The protestors, organized by Gender DynamiX, helped in many ways including shedding light on the situation. The rights of the couple, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, were grossly violated when they were arrested after their engagement ceremony. The judge’s sentence for 14 years in prison sends a chill down my spine. As two people celebrate their love, others are looking to take it away.
Just months ago I was reading about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, and cringing to think that someone could be murdered just because of their sexual orientation. Tragic outcomes, such as death, have been a reality for the LGBT community for far too long. At times it feels the world is progressing toward greater equality, but so quickly we’re reminded we have much more to conquer. This is a reminder to get involved in the issues that call to you. When a problem arises, our voice can be the greatest tool to combat it. So spread the word about these issues, sign petitions, join protests, and lets make a change!
I want to leave you with a poem I wrote recently, while visiting St. Louis. I was stretched out across the grass, right below the Arch, people watching and basking in the sun. I noticed several openly gay couples enjoying their day as well. Under the magnificent, sparkling arch, I felt overcome with peace and tranquility. I smiled thinking how for this moment we could all feel safe to be who we are. I believe each small step leads to bigger ones. The world has a great way to go in regards to human rights. But I feel so grateful for the strides we have made. To find acceptance, even for a moment, brings great hope to my mind.
What scares us about love?
The vastness of its reach?
Like the Arch on waterfront.
Touching down, on all sides.
Be the same, or other kinds.
Lovely women, lovely men.
Holding hands, as they caress.
Love’s the same inside our hearts.
From the ends unto the start.
Cannot choose out destiny.
Forever, together, we shall be.
5/13/10 —–Preeti Pathak