There has been a lot of anti-gay hatefulness going on around the world and it really makes me sick.
For all of you out of the loop, here is a little refresher on what’s been going on…
– Just yesterday, Uganda’s president signed a bill into law that defines homosexual acts as crimes punishable by life in prison. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who at first was against signing the bill, changed his position once he learned that “there is no gene for homosexuality and that it is merely a choice to embrace this abnormal behavior.”
– Thanks to the Olympics, Russia’s anti-gay legislation has been the hot topic of many news outlets since it first got signed into law in June. Known as the “gay propoganda law,” it mandates fines for those who speak in defense or support of gay rights. Apparently, supporting nontraditional sexual orientation is a direct threat to Russian society because it “incites social and religious hatred.”
However, even despite the pre-Olympic outcry, there were no symbolic gestures or statements by athletes during the games to criticize the law. Meanwhile, LGBT people and activists in Russia continue to face increased violence and abuse.
– According to a recent study by the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), there are 76 countries in the world where being gay is illegal and punishment ranges from fines, lifelong prison sentences to forced psychiatric treatment, whippings and death by public stone.
But that’s not all folks..
In our very own country, the U-S-of-A, our legislators are passing and upholding anti-gay laws that are strikingly similar to those passed in Russia and other countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Exhibit A: 8 U.S. states have “no promo homo” anti-gay propaganda laws. Some of these state laws, like in Alabama, even go so far as to state that homosexuality “is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state,” ….even though criminalizing private consensual homosexual acts has been determined unconstitutional since 2003.
Exhibit B: If you are a gay man and you are honest about having sexual contact with another male, you are legally banned for life by the FDA from donating blood. It’s worth mentioning that a man who has admitted sleeping with a prostitute can donate blood, provided that he waits 12 months.
And of course, Exhibit C. The topic of the hour: Arizona legislators have passed a law that allows business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers. Yes, you heard me right. I have no idea how business owners will be able to tell that someone is homosexual but this law sounds like it was passed during the Jim Crow era. But it wasnt. This was passed during 2014, yall. We can only hope that Governor Jan Brewer will come to her senses and veto this absurd and disgusting law.
And I mean that…disgusting. I feel ashamed every time a story like this pops up in our news and unfortunately, it continues to happen. We consider ourselves the most powerful country in the world, where freedom is upheld and honored. Yet, we continue to pass anti-progressive, unequal and unjust legislation that violently infringes on people’s human rights. We accept discrimination and prejudice against the LGBT communities or worse, we turn our head when it happens.
We should be role models for the rest of the world not contradicting the very values that we claim to advocate for at home and abroad. It’s not enough to shake your head at all the awful things happening overseas and talk about how oppressive and corrupt THAT COUNTRY is. It’s not enough to say that at least our LGBT community doesnt have it “as bad” as THAT COUNTRY. Though American gay and lesbian couples may not suffer imprisonment or fines, do we not continue to deny them basic human rights? Do they not continue to be oppressed or suffer physical and emotional abuse as well?
To be arrogant enough not to question or recognize the faults within your own country is not only ignorant but perpetuates the problem. What is going on in this world, and in the U.S.A, is a devastating low point in our history that can not and will not be tolerated for much longer.
Let me be clear about this – if you are “anti-gay” you are on the wrong side of this monumental movement.
We as Americans have the privilege and freedom to not only be on the right side, but to lead the rest of the world in this initiative. It’s time we start acting like the leaders we pretend to be.