The right to relations

The right to relations

The line between personal beliefs and the role of the State to protect THEM

Shanica Blair

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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This is an open letter to Jamaica to let her know that had she not gained Independence in 1962, gay rights would have more than likely been legal today.

Had the British liberated the buggery law before 1962, instead of later in 1967, we could have more than likely been living in a totally different social reality as a former colony of Great Britain.

A lot of people, including some politicians, have never really delved into the reasoning behind advocating for the recognition of gay rights, and the role of the Government or State in protecting those rights, without influencing them with personally held beliefs and religious outlook.

For me, my philosophy is that there should be a clear distinction or difference between the Church and the State and the way in which each operate and wield its influence. I believe that our personally-held views on religion should be the moral compass we each use as a guide in our personal lives, and the State is responsible for ensuring that the rights of all consenting adults are protected regardless of sex, colour, class, religion, or sexual orientation. In so doing, we are ensuring that people can quickly and quietly go about their lives, and they can live, work, and have the same legal protection as any one else.

Elected officials and other lawmakers should always be seen as neutral parties in the governance of the nations of the world and are simply elected to ensure that the rights of all are protected, including those among us who identify differently.

The law could in one sweep make the issue of same-sex relationships a non-issue because it should have been seen as a matter of religious or personal nature in the first place. With the provision of things in the law to protect the interests of consenting adults, the common man can now make the clear distinction that the law is simply there as a tool to be used for the protection of all. It is not that lawmakers or elected officials think that homosexuality is right or acceptable in their eyes as a body, but that they recognise that, while some of us might not agree with the lifestyle of others, they should be free to carry on with their lives like everyone else.

As it regards to the classification of same-sex relations as unnatural by some, that is a matter of personal beliefs, which are shaped largely by one's background, religion, unique life experiences, culture, and view of the world.

If two adults agree to be together on their terms, in principle no one should have a say in the matter and the State, as a representative for all, should make provisions in the likelihood that people's rights may be violated.

I believe that one's sexuality is a matter of a personal and spiritual nature and elected officials, not versed in spiritual or biological things, should be allowed to take care of worldly things, like ensuring that people's rights are not trampled on while they navigate their personal lives.

In making provisions to recognise the rights of consenting adults to be together lawmakers would have also made it easier for more of us to recognise the importance of respecting the difference in functions and roles of religion and State.

We are evolving as a society and, while rules are there to ensure order and provide a clear distinction between us and animals, religion is subjective and is measured against one's own personal beliefs and experiences.

If a man wants to get married to a man, I don't see how that is anyone's business, that is between him and God, or what he personally believes in. If someone wants to use the powers vested in them to perform a ceremony to unite two individuals, that's their right to practise what they believe in.

The possible abolition of the ban on same-sex relations in Jamaica, an international tourism hub, could in all honesty serve to solve many of the social issues we face in today's globalised world — a melting pot of people from all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures, religion, and experiences wanting to explore its other corners.

I say this move can also be the start to our children and more of our adults being more critical in their understanding of the role of religion in our lives and how it is a matter best separated from those related to the governance of our nation and making provisions for all.

It could quickly help to address many of the issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, and opening up the eyes of many of people against them to hopefully realise that there was never a gay agenda, but that some people who identify differently than the rest of us in the majority were simply fighting for their rights as human beings to live a normal life, according to what they perceive that to be in this world.

The LGBTQ community will be further empowered to report instances of abuse and take part in society like normal citizens without fear of being shackled mentally by people, in general, the religious views of some, and/or the different arms of the law.

The unwritten rule that homosexuals can be seen “but nuh fi nuff up demself” would gradually become a non-issue as well, since our laws would have now help more of us to see that what other people do is their business, as well as understand that giving other people the right to live their lives does not mean that we necessarily agree with it.

Lastly, remember that the LGBTQ community is made up of electors and voters too, and politicians are there to put in place laws governing the interests of all, protecting our rights and meeting every one where they are at in their life and spiritual journey in this crazy world.

How can some people who identify as Christians, for example, think that it is okay to open their doors to the 'lost souls' of the LGBTQ community on a Saturday or Sunday as part of their mission to save the unsaved of this world, then get up on Monday calling for politicians to uphold legislation that encourage the stigma and persecution of these people in their public, personal and professional lives?

Where do we draw the line between personal religious and spiritual beliefs and the role of the State to look out for the interest of all? How is okay for the Church to welcome them in their midst but want the law to encourage their persecution while they 'find themselves'?

Is this purported gay agenda a smokescreen being used by the Church to ensure a constant supply of unsaved people from the world, since many congregations are already filled with vipers whose evil deeds don't stand out like a sore thumb like people in the LGBT community?

We have so many thieves, scammers, murderers, rapists, adulterers, fornicators, child molesters, paedophiles, gamblers, and cheats walking around freely yet it is the 'fish' in the pretty frock going about his/her business that is our problem?

If regular people can be given room to confront their 'demons' while navigating their lives, why can't people of the LGBTQ community be given the freedom to do the same?

I say leave all judgement to God, keep your hearts and doors open to welcoming the lost souls of his kingdom and don't forget to leave them open on the road and in professional and work spaces as well. We are but different children of the same God and we are all loved.

Now that I have shared my views regarding this matter, the next hurdle we face as a nation is the stigma that can possibly follow lawmakers, especially male politicians, if they should want to address these unique challenges faced by marginalised people out of fear of being labelled as homosexuals.

I say this is where the voices and roles of our women can be more fully utilised and their names placed more boldly on the roll call to more openly discuss these delicate issues, pulling them apart, and finding solutions, so that the basic human rights of all are more seriously taken into consideration regardless of colour, class, religion, sexuality, or sexual orientation.

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