienet qabel. It-tendenza, ghalhekk, mhix lejn titjib generali, ... ghall-kuntrarju. Sfortunatament, anke f’pajjizna, l-omofobija sabet art ghammiela, ghalkemm illum il-gurnata forsi naqset xi ftit. Izda, anke jekk kollox isir b’mod sottili jew ma tkunx irraportata ufficjalment jew aghar minn hekk, ikun hemm min jaghlaq ghajn wahda, jekk mhux ukoll tnejn fil-konfront taghha, l-omofobija ghadha tezisti fostna. Ghadha qieghda tigi pprattikata mhux biss minn persuni komuni, izda sahansitra minn kapijiet ta’ korpi u istituzzjonijiet tal-poter.

Fortunatament, l-omofobija mhux dejjem twassal ghall-qtil fiziku ta’ dak li jkun ghalkemm xorta wahda l-effetti li thalli huma mill-aktar negattivi, jekk mhux xokkanti. Huma eluf ta’ kazi li jigru ta’ kuljum madwar id-dinja fejn il-vittmi jigu suggetti ghal vjolenza verbali, psikologika u fizika sempliciment minhabba s-sesswalità taghhom, kemm jekk din tkun reali u kemm jekk tkun sempliciment percezzjoni. U kif ghidna, anke f’pajjizna m’ghandniex inserrhu rasna mill-impatt ta’ l-omofobija fis-socjetà taghna, ghax minhabba n-natura taghhom, il-parti l-kbira tal-kazi la jigu rrapportati u lanqas innotati.

Dan is-silenzju fost u bejn komunitajiet omosesswali u eterosesswali ssahhah l-idea ta’ assoluzzjoni: f’dik li l-eterosesswali huma dejjem tajbin u sew, u dawk li jiddevjaw mil-linja d-dritta m’humiex fis-sewwa, huma immorali, hziena u difettuzi; u ghax huma hekk m’ghandux ikollhom vuci, isiru invisibbli, cittadini tat-tieni klassi hdejn il-maggoranza li huma eterosesswali. Biex nghidu hekk, in-normi jaghtu z-zejt lill-makkinarju socjali: ghax huma differenti min-norma tas-socjetà taghna, l-omosesswali aktar iva milli le jigu trattati b’mod differenti.

L-omofobija hija haga mill-aktar kerha, tigi minn fejn tigi izda forsi l-aghar sitwazzjoni tkun meta din tintwera minn membri tal-familja stess ta’ dak li jkun. Rarament insibu kazi fejn li wiehed ikun differenti minn dak maghdud bhala “normali” fil-bqija, ikun meqjus bhala xi haga pozittiva. Dan jidher mill-fatt li l-omosesswali jkollhom “iqerru” mal-genituri u dawk l-aktar gheziez ghalihom, dak li tassew huma u x’ikunu qeghdin ihossu. Dan il-fatt jikkaguna pressjoni psikologika immensa kemm fuq dak li jghidha kif ukoll fuq dak li jisma’ din ”l-ahbar hazina”. Li omosesswali jkun konxju l-hin kollu li jkollu jiggustifika lilu nnifsu dwar kif u l-ghala hu hekk, tkompli tenfasizza b’aktar sahha d-differenza li tezisti b’mod generali bejn il-popolazzjoni eterosesswali u dik omosesswali.

Il-hsieb omofobiku huwa mifrux u ghandu gheruq fondi fil-mohh. Hemm min jinsisti li t-taghlim tar-religjon u l-promozzjoni attiva fl-iskejjel ta’ l-istil ta’ hajja eterosesswali bhala li huwa moralment accettat, huma n-normi dominanti u prominenti fl-edukazzjoni tat-tfal kollha taghna. Izda ftit jew xejn ikun mghallem jew spjegat dwar stili ta’ hajja differenti u alternattivi. Ma nafx kemm huwa possibli li wiehed jghallem lill-istudenti taghna jew jikteb fil-kotba skolastici li m’hemm xejn hazin li wiehed ikollu orjentazzjoni omosesswali u li dan ghandu drittijiet u dinjità umana daqs l-bqija, li jidhol f’relazzjoni ta’ imhabba anke jekk dan ikun ma’ persuna ta’ l-istess sess tieghu.

In-nuqqas tat-taghlim dwar din il-verità tal-hajja wassal u qed ikompli jizra f’mohh studenti zghazagh konflitti sesswali, konfuzjoni u aljenazzjoni bi ftit jew xejn access ghal facilitajiet ta’ appogg u ghajnuna li tassew jghinu lil dak li jkun. It-tghajjir kontinwu dispregjattiv, il-bullying u imgieba omofobika fil-klassijiet, fil-btiehi ta’ l-iskejjel u f’centri fejn jiltaqghu z-zghazagh huma ferm komuni.

