The Malta Independent 20 June 2021, Sunday

Sexual orientation in 2021

Monday, 10 May 2021, 07:50 Last update: about 2 months ago

George Muscat

While reflecting on how I should go about writing this article, I came across an interesting quote, which I must admit spurred me on to share some thoughts on where the concept of sexual orientation is heading in the year 2021.

Zanelle Muholi is an artist from South Africa, who through her art of photography, has become a visual activist. Among the topics that are close to her heart are those that are related to sexual orientation.

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According to Zanelle, if "she" had to wait for others to validate her existence, she would only be fooling herself. I agree perfectly with what Zanelle said but one must also understand the context of the long, hard, and ongoing journey of LGBTIQ people.

Keeping to the same theme, it is also a reality, and I have no doubt, that even in our country, despite all the rights and reforms that have been enacted, there are still those who are "fooling" themselves. It is certain, however, that those in this position are not doing so capriciously.

What do I mean by this? Although today we are living in a "progressive" society; a society that is more tolerant to different situations, "it may be" there are those who are still not yet prepared for this "progressive" world. This can stem from two aspects: from those who are perhaps more on the conservative side, and from those who are still "closeted"!

Conservatives, as the nomenclature itself dictates, are a little sceptical of change - sometimes opposing novelty and often remaining attached to traditional values. There is nothing wrong with this and their ideas must be respected. This, however, does not mean there cannot be values, different principles and novelties that allow people who have been closeted for years, if not a lifetime, to emerge.

There is no good or bad side to this argument, just different angles. This is why today there is diversity. Therefore, we should ask: Is society ready for diversity? How do the so-called "closeted" look at this "diversity"?

These questions lead to even more questions: Why do those who are still "closeted" remain so? What is holding them back since we are now living in a “progressive” society in terms of diversity?

Alongside this, one needs to also ask, most carefully and sensitively, if the heterosexual world is ready, and is “comfortable”, in this reality of a new “progressive” and diverse life. We cannot deny the fact that the impression given to other countries is that Malta is one of the most LBTIQ Friendly Countries. But sometimes, I admit, I begin to doubt if this is true.

Although our country, like some other countries, as I mentioned earlier, has passed several reforms and laws which favour the LGBTIQ community, there still seems to be a "silent" resistance.

This resistance is hardly visible because it is illegal to speak disparagingly about the LGBTIQ community. From time to time, however, one can still read on social media opinions which go against the values of the LGBTIQ community.

One example is that civil union is not called marriage, and on this, the doubts raised about the adoption of children by LGBTIQ people. Perhaps one would argue, but the laws are in place. This is true, and God forbid this were not so, but I feel that despite the advances made, there is still BUT!

The latest news from the Vatican is that Pope Francis will sign a decree saying that priests should not bless civil unions / marriages between gay couples. This is surely a step back for the Catholic Church, a Church I believe in and embrace. I am convinced, and even as pronounced by some priest, that for God everyone is the same and God blesses everyone, no matter what colour or sexual orientation.

It is also for this reason that I have decided to run for politics, so along with these issues, and other just causes, on behalf of the Nationalist Party, I can continue to work for the LGBTIQ community, as well as other minorities and others who have been marginalised.

People remain at the centre of everything but at the same time everyone should have the opportunity to move forward in their life. A lot is still left to be done, but we should not be discouraged. It remains of utmost importance to learn to listen to people, think about what they would have said, and eventually, when the time comes, to implement.

For today, I will stop here but I hope to have given you some food for thought. Please do not hesitate to contact me to find out what I think on any subject. You can write to me on [email protected], or via my Facebook page.

George Muscat is a PN general election candidate

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