When the issue of having gays and lesbians *eligible to adopt children crops up one frequently finds people saying: “what about the child’s right to have a mother and father”?

This question is erroneous by nature.

First of all, there is no such right. Unfortunately, for various inevitable reasons such as parents who are deceased, imprisoned or not fit to raise their own children, some children are going to be deprived of living in a traditional family.

None of these is the fault of the state or some public institution thus, unlike when real human rights (such as freedom of speech, or arbitrary arrest) are breached, an orphan or a child that for some reason cannot live with his biological parent, could not seek compensation.

Secondly, it is these kind of children that get adopted. If LGBT people become eligible to adopt, no one is going to snatch children from happily married heterosexual couples to give them to homosexual couple to bring up.

All things being equal, if I had to be born again, I would like to be brought up by a heterosexual couple. The reason for this is that stigma on homosexuality still exists in much of the world and this is likely to have some effect on me (such as bullying at school).

But if my choice was between being brought up in say, an orphanage, without the individual attention a child desperately needs, or by a loving same-sex couple I would choose the second without a moment hesitation.

In a nutshell a child adopted by a homosexual couple is not going to be deprived from living with a mother and father any more than he already is.

*Contrary to popular belief, adoption is not a right. The prospective adoptive parents are assessed (thoroughly, one must say) and if it is deemed in the best interest of the child, they will be allowed to adopt. At present, homosexual couples are not eligible to adopt. In other words, for some children living in an orphanage, there are homosexual couple that have the potential of giving them a better life, that can’t even file the application.

All has been said and done and Tonio Borg is the new Health Commissioner. He was elected by a democratic vote from MEPs themselves elected by EU citizens. I disagree with his political values especially on immigration and LGBT issues and if I was an MEP I would have voted against him taking the post. I’ll make no secret out it. (That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the good things in Dr Borg, such as the fact that during his entire political career he’s never been tainted with any hint of corruption and his good handling of the Libya crisis)

Some Maltese cheered, not necessarily because they agree with Tonio Borg’s values but due to coming from the backwards insular mentality the PNPL kept this country in. I win you lose. Alee-oo Alee-oo. Nivvota lejber halli nghajjru lil ta Gonzi wara l-elezzjoni! I think you got the dripth.

Pathetic, but it’s not these kind of people that bothered me.

The ones that bothered, I dare say even offended, me are the ones who called us Greens as well as the Liberals and some Socialists “intolerant” for opposing Tonio Borg.

Intolerant?

Commissioners such as Tonio Borg are not elected by EU citizens. They are nominated by a Prime Minister while the MEPs have to decide whether they approve them or not. Yet, like the MEPs and sometimes even more, the Commissioners are going to take political decisions on behalf of the European Union’s citizens.

In other words when they vote for a Commissioner, the MEPs have a duty to represent those who voted for them. Otherwise we can throw EU democracy out of the window – and prove the Eurosceptics right.

And this is exactly what we’ve done. The European Green Party (EGP), in complete agreement with Alternattiva Demokratika, felt that Tonio Borg could never represent the “Green voter”. Thus they voted against his nomination.

And lost. Tonio was voted in by a majority of the MEP’s. And like every democratic party we accepted the defeat. Like every democratic party, the EGP will work with the elected Dr Borg to what they believe is the best for the citizens of the European Union.

What’s intolerant about that?

The following video clip did not take long to go viral. Rightly so, I myself laughed my brains out and watched it a dozen times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euXQbZDwV0w

If I was gay and living in Uganda though, I wouldn’t find it that funny. The Evangelical Pastors featured in the clip are not joking. This is actually propaganda to introduce the death penalty for homosexual “repeated offenders”

, the offence being having sex with a same-sex partner. Even more sinister, the proposed bill will also make not-reporting homosexual activity a crime punishable with imprisonment. Even if one of the homosexuals involves happens to be your own son or daughter. (By the time of writing the bill has not been approved, but there is serious risk it will with some minor modifications).

Thankfully in Malta religious leaders don’t indoctrinate their followers that homosexuals eat each other’s shit. However while our local human rights activists are concerned about the rights of Uganda’s homosexuals, an Evangelical Pastor is preaching smaller scale but equally hateful propaganda to his followers – homosexuals can be cured. (Most probably he’s not saying that they “eat the poo poo” here in order not to make himself a laughing stock.)

The Pastor, Gordon Manche was strongly condemned by most Maltese on online media. I am also sure that even most conservative Catholics and Muslims in Malta disagree with Mr Manche, and more so with the Ugandan preachers (though both Catholic and Muslim authorities in Malta have used the rhetoric of “living in sin” when referring to homosexuals).

My fear is however that a group of people are suffering in silence because of Mr Manche. I am referring to those gays and lesbians in the Pastor’s own community. Homosexuals who have no other choice then denying who they really are from others and many times also from themselves.