U meta dawk li suppost huma responsabbli jonqsu milli kmieni kemm jista’ jkun jiehdu l-passi mehtiega biex affarijiet bhal dawn ma jsehhux fl-iskejjel taghna, ikunu qeghdin jghinu biex ikun hemm min jahseb li huwa liberu u ghandu kull dritt li jabbuza verbalment, li jdahhak b’persuni omosesswali u li dawn ghandhom ikunu emarginati mill-bqija tas-socjetà. Dan meta nafu lkoll li l-edukazzjoni hija c-cavetta u l-ghodda li tghin biex ikun hawn bidla fl-attitudnijiet kulturali popolari u n-nuqqas tat-taghlim fattwali dwar l-omosesswalità fl-edukazzjoni sesswali f’pajjizna tista’ titqies bhala nuqqas fl-istrategija tal-gvern li jghin biex l-omofobija tkun kumbattuta.

Mil-lat legislattiv ma nistghux nghidu li pajjizna ma ghamilx passi ‘l quddiem. Kien Gvern Laburista li sa minn nofs is-snin sebghin ha passi biex il-Kodici Kriminali taghna jigi emendat b’mod li l-omosesswalità ma baqghetx maghduda bhala reat kriminali. Kien l-ewwel pass li mhux biss serrah mohh il-komunità omosesswali f’pajjizna, li kienet prezenti fostna sa minn dejjem bhal f’kull pajjiz iehor, li ma kienetx se tkompli ssofri minn proceduri kriminali kontriha tort l-orjentazzjoni sesswali taghha, izda serva wkoll biex gvernijiet sussegwenti, kemm Laburisti kif ukoll Nazzjonalisti, komplew fuq l-istess linja biex ikun assigurat li persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali ma jkomplux jigu mahqura, diskriminati u mzebilhin.

Izda minkejja dan kollu, issa li ahna membri shah fi hdan l-Unjoni Ewropea, pajjizna ghadu ferm ‘il boghod milli jilhaq l-aspettattivi kif pronunzjati fir-rizoluzzjoni dwar “L-Omofobija fl-Ewropa” approvata mill-Parlament Ewropew f’Jannar tas-sena 2006 fi Strasburgu. Permezz ta’ din ir-rizoluzzjoni, il-Parlament Ewropew mhux biss ikkundanna bil-qawwa kollha kull tip ta’ diskriminazzjoni fuq il-bazi ta’ orjentazzjoni sesswali, imma mar hafna aktar ‘il boghod minn hekk.

Biha, l-istati membri kollha kienu msejjhin fost ohrajn li jassiguraw li persuni LGBT ghandhom ikunu protetti minn diskorsi ta’ mibeghda u vjolenza omofobika; kif ukoll li ghandhom jassiguraw li koppji ta’ l-istess sess ghandhom igawdu ir-rispett, id-dinjità u l-protezzjoni bhall-bqija tas-socjetà. Huma kienu mheggin ukoll biex izidu l-isforzi taghhom biex l-omofobija tkun kumbattuta permezz ta’ l-edukazzjoni, fosthom permezz ta’ kampanji kontra l-omofobija fl-iskejjel, fl-universitajiet kif ukoll fil-media, u anke b’mezzi amministrattivi, guridici u legislattivi.

Il-Parlament Ewropew heggeg ukoll lill-Kummissjoni Ewropea biex tara u tassigura li l-istati membri jkunu dahhlu fil-ligijiet taghhom id-direttiva kontra kull tip ta’ diskriminazzjoni fuq il-bazi ta’ orjentament sesswali, kif ukoll li tibda proceduri legali kontra dawk l-istati membri li jonqsu milli jaghmlu dan b’mod shih. Min-naha l-ohra, l-istati membri gew imsejjhin biex jiehdu kull azzjoni li jqisu necessarja biex jikkumbattu l-omofobija u d-diskriminazzjoni bbazata fuq l-orjentazzjoni sesswali ta’ dak li jkun, kif ukoll li jimplimentaw l-principju ta’ l-ugwaljanza fis-socjetajiet u fis-sistemi legali taghhom.

Fost dawn, l-istati membri kienu mheggin jaghmlu l-emendi legislattivi necessarji biex itemmu darba ghal dejjem id-diskriminazzjoni li jhabbtu wicchom maghha koppji ta’ l-istess sess fil-qasam tal-wirt, arrangamenti dwar proprjetà, assikurazzjoni, pensjonijiet, taxxi, sigurtà socjali, ecc. Ta’ min jghid li dwar dan l-ahhar punt, fil-jiem li ghaddew kien hemm decizjoni mill-aktar importanti mehuda mill-Qorti Ewropea tal-gustizzja. Ghal hafna koppji omosesswali, din id-decizjoni kienet bhal xi haga mhux mistennija li waqghet mis-sema.

U la qeghdin insemmu s-sema, nistghu nghidu li sa minn kmieni hafna fl-istorja, il-kultura tal-punent giet maghguna mill-Kristjanizmu u l-Kattolicizmu li llum, ghalkemm qed tonqos mill-importanza u l-istatus socjali li kellha, xorta ghadha tfassal il-mod ta’ kif is-socjetajiet iharsu lejn l-affarijiet, apparti li ghandha vuci ta’ thassib kbir fir-rigward ta’ l-omosesswalità. Ic-censura totali tal-knisja, biex ma nghidux haga ohra, immirata b’mod dirett lejn dawk l-individwi b’orjentazzjoni sesswali differenti u jghixuha, hija meqjusa bhala li tipprovdi inkoraggiment u accettazzjoni ta’ veduti omofobici.

Il-Knisja Kattolika Rumana, b’mod specjali, ghadha ssostni b’certa qawwa l-pozizzjoni rigida taghha minkejja li matul dawn l-ahhar 35 sena kienu hafna l-iskulari u t-teologi li ezaminaw u sfidaw b’mod apert l-attitudnijiet ufficjali tradizzjonali taghha lejn l-omosesswalità. Il-konkluzjonijiet ta’ dawn il-persuni struwiti, li huma stess spiccaw iccensurati u mmutati, juru b’mod konvincenti li l-Bibbja ma tikkundannax l-omosesswalità, u li jichdu l-argumenti kollha tradizzjonali li jingiebu ghall-kundanna ta’ l-omosesswalità fl-Iskrittura, fit-tradizzjoni u fil-filosofija.

Dawn l-istudjuzi jishqu li l-pozizzjonijiet mehudin minnhom huma appoggjati minn provi godda, li gejjin minn studji bibblici u minn diversi studji ohrajn tax-xjenzi umani, specjalment dawk psikologici u socjologici, li b’mod komplet igibu fix-xejn l-fehma tradizzjonali ta’ l-omosesswalità bhala stat maghzul u li jista’ jinbidel. Dehen gdid f’dak li huwa zvilupp psikologiku ma jhalli l-ebda dubju li wiehed m’ghandu l-ebda ghazla fl-orjentament sesswali tieghu kif ukoll li l-unika reazzjoni li taghmel il-gid lil dak li jkun meta jinduna li huwa gay jew lesbjana, huwa li jaccettaha.

L-istudji li saru matul dawn l-ahhar snin jopponu l-ewwel u qabel kollox l-hsieb li Alla kellu l-intenzjoni li l-bnedmin kollha jkunu eterosesswali, u li ghalhekk, l-omosesswalità tirrapprezenta devjazzjoni mill-pjan divin ta’ Alla. L-istess studji u r-ricerki intensivi li saru juru li m’hemm l-ebda kundanna cara fl-Iskrittura kontra relazzjonijiet ta’ imhabba bejn persuni omosesswali. gie spjegat ukoll li .... “Orjentazzjoni omosesswali m’ghandha necessarjament l-ebda konnessjoni mad-dnub, mal-mard, jew mal-falliment; anzi hija rigal minn Alla li ghandu jigi accettat minn dak li jkun u li jghixu b’gratitudni ... Il-bnedmin umani ma jaghzlux l-orjentazzjoni sesswali; huma jindunaw biha bhala xi haga moghtija...”.

Tezi ohra li hargu biha dawn l-iskulari u teologi hija li l-omosesswali, aktar milli huma ta’ tfixkil jew theddida ghall-valuri tas-socjetà u l-familja, kif jassumu konservattivi u politici tal-lemin, ghandhom doni u kwalitajiet u kontribuzzjoni pozittiva x’jaghtu ghall-izvilupp tas-socjetà bhala parti mill-pjan kreattiv ta’ Alla,. “Tassew, jekk n-nisa lesbjani u l-irgiel gay kellhom jisparixxu, l-izvilupp akbar tas-socjetà lejn aktar umanizmu jigi serjament ipperikolat”, huma jghidu.

Issir ukoll insistenza fuq l-argument li l-imhabba bejn zewg lesbjani jew irgiel gay, fejn wiehed jassumi hija imhabba umana u kostruttiva, m’hijiex dnub .... anzi tista’ tkun imhabba sagra, li twassal ghall-prezenza ta’ Alla fil-komunità umana b’mod effettiv daqs l-imhabba eterosesswali. Wara kollox kull persuna umana ghandha d-dritt moghti lilha minn Alla ghall-imhabba u l-intimità sesswali.

