Sunday, 24 July 2011

Independent: That’s right, Cyrus – homosexuality is not a disease, so don’t behave as though it is
21 July 2011 by Daphne Caruana Galizia

Cyrus Engerer’s defection to Labour has rekindled the tired old debate – which some people appear to have only just discovered – about gay rights. Suddenly, because Mr Engerer has joined the Labour Party, which is made up of people who have supported and perpetrated oppression over two generations, this means that Labour is liberal by default and favours gay rights

Let’s leave aside the fact that political liberalism has little or nothing to do with gay rights or divorce, and consider for a moment what people actually mean when they say ‘gay rights’. I have had this argument so many times with determined, bossy people who speak about something vague they call ‘gay rights’ that I am thoroughly sick of it. But because it has started up again, here goes.

I ask them to cite chapter and verse of the laws of Malta, showing me – to set me straight in case I am missing something – where people are discriminated against on grounds of sexuality. I ask them why no Maltese homosexual has ever taken a case to the European Court of Human Rights, and if they could perhaps suggest to me what grounds there might be for just such a case. I never get an answer, because there isn’t one. And there isn’t one for one reason only: Maltese law does not deal in sexuality but in gender, and this means that anything which applies to heterosexual men and women also applies to homosexual men and women, hence there is no discrimination on grounds of sexuality.

The only answers I get are ‘gay marriage’ and ‘gay adoption’, and I have to keep calm as I patiently explain that the law which prevents people from marrying somebody of the same gender applies equally to homosexuals and heterosexuals, and so no discrimination can be claimed. I also explain, and this comes as a surprise to some of my interlocutors, that a law which allows same-sex marriages will, precisely because discrimination on grounds of sexuality is illegal, apply equally to heterosexuals and homosexuals. In other words, a heterosexual man will be able to marry another heterosexual man, or a heterosexual woman another heterosexual woman. To say that this won’t happen is beside the point. And in any case it will and does happen, because marriage contracts are sometimes entered into for utilitarian reasons like citizenship, work permits, residency, money or inheritance. With divorce, it will make even more sense. You get what you want or need, then you divorce.

It seems to me that what these people are talking about is not rights but acceptance, which is something else altogether and cannot be enforced by law. It is odd, therefore, that homosexuals who seek acceptance should find refuge in a political party which corrals them in something called ‘LGBT Labour’, lumping homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals of both genders into a mental and physical ghetto that only lacks the unspoken ‘this is where we keep our freaks’.

I would never join a political party that corrals its women while leaving the mainstream wide open to the men, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. I prefer my political parties to be completely oblivious to whether you are a man or a woman, and so it should be with homosexuality. If a political party makes a big play of homosexuality or celebrates you because you are homosexual, watch out. As women know – though obviously not all women judging by the foolish ones who do things like appear on John Bundy’s ‘Ladies Night’, where they are complimented on their hair and make-up (imagine doing that with men) – when you are treated like a special case you know it’s because you’re thought of as a special case.

Several key players in the Nationalist Party are homosexual, whether they are men or women. The unobservant or blinkered believe that they do not exist, because they do not vaseline their eyebrows and wear tight pants and interestingly tight tops like some of the boys on Super One. Or if they do notice they exist, they then mock them for being in the closet. It doesn’t occur to them for one moment that if people wish to live a plain life and wear sober suits and ties it doesn’t follow that they are pretending not to be homosexual. It just means that are they discreet and not vulgar. People who shove their sex life in other people’s faces are crass and ill-mannered, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. The tragedy is that gay men and women who want a quiet life feel themselves bullied by the outrageous behaviour of others with whom they share absolutely nothing except their sexuality. We don’t expect all heterosexual men or all heterosexual women to behave the same way, but stupidly, we expect and demand the same behaviour from all homosexual men and all homosexual women.

In the Nationalist Party, homosexual men and homosexual women are promoted to key roles and prominent positions precisely because their sexuality is not an issue, just as it shouldn’t be. Yet some of the very people who insist that homosexuality should not be an issue seek to make it one, and idiotically claim that the Labour Party is better for homosexuals because it treats them like a special case instead of just like everybody else.

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