Monday, 16 November 2009

MaltaStar: “Gay people need to believe in change”


14 November 2009 23:06
“Gay people are expecting to be protected in case of discrimination, they want to have something to look forward to in the form of civil unions … they want to lead a quiet life free of bullying and homophobia.”

Albert Gauchi Cunningham speaks with on civil rights and the LGBT Labour.

No homosexual gets persecuted for his/her sexual orientation in Malta, but at the same time it must be a very frustrating place for homosexuals, because after the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 1970s no other gay civil right was obtain. Are we afraid of change?

That is completely true infact it was under Dom Mintoff's premiership that it became legal to be gay if one could put it that way, something which Nationalist MP's were against. But that is a long time ago now and very few of those in or out of the gay scene remember this today.

Gay people are frustrated because so little has been done and for the past years all governments have done was to dither and seed false hopes on the eve of general elections. Many had hoped that with Malta joining the E.U. certain rights would become automatic but as everyone and his brother can witness this is very far from the truth. Infact as of late we seem to be regressing rather than progressing; and here I'm referring to the sudden drive to ban this and stop that and arraign him or her because she/he wrote something which someone considers to be blasphemous.

Unfortunately the EU issue was sold so well that now it has spectacularly fallen short of expectations. Gay people are expecting to be protected in case of discrimination, they expect to be able to aim their relationship to a high, they want to have something to look forward to in the form of civil unions, they want to be treated as family in a hospital and they want to inherit their deceased partners' assets, they want to lead a quiet life free of bullying and homophobia, they want a Commission ,which says it’s all about equality, to stand up for them and not ignore them, they want to have the right for bereavement leave if their partner dies, they want to have the rights for housing when and if they're eligible for it.

Gay people don't want anything spectacular or out of this world all they're just asking for is what should be rightfully theirs! Are homosexuals afraid of change you ask? Well who isn't? But if we dare to dream of change than hopefully we will be able to live it! And gay people need to start believing in change and when the time comes vote for it!

You will start the Labour LGBT. How are things going and what are your expectations?

Well I wouldn't say I'm starting it! That would be grossly unfair on the many people around me. It is actually a group of people coming from different walks of life who have shown interest in being part of this group and just like the others I was approached by the PL leadership to form part of the Party and also of this network to which I wholeheartedly agreed.

The LGBT Labour has already started functioning with and within the Forum Zaghzagh Laburisti mainly thanks to Daniel Micallef , its president, although it has not officially launched. We were keeping a rather low key until all hell broke loose when Dr.Joseph Muscat met a few ILGA members and was reported on the which led to a string of encouraging and supportive comments, others which were against and some others which poked fun at us and accused us of segregating gay people along with the downright offensive remarks by some homophobes. But anyway LGBT Labour is not here to waste time answering people who have only one agenda i.e that of pushing the Conservative bandwagon further.

We are definitely not trying to segregate anyone infact this Network is not like some section which will be organising “coffee mornings for gays” (imagine that!!) but one which will approach different people to get feedback and let the Party know how gay people feel and what they expect from Labour, it would then be up to the Party to match up to those expectations with real and tangible policies, some of which we hope to offer ourselves.

We are here to build bridges between the Labour Party and many gay people in Malta whether Labour, Nationalist or apolitical. LGBT Labour wants to make the progressive movement the natural home of all gay people in Malta, we want to see that Malta's Socialist movement (like all those around Europe) fills the void and removes the disillusionment gay people are feeling, we want to see gay people believe that change can happen and that this change could come about with Dr.Joseph Muscat as Prime Minister.

Read part one1 of the interview: “Education can eradicate homophobia”
[Click on the hyperlink at the top to view the comments on MaltaStar's website.]

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