Every year, in most parts of the world, people are physically, verbally, socially and even judicially attacked because there continue to be in most societies those who feel they have a right to demonstrate their own innate rightness and nobility of character by trashing those who believe in different standards or have a biological condition which results in non-standard social behaviour.

Civilisation is built in response to beliefs which may not reflect majority thinking but rather that of the most advanced social philosophers in the community. The fine preamble to the American Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” but then goes into an unfortunate spiel about the Creator before affirming the basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — three basic rights all too often denied to GLBTIs.

The only way in which significant change will be achieved will be to have laws altered to provide protection for the GLBTI community and to see those laws supported by regulations which are unequivocal and enforceable. This can only be achieved by formal education at all levels — pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary, and informal education, through all forms of the media, for the general public.

The right-wing pundits and shock jocks will continue to react in their ignorant and bigoted ways, deriding GLBTIs for “choosing” such a lifestyle and seeking to place the blame on us for any ills which befall us — just as women since the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 22.23), have been blamed for provoking men into raping them.

It really is time for people to think for themselves, to agree on certain principles concerning equal rights for all and to ensure that those rights do not directly infringe the rights (as opposed to the beliefs) of others.

info: www.gendercentre.org.au

BY KATHERINE CUMMINGS, GENDER CENTRE

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