Since our last post on August 11th, some chatter has occurred in the various discussion forums regarding the contents of that post. Whilst it is impossible to address all the issues raised, we here at Pink feel it necessary to address two, namely the perceived slight to Mr. Kirby and an expansion of our advocacy for greater South-South cooperation and indeed the promotion of a Global South lead strategy to tackle development challenges around LGBTI rights in their respective countries.
Malice towards None!!
We here at the Pink Report would like to make it abundantly and categorically clear that no malice or ill-will was meant towards Mr. Kirby. Indeed our concerns are far more developmental than personal. Moreover the questions that occupy our minds are purely focused on identifying a sustainable path for the promotion of social inclusion of LGBTI persons living in the Global South. In this connection, our worry is that a failure to ensure fulsome consultation and dialogue may lead to unfortunate unintended consequences for the local communities that are supposed to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the intervention.
It should be recalled, that the article of August 11th made no call for Mr. Kirby to be censured. Indeed, it is our position that he is a friend, ally, asset and stakeholder in the cause and not a foe. However, there is no denying the fact that the speech in question was overly sexed and bordered on pornographic. Thus our intervention is in recognition of the fact that friendship is a relationship and like every other type of such it must be managed and framed properly. Consequently, our note should be read as a cautionary tale and a call to action to frame that relationship such that it stands on firmer footing.
Towards a South Lead Development Agenda
Yet whilst we recognize Mr. Kirby and others as stakeholders, the reality is that persons in the South are the owners of their national programmes and must ultimately be masters of their own development solutions. In this regard, the North should view itself as facilitators! Further within the global discourse on the trajectory of LGBTI Rights recognition there has to be greater understanding and appreciation of the linkage between the former and the strengthening of democratic and judicial institutions in the South.
It is often noted that the distinction between functional democracies and majoritarian tyrannies is the ability of the democracy to listen to all its people in the first instance, as well as protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable in the second. The issue of “listening to its peoples” is the argument of social inclusion whereby persons are moved from being members of marginalized population groups to being full citizens with all the rights and responsibilities that are associated with that and are therefore ultimately incorporated into the larger body politic of the state. From our vista this must be the ultimate goal of LGBTI advocacy and general development strategy.
The challenge then is how to accomplish the taking up of the full mantle of citizenship by the LGBTI person in repressive countries. The Pink Report’s view is that a strategy dictated by the North, though noble in nature unwittingly finances the silencing of the voices of the peoples in their own struggles. Southern voices and Southern actors, ably supported by partners in the North, must be engaged with their own governments and institutions to force the necessary reforms and actions. Indeed the lessons from inter alia the Arab Spring of 2010/2011, the ending of Apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, the fight for Indian Self Rule under the Mahatma and indeed Gay Rights struggles in Britain and the United States are of community ownership. We are advocating for nothing less than that which has been done before!
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