So, to legalise homosexuality or not? Some of you might ask how this pertains to women-related issues, given that is my focus for this column. Point is, when most people talk about homosexuality, they only have men in mind because of the ‘sodomy law’.
However, the umbrella academy for people of the LGBTQI+ community is large and also involves women, which is inclusive of lesbians and transgender women – to mention but a few. I will not go into the legal matters much, but will argue why it should be legalised and what it means to the LGBTQI+ community.
Let us assume for a moment that being a heterosexual was illegal. Would you, as a Christian heterosexual individual, want to live in a space where heterosexual individuals are being discriminated against, beaten and even arrested just for existing? More often than not, your human rights are abused by the community, including the police, who have the mandate to serve and protect all individuals. Why must someone’s existence then burden you to the extent of hating them and causing bodily harm? Why should the person’s sexuality cause you discomfort to such an extent that you take away their right to exist through hate speech and crime? Where is the ‘One Namibia, One Nation’ you so preach of then?
Identifying as part of the LGBTQI+ community is coming out of the closet and walking right into the casket. Even though this is not a literal casket; it is one that is clouded by stigmatisation and being a social outcast, being pushed to extremities, including considering suicide as an escape to the pressures of the often-constricted world that is characterised by name-calling and insults.
This is not something that needs prayer. You do not pray homosexuality out of someone. The only urgency it needs is for it to be legalised, so that people of the community can live a free-will life.
It would mean people of the LGBTQI+ community would no longer have to live in fear because they want to hold their partner’s hand in public.
The LGBTQI+ community and particularly members of the community who openly express their sexual orientation, are faced with daily violations, discrimination and restrictions from essential services. For the LGBTQI+ community, if legalised, it would mean walking into a police station to file a case and not be discriminated against; it would mean walking into the hospital and not be judged because of the way they look.
It would mean walking into a space where no judgment is placed or where they are called ‘eshenge’, ‘moffie’ or ‘faggot’.
It is not something that the surrounding communities will achieve overnight but through legalising homosexuality, continuously engaging in matters of such and teaching and re-learning.
To the LGBTQI+ community, I know this is a difficult time for you. I send healing to all of you. You matter; you are loved!
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.