Teologu Kattoliku li huwa wkoll psikoterapista jikkritika l-awtoritajiet tal-Vatikan u jghid li dawn ghamlu pass lura u mhux ‘il quddiem meta sahqu li l-orjentazzjoni omosesswali ma kienetx kundizzjoni naturali izda tirrapprezenta ‘dizordni oggettiva” u li kienet “orjentazzjoni ghall-hazen”. Jghid ukoll li billi hafna mill-persuni gay jesperjenzaw l-orjentament sesswali taghhom bhala parti mill-holqien, jekk jaccettaw dan it-taghlim tal-Knisja, bilfors li jaraw lil Alla bhala li b’mod sadist halaqhom b’orjentament intrinsikament ta’ hazen. “Nahseb li hafna huma dawk il-persuni gay li jippreferu li jharsu lejn it-taghlim tal-Knisja bhala zbaljat milli jemmnu li Alla hu sadist”. Jintqal li dawn il-pozizzjonijiet mehudin mill-awtoritajiet fil-kuriduri tal-poter tal-Vatikan bilfors li jikkawzaw hsara enormi f’mohh zghazagh Kattolici li huma gay, apparti li jipprovokaw il-vjolenza kontra kull min huwa omosesswali.

Din il-harsa hafifa li tajna turina b’mod l-aktar car li s-socjetà tissegrega minflok li tintegra lill-persuni omosesswali u dan minhabba l-biza’ mizrugha u kkultivata minn sezzjonijiet tal-media, mir-religjon, minn normi kulturali u n-nuqqas ta’ taghlim dwar l-imhabba vera u sinciera li tassew tista’ tkun tezisti bejn persuni ta’ l-istess sess.

Minkejja kollox, l-omofobija ghadha taghmel parti integrali fis-socjetà taghna, mghejjuna u mharsa minn dawk li jinsabu fil-poter, li bl-azzjonijiet jew bin-nuqqas li jiehdu azzjoni, joppressaw u jzommu lura lill-persuni omosesswali, waqt li jzommu lill-persuni eterosesswali, kif nghidu bl-Ingliz, ‘straight’, billi jinkoraggixxu individwi biex ikomplu juzaw lill-omosesswali bhala l-’punch bags’ tas-socjetà jew li bl-ebda mod ma jirrikonoxxu l-ezistenza taghhom.

..... Issa hu l-mument!

Il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija, ghar-rikonoxximent internazzjonali ta’ persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali (LGBT), se terga’ tkun imfakkra nhar is-Sibt, 17 ta’ Mejju, f’aktar minn 30 pajjiz madwar id-dinja.

Din id-data ntghazlet minhabba li kien fis-17 ta’ Mejju tas-sena 1990 meta l-Assemblea generali ta’ l-Ghaqda Dinjija tas-Sahha nehhiet l-omosesswalità mil-lista ta’ dizordnijiet mentali. Din id-decizjoni tal-WHO gabet fi tmiemhom aktar minn mitt sena ta’ omofobija medika.

Gruppi LGBT madwar id-dinja qed jahdmu bis-shih mal-fundatur ta’ din il-kampanja - Louis George Tin - biex il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija jitnizzel fil-kalendarju nazzjonali ta’ kemm jista’ jkun pajjizi u, eventwalment, f’dak internazzjonali. Din il-gurnata hija appoggjata minn individwi pubblici u entitajiet diversi.

Spiss tisma’ lil min jghid li l-persuni LGBT f’Malta qatt ma kienu liberi li jghixu hajjithom fil-milja kollha taghha daqs illum. Facli tasal ghal din il-konkluzjoni jekk tilludi ruhek li prezenza aktar vizibli fil-pubbliku jew fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir u l-istampa tfisser li din is-sezzjoni tal-popolazzjoni llum hija ttrattata daqs cittadini li m’humiex LGBT. Dan m’hu veru xejn!

Huwa fatt maghruf li persuni LGBT ghadhom isofru minn pregudizzju u diskriminazzjoni kontrihom f’kull parti tad-dinja, inkluza f’Malta. Noholmu bi zmien meta hadd ma jibqa’ jghajjar jew iwegga’ lil haddiehor ghax ikun jaghmel parti minn minoranza sesswali; meta l-ebda genituri ma jkeccu lil uliedhom mid-dar ghax jghidulhom li jkunu LGBT, meta tfal u zghazagh LGBT ma jibqghux ikunu vittmi ta’ bullying fl-iskejjel; meta l-ebda sid ta’ post tax-xoghol ma jirrifjuta impjieg lil xi hadd ghax ikun LGBT; meta l-ebda politiku ma jaghzel li joqghod gallerija quddiem l-ingustizzji ma’ persuni LGBT; meta l-awtoritajiet tal-Knisja jgharfu li mhux bizzejjed li jghidu li Alla jhobb persuni LGBT izda li ghandhom jieqfu milli jkomplu jabbuzaw spiritwalment minn dawn il-persuni.

