GAY RIGHTS IN ZAMBIA – WHO HAS THE ANSWERS?
By Theresa Lungu
It has been interesting to read the varying reactions of Zambians to the suggestion by UN Secretary General Ki-Moon for Zambia to consider gay rights. The headline has been the most commented on story on blogs. “Homosexuality is an evil/wicked thing, only a fool can call it human rights,” one blogger on Lusaka times wrote. Do we really have people who are gay in Zambia or is it just a western phenomenon?, yet another blogger asked. Ultimately, the Zambian government issued a statement this morning that homosexuality is not allowed in Zambia.
The question is, what is wrong with two adults having consensual sex? Whether it is two women or two men. Must human rights be selective? vis a vis, only to be awarded to people who have sex the ‘accepted’ way? Additionally, what is the social and economic impact of gay people in Zambia?
Some years back, a neighbor in Luanshya impregnated his 16 year old niece. The family hushed it up and sent the girl away. My neighbor and his wife are still married. Is this man who rapes a child better than a man or woman who has consensual sex with another adult?
Religious organizations in Zambia would rather see hell than tolerate gay citizens. Doesn’t the bible teach acceptance and to let God be the judge? What makes it right to discriminate against people because they are in the minority?
I often wonder how it must have felt like for our forefathers in slavery when they were considered half human because of their skin color or for South Africans who lived through apartheid. I wonder too how gay people in Zambia feel, the fear of coming out in the open, the rejection. I bet every Zambian condemns slave masters and Boers for the mistreatment of blacks and yet they pat each other on the backs for discriminating against Gay people. Basically, aren’t bigotry and racism in the same bracket?
Peace and equality is what many citizens of the world strive for and I truly hope Zambia is also striving for the same. A Zambia where every woman, man and child are treated equally regardless of their gender, sex orientation, religious belief, disability or skin color.