Homophobia – fear and/or hatred for homosexuals – is mainly caused by such religious zealots. Though they will never admit it, most homophobes are homosexuals themselves who can’t come to terms with their own sexuality. In a way, one can’t blame them. Imagine the psychological harm on these people who have been indoctrinated since young age that “God hates gays” only to grow up and realize they have feeling for people of the same sex. That what they feel is a result of a disease and is disgusting. The truth is so hard that these people enter into an extreme self-denial and go to the other extreme – blame those who are like them but have managed to accept their reality. Sometimes these people resort to violence towards homosexuals, and even murder, the most prominent case of which is that of Matthew Shepard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard

Only one thing can end this madness – education, compulsory if need be. Those children attending Pastor Manche’s hate speech need to know the other reality, the truth. Same goes for those coming from conservative Catholic or Muslim families. They need to know that whatever the Pastor, priest or Imam says, they are lovable human beings as they are.

Because no, homosexuals don’t eat the poo poo. Neither can they be cured from a disease that doesn’t exist.

Many people who, like me’ have an aversion towards any kind of discrimination, many times focus too much energy on political correctness especially on using the right words. Today we refer to homosexuals as ‘gays’ or ‘lesbians’ rather than the derogatory word ‘faggots’. We don’t refer to black people as ‘niggers’ or the disabled as ‘handicapped’. So far this is a positive thing – basic decency and respect.

The problem I see is that sometimes certain people go too far, albeit with good intentions. We sometimes focus so much on the right words and symbols that they end up being barriers towards minorities.

From personal experience, I sometimes find it difficult to find the right words when referring to disabled people. Or should it be people “with a disability”, “with special needs” or “with mixed abilities”? Does it really matter? I respect disabled people as much as I respect every other person I know. I don’t consider them as inferior or a burden in any way, and believe society should enable them to live a fulfilling life, including building a career. (What really gets my blood boiling for example is accompanying a person on a wheelchair to a bank or government building and finding the place inaccessible – with my complaints falling on deaf ears).

A friend of mine told me she doesn’t like to refer to black people as black. Once again, she has noble intentions, and she honestly doesn’t make any distinction between people on basis of skin color. But, if I may ask, what’s the problem with calling a black person black if he is. (In the same way I’m white, or pink whatever).

Once, attending a talk delivered by a Police Officer I was amazed how he went at lengths to use the right words when referring to a black person till he came out with the bombastic “persuna ta’ karniggjon skura” Ironically, he didn’t find it hard to state he is likely to select persuni ta karniggjon skura more often for body searches.

Respect and decency are one thing but I believe that obsessing too much on using the right words only creates unnecessary barriers. After all, a rose is a rose by any other name.

As an environmentalist, as well as a believer in civil liberties I’m very angered at the latest attack by Pope Razinger on homosexuals. Once again this Pope is using the environment as a lousy excuse to oppose something he disagrees with. In this case it’s the fact that the Portugese parliament has accepted homosexual marriages.

Mr Razinger stated he considers gay marriages as unnatrual and an ‘attack on creation’. What the Pope doesn’t seem to note is the fact that many animals including cats, do engage in same sex activities. He also seems not aware while there are species of animals where couples engage in long term, even life-long relationship, not a single one of them found the need to sign a contract for it.

Worse still, Mr Razinger considers this ‘blurring of gender’ as the road to the destruction of humankind, and compares it to the destruction of rainforests. May the Pope gently explain how? I don’t feel that I need to explain the consequences of destroying rainforests, most probably you already know them. But gay marriages? Does he think that by giving homosexuals the right to marry everyone will turn homosexual and no human male sperm will ever meet a female egg? Does the Pope still think that gays can be ‘cured’ or that heterosexuals can be ‘converted’.

While these comments have angered well meaning homosexuals as well as  environmentalists, his comments might flare more the fanatic homophobes. A law is being proposed by the Ugandan governement, a counry with a Christian majority, to introduce ‘aggravated homosexuality’. Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, punishable by long term imprisonment. The proposal states that ‘aggravated homosexuality’ such as homosexual activity involving an HIV+ person or that of a ‘repeated offender’ would be punishable by death. Worse still, knowing that a person is a homosexual and not reporting it to authorities is punishable by three years imprisonment, even if that person happens to be you own son. I’m sure the Ugandan government is appreciating the support of his new ally, the Pope.

Groups of Christian fanatics, mostly found in the U.S. take the law in their own hands and harass, assault and even murder homosexuals. To add insult to injury, they turn up at the victims funeral carrying slogans such as ‘GOD HATES GAYS’ or worse still ‘THANK GOD FOR AIDS’. These criminals must surely be rejoicing at Mr Razinger’s words. Most probably they take them as an approval for their cowardly acts.

 

Speaking for the majority of environmentalists, may I at least ask the Pope one thing? If you intend to continue fuelling hate crimes could you at least be decent enough and at least refrain for doing it in our name.