Il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija ghandu jservi bhala jum ta’ riflessjoni fost dawk kollha ta’ rieda tajba biex tkun ezaminata l-qaghda reali ta’ persuni LGBT. U, waqt li jiehdu kont tal-kisbiet li saru s’issa, jitheggu minnhom u jkabbru l-isforzi taghhom fit-taqbida kontinwa kontra kull vjolenza fizika, morali jew simbolika relatata ma’ orjentazzjoni sesswali, biex illum qabel ghada tassew tinkiseb l-ugwaljanza, kemm fid-dritt kif ukoll fil-fatt, bejn ic-cittadini kollha, huma min huma u huma x’inhuma. Biex dan kollu jsehh, issa hu l-mument!

It-Torċa: Żgur mhux b’inkejja .....

(Ghad m'hemmx l-artiklu fuq s'issa)
4 ta’ Mejju 2008

Kienu diversi r-reazzjonijiet li rcevejna ghal dak li ktibna fil-harga ta’ it-Torċa tal-Ħadd li ghadda, dwar l-incidenza tas-suwicidju fost iz-zghazagh. Qarrej minnhom ghogbu jibghatilna elenku ta’ indirizzi ta’ siti li wiehed isib fuq l-Internet immirati biex iservu bhala apprezzament u tifkira dejjiema ta’ xi hadd ghaziz li, ghax thalla jinghalaq fih innifsu, ma gharafx li madwaru tassew kien hemm min ihobbu u jirrispettah, anke jekk forsi dawn ghal xi raguni jew ohra ma fehmux dak hu kien ghaddej minnu jew x’kien qieghed iberren fil-menti tieghu.

Mhux ftit kienu l-kazi ta’ zghazagh li waslu biex ghamlu dak li ghamlu ghax ma felhux aktar ghat-trawma li esperjenzaw kawza ta’ l-omofobija li sofrew. U mhux ftit ukoll kienu l-incidenti li ghamlu lil dawn iz-zghazagh mizerabbli sempliciment minhabba l-identità omosesswali taghhom. Kienu hafna l-kazi fejn dawn iz-zghazagh sfaw imwarrbin u emarginati u abbuzati fizikament u verbalment jekk mhux ukoll psikologikament b’hafna tghajjir u botti li jcekknu u jizzebilhu lil dak li jkun, b’seksik u inkizizzjoni li bhal donnhom ma kienu jieqfu qatt.

Ricerka li saret tindika li l-iffittar verbali u fiziku m’huwiex limitat biss fil-konfront tal-komunità gay, billi hafna drabi persuni sfaw fil-mira ta’ dawn l-attakki sempliciment ghax xi hadd issuspetta li setghu kienu gay. Izda l-verità tibqa’ li persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali huma aktar suxxettibli ghal abbuzi simili, ghad-dipressjoni u anke ghal hsibijiet suwicidjali, ghax it-trawma mahluqa u sostnuta mill-omofobija ma thallihomx jghixu hajjithom fil-milja taghha kif ihossu li ghandhom kull dritt li jaghmlu. bhal kulhadd iehor.

Imma kif din it-trawma ta’ l-omofobija timmanifesta ruhha f’xi hadd, specjalment meta dan lanqas biss ikun irid jaccetta lilu nnifsu bhala dak li fil-fatt hu? Kif l-izolament, il-mibgheda u l-iggudikar - kemm jekk jinghad bil-fomm jew b’mod silenzjuz - jahkmu bejn difrejhom lil dak li jkun u gieli jaslu biex igieghluh sahansitra jibda jobghod lilu nnifsu u l-fatt li n-natura ghamlitu dak li hu? Immagina lilek innifsek tisma’ l-kantaliena bla tmiem illi li tkun gay hija xi haga “kerha”, “hazina”, “mhux naturali”, “difettuza”, jew li hi “dnub”; u dan kemm waqt li tkun l-iskola, kemm waqt li tkun l-università jew fuq il-post tax-xoghol, jekk mhux ukoll b’mod car minghand ommok: “Ahjar li binti tmut milli tkun xi wahda minn dawk il-lesbjani”, jew minghand missierek: “ Int pufta! Aqbizli ‘l barra minn dari”.

Issa immaginaw xi thoss meta tisma’ dawn it-tikketti u opinjonijiet espressi minn fuq il-pulptu jew fil-konfessjonarju minn xi qassis jew patri, jew fil-knisja li tiffrekwenta suppost biex issib is-serhan tar-ruh. Ghax, aktar iva milli le, ir-religjon kwazi dejjem tintuza bhala l-ewwel sors li n-nies juzaw biex jiggustifikaw il-bigottrija u l-oppressjoni tal-pregudizzju sesswali, u hija l-omofobija religjuza li ghandha impatt profond fuq l-omofobija interna li wiehed ikun imgieghel ihoss, fuq l-omofobija li tezisti fi hdan is-socjetà taghna, u fuq il-bidla socjali.

