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Crossdressers – Crossing the line in SVG

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Editor: At Calliaqua, a strutting crossdresser catapulted homosexuality and our society into the spotlight. It seems young lawyer Llewellyn was right when on radio she told Vincentians there was a difference between “acceptable” and “tolerable” behaviours. Suddenly, the crossdresser and all of us became fully aware of that difference. We are privileged to enjoy all the interactions which living in a society affords. But from the time we agreed that the survival of society was more important than the survival of the individual, the right of personal preference became subject to sanction and denial. The degree of this control of personal preference depends on the society you happen to live in.

The work of Anthropologist E. Westermarck found that African natives were the least tolerant of homosexuality. In fact, this taboo was worse than the taboo on incest. Today we still deeply share our forefathers’ detest of both. Especially that part of homosexual behavior labeled pederasty, which is the nasty exploitation of a minor by an adult homosexual for economic gain. In the recent past, police investigations here caused some practicing pederasty to flee abroad. Today, I see some of them smugly back in high places; always the “white collar” gets away.

Vincentians are primarily Christians of African stock and I believe any discussion “beneficial” to the plight of homosexuals here will get nowhere, except with the passing of new laws. So it is a smart politician who will downplay that parliamentary step.

A friend of mine raised the idea of legislation against skin bleaching. Another pointed to the Philippines’ legal payment of husband’s salaries to wives to avoid squandering. Nothing is wrong with such thinking, if such problems are harming the society. Morality simply relates to behaviours society permits and there are right and wrong answers to moral questions. Yes, it is possible for individuals, even entire nations to have beliefs and desires that lead to needless human suffering. On morality, small developing nations cannot just blindly follow the big nations.

Just as there is a body of expertise on scientific facts, so there is the domain of the moral specialists. Is it not this moral authority which the Bible and other books expound? But when talking of morality, we value difference in opinion more than in any other subject. Truth is, on morality not every Joe who has an opinion should be counted. Some have no moral talent whatsoever.

There are no vast differences in methods of how to fight the spread of diseases or how strong buildings are built. There is general agreement on the important issues, with public concern uppermost. Similarly, we cannot be afraid to legislate morality. Personal freedom to act in public cannot be allowed to score questionable benefits for a few. If a set of values is not good for all members of society to practice, then such values should come under very careful censorship.

I do not support assaulting persons, and the crossdressers at Calliaqua could have been killed. Then some would say this loss of life could have been prevented. There are societies where it is unlawful to wear pants that expose your butt crack and underwear in public. But here things happen in the public domain and no one does anything until it is too late or politically expedient.

In closing, hats off to the CCTV camera initiative. Perhaps the vantage points of the disused traffic lights may be of use in this gathering of visual evidence that can help the public.

Steve Wyllie

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