Last night I got a call from a young brash reporter from a newspaper I was once associated with. Those who know me don’t have to ask which one, but let’s get on with what I have to say.
This chap asks me ,’What do you have to say about the latest news about article 377? The one that bans homosexual sex?’
I asked him to clarify what he meant. He ‘obviously’ surmised that the whole gay community had nothing better to do than to hang around the whole day following the ‘ifs ‘ and ‘buts’ being parried around in the Supreme Court. He also took it for granted that I would have no reservations about advertising what he thought was my sexual orientation to the whole of the city.
“See, we want to do a piece about the judgement on homosexual sex, which we think will be given tomorrrow. I just want to line you up for your comments.”
I told the young fellow that in my role as a human rights and child rights activist and as someone who is well known for my HIV AIDS related activism, I would give him my considered opinion after the judgement was announced.
A few minutes later, he rang up again. ‘Err… we want to carry the opinions of homosexuals only, so …’ It is here when I told him that when he speaks to me he should use the term ‘non-heterosexual’ people, and that he had better not assume people’s sexual orientation. He stammered with a lame … Ooer, I thought..’ which I countered with, “I also am a well known speaker for women’s rights and child rights, so does that make me a woman or a child?”
But let’s get cut to the chase. These fellows are ringing me up to find out if there is anybody (other than I) who would be willing to ‘come jumping out of the closet’ the minute the court [supposedly] delivers a ‘favourable’ judgement.
Ha! tell me, what will actually change if the Supreme Court ‘legalizes’ penetrative sexual intercourse between two human beings of the same gender? Will the rampant homophobia around us disappear overnight? Will all the neighbours come out running and waving rainbow flags? Will temples, mosques, and churches come up with signs saying ‘Gays are welcome to worship here’? Will family attitudes disappear magically with one wave of the judges’ gavel?
What we hope will happen is that policemen can no longer use 377 to blackmail those ‘out and about’ non-heterosexual people who frequent cruising joints and parks. Mind you, these folks can still be arrested for creating public nuisance, and honestly, some of the sleazy types hanging around park benches are downright creepy, so the cops can have their fair share of extortion money threatening them!
Life, for most of us, will carry on as before. We aren’t going to see any of our colleagues suddenly bouncing into office and screaming at the top of his voice, “Oh Hey, I’m Gay!” We certainly aren’t going to see men kissing everywhere. The earth isn’t going to stop for a minute.
Those among us who have fought long and hard for this thing to happen [if it really happens] will have a genuine and well deserved reason to celebrate, and allow ourselves to be congratulated. For those under the shadow of this law, they will genuinely have a reason for joy. But it will be short lived.
Except for some of us globe-trotting, rainbow flag waving ‘activists’ who will benefit from all the media mileage that will be coming our way in the following few days, the rest of the invisible community will mostly remain invisible. For now.
The next wave is coming… the one where the homophobes and gay bashers will creep out of the dark alleys and unleash ‘cultural’ terror on the LGB community and those who support them.
The decriminalization of gay sex will logically lead to greater organised resistance against gay and lesbian people. That’s the first hurdle on a battle towards full recognition and equitable legal rights.
Without a Stonewall, there can be no real Gay Pride.