Of late we have seen some particularly disturbing trends in the US and elsewhere in the world. The Right seems to be having a re-birth in its most distasteful forms. The bad news for GLBT+ people is that we are almost always on the top of their lists as far as galvanizing hate. We can only hope that these are the violent death throws of an outdated ideology that no longer serves us as a species
One of the things I have always felt gives us power as Westerners is choosing where we will, and won’t spend our tourist dollars. No fabulous vacations in the Maldives, where being gay is illegal, for me. I won’t explore the magnificence of China from anywhere but my computer or television. While there may be no explicit laws against being gay in China their long history of human rights violations, including action against gay people, is well documented. As for Dubai, I don’t think so.
Where we spend matters. The excuse that the county doesn’t apply its oppressive laws to tourists is simply not acceptable. I realize that this position may limit my ability to travel but I feel that human rights are far more important.
The question on my mind recently is “What to do about the US?”. I’m Canadian. I have American friends. The political insanity that’s happening right now is painful, and frankly frightening to watch. Yet, after some struggle, I recently decided that now is not the time to boycott our neighbors to the south.
While the US may be heading in a decidedly homophobic direction at the moment this is only one government. A single president no matter how manipulative, and hateful, can only do so much damage. I’m not pretending that the damage isn’t significant, but it may well be temporary. At least at this point, you cannot be jailed for being gay in the US. You can’t be refused entry into the country because of your sexual orientation. Marriage equality has not been undone.
It’s hard to watch what’s happening. America has often led the charge forward in securing our rights. But, the reality is that the US is still far better than the vast majority of countries on the planet. Of course, gay rights are not the only issue at hand here. Hatred towards women, racism, and all of the things that the extreme right stand for, include our oppression. Marginalizing minorities then encouraging hatred towards them has always been a way out of democracy. We only have to look to Germany in the last century to see a clear example of that.
Rather than a knee jerk reaction to Trump’s madness I would suggest that our most wise path forward is to support our American brothers and sisters in their fight to ensure that their country remains free.