Thus spake a teary-eyed Canadian Prime Minister at his country’s House of Commons yesterday, apologising for the ‘purge’ – a time from the 1950s to the early 1990s when the federal government employed a campaign of persecution against members (and suspected members) of the LGBTQ community.
Justin Trudeau ‘stood up tall’ (in his own words) and rendered a heartfelt apology for actions taken by the government against thousands of workers in the military and public service during the Cold War.
Dear Trudeau, we don’t know if you’re listening or if this will, in any way, reach you, but we’re grateful. We’re grateful that someone in a position of power has finally taken the proverbial bull by the horns and sided with – nay, spoken for – a community so horrifically hurt, tormented and traumatised.
And to your Indian counterpart – our legislature and judiciary – we’d like to say, we wish you’d stop shopping at the renaissance fair and take a quick time-capsule to join us in the 21st century. Our LGBT community needs you too, and they’re owed a long overdue apology, the likes of which your Canadian compadre has tendered.
In fact, we’ll do you one better; we’ll draft the apology FOR you, modeling it on some of Trudeau’s finer points. Here’s what you should say:
Dear desi neta-gan, won’t you apologise for the abominable culture you’ve bred where any citizen with malevolence and a video camera may record two perfectly innocent fellow citizens of the same sex, having sex? Are you proud of the fact that you’ve allowed a culture of blackmail and abuse so abhorrent that, often, sobbing and weeping lovers are dragged to thanas to beg for their privacy and for hushed, stolen moments of lovemaking to remain a secret?
Are you patting yourself on the back that gay couples across India’s length and breadth are held at gunpoint in front of ATMs to shovel out handfuls of cash to buy back their right to live outside jail?
Congratulations, dear desi-neta-gan, you’ve managed to make members of the LGBT community feel less than human in their own country. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognised in India – nor are same-sex couples even offered limited rights such as a civil union or a domestic partnership. Think of the couple (and millions) you’ve condemned to living in secrecy, hastily moving faces, hands and bodies apart when faced with the ire of an irate public on roads, rented apartments and movie halls, silencing affections, for they’ve been told that only theirs aren’t affections. Are you sorry yet?
Tsk tsk. Let that one slip right by, didn’t you? Desi-neta-gan, you had the chance to right some wrongs not once, but twice, at a pretty lofty world forum as your people (and others) watched with bated breath. In 2015, you (unsuccessfully, thank goodness) supported a resolution that opposed benefits for same-sex partners of the UN staff – well done, you. And if that weren’t stick-your-face-in-the-mud enough, you recently voted against (yes, against) a UN resolution that denounced the death penalty for consenting adults in same-sex relationships.
Which means, ladies and gentlemen, we now live in a country that not only criminalises homosexual relationships – it also thinks it’s perfectly okay for other countries (farther up the homophobia scale than India) to stone/flog their gay citizens to death.
“Never again will Canada’s government be the source of so much pain for the LGBTQ2 community,” said Justin Trudeau.
Can you say the same, India?