Midinbin ghax omosesswali?

Ghax huma hafna t-tradizzjonijiet religjuzi li jharsu lejn il-membri tal-komunità lesbjana, gay, bisesswali u transesswali bhala li dawn jipprattikaw mod ta’ hajja omosesswali, u ghalhekk qed jghixu fid-dnub. Hu minnu li f’dawn l-ahhar snin sehh zvilupp kunsiderevoli mil-lat tat-teologija morali fis-sens li sa fl-ahhar giet ikkonfermata l-ezistenza ta’ l-orjentazzjoni sesswali u kien rikonoxxut il-hazen tal-pregudizzju, tal-vjolenza u d-diskriminazzjoni kontra min ghandu orjentament sesswali mhux konvenzjonali. Fl-istess waqt però, kienet sostnuta l-immoralità ta’ l-attività omogenitali, jigifieri li dak li jkun ma jkunx qed jaghmel “dnub” jekk ikun omosesswali u jghix hajja ta’ kastità izda ma jistax jesprimi imhabbtu lejn persuna ohra ta’ l-istess sess, anke jekk nafu li s-sesswalità hija kemm aspett centrali biex wiehed jifhem lilu nnifsu b’mod shih kif ukoll fattur krucjali f’kull relazzjoni ta’ imhabba. Ghad-dikjarazzjoni li sikwit li ssir, jigifieri: “ahna nobghodu d-dnub izda nhobbu lill-midneb”, hafna huma l-persuni gay u lesbjani li jwiegbu li kulma huma daqu kienet il-mibgheda u l-mhux l-imhabba.

Ikun hemm ukoll hafna li meta jigu ttimbrati bhala midinbin minn xi whud mill-membri tal-kleru sempliciment ghax ikunu sabu l-imhabba vera f’persuna ta’ l-istess sess taghhom, genwinament ihossu li jkunu qeghdin jigu abbuzati spiritwalment. Dawn jaghmlu differenza bejn religjon u spiritwalità, waqt li jinsistu illi li wiehed jinjora l-abbuz spiritwalità huwa l-istess bhal meta tinjora l-abbuz sesswali, fiziku u emozzjonali. U jghidu li biex wiehed ifiq mill-griehi li sofra, il-fejqan irid ikun totali ghax persuna b’ruh imxellfa, ma tista’ qatt tkun persuna shiha u sana.

Issib min ikun vulnerabbli hafna ghall-abbuz spiritwali li jkun sofra u tant ihossu li gie mwegga’, li bl-ebda mod ma jkun jrid jerga’ jissuggetta lilu innifsu ghal dan it-tip ta’ negattività li attakkatlu l-gherq ta’ l-ezistenza tieghu. Min-naha l-ohra, jkun hemm min jibqa’ jsib refugju fil-fidi li haddan sa minn skunitu u tant ihobb, anke jekk biex jaghmel hekk ifittex membri tal-kleru li jaccettahom kif inhuma u ghax mhux imniggsa mill-pregudizzju, ma jiggudikahomx. Fuq kollox jemmnu li mhux Alla kien li ggudikahom izda s-socjetà. Fil-qiegh ta’ qalbhom ihossu li Alla jhobbhom hekk kif halaqhom, u ghax konvinti minn dan, huma decizi li jkomplu jixhdu u jxerrdu din l-imhabba fl-ohrajn ta’ madwarhom minkejja kull oppozizzjoni u tfixkil li jsibu.

Forsi ssib lil min ihares lejn il-fatt li jkun hemm min jirritorna lejn ir-religjon tieghu biex ifiq mit-trawma omofobika, bhala xi haga paradossali. Ikun hemm min jistaqsi kif u l-ghala persuni LGBT jibqghu jhaddnu ma’ qalbhom il-fidi Kattolika - l-istess religjon li storikament instigat u bierket l-omofobija u sostniet il-pregudizzju sesswali billi sahqet li l-eterosesswalità hija l-unika norma - bhala s-sors ghall-fejqan taghhom.

Hemm il-pozittiv ukoll

Izda minkejja li f’xi zmien jew iehor kien hemm ostilità reciproka, xorta wahda ghadek issib hafna persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali li genwinament ihossu li l-fidi iservihom mhux biss bhala sors li jaghtihom is-sahha u jnisslilhom il-kuntentizza, izda wkoll sors ta’ fejqan mit-trawma ta’ l-omofobija. Dawn l-istess persuni jghidulek li huma ma jharsux lejn it-thaddin tat-tradizzjonijiet religjuzi taghhom bhala kontradizzjoni izda bhala mod mill-aktar effettiv ta’ kif ifejjqu l-griehi li sofrew bla ma kellhom tort.

