Sunday, March 30, 2014

Britain, Gay Marriage, and the Tragic Legacy of Homophobia

I almost wish Margaret Thatcher was still alive so she could have seen the rainbow flag flying over government buildings in London today.

Because her infamous Section 28 anti-gay law, which was similar to the one in Russia today, crushed a generation of young LGBT people.

So the sight of those flags and all those happy couples probably would have killed her.

But what made this day even more significant was that not only did it hammer another nail into Thatcher's coffin. It was also the final chapter in Britain's long and tragic history of homophobia.

For not only did successive British governments oppress their own citizens with their Victorian laws. Prosecute and ruin the lives of tens of thousands for the "crime" of loving someone of their own sex.

Not only did they break people like Oscar Wilde in jail. Or drive Alan Turing, the great war hero and computer genius, to commit suicide.

They exported their anti-gay laws to all their colonies, along with their missionaries. So they live on in places like Uganda or Jamaica, where gays are persecuted, jailed, and routinely murdered.

Where religious bigotry still rules, and something like this could happen the other day to a young gay man in South Africa named David Olyn. 

A 21-year old South African gay man was tied up, beaten, set on fire and killed, according to reports.

According to reports, seven youths from Belle Vista were invited to watch by a man who said he was “going to kill a moffie [slang for faggot]“. Olyn, who was tied up with wire, had his head smashed in with a brick, before being stamped on and set on fire.

Who even as he he lay there moaning and dying, nobody in the crowd lifted a finger to help him.

So I'm glad many of those newly married couples took time out on their happy day, to mention the plight of all those who are still suffering in places like Russia or Uganda, and so many other countries.

And I thought I'd finish on this Saturday night with two songs to mark the occasion.

One I'm dedicating to all the victims of Britain's anti-gay laws, to Oscar and Alan and David, and all those who were and are persecuted just for being who they are.

And those who didn't live to see this day...

And the other song is for all the happy couples in England and Wales today.

One for the sheer joy of this day of justice.

And one I'm dedicating to Margaret Thatcher. In the hope that if her evil spirit is still wandering around the Con corridors of power.

Or residing in Stephen Harper's basement.

This will finally finish her off...

Yes, it was a day of joy and justice.

More than a hundred years of government sponsored homophobia ended today in Britain.

But the hate goes on.

And the struggle continues...

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