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Friday, July 23, 2004

Gay Rights? Human Rights!

The first Pride March in Malta was organized yesterday by the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM). The march took place in Valletta and marks an important turning point for the Maltese society at large. Most noticeable was the presence of MPs from both sides who appeared in the march at the risk of some flack from their homophobic constituents. Yet, in some ways, this can be seen more as an act of conformity than bravery.

Things have improved tremendously in Malta over the past ten years or so, thanks in part to older legislation passed decades ago. However, discrimination still exists and sadly will continue to some degree or other for some years to come.

I'm not trying to be controversial here. What I have in mind is the fact that for young gays who have been disowned by their families, survival comes before pride. Here in New York, there is no official count of gay homelessness, but the number of homeless teenagers is certainly growing. Most studies estimate that as many as half of all homeless youth are lesbian or gay, many of them tossed out by parents who scorn homosexuality for a variety of reasons.

Malta's case is not as severe as that of larger countries where a substantial number of gays end up homeless or dispossessed. Yet we all know that not every family embraces a son or daughter who comes out with pride. For such families (and not just the sons and daughters!) the MGRM has also just launched a National Gay Helpline on 21430006.

Malta can avoid running towards a similar situation by offering a better environment for all homosexuals. As one of the placards at yesterday's march pointed out: homophobia is a social disease.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:30 PM, August 03, 2005
Anonymous Anonymous said... 

4:37 PM, August 03, 2005

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