Now that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of LEGAGIBO and reinforced their legal right to sexual orientation and belonging of their choice, we need as a country move further to liberalise laws on abortion and prostitution. As this column argued last week, we are all products of sex and hence we should openly talk about sex and resolve issues surrounding sexuality. This includes sex through trading one’s body. Those buying and selling are both participating in sexual trade. This happens in many formats including; direct payment for sex through money, paying for rentals, buying someone alcohol or groceries, giving someone a lift, offering someone a job for a sexual favour, consoling those in emotional through provision of sexual advise and sexual counselling, using your body parts to lure in votes in your favour etc.
Within those who are gays and lesbians are those yet who will want to retain their individuality and not want a permanent partner. They will only want sex mates, or rented sex partners. We should move to allowing them sex mates. This can only happen when they are allowed to engage in sexual trade; prostitution. In allowing them to legally trade through their bodies, parts of their bodies, in whatever format, it is then that we will be not forcing anyone to have a partner in order to enjoy their sexual pleasure. I will talk about this matter. I will talk about sex as my contribution to fighting stigma and discrimination. It’s us the society that decides what is morally and ethically acceptable and what is not. We do that through parliament, courts and daily conversations. Let us do that, we have a choice and a chance. I will support homosexuality, prostitution and abortion not only for legal recognition but societal acceptance.
It is for this reason that this matter must go hand in hand with legalising abortion. In legalising abortion we will save many lives that are lost due to back street abortions. We can chose to deny that these things are happenings. But we cannot make them vanish. Most of us know one or two people, or at the most have heard about one or two people who have illegally aborted in Botswana. We have also probably heard of one or two people who have crossed the border to a neighbouring country to abort an unborn child. You might as a male possibly have contributed or paid in full monies for this abortion to effect. You might possibly as a female have had to handle this abortion alone, yet you shared sexual pleasure with someone. You might also have had to opt not to tell your partner that you are pregnant; either because you don’t know how they will react or because they are married.
You might even wish the father of the unborn child does not know that you ever slept together because it was a night of excessive drinking and unprotected sex. It might also be that he looks and sounds like he does not remember sex taking place. You might have both as male and female agreed that the only reasonable way to handle the pregnancy is to abort because one of you, or worse enough, both is married and will not want to jeopardise a marriage. Legislators and the courts of law should know that these factors and many others not mentioned here will not go away. By the look of things, it will be easier to legalise these matters so as to make life easier for the people. Our laws should make life easier for us and not the other way round. People should not be spending money, time and emotions asking for recognition.
We should not shy away in congratulating LEGABIBO, BONELA and Human Rights groups on winning the Court of Appeal case. It has been for a long time now that there have been battling and arguing the merits and principles of law as to why Botswana homosexual citizens should not only be recognised, but allowed to enjoy their constitutional right to associate. As already argued by law practitioners, and agreed to by the judiciary through the highest court of the land, pretending to be allowing them a constitutional right of association yet not allowing them to an association safe guarding and protecting their interests has always been a fallacy. No amount of religious pretence can rectify that. No amount of ethical and moral talk shop should be allowed the slightest audacity to have a say at this historic moment. The country is limping towards the era of global liberalism. This case must be a learning curve for this country and its people that we cannot pretend that we are still leaving in the traditional past and customs.
This is a learning curve that we have entered the global community not just by appearing on the world map but by aligning ourselves, our country, our laws and our behavioural expectations with global trends. This should equally be a sliding mode to liberalising the rest of the Botswana humanity. This humanity liberalisation cannot be complete when we continue to force women to carry pregnancies they do not want. This liberalisation cannot be complete when we refuse others the right to trade with their own bodies. Those, who want to be seen as more moral and ethical than others, need to be reminded that no one is asking to sell or buy sex from them unwillingly. The prostitution that is being said is that regulated by the principle of willing buyer willing seller. I must also point out that those who have been fortunate enough to have partners willing to provide sex to them on daily basis must not want to pretend that the monopoly of sexual pleasure belongs to the selected few. Sex pleasure belongs to even those willing to simply buy it. Some people have not been fortunate enough to be able to make a living through formal jobs etc. They have however in realising that the Government and its society are not able to provide them with jobs, opted to an option of sexual trade for a livelihood. You can’t fail to provide jobs and also refuse people to trade with that which is entirely theirs; it is simply wrong and cruel.
It is important for the honourable Member of Parliament who is also a cabinet member, Botlogile Tshireletso to now pursue with relentlessness vigour her advocacy of legalising prostitution and abortion. We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye that the right to abort must be taken away from the state and be returned to women whose bodies ultimately carry off springs for unborn children for a period of nine months. Sometime less than nine months as a result of miscarriages, frustrations, malnutrition and sickness. I can’t emphasise further the pain that mothers who have lost their unborn ones go through. It becomes more painful when you had initially pointed out that you will not be able to go through the pregnancy and then not allowed to abort only to emotionally bond with your unborn child and only to lose such an unborn life. These matters go hand in hand; homosexuality, prostitution and abortion. They are sex issues, sex concerns and we can only resolve them if we talk about them. What is unconventional to you is conventional to me and this is where the spirit of liberalism comes in.
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