Last Updated on Monday, 30 July 2012 10:53 Written by Joe Monday, 30 July 2012 10:34
It’s a sad fact, but many people both gay and non-gay alike, don’t see the importance of gay rights. Countless times I have heard straight people say that they just don’t see the “big deal” about gays not being allowed to marry. Sure, it’s easy for them to say this, since they are allowed to get married. But we live in a country in which we are told time and again by our government and legislators that we are somehow inferior or less legitimate than straight people. And whether you plan to get hitched or not, that is in fact a “big deal.”
But what’s worse is when gays and lesbians themselves don’t see the importance in fighting for our own cause. Sure, life is pretty good here in Kenya. There is less homophobia than there was before, we have openly gay activists and supporters, and sometimes we even get to see a gay or lesbian character on television. But is that enough?
Even if you aren’t interested in getting married yourself, the fact that your fellow gay and lesbian community members are forbidden from getting married should be a huge problem for you. The fact that it is not illegal to discriminate against and lesbians in the workplace should be a huge problem for you. What is that saying? It is wrong to discriminate against gender, age, and race but to discriminate again sexual preference is someone acceptable? How is that okay?
If we want to be treated equally we must demand it. No one is going to just hand us our civil liberties on a silver platter (like straight people get). And in order for the rest of society to support us, it is up to us to show them that this type of discrimination is wrong.
Politics isn’t always fun, and many people choose to shy away from conflict instead of stand up for themselves. But we cannot behave this way. It has been drilled into the minds of many Kenyans that to use ethnicity is unacceptable. Likewise, to make ethnic jokes is no longer considered funny. And yet, to call someone a faggot or a dike, is not considered to be on the same level. Somehow, those things are more accepted in our society. Likewise, making a joke at the expense of a gay man or lesbian is easily forgiven as well.
We need to combat these minor hate crimes every time we encounter them. The only way to gain acceptance and equal rights is through understanding. It’s not fare to discriminate against others, how would you feel if you were discriminated against?
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