It felt good yesterday to be present during such a historical moment for Malta. Equal rights for everyone, and an inclusive society are two causes that have always been close to my heart, and not just with respect to gay issues but across the board.
Equality and non-discrimination are two principles that should form the backbone of any civilised society, and this is why everyone who supports these two notions should have been in celebration mode yesterday, even though the Civil Unions Bill does not affect them on a personal level.
While expressing a general feeling of glee before the Bill passed, I casually mentioned to someone that I couldn’t wait to actually witness the moment in St George’s Square.
When I asked her whether she too would be present, said person burst out laughing and asked me why I cared about the whole thing, given that I myself would not be benefiting from the law. I confess to finding this attitude confusing.
Civil rights and freedoms are ideals that civilised people should always promote vociferously and visibly – even when the particular circumstances do not directly affect them.
To put it more plainly, it is the ultimate in selfishness to say that you don’t care about yesterday’s bill just because you are not gay. Any measure that has the power to improve someone’s life in any way should be supported, and not just by that person but by anyone with a conscience.
This is why, although I am not an immigrant, I constantly campaign for a better lifestyle and better treatment for those who wind up on our shores.
This is why, although so far I have been blessed not to be personally touched by such circumstances, I constantly campaign for a society that allows those who are differently able to reach their full potential and contribute to the community.
This is why, although I have never been the subject of racist discrimination, I constantly campaign in favour of a tougher stance against those who are guilty of inciting it.
And this is why, although I am not gay, I have constantly campaigned in favour of laws that don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. And why yesterday I joined hundreds of others yesterday in St George’s Square to share their happiness.
If we only act on those injustices that affect us directly, what sort of humans can we claim to be? Heaven knows that the “I’m all right Jack” mentality is way too prevalent nowadays.
Yesterday was not a win for gay people only. It was a win for everyone who wanted to see Malta dragged (kicking and screaming somewhat, but that too will pass) closer towards a society based on equal rights.
Happily, yesterday evening showed that I am not the only one who believes that selfishness has no place in civil rights issues. Many other like-minded heteros were also present to usher in the new law, and the mood was truly an inclusive one.
The only shame is that the issue did become somewhat political (with a small ‘p’) at one point, but I suppose given the system in Malta it would be naive to expect otherwise. As singer Skunk Anansie put it, “everything is… political”. Well, she put it somewhat more strongly, but let’s keep this rated U.
So here’s to the first step towards becoming a kinder society that cares about making people happy. After all, kindness breeds kindness and the happiness you help others achieve is likely to one day be returned in kind.
And that’s my rare hippy moment over. Congrats to all those who yesterday said “I do.”
This post was first published on www.timesofmalta.com