6.4.11

Sex after the draft

Looking back at the Zambian constitution making process (or farce) I am pessimistic about the future of sexual and reproductive rights in Zambia. A quick scan of today’s online newspapers shows that the defeat is now a tool for politicians and there is little discussion of implications of such a contested process.

Michael Sata, a prominent opposition party leader, is in the meanwhile trying to distance himself from accusations that he might legalise homosexuality if he comes to power. He has defended himself saying that Zambia is a Christian nation and that such an act would be unthinkable. Another politician has been accused of having five wives, which he may or may not have, but he also claims that he is a Christian and therefore cannot be a polygamist.

Sadly, the “Christian nation” nation argument that was brought up repeatedly in defence of any archaic moral stance during the constitution making process – abortion and homosexuality especially. One could be lead to believe that Christians have agreed upon dogma and social teaching. I can say with certainty that very few Zambians would even know the details of their denomination’s stance on abortion or homosexuality and their justification of that stance. But in Zambia we continue to conflate a convoluted form of our traditional beliefs, archaic aspects of Christian teachings and our consented upon contemporary culture. This is what we call our “Christian nation” -  a nation in which corruption has pervaded every aspect of our lives, where alcohol is a national pastime and in which sex outside marriage and multiple sexual partners are seen as normal – activities that are apparently not forbidden by Christianity. The Christian nation notion is only raised to put a stop to a new concept, a radical idea – anything that might force us to change our world view.

It was also frightening to find that hundreds of people could gather to devise laws without considering the implications on the individual. They were unable to look beyond their own goals and personal beliefs and ask “What happens to Mwila if... ?” Obviously it has never occurred to them that sexual identity and health crises have occurred or may be occurring within their own homes and neighbourhoods. Have they not considered that perhaps that effeminate neighbour is not just a little queer but perhaps is queer?

Currently in HIV and AIDS policies we are trying to promote “openness.” How do we do that, how do we confide in people in a society that is so judgemental, oppressive and restrictive that when given the chance they will take away the few sexual and reproductive health rights that we do have? 

Photographs: Michael A Ferris (Flickr), Jessica Gold (Flickr)

1 comment:

women's sex health said...

Being a Christian has to be faithful to his belief. This action of the Zambia people is very upsetting. It must not tolerated. A woman for a man. Not women for a man.