Forget the Homosexuals – I am the Real Criminal
by Brent Toombs on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 3:48pm ·
The most important five words in Section 53 of the laws of Belize are “against the order of nature”. Those words form the foundation for the argument presented by religious fundamentalists, and others, who believe their own interpretation of biblical scripture, their own particular brand of faith, and their own definitions of what is “normal” and “natural” should dictate how, why and (most importantly) to whom our laws are applied.
“Against the order of nature” does not specifically single out men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women, nor any particular sexual activity practiced exclusively by gays or lesbians. Yet many people who lobby in favour of the continued criminalization of homosexuality in Belize defend their position by quoting scripture, declaring that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, and pointing out the biologically accurate fact that two men alone (or two women alone) can not create a baby. Therefore, the fundamentalists insist, it is perfectly clear what God intends for all of us. Man should be with woman and the result shall be children. Go against the natural order of things and the law and/or God shall deal with you!
The constitution of Belize grants every person the right to believe exactly what he or she wants to believe. If you choose to believe that there is a divine order to everything that is your right. If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, that too is your right. But you have to accept that the same constitution that protects your right to religious freedom, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression also protects everyone else. Including the people who disagree with you.
In the past several months I have also heard many people defend their intolerance for homosexuality with wild claims of concern for the continued propagation of the Belizean population. Many of these anti-gay crusaders - who dismiss the LGBT population as being so insignificantly small in numbers that their rights are not even worthy of consideration – are very concerned that gays and lesbians will not do their part to keep the population growing. The Mayor of Belmopan even went so far as to suggest Belize would become “extinct” if we allow homosexuals to live freely in our society!
So what does any of this have to do with me, other than the fact I am a Belizean who believes in equal rights for all? Well, I am a much bigger sinner and a much greater threat to the survival of our population than any gay or lesbian in Belize.
I am a heterosexual man and I am childless!
Oh my God, it is true. I have sex with women (albeit monogamously) just like many Christians believe God intends for me to do. But I have never had sex for the purpose of creating a life. I’ve never “left it up to God” to decide if His plan is for me to have a child or not. In fact I’ve been very deliberate (and responsible) about avoiding pregnancy my entire sexually active life. Yes, you are free to believe that I thumb my nose at God every time I have sex. Go right ahead and be concerned that I am putting the future of Belize in peril for not adding a few more children to our growing population. I am certainly not “normal” by societal standards because not only do I not have children with my partner, I don’t have any “outside pikni” either. In fact I don’t even have a “sweetheart”. I’m the strange one, I know.
Clearly I conduct my private sexual life “against the order of nature” and contrary to the social norms of Belize. So why are these same people, who are so concerned with homosexuals, not also threatened by me? Why do they not fret about seeing ME holding hands with my partner and having to explain to their kids that sometimes men and women love each other without making babies? Why are they not paranoid that people like ME are plotting to infiltrate the schools in order to indoctrinate children with our evil D.I.N.K. (double income no kids) agenda? How come MY lack of offspring is not considered evidence that I must hate God or a sign that I am working to destroy the church? Why do none of these “family values” Christians tell ME to start having kids or get the hell out of Belize? Why has no one ever suggested that I may enjoy my childless relationship in secret but publicly I must pretend to be a parent?
But most importantly, why are they not suggesting that S.53 should be used to put ME in prison for 10 years?
Oh that’s right, the anti-gay crusaders say the law is never used to lock anyone up, but we must keep it in tact just to remind everyone that homosexuality is not “normal”. You know, like how in earlier times a severed head would be publicly displayed to serve as warning to others. They say they don’t actually want to punish homosexuals; they just want them to feel intimidated.
So OK then, why won’t these culture warriors at least hold the threat of S.53 over MY head to remind ME that I too am deviating from God’s plan and society’s expectations?
Is it because I am allowed to make my own choices on how, why and with whom I am sexually intimate? Is it because I am free to decide what God wants for me and if I am wrong He will deal with me Himself? Is it because I have the right to privacy? Or is it because (as long as we are not harming anyone) my partner and I have the right our own sexuality?
The answer to all of the above is, YES.
But ONLY because I am physically intimate with a person of the opposite sex am I exempt from S.53 while others are not. That’s why this law is unconstitutional. That’s why it is abhorrent for anyone to defend this law on the basis moral and spiritual values or societal norms.
Once you selectively apply any law to a specific segment of society while exempting another you are violating the constitutional and fundamental human rights of the persecuted party. So until the churches and other anti-gay crusaders come after ME and demand that I be charged under Section 53 they have no right to call for the continued criminalization of the consensual sexual activity of anyone.
So to people like Scott Stirm, Louis Wade, Dorick Wright, Eugene Crawford, Paul Rodriguez, etc. I say feel free to pray for me and ask God to bless me with the children I’ve deliberately avoided creating for all these years. I welcome you to take to the airwaves and the newspapers to tell me about YOUR definition of family as intended by OUR creator. Share with anyone who wants to listen to the select scriptures that support your intolerant point of view. By all means continue to consider yourself the moral arbiter on who should have sex with whom, under what circumstances and in what manner. Please continue to believe that anyone who lives his or her life in any way that is contrary to your personal belief system (even if they cause you no harm) is evil and will be punished by God. That is your right.
But until you start advocating for the criminalization of people like me, and every other person who does not think, act, and copulate exactly as you deem natural and normal, I will continue to call you a hypocrite, a homophobe, and a bigot.