The Time Is Ripe537 views
I keep hearing from people, gay and straight, that we, as fantastic homosexuals, need to realize that there are other, more important, more pending issues facing Lebanon than the rights of us queers. From women’s rights, to refugee rights, to rights from protection from violence, to a messy political scene, to the moody economy, to the electricity, to the infrastructure, and so on, for a long, long, long list of issues facing this beloved country of mine.
Every time I hear this argument, it pisses me off. Seriously! I actually take offence. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is more important or urgent than the rights of human beings, be they women, children, refugees, or LGBTIQ and whatever other letter you want to add to that.
The rights of gay men and women are urgent. The rights of the philippino maid who cleans the toilet are urgent. The rights of the 16 Bedouins that float around the mountains next to my grandmother’s house are urgent. The rights of the old man with the old sponge begging to clean my windshield are urgent. The rights of the whore who lets you fuck her without a condom for 3,000 LBP more are urgent. The rights of your political enemies are urgent. The rights of prisoners rotting away in freezing jails are urgent. The rights of the heroin addict stealing to get her fix are urgent.
It is offensive and destructive to try to put a hierarchy on these rights. I repeat myself a lot, but we should not be pushing for gay rights. We should be pushing for human rights. Human, as in anybody on this planet that fits under the Homo sapiens species.
Along with the “there are more important people than you” argument, I often hear that now is not the time, and if I was a bit more patient, the rights would naturally be handed over to me (those rights that are mine to begin with).
While I agree entirely that societies always evolve for the better (from the perspective of a liberal, and with the exception of societies that undergo violent shake-ups, like a conservative revolution or a sudden dictatorship), I do not agree that if we wait around doing nothing, those rights will come.
Here, no one has said it better than Martin Luther King, Jr:
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.
Forget the co-workers with god crap. He was a reverend. He had to say that. (Interestingly, King, a deeply religious man, believed in god for reasons that are actually reasonable, and spent many years questioning his existence). Focus more on “time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.” Basically, unless we move our asses, nothing happens. We stagnate in injustice and stupidity. It is precisely because of activists that progress happens.
Secondly, and more importantly, focus on “the time is always ripe to do right.” Arguing that “our time will come; we just have to wait and see” is ridiculous. We must demand that our rights, along with the rights of every single human being, right now. It is the most urgent thing we could possibly be fighting for, and it must be done TODAY.