Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I think Desmond Tutu, puts forward some compelling thoughts around homosexuality which without doubt refocuses the conversation away from homosexuality as being a series of sexual acts, perversions and moralistic distortions, but more towards the reality of it as the very being of an individual - a human right.
My favourite quote from Tutu is "If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God." My second favourite is he stated at the launching of the book 'Sex, Love and Homophobia' that homophobia is a 'crime against humanity' and 'every bit as unjust' as apartheid. He added that "we struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about; our very skins...It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given."
If this debate is going to go anywhere it needs to be elevated to the status at which it is experienced by people. The basis of the human rights declaration is that contempt for our rights should not result in barbarous acts which outrage the conscience of mankind. There is far too much evidence of such acts already, so why actively allow more to be perpetrated under rule of law? How are we to evolve and progress society, if fear and obstruction is allowed commonplace. If homosexuality is the new apartheid - the absolute degradation of a part of society, the clear and conspicuous ostracizing of people based on sexual orientation. Its almost absurd to imagine this could be common place, yet it is. Even across America, a democratic society, voters have the right to oust minorities from access to legislation and basic rights under the law i.e. to be legally married, to live a life together to in mere fact - just get on with it.
The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as "inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.
The crime of oppressing homosexuality should be redefined as 'inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity committed in the context of systematic oppression and domination by heterosexuals (groups of a different sexual orientation) over another group of different sexual orientation and committed with the intention of maintaining that orientation.
Oppressing homosexuality clearly conflicts with deeper issues of human rights. It speaks to a lack of social validation, creates opportunities for vigilantes and openly disregards individual choices. What should be next?LGBT Rights