BY ALEXIA JAMES
The comedian Joe Lycett is pansexual and on Radio 4 this week he jokingly declared himself “a threat to all of you”. Transsexual Valentina Sampaio (pictured) has just become the Vogue Magazine Cover model. And now Indian cinema is leading the way in accepting transsexual and transgender people as…just people. Actor and model Anjali Ameer is soon going to be the first transsexual to play a female lead in an Indian movie, titled ‘Peranbu’.
These are just some of the week’s stories about sexuality being thrown at us from the mainstream media. Every week we get sexuality this and sexuality that. And presumably we, the reading public, lap these stories up as the next week we get more of the same. Sex is the ultimate click-bait. Sex will forever sell, it seems.
My question is, when will we all just get over sexuality? When will we understand that people are obviously just wired differently and fancy different types of people? Just because a woman was caught having public sex with a plastic dinosaur in Exmouth or a man was caught shagging a storm drain in Romford we should be surprised? People get their rocks off in different ways and it’s always been thus.
I was particularly inspired to contemplate the question of sexuality by a tweet from James Delingpole late last year:
When I first saw this I tended to agree with James.
The Gay Pride marches, Alan Carr types and success of equality groups over the last two decades have brought gays and lesbians into the mainstream and they are surely of equal status with us heteros? Save a few bigots here and there, their days of persecution are over in these islands, I’d hope? Maybe gay campaigns don’t need to be so in one’s face…
Then again, maybe James is jumping the gun?
Look at Africa. Even in a reasonably enlightened and modern African country like Ghana, homosexuality is still illegal. In the Ghanaian Criminal Code, Article 104 of Chapter 6 defines this “sexually aberrant behaviour” as “unnatural carnal knowledge.” This means that Ghana criminalises same-sex intimacy between men. If men of sixteen years or older are caught having consensual sex, they can be sent to prison for that misdemeanour for up to three years. The law makes no distinction between homosexuality and bestiality. Same-gender love between women isn’t criminalised under the law but is still highly discriminated against.
It gets worse…
According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), seven countries still retain capital punishment for homosexual behaviour: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria. In the United Arab Emirates it is a capital offence. Muslim countries – and many Muslim communities in the UK – aggressively (as opposed to openly, as do many Catholics) abhor homosexuality.
So, while close to being correct in the UK, globally (and partially locally) James Delingpole’s optimism is premature.
There are still gay rights to be fought for before the world realises that sexual orientation is not simply a personal characteristic that one chooses but defines a group of people in which one is likely to discover satisfying and romantically fulfilling relationships as essential components of existing personal identity.
We shouldn’t get tired of the Stonewall campaigns, if they are well-targeted – we should support them. We should call out those which are pushing the rights of the LGBT community beyond equality – do we really need to be wasting cash on equalities officers in hospitals and across government departments?
There are unquestionably arguments to be had when LGBT rights proselytisers go out of their way, as do the Islamists, to score media coverage by picking points with seemingly innocent members of the public, especially those who happen to sport the Christian cross – like those who would rather not have gays or lesbians renting a room in their home. Do Christians go out of their way to demand pork in mosques or crowds of straight couples purposefully straighten out gay bars?
Only when there’s a team effort from those with a sexuality in our society which does others no harm against the sexuality of those who harm others (the predators, the paedophiles and the paedophile supporters) can we make society a better, fairer and safer place. We should all be supporting gay people in their fight against regressive Islamism that, at its worst, drops homosexuals alive from tall buildings in Iraq and Syria.
The sooner we get to that point of solidarity and iron out the divisions, the sooner we can support Oscar’s civilised and sensible position: