Human rights not negotiable
A minority of the world’s population is homosexual for the same reason that the majority is heterosexual.
Contrary to views expressed from time to time by some hardliners, homosexuality is not a personal choice. It is the reality for some human beings who are gay simply because they are born that way.
Most people believe that mankind was created by God in His image. It is therefore logical to conclude that the same God or Force that created straight persons also created gay men, women and youth.
Homosexuality is defined as “a desire for intimacy with someone of the same sex” or “a person with a physical and emotional attachment to someone of the same sex”.
Homosexual feelings are driven from within, the same way that heterosexual feelings are.
It cannot be disputed that in any given population there is likely to be a wide cross section of persons with diverse religious beliefs, varying socioeconomic standing, class differentiation, and different physiological characteristics, intellectual capacities and mental health status.
While the expression of a person’s sexuality can be shaped by one’s culture and socialization, the same cannot be said of the origin of a person’s sexual orientation, since it is inate.
It is the same gift to us human beings as is the gift of life itself, inclusive of the intrinsic worth and dignity that distinguishes us from other living creatures and things.
The ongoing public debate about the “rightness” or “wrongness” of homosexuality and gay rights is therefore no more than a struggle between those who genuinely believe that human rights are non-negotiable and those who seek to use religion as the justification for discrimination, ostracism and demonization.
Barbados is still a democratic country where citizens, as stipulated in the Constitution are free to enjoy the same rights and privileges of all other citizens, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
The bigotry, homophobia, hypocrisy and self-righteousness that form a major part of this debate do not speak well of our maturity as a people and fly in the face of the Almighty, who have made us all with our many and varied human characteristics.
The vocal and at times fanatical false prophets see the persecution of gays as a “must do” and a cost-effective way of bolstering their public or religious profile.
The world’s 21st century population of young, educated and progressive-minded individuals is to be commended for its growing rejection of the cheap, moralistic “mumbo-jumbo” that often passes for informed comment.
Included in every school population, especially at puberty and throughout adolescence are to be found children and young adults who are struggling with their sexual orientation. This comes at a time when they should be enjoying their youth without fear of discrimination or ridicule.
It is my fervent hope that our society will so grow in maturity and Christian charity, that the love, respect and tolerance so lacking in our daily lives would be manifested in our attitude to those who are simply different.
In the words of Pope Francis (my favourite cleric), “who am I to judge?”. As Barbadians, we need to fix our own lives before we seek to fix those of others.
(George S. Griffith is a social development advocate/consultant.)