Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Times: Working for gays and Labour
Wednesday, 18th November 2009 by Albert Gauci Cunningham, Buġibba

Not much time had passed since the first public announcement of a new LGBT Network within the PL than it got the first load of flak from different quarters, some rather predictable, others less so.

This network is not trying to ram anything down anyone's throat, whether within the Labour Party or outside.

The adverts on certain bus stops around the island, contrary to the impression which someone tried to give, were not put up by the network and though in themselves they are a good initiative in trying to create awareness, what they portray does not necessarily reflect Labour's policies in this area.

Joseph Muscat has already made it clear both to the network and to the MGRM members during a meeting held at the Labour headquarters that the party does not favour the policy of child adoption for gay couples.

True, some gay people might not take this well but the Labour leader is being quite frank from the start regarding what the party could and couldn't deliver if it is returned to power.

The LGBT Network is not a threat to any family or to the family establishment; most of the members hold their families very close to their hearts and believe it is very important that while they push gay issues to the forefront, major parties should strive to strengthen families as these are the most basic and important unit that builds a stronger society.

It is not gay people, gay activists or LGBT Networks that break families but financial constraints, dishonesty, anti-social taxes and the present lack of willingness towards commitment and sacrifice.

I hope that this puts Josie Muscat's mind at rest because if he and his party want to witness the real threats to any society they need look no further than our own shores, where homophobia and xenophobia are alive and kicking. Fear of the unknown leads to hatred which then might lead to violence. These are what destroy the social equilibrium, and not gay people!

On the face of it, the setting up of an LGBT Network might seem to serve the opposite purpose, that of excluding and segregating rather than including. Bzzzzz, you're wrong! You are definitely the weakest link! Goodbye!

This network will not be organising "coffee mornings for gay people", neither will it lock gay people up in a pink dungeon full of feathers and sex toys with a dominating photo of Joseph Muscat and a banner under it with the words "gays for Joseph".

It will be made up of a core group of people working together to promote gay issues within the PL, talking to different people to see what their expectations are in this area and encouraging more gay people not only to vote Labour but also to work within it, not just in the network but throughout its structures. It will make sure that the Labour Party doesn't renege on its promise to put people with a different sexual orientation on a more equal footing (and please note the word "equal"; the LGBT Network does not want gay people to be privileged but equal).

The network also has the task of seeing that the Labour grassroots themselves continue to understand why it is important that a Labour government, as it had done in the 1970s, stands up for those people who don't have much of a voice both socially and politically.

The network's aim is to see that this country moves to a place where no one feels marginalised or less of a citizen. We definitely don't aim for jihads against any institution in this country, whether it be the Catholic Church, the Nationalist Party or anyone who feels strongly against gay civil rights. Our aim is to strive for a more inclusive society and to see that it will be a future Labour government under the leadership of Dr Muscat that works tirelessly towards this aim.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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