Gay Rights in Zimbabwe and Why Your Opinion Does Not Matter.
Just for a second, think back to a time a man told you something wasn’t sexist when it fact was, or maybe a white person said something racist and subsequently insisted that it was not in fact racist. First few thoughts are “How would you know if you’re not a woman?“. “How can you say this if you are not a person of colour?” We must teach each other from a very early stage that when you do not have the range to speak on a certain topic, take a step back and take it as an opportunity to understand and learn from those who have lived experiences that authenticate their voices.
The LGBTQ community of Zimbabwe has long been a marginalized minority. Currently in Zimbabwe homosexuality between men is a criminal offence. A male person who, with consent, performs “anal sexual intercourse, or any act involving physical contact other than anal sexual intercourse that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act” commits the crime of sodomy, on conviction, punishable up to one year of imprisonment and/or a fine (The Law Library of Congress). Never mind the legislation selectively criminalizes by not adequately addressing the same acts between women, I will address the issue as though they have been treated the same. In a recent interview, the current president stated LGBTQ rights were not a priority. Let’s say it like it is though, the current political order currently does not care about the future of LGBTQ rights and at this point a decriminalization/repeal of legislation will not be on the agenda for years to come. The closest the nation has come to shaking the table with regards to LGBT rights was whispers of a Constitutional vote on whether to decriminalize sodomy. Why are heterosexual men convening to decide on the dignity of other citizens?
I read somewhere
“Statements like let’s agree to disagree belong in conversations about coffee and not politics and social transformation.”
There is simply no place for opinions in human rights, where the power of the opinion that usually causes the most harm is more valuable than that of someone currently harmed by the system. We keep hearing questions about whether people agree with homosexuality when instead we should be addressing the plague of homophobia affecting lives everyday. There are absurd agendas being pushed by people who have had the privilege of being born the way society praises. People who do not understand and constantly fail to question or unlearn socialized prejudices. There has been such harsh treatment towards lesbians and gays in Zimbabwe. Treatment we cannot to continue to negotiate. Heterosexuality is not under attack and no amount of ‘sodomy’ can push people who are heterosexual to switch sexuality or suddenly have to watch people have intercourse in the streets. The homophobic justifications against decriminalization of same sex relations are not even coherent. Let’s give everyone fair rights and dignity and call it a day. Only then can we discuss deconstructing prejudice and evolving into a progressive society.