– SASOD reacts to “criminalisation of same-sex intimacy”
In the midst of an organised ‘march against sodomy’ by Lindeners on Saturday, Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Joel Earl Simpson has said that while SASOD respects the fundamental right of every citizen and group to assemble peacefully and express themselves, and that they are entitled to their personal beliefs about homosexuality, criminalisation of same-sex intimacy is a violation of human rights to privacy, protection from discrimination and free expression.
In a comment following the organised march by Linden-based Pastor Apostle Nigel London of ‘Come As You Are Ministries’, which saw scores of followers taking to the streets, Simpson said due to the intense homophobia promoted by the likes of the Apostle, Linden is a very difficult environment for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) persons to live and feel safe in; while explaining that homophobic stigma and discrimination has a damaging effect on people’s psychosocial health.
During the march, participants who were armed with placards marched through the streets of Mackenzie shouting, “Sodomy (and “buggery”) is illegal. We stand for what is right!… Man and man, abomination. Woman and woman, abomination!…”, as well as “Jail the sodomites!” and held placards bearing slogans such as ‘Buggery is not Human Rights, Abomination’, among others.
The Apostle went further during the march by asking who in Government or elsewhere does not want the law (against buggery) to be enforced.
He further declared, “We will march them out of Linden. It is illegal… and we shall not accept it… We will stand for what is right… This is not about crazy people taking (to) the streets. We want to show them that we have common sense and wisdom”.
Meanwhile, Simpson in his comment explained SASOD’S focus in the community, noting that personal attacks by the Apostle are defamatory. The Apostle appears to be at loggerheads with Simpson mainly on social media since last year, when SASOD launched its LGBT Sexual Health Training project in collaboration with the Linden Care Foundation in the community, as a means of empowerment. Since then, there has been some back and forth between the two on social media, with the Apostle also speaking out against Simpson and his work in relation to SASOD in the Linden community, during his weekly locally aired televised live programme. In this regard, Simpson said legal avenues will be explored.
“Our focus is working quietly on the ground in communities with LGBT Lindeners and their own community leaders to take care of each other and strengthen our resilience as a community against these vicious attacks. We believe that London’s personal attacks (against) the organisation and me personally, as SASOD’s Managing Director on social media and local television are defamatory and amount to harassment. We are exploring all legal avenues at our disposal to address these injuries to SASOD and I”, Simpson has been quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Apostle is reportedly planning a similar march to be held at Wismar, Linden. (Utamu Belle)