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Time for a gay revolution

Gays and lesbians unite. It is time to rise up.

Homosexuals, transsexuals, intersexuals, transgendered, everyone queer, gather your friends and allies, open your Twitter accounts, prepare your placards, and take a note from our friends in North Africa: it is time for a gay revolution.

We have been nice for too long, we have been victims for too long, and we have withstood homophobia, discrimination, abuse and violence for far too long. Calls for tolerance, understanding and respect for diversity are not being heeded, it is time to rise up and revolt.

Religious zealots and bigots often accuse us of actively recruiting gay converts (forgetting what a hopeless task this would be, if any such stupid thing had ever been considered, especially in homophobic Africa), but what the hell, let’s start recruiting. Let’s take our cause to the streets of African cities, to the parliaments and the churches: the playgrounds of Africa’s worst bigots.

For we can no longer let this abuse and violence continue.

Last week a petition calling for South African politicians to address the epidemic of “corrective rape” of lesbians made the global rounds. Social media sites were lit up with petitions, singer Kelly Osbourne weighed in and progressive elements of the outside world looked on this country with disgust. The abuse of lesbians continues.

Last week Ugandan gay activist David Kato was brutally murdered; a victim of religious fundamentalism and discrimination. The weak and ineffective Museveni government, the religious bigots in Uganda and elsewhere who embarrass themselves working so hard to attack the gay community, and the sad excuse for journalists in that country all have blood on their hands.

The 2009 Human Rights Watch report Together, Apart, notes of sub-Saharan Africa: “Virtually any move LGBT groups make, from renting an apartment to holding a press conference, can feed a violent moral panic, where media, religious figures, and government collude.”

Enough is enough. It is time this nefarious triumvirate is revealed for the criminals and simpletons they are.

Let’s start with the governments. Have they nothing better to do than create legislation which would see innocent people charged or killed because they are so audacious as to choose to love someone in the privacy of their home, because they want to be happy in their own skin and stop lying to their families and friends about who they are and about the things they feel?

Has the media nothing more important to report on, no more sensational stories to write? What about the fact that this region is one of the most underdeveloped in the world, the global epicentre for HIV and Aids, an environmental basket case and a global economic underachiever?

These stories should keep journalists and governments busy for the next several decades. They can keep their bigoted noses out of our bedrooms.

And then there are the religious zealots. Their backyards are so filthy and their own closets so disturbing they need to sow their hatred and vile elsewhere.

I am not religious. I choose not to hold up ancient, badly written texts as my gospel. I choose to live a life where I am allowed free thought, one where I don’t need to rely on the words of some ancient prophet (likely fictional) or the vitriol of some modern-day, money-hungry preacher, to guide my actions.

I don’t believe in hocus pocus or second comings, magical feats or Sodom and Gomorrah. I don’t care for the instruments of torture Christians wear around their necks and raise above their houses of prayer (and too often houses of hatred). I don’t particularly give a rat’s ass what Jesus would say about my homosexual lifestyle. Or for that matter any aspect of my life. And I don’t care if they pray for me, in fact, I’d rather they didn’t.

And believe me I would also rather not waste my time stating these things or pointing out the hypocrisy and fatuousness found in much of today’s religious movements (a list too long for this piece), and I’m sure most gay people don’t have the time either. I’d really prefer to get on with my life and let religious people get on with theirs.

But too many of the religious have gone out of their way to attack us and it is high time we stopped lying down and taking it.

Tragically for these gay-hating “religious” folks, they don’t even really live up to their claim to be faith-loving, God-fearing and pious. They are what my friend Patty calls anti-Christ.

Patty is one of the most religious people I know. She is Catholic and attends church every week. Her son is also gay. She loves him very much and accepts his homosexuality with open, warm motherly arms. You see Patty is intelligent enough to know that if Jesus did exist and if he did walk this earth today, he would also embrace her son, for he preached forgiveness, love and tolerance. She knows if her God was superb enough to create this incredible world we live in, then he also created her son, just as he is.

Patty wishes the members of her faith would stop wasting their time persecuting and pillorying her son and other gays and lesbians and instead address their massive internal problems, from the rape of thousands of children worldwide to institutionalised woman-hating, from deceit and cover-ups to an inability to take responsibility for the deaths of millions of Africans who are told not to use contraceptives.

But some religious fundamentalists can’t help it. They feel so strongly about their “faith” they need to enforce it, violently and shamelessly on others.

In recent years groups of American evangelicals have travelled to Uganda and other parts of Africa trying to drum up support for their religious hatred movements. In Uganda they have many converts, including within the government and media.

Some preachers last year decided to showcase gay pornography in church, hoping to convince congregations how terrible and odious our sex life is. I suspect they’d long ago run out of anything interesting to say about their religion, they needed something to spice up their sermons.

Anal sex! Gasp, gulp, shiver, how disgusting and horrible. Too bad it’s also widely practised by straight people the world over.

Oral sex and analingus, the horror, the horror! Toss me some holy water because this is getting dirty.

To them I say keep your filthy noses out of our bedrooms, gay and straight alike.

What I think is truly dirty and disgusting, stomach-turning and hateful, is the Catholic Church’s defence of hundreds of rapists in their midst. What I think is painfully sordid is the right-wing evangelical movement’s embrace of racism, discrimination and ignorance. What I think is repugnant is the use of religion to justify crimes and abuses, from female genital mutilation to suicide bombing to polygamy and child brides. These atrocities, not my sex life, are worthy of campaigns.

Gay people and gay-loving friends, it is time to get organised.

In 2003 I watched the gay movement in my country unite as one to fight the religious element that was trying to stop the Canadian government from legalising gay marriage; I know the same happened in South Africa. Some religious people said Canada would lose its moral compass and come unhinged. They said it would open the door to bestiality and humans marrying dogs and horses.

The gay and progressive movements fought them and our government listened to reason. Several years later my country is still boring old Canada. The sky has not fallen and as far as I know no human is trying to marry an animal. Gays and lesbians have been wed across the country (including me) and a majority of Canadians now support this basic human right.

But governments don’t guarantee the rights of the queer community without a fight. This has been proven the world over. We have a strong, organised foe in fundamentalist religion and we have an uphill battle ahead of us everywhere. But it’s possible and it’s well past our time. We’ve been watching massive political and social change elsewhere, now it’s our turn.