Tajjeb li nghidu bla tlaqliq li waqt li hu minnu li n-negattiv bhal donnu li jispikka aktar u jaghmel hoss akbar, fil-knisja jezisti l-pozittiv ukoll. U waqt li ssib membri tal-kleru u religjuzi li jirreaggixxu b’mod mill-aktar negattiv ghax forsi huma pregudikati jew ghax m’humiex struwiti f’dan is-suggett delikat, fortunatament issib ukoll ohrajn li pastoralment jghinu lil dak li jkun u jimxu pass pass mieghu biex ikun f’qaghda ahjar li jifhem u jaghraf aktar lilu nnifsu u dak li l-kuxjenza tieghu tkun qed tiddettalu.

Ta’ min isemmi wkoll li l-Knisja stess ghandha fi hdanha nies, inkluz wkoll religjuzi u teologi, bhal James Alison, Jeannine Grammick, John McNeill u ohrajn li mhux biss ghamluha bhala l-missjoni u l-ministeru pastorali taghhom li jahdmu fost u ghall-gid tal-komunità gay izda wkoll b’perseveranza u kuragg kbir iwettqu hidma sfiqa biex dawk li jsibu kenn fil-kuriduri tal-poter fl-ahhar jaghtu widen ghas-sejha li jinfethu ghad-djalogu dwar it-taghlim tal-Knisja dwar l-omosesswalità u jekk ikun hemm bzonn li jsir xi tibdil ghall-ahjar, ma jibzghux mill-bidla.

Huma pozittivi wkoll l-inizjattivi li rajna jittiehdu f’dawn l-ahhar xhur minn individwi u anke personalitajiet maghrufin sew fi hdan il-Knisja Maltija, jew li jahdmu taht il-kappa taghha, li permezz taghhom qed jghinu biex ikun hawn djalogu onest u bla biza’ dwar dan kollu minghajr hafna xinxilli jew sensazzjonalizmu. Ezempji ta’ dawn l-inizjattivi huma l-programmi televizivi, bhal dawk li ntwerew fis-sensiliet ‘Qalb in-Nies’ u ‘Sejjahtli’ li jipprovaw ifehmu u jiddiskutu is-suggett b’mod serju, anke jekk forsi mhux dejjem taqbel ma dak li jinghad.

J’alla li dan id-djalogu u rieda tajba li biha nkunu nistghu nifhmu wiehed lill-iehor, ikun rifless ukoll f’xewqa u disponibilità min-naha tal-mexxejja ta’ l-istess Knisja li b’kuragg u umiltà jsiru jafu aktar u aktar persuni gay u permezz ta’ kompassjoni u diskussjoni oggettiva jkunu jistghu jifhmu l-problemi u l-aspirazzjonijiet taghhom mhux biss bhala bnedmin tad-demm u l-laham bhalhom, izda wkoll bhala membri tal-merhla taghhom li tant ihobbu u jirrispettaw il-fidi Kattolika.

Aħna wkoll uliedek

Ghalhekk mhux biss kienet taghmel sens kbir izda kienet ferm effettiva t-tema maghzula minn Drachma - il-grupp LGBT Kattoliku Malti - ghal-laqgha specjali ta’ talb li organizza: “Ahna wkoll Uliedek, Ahna wkoll naghmlu parti mill-Knisja Tieghek.” Din il-laqgha specjali ta’ talb saret bhala parti mill-attivitajiet li gew organizzati fil-gzejjer Maltin biex jitfakkar il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija.

Il-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija jigi mfakkar f’diversi pajjizi mxerrdin f’kull rokna tad-dinja fil-jum tas-17 ta’ Mejju ta’ kull sena. Dan il-jum jitfakkar internazzjonalmnet ghax kien fis-17 ta’ Mejju tas-sena 1990 meta l-Assemblea generali ta’ l-Ghaqda Dinjija tas-Sahha nehhiet l-omosesswalità mil-lista ta’ dizordnijiet mentali.

Izda minkejja li din id-decizjoni tal-WHO gabet fi tmiemhom aktar minn mitt sena ta’ omofobija medika, dan zgur ma kienx ifisser tmiem il-glieda ghar-rikonoxximent internazzjonali tad-drittijiet indaqs ghal persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali. Bizzejjed wiehed ikun jaf li llum il-gurnata, li tkun gay ghadu meqjus bhala reat kriminali f’madwar 75 pajjiz differenti.

Il-fundatur tal-Jum Dinji Kontra l-Omofobija, l-attivist Franciz Louis-George Tin jittama li dan l-istat ta’ fatt fl-ahhar jinbidel billi l-gnus Maghquda tadotta rizoluzzjoni li permezz taghha ssir sejha biex madwar id-dinja kollha, l-omosesswalità tassew ma tibqax tkun meqjusa bhala reat kriminali.

