I write this to generate awareness. Below are rebuttals to a few arguments against legalizing homosexuality in Zambia.
What is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is not a sin or immoral by any way. Homosexuals are just people attracted to members of the same-sex. To you, homosexuality may appear odd, but to them, it is completely natural.
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #1 -“HOMOSEXUALITY IS A CHOICE!”
An often debated topic is the cause of homosexuality. Is it a choice? Is it genetic? In reality, there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.
But this discussion is irrelevant and futile. Before being a homosexual, he is a human and thus enjoys a certain set of human rights. The sexual orientation of a human is private and is of no concern to the government, religious leaders or anyone else. Whether a person is heterosexual or homosexual is a private affair and his alone irrespective of the cause for his homo/heterosexuality. The sex lives of ‘consenting adults’ should not be a public matter to discuss upon. I must specially emphasize on ‘consenting adults’.
Frequently people offer arguments which highlight that legalising homosexuality would force us to legalise paedophilia and rape. It’s easy to spot the gaping hole in their argument. Paedophilia is not an act between consenting adults. Neither is rape. But till 2009,homosexuals were considered as criminals. At par with a rapist or a thief.
As a human, a person has all the right to participate in any kind of sexual activity they want, as long as the act is between consenting adults and is done within the sanctity of their bedroom. You may not be homosexual, you may even dislike homosexuality, but to rob a human off his rights is a crime. You do not need to be homosexual, you need to live and let live. A man having sex with a man or a woman having sex with a woman does not infringe upon any of your human rights. Neither does it cause you discomfort nor does it hamper your day to day activities. It does not stop you from leading a comfortable life. It does not cause immorality or social unrest. Legalising homosexuality does nothing other than provide certain humans with the rights they rightfully deserve.
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #2 -“HOMOSEXUALITY IS UNNATURAL!”
The standard line of homophobic defence is ‘Homosexuality is unnatural’. The meaning of the word has been abused throughout our schooling. Nature, automatically brings up an image of plants in our minds.
But we must not confuse the word nature with environment. Natural is everything that exists in this world without human intervention. That includes planets, starts, supernova explosions, avalanches, earthquakes, migratory pattern of birds etc. Calling homosexuality unnatural just shows how misinformed people are. Homosexuality is very much present in nature. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behaviour has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. Many species of animals display homosexual behaviour. About 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with ewes (females) but do readily mate with other rams.
What does a person mean when he declares homosexuality is unnatural? Isn’t artificial fertilization unnatural? Aren’t Caesarean births unnatural? Isn’t ALL form of surgery unnatural in its true meaning? Natural, something that occurs without human intervention. That would rob us off a million other things that wild animals do not do. Clothing, monogamy, spectacles, bio-engineered food, to name just a few.
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #3 – “GOD HATES HOMOSEXUALS!”
It is rare to have a debate about homosexuality without a homophobic religious fundamentalist exclaiming ‘GOD HATES HOMOS!’ or ‘Homosexuality is a sin!’. It’s really hard to talk about this without offending any particular religion and I’ll try my best not to do so. Religious nut jobs usually hate homosexuals JUST because it says so in their holy book. No other reason whatsoever. I’ll provide an analogy which I think is apt:
A: Homosexuality is a sin.
A: Because my priest says so.
A: Because it’s written in our holy book.
A: Because God said so.
A: Because god hates homosexuality.
A: I don’t know! He just does!
However, what I’ve come to understand is that people would rather follow a 2000 year old book and the morality of its time rather than grant equal rights to everybody. Most religious fundamentalists are also pick and choose parts of their holy texts against homosexuals. Such cherry picking is just hypocrisy. As if these people know what God really meant and what he did not. That would be claiming to know more than god. Verses about slavery, sexism, rape laws, caste system, polygamy are often ignored by such people. Homosexuality is probably the ONLY topic on which all major religions have a common stand. And that too, unfortunately for this world, on the morally wrong side.
Homosexuality is not a sin. The LGBT community deserves equal rights. Consenting adults have the right to participate in sexual acts in privacy. Whether they have homosexual inclinations is not a Public matter but a private affair one.
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #4 – “BUT HOMOSEXUALS CAN’T HAVE CHILDREN!”
Yes, it is true that Homosexual couples cannot bear children but that is no reason to deny homosexuals the right to marry each other. The sole purpose of marriage is not to produce children. With that logic, you would also want to bar infertile and impotent citizens from marrying and are deeming the marriages of childless couples a waste There are many ways in which homosexuals can start a family. Such couples can use artificial fertilization and a surrogate mother. They can adopt children too. Not only does that HELP our society by countering the population explosion, it would also provide countless innocent children, homes. A place where they would be loved and cared for much more than when they were in an orphanage.
It would be equally illogical to say that a child needs both a mother and father for proper upbringing. That would be insulting all the single parents in the world including the widows, widowers, victims etc.
Marriage is an institution. It is a legal contract between two individuals. It grants a person certain rights over his/her spouse e.g. Inheritance, joint-banking, medical insurance, next-of-kin status for emergency decisions to name a few. The fruitfulness of a marriage does not depend on an offspring.
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #5 -“HOMOSEXUALITY IS A NEW AGE/WESTERN CUSTOM!”
Homosexuality exists and will continue to do so. It is not western culture. Nor is it new age.
Saying “Homosexuality is a western thing” is in fact being a racist. Throughout African history, homosexuality was accepted in some tribes. Lesbians were even believed to possess mystical powers, and in South Africa they acted as traditional healers.
Colonialists are often accused of bringing homosexuality to Africa. Yet they never get attributed with a likelier anthropological truth: introducing penal codes to the continent that outlaw gay sex.
It is actually European missionaries who demonized homosexuality. Politicians also have found gay-bashing a useful way to deflect criticism from unpopular policies. If homosexuality offends Christians so much, is it so difficult to legalise same sex marriage under the Marriages Act of 1994?
HOMOPHOBIC ARGUMENT #6 – “HOMOSEXUALS CAUSE HIV!”
Spreading of STDs is a myth which is used as propaganda against homosexuality. Homosexuality doesn’t make you any more vulnerable to HIV or other STDs than a heterosexual. It is a fact that HIV is more common in homosexuals than heterosexuals. But to interpret that as ‘Homosexuality causes HIV’ is being unreasonable and stupid. It would be the equivalent of saying ‘As many terrorists are Muslims, all Muslims are terrorists’. That would be quite shocking and would result in social outcry.
There is a difference in being a homosexual and supporting equal rights for homosexuality. You may not engage in homosexual acts, but to deny the ones that do, of equal rights, is a crime against humanity. Legalising Homosexuality will not infringe upon your life to live peacefully and comfortably. It will not result in innocent men being raped by men. It will not lead to an outburst of public gay sex parties. Homosexuals will not force your children to turn gay. Legalising it will not lead to unrest in the nation. All it would do, is let homosexuals enjoy equal rights and live peacefully. It would allow them to start their own family without being persecuted for doing so. You will live your lives peacefully and so will they. Something they, as citizens are equally entitled to. Love is not calculated. Love is not planned. Love does not take race/creed/religion/sex into consideration. Love is blind. Let us all live, and let live.
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3. Levay, Simon (2011). Gay, Straight, and The Reason Why The Science of Sexual Orientation. Cambridge, Massachusetts:Oxford University Press. pp. 70–71
4. Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin’s Press,1999; ISBN 0312192398