Sunday, August 02, 2009

The horror of homophobia

I've been shaken today by this Sunday Herald report which tells of the rise in incidents of so called "corrective" rape and often murder of lesbians in South Africa.

Coming on top of the reports of the hate filled murder at a lesbian and gay advice centre in Tel Aviv, it's a sign of the dangers of inaction on homophobia.

Andrew has written powerfully of his reaction to the Tel Aviv murders. He mentions that he has also been attacked simply for being gay. It makes me so angry that anyone would cause harm to one of the nicest people I know just for being who he is.

These horrible hate filled incidents grab the headlines, but every single day, across the world, gay people have to hide who they are for fear of persecution by their Governments or ostracisation from their families, teenagers trying to come to terms with their sexuality hear homophobic language being used as a matter of course and out gay young people can be bullied by their peers. Every day, adults are bullied at work, or passed over for promotion for being "too obvious" about their sexuality. Being "too obvious", by the way, can be living with their partner. I'm appalled that people are expected to deny themselves a basic human right in order to fit into society.

What we really need in this world is a strong injection of live and let live. That's the essence of liberalism, allowing people to be who they are and to make their own choices. It's wrong to repress what we don't like unless it actively causes harm. Nobody has the right to force their views or way of life on others.

I'm thinking of the families of those who have been murdered in Tel Aviv and of those who have been so brutally raped and murdered in South Africa. There's so much more work needed across the world to wipe out this hate filled violence.

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