Maghqudin mieghu f’din il-hidma hemm l-Gruppi LGBT madwar id-dinja li qeghdin ikomplu jahdmu bit-tama li tassew kulhadd, jghix fejn qed jghix u rrispettivament mill-orjentament sesswali jew l-identità tal-generu tas-sess taghhom, jghixu hajjithom fil-milja kollha taghha f’rispett shih tad-drittijiet fundamentali taghhom u bla ebda ombra ta’ pregudizzju jew diskriminazzjoni kontrihom.

Fost dawn il-gruppi LGBT hemm il-grupp lokali Drachma li ghal din il-laqgha specjali ta’ talb stieden lil kull min hu ta’ rieda tajba izda b’mod specjali lill-persuni kollha lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali li huma jew li kienu vittmi ta’ l-omofobija. Din l-istedina hija wkoll estiza ghall-genituri, l-familji u l-hbieb ta’ persuni LGBT li b’xi mod jew iehor sofrew tort ta’ l-omofobija, jew li kienu vittmi taghha huma stess. B’mod partikolari, Drachma stieden lill-genituri, qraba jew hbieb ta’ persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali jew transesswali li kkommettew suwicidju.

Maħfra u rikonciljazzjoni

Bhala grupp Kattoliku, Drachma tittama li din il-laqgha fil-prezenza ta’ gesù Kristu ggib fejqan ghall-griehi sofferti tort ta’ l-omofobija li kienet u ghadha tezisti fostna, u dan permezz tar-rikonciljazzjoni, tal-mahfra, tat-tama u t-tgawdija tal-hajja fil-milja taghha minn dawk kollha li esperjenzaw jew ghadhom isofru mill-pregudizzju, mill-vjolenza b’xi mod jew iehor, anke l-mewt. F’dan il-jum simboliku mill-aktar importanti, Drachma qed issejjah lill-Mexxejja Religjuzi u lill-Awtoritajiet civili biex jikkunsidraw bl-akbar serjetà l-kruha ta’ l-omofobija u l-pregudizzju, u aktar importanti li jiehdu l-passi kollha necessarji biex b’mod konkret jipprotegu lill-persuni LGBT kemm lokali kif ukoll dawk imxerrdin madwar id-dinja.

Din il-laqgha specjali ta’ talb saret fil-Millennium Chapel nhar il-gimgha, 16 ta’ Mejju.

Drachma, li jhaddan fih persuni gay, lesbjani, bisesswali u transesswali li jiltaqghu biex jitolbu flimkien, huwa grupp Kattoliku li jilqa’ lil kulhadd. Dan hu grupp li dawk fi hdanu jiffukaw fuq l-imhabba ta’ Alla, irrelevanti minn min huma u x’inhuma. Drachma huwa l-post fejn il-membri tieghu jfittxu dak li jghaqqadhom u mhux dak li jifridhom.

Bhala grupp jirrikonoxxu lill-Knisja Kattolika bhala "ommna u l-ghalliema taghna". Izda jhossu wkoll li ghandhom jgharrfu l-esperjenzi taghhom bhala LGBT Kattolici. Huma jirrikonoxxu li l-Knisja Kattolika hija rikka u ghandha sors ta’ gharfien u tradizzjonijiet; fuq kollox hija l-Knisja ta’ gesù Kristu, ghalhekk dar ta’ imhabba ghall-umanità kollha. Jemmnu wkoll fl-inkluzjoni shiha ta’ persuni LGBT fi hdan il-Knisja Kattolika.

Apparti l-laqghat ta’ talb regolari, il-grupp Drachma jorganizza wkoll laqghat ta’ diskussjoni dwar temi li jolqtu mill-qrib lil persuni LGBT. Ghal dawn il-laqghat, huma jistiednu wkoll personalitajiet maghrufin minn barra biex jaqsmu mal-pubbliku Maltin l-esperjenzi u jitkellmu dwar suggetti li huma struwiti fihom. Bhalissa Drachma ghaddej ukoll b’hidma biex fi hdanu jitwaqqaf grupp ghall-genituri ta’ persuni LGBT biex jaqsmu flimkien il-problemi u l-esperjenzi pozittivi taghhom u hekk iservu bhala sors ta’ ghajnuna u appogg lejn xulxin.

Kull min jixtieq aktar taghrif dwar id-diversi hidmiet li jwettaq il-grupp Drachma, kull min jixtieq xi ghajnuna jew pariri, kif ukoll min jixtieq jghin anke permezz ta’ ghajnuna finanzjarja, jista’ jaghmel kuntatt billi jibghat e-mail fuq: jew jidhol fis-sit: