The F-word: I’ve changed my mind on gay pride march

2011-11-12 10:11

The good thing about being blessed with relatives who are loving and smart is that they can give you a hot klap without it feeling like what it really is.

One such person I share an ancestor with did that to me after I had condemned the Gay Pride events on a social media platform.

My thinking, in a nutshell, was that in a constitutional democracy where unfair discrimination on sexual orientation was outlawed, gays and lesbians did not need to take to the streets to assert rights they already enjoyed.

By doing this, they planted a seed among neutrals that there was something “odd” about being gay.

If being homosexual was as natural as being left-handed or an albino, why go to such lengths to try gain acceptance for what they are?

I am happy to declare that I have since jettisoned this thinking, thanks to cousin B. I know this might disappoint those who “liked” my thoughts but what good is a thought if it cannot be improved on by better thoughts it encounters?

I was reminded of cousin B’s mighty bollocking when I heard that the lottery company had announced that the winner of the R30-million winning ticket bought in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal, last November has yet to claim his or her prize.

The prize will be forfeited unless the ticket-holder avails themselves by November 20. Winning tickets expire after a year.

It may very well be that this person is already extremely wealthy and will not notice the absence of “a mere R30 million”. I doubt this, though.

Like cousin B pointed out, having rights on paper means nothing if in real life those rights are unrealisable. Gays and lesbians have rights on paper but every day they live with having to justify who they are to all and sundry. They have to explain themselves to family, faith communities and sometimes to total strangers.

Lesbians, especially those from townships, live with the fear of some thug appropriating to himself the right to “correct” their “wrong” sexual orientation by raping them and killing these “sexual deviants”.

Recently there was news of a serial killer targeting gay men. Surely there would be greater outrage if there was a serial killer targeting blonde women or some other specific target group.

For gays and lesbians, their rights as enshrined in this beautiful Constitution we glorify at every turn, are as theoretical as the millions the Umhlanga lottery ticket-holder has.

A right like that is as good as non-existent. It is like getting a court interdict to stop your neighbour’s dog from barking at night.

Fortunately, we (or some of us) have more sense than the dogs that ruin our relationship with our neighbours. We can choose our behaviour towards our fellow human beings. We can, in the words of the Good Book, love our neighbour.

While I respect everyone’s right to practise their faith, I do not accept that fellow human beings need to account for who and what they are to people they do not know or care about.

While it is your right to mention gays and lesbians in your prayers, it is a different thing altogether to want them dead or persecuted for no other reason than that they offend your holy scriptures.

Any faith that seeks to hound these men and women out of town says more about its gods than it does of gays and lesbians.

Fortunately, unlike the case with the Umhlanga millionaire-in-waiting, the winnings as guaranteed in the 1996 Constitution do not expire.

And while it is possible that the Umhlanga “millionaire” will, through his or her own profligacy, never get to claim their bounty, a regime of hate stands between gays and lesbians going to the counter to claim the winnings they were assured of by the writers of our much-vaunted Constitution.

That is a shame.

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