I still remember the shock when I chanced upon a video shared online some months back. It showed a man from a place in Africa being beaten and tortured to death. Why? - because he was gay. He was surrounded by several men no less than twenty. Some were participants to the torture, others spectators and taking a video of what was going on.
As the victim struggled to run away, people followed him, hurting him every chance they could get. Finally he was too weak to run and fell to the ground. Someone set fire to a tire. Another poured gasoline on the victim. Then someone set him on fire. People watched. Some laughed and jeered and others were unemotional. Some maybe with a little bit sense of guilt for being there and doing nothing…but they could do nothing, maybe out of fear that they too would suffer the same fate if they tried to defend the victim.
Having a different sexual preference does not make a person a criminal. It is just a different belief and perspective and they should be respected for their beliefs, as I expect them to respect mine. I do not have to agree with their beliefs or way of life as they do not have to agree with mine. And as long as they do not pose a danger to society like violent criminals do, then they are certainly entitled to their own space as I am. They are as human as I am.
It’s so tragic that people can be so discriminated upon for their sexual preferences. And it is even worse that some African nations like Uganda have laws that prosecute people for being gay. The revision of the law is now up for debate in Uganda and if passed, it would still send every gay, lesbian or transgender person in Africa to jail – for life.
How a government can tolerate and even support such a law is abominable. But many are unaware that it exists. It is our role to create awareness that such an inhuman law exists so that others can be the voice of the many voiceless people who stand to suffer from such a law. It can cause a negative effect among other African nations if people do not come together to make a stand so the lawmakers would listen.
Together people can make a difference…and the African citizens can and have done so in the past. TOGETHER with the rest of the world, WE CAN….
By Lylin Aguas