The issue of lesbian and gay rights has been knocking on our door for some time now. Today, the LGBTQ+ community is banging on the front door demanding attention. A feeling of blissfully secure, or indeed silently angst from within the presumed safety of our previously secured places, will not protect us from facing an issue that is present everywhere in our world.
The circulating rumour of books with information and visual depictions for our children to read of a sexuality different from the norm of what their parents and society as a whole have been grounded in, is merely the wedge beneath the door.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, in her stout repudiation of the rumours of the books referring to LGBTQ+ behaviours being on the ministry’s booklist, had every right to correct the record. As to the eventual outcome of how this matter is to be reflected and taught, or not, in schools, she really has no say as the minister.
Whether this society in the majority agrees with or attempts to discourage this phenomenon of differing forms of sexuality becoming the norm, the reality is that it’s happening and will continue to occupy our physical and thinking space.
Back in the 1970s, noted Christian theologian, Dr Francis Schaeffer, asserted that we were living in a post-Christian society of norms; that must surely apply to other religions.
The issue of a different form of sexuality is not one that the Ministry of Education will have to structure into its curriculum and booklist or not. The direction forward must come from parents, institutions of religion and morality, with the inevitable input from young people.
Everyone who watches American television is confronted with movies in which differing forms of sexuality are portrayed and the accompanying advertisements which reflect the “new norm.” And while we list it as “new,” it is only so in terms of being upfront and real, but in fact it has existed in societies all over the world from time immemorial.
Gay rights parades have taken place for well over two decades in the major cities of the world. Over the last few years, they have been happening here in T&T with a measure of assurance, their leaders marching in front of the camera and telling their stories to reporters.
At the same time though, LGBTQ+ persons are being executed in certain societies.
It will be facile for a newspaper editorial to take a definitive position on whether the forms of sexuality adopted by the LGBTQ+ community are those which should predominate or not.
The challenge now lies with parents, with religious leaders and their organisations entering frontally into the discourse to let their principled positions be known. So too parent-teacher groups, individual parents and young people must articulate on this matter of a differing set of sexual beliefs and lifestyles.
The laws, values and norms, and patterns of behaviours must be conditioned and directed by the principle of all the voices having a say in what is to be accepted.
Religious organisations and their leaders have a special responsibility to defend what they preach to their flocks. The way forward must be distilled out of the wisdom and desires of the voices raised.