Thursday, 30 June 2011

Times: On being gay, the right to love...and end of the world
Thursday, June 23, 2011 , by Alex Vella Gregory, Swatar

The end of the world is nigh, and apparently Doomsday is arriving in drag and waving a rainbow flag.

Reading through various comments made on this newspaper and other local media regarding gay rights, one wonders whether a particular segment of the population actually grasps the idea of “fundamental rights”.

Let us get a few facts straight (if you can pardon the pun). Being gay is not simply about who you prefer to have sex with; it is about who you want to build long, solid relationships with, of which sex is only a small part.

Being gay has nothing to do with being effeminate; gender identification is different from sexual orientation.

This leads us to the next misguided contradiction; “I have nothing against homosexuals, but…!” If you disagree (or even worse “hate”) homosexuals, kindly be mature about it and say it.

I do not tolerate that “holier-than-thou” hypocrisy, epitomised by the likes of those who try to justify homophobia by quoting the Bible. Nor am I waiting for them to justify my sexuality.

It is interesting that most of the arguments against gay rights (and other forms of hatred) end with a biblical quote.

People seem to forget that quite frankly I do not need any church or religious sect to feel “loved”, “accepted”, or “forgiven”.

I have all the support and care I need from my family and friends, and contrary to what some bigots might think, I am not a Bible-burning atheist hell-bent on destroying the world.

I simply believe that wisdom is better than ignorance, respect is better than fundamentalism, and love is better than hate.

Unfortunately, for a greater part of the homosexual community, such love and care is not available.

That is where gay rights come in. Perhaps the term “gay rights” is misleading in itself, because really and truly they are fundamental human rights.

They include the right to choose your life partner, the right for one’s relationship to be legally recognised, the right to own property with the person you choose, the right to medical and social care as a couple, and the right for two consenting adults to live together as a family.

Of course, the word “family” raises eyebrows and quite a few disapproving voices.

Therefore, I ask, “Would a single mum and her child be considered a family? Would a religious community be considered a family? Would an orphanage be considered a family? Would a mother living with her adult offspring under one roof be considered a family?” If your definition of family is simply “mum and dad and children”, then you are denying the greater part of the population the right to feel loved.

And therefore, that is what “gay rights” are all about: the right to love and be loved by the people you choose. So come the end of the world, I will end it with the people I love, not with people chosen for me by society.

Until that day comes, I will fight for others to enjoy that same basic right.

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

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