Why do so many have harsh opinions on others’ lifestyles which have no impact on them?

Dear Editor,

I refer to an article in Stabroek News captioned, ‘Linden Church Leader stages march against homosexuality’ (August 20).  I shook my head in disbelief as I read this and I thought to myself that women are raped and battered every day in this country and this is what this man of God chooses to march against ‒ homosexuality ‒ which is in fact taking a public stand on discriminating against people who are different from him.

I am always curious about why people seem to have so harsh opinions about others’ lifestyles that have no impact on them.  So this march was to counter SASOD’s efforts to appeal Guyana’s buggery laws.  Well I wonder if the good and godly pastor knows that the antiquated buggery laws also apply to heterosexual persons who may practise this act.

In Guyana we love to practise what I call ‘othering’ ‒  ‘them and us’ ‒ we see this in politics, the diaspora, races, etc.  True humanity and godliness in my view is to practise understanding and love for others who are different from us.  In the case of homosexuality, you do not have to accept but at least make a space for understanding that many are born this way and do not have the choices that heterosexuals do. Depression and suicide is high among the gay community, I understand. Many that discriminate against LBGTQ people are the loudest critics against racism and other forms of abuse. Often we are very vocal about issues that affect us directly but sometimes we need to stretch beyond ourselves and place ourselves in the shoes of others. We all have to be our brothers and sisters’ keepers; we must all be open to speaking up on issues that may not affect us directly but have terrible impacts on others.  This is not a religious issue at all, this is a human rights issue!  A few months ago there was an idea floated about a referendum to have Guyanese choose about whether to repeal the sodomy law.  Imagine an issue like this left up to citizens where discrimination against the LBGTQ community is rife?  Discrimination is learnt, and at some point discrimination becomes a choice, but to have laws that go against the fundamental practice of human rights is cause for deep reflection within ourselves and as a nation.

Yours faithfully,

Raquel Thomas-Caesar

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