(Reply of the Collectif Arc-En-Ciel to the article entitled ‘LGBT or Legitimised Perversion’, published in the edition of the Mauritius Times, 1 November 2018)
If, 50 years from now, we were to glance through the looking glass of time, the year 2018 is going to be remembered as the year LGBT human rights took a giant leap worldwide. In January, following a ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, same-sex couples in Latin America won the right to marry. In September, India joined other Commonwealth countries like Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa, by breaking from the chains of a colonial law criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships.
Yet we know that human rights are fragile and that they should never be taken for granted. Today, in this era of internet and fake news, misinformation has become the greatest enemy of human rights around the world. This is the reason why we strive every day to educate people about LGBT issues in order to create a Mauritian society which is free from stigma and discrimination.
After reading the above mentioned article, we felt compelled to clarify certain assertions made by the author because, not only do they perpetuate certain dangerous misconceptions about LGBT individuals but they are also profoundly hurtful and inconsiderate.
First of all, we wish to remind the author of this article that LGBT individuals are as much “decent and law-abiding citizens” as them. They pay their taxes, they vote, they respect the laws of this country. And, in return, it is only fair that they enjoy the same rights as any other citizens. The fight for LGBT rights has always been a fight for equal human rights.
Lawmakers of yore might have had their reasons for criminalizing consensual same-sex relations. But should this bind us for eternity? Lest we forget, the same law makers saw it fit to legalize slavery, implement apartheid and ban women from voting and inheriting property.
Beyond numbers, the recent studies establish that different Sexual Orientation, gender identification and expression (SOGIE) are constants inherent to all human societies. In India and in Pakistan, for example, the third gender is been an integral part of the society even defined by law in Pakistan. Other historic and legal fact, the sexual relations between same-sex willing adults, in India, were marginalized by the colonizer while the Indian pre-colonial society did not dare to legiferate about it. The Polynesian structured more inclusive societies embracing different SOGIE by multiplying gender categories (Fa’afafine, RaeRae, Mahu). We could do an exhaustive list of all recent and past societies celebrating the differences between in mankind, but is it necessary?
As a conclusion, if there is any kind of agenda, this agenda is to build a more inclusive society embracing differences and letting people live as they please.
Manager – Collectif Arc en Ciel