Stand up to homophobia

To the editor, The Impartial Reporter, I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader of your paper to be disgusted by the homophobic content in the letter from Patrick Maguire in last week’s paper. It is estimated widely that approximately one in ten people are born homosexual and that this ratio is similar pretty much around the world. As a result of widespread hostility and prejudice, many homosexual people suffer from unremitting bullying, isolation and rejection from their families and communities. The situation in Fermanagh is known to be particularly grave in this regard.

Mr Maguire seeks to blame homosexuals for AIDS. Scientific opinion is that it is caused by a virus which can be spread by a number of mechanisms including sexual activity (all types), the injection of drugs, contaminated blood transfusions and through being born to someone suffering from the condition. Blaming homosexuals for AIDS is like blaming Diabetes on Fatty food. It is to infer an absolute causal relationship where none exists.

Mr Maguire seeks to blame homosexuality for suicide and distress whereas any prevalence of these conditions within homosexuals (if true) is more likely to reflect the widespread nature of social prejudice against those born into the LGBT community – a problem likely made all the worse by Mr Maguire’s intervention.

Against the backdrop of the recent exposure of how the Catholic Church presided and covered up for a pervasive network of systematic sexual and physical abuse, it is sickening that anyone can, in their name, attack others for their sexuality.

Moreover, the courts have recently heard evidence suggesting that the brutal murder of Shaun Fitzpatrick in Dungannon in 2008 may have been due to his homosexuality; those who peddle homophobia share the blame for the violence that they propagate throughout society. It is the same as for those who peddle racism, sexism or sectarian prejudice.

Working class people need to stand united for change. Any attempt to divide us whether along racial lines, gender, sexuality or religion weakens our abilities to change society for the better.

Yours faithfully,

Domhnall Ó Cobhthaigh

Socialist Party, Fermanagh

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