So So Gay is a new column aimed at giving you the opportunity to express your view on a given topic. This time, we asked you to tell us whether you think it would be justifiable to take into account a country’s record on LGBT rights when allocating international aid. You took to Twitter to tell us what you think. Here is your verdict:
YES, a country’s LGBT rights record should be a factor in aid allocation
So So Gay contributor Jeremy Williams had this to say;[box_light]There was a time when Britain ruled the waves; a force to be reckoned with which ravaged and raped, leaving countries in a far from desirable state. Along with a handful of other dominant forces, Britain capitalised on its financial prowess while weakening those around it. The result, a divide between the rich and poor that could only be resolved with assistance, with was subsequently provided by calmer and more obliging Britain.
However, with the general guilt consensus waning, and issues on the homefront increasing, the notion of reconsidering aid has come to the fore. With a list of conditions, notably the fair treatment of homosexuals, high on the list of pre-conditions, the question needs to be begged – is it right to alter aid conditions?
It is my humble opinion that there should be the right to reconsider aid, both with negative and positive outcomes; however, sole issues should not be the pre-condition. It should be the first priority that rightful distribution of aid is ensured and that a move towards self-sustainance is introduced. States which introduce suitable accessibility and amelioration schemes should be given priority. Corruption is high and needs resolution, as many a poverty ridden state is suffering an extreme version of the rich getting richer, while the poor get poorer.
That’s not to say that human rights issues should be ignored. Treatment of minority groups, including homosexuals, is often a disgrace and should not be tolerated. With even the usually calm leadership of Ghana refusing to recognise gay rights, the issue appears to have reached a stalling point. On the one hand, I feel that penalising governments over sole issues would have a detrimental effect for the cause group, allowing a societal blame on a minority akin to the Nazi treatment of the Jews, by creating, in essence a reward and penalty scheme. On the other hand, it may force governments to create a more balanced and rightful distribution of aid. After all, what is the point of aid if it only lines the pockets of the rich as opposing to providing for the poor? In addition, they may be forced to reconsider their treatment of societal minorities such as LGBT citizens.[/box_light]
NO, a country’s LGBT rights record should NOT be a factor in aid allocation
We asked Claire Connor to give us her take on the debate;[box_light]So, the debate continues regarding a country’s right to aid based on their commitment to LGBT rights. In October last year, David Cameron suggested that aid could be cut to countries that didn’t support gay rights, and Hilary Clinton made a similar suggestion a couple of months later, stating, ‘Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. Being gay is not a Western invention. It is a human reality.’
Obviously, I support LGBT rights as much as the next person, but is it really fair that innocent people lose out on aid just because they happen to live in a country where their government is particularly homophobic? Similarly, segregating LGBT rights rather than allowing it to be encompassed in the term ‘human rights’ further excludes a community of people who are already struggling to be accepted by what is likely to be, based on their government, a rather homophobic population.
Ensuring that a country has a commitment to gay rights has absolutely nothing to do with whether they deserve to be supported by the West. It is an entirely different cultural issue which deserves to be addressed separately, supported by a population who aren’t starving to death.[/box_light]
So, there you have it…
It seems that although there are strong views on either side of this particular debate, most of you do think that a nation’s track record on protecting and valuing its LGBT citizens should be a mitigating factor when western countries are doling out aid. Whether or not developed countries will use this particular stick to bring about chance in the developing world in this regard remains to be seen.
Watch out for So So Gay‘s next Twitter debate, coming soon.
Featured image courtesy of Le Retroviseur