If you believe diversity is good, you have to respect gay rights as well


If you believe diversity is good, you have to respect gay rights as well. FILE PHOTO | AFP

The West has got itself into such a tangle on diversity, with a blind spot around double-speak and hegemony of ideas.

But it is a new world order that has been brought under a momentary spotlight in London through one mother’s court case against her four-year-old son’s school.

Izzy Montague claims the school forced her child to go to an event celebrating gay rights, which is the right of same-sex couples to have intimate relationships.

She was informed of the event by the school but requested that her son not attend, as Izzy and her husband, both Christian, believe in union only between a life-long pairing of a female and male.

The school refused the request and put their four-year-old into the event. Now, this raises more than a dozen different issues.

But let’s deal with diversity first. As it happens, I do not have the same view as this couple. I am fully aware that homosexuality is a criminal offence in Kenya, but I don’t think it's criminal to say I believe the law is wrong.

Maybe you, too, can take a moment, one day, to reflect on the line that marks out criminality, which was always harmful to victims, as far as I know – destroying property, assaulting people, stealing, and such like.

I don’t happen to believe it is criminal for any two humans of any gender to love each other and have intimacy if they so wish.

However, we do not have to agree on this. And I think that is the point of diversity. With diversity, surely, we are who we are, and believe what we believe, and we are a mature race that respects everyone’s right to be and think as they do.

Yet, where does that end? If we can respect homophobia, which is where people are actively hostile to homosexuals, can we respect racism, where some British people think Kenyans are lesser, or sexism, where some men think women are inferior?

The truth is we have grown up in a world afflicted by all these prejudices and also in a world blessed with different value systems and with debates.

Indeed, all my life, people throughout the world have disagreed on abortion, some pro-choice, favouring abortion, some pro-life, opposed to it.

But no one ever said, until now, that we all had to have the same view to go to school, to be employed, or to be an actor or author.

In fact, in the world before diversity, we had way more diversity than we seem to have now. Until one is even left wondering, is the point about diversity that we all have to think the same now?