New York: Gay identity politics that was part of the public discourse in Afghanistan’s recent presidential elections has shown that LGBT rights can pave the way for a peaceful society free from violence and discrimination, says an openly gay Afghan academic.
As the ongoing election came into full swing this year, gay identity politics gravitated into the mainstream when the Afghan media has started outing closeted politicians, said Nemat Sadat professor at the American University of Afghanistan who was fired past July and left for the US after the Afghan government threatened to criminalize him for “promoting homosexuality.”
One of the main media scandals was that of former spokesperson to President Hamid Karzai for engaging in extramarital same-sex relations despite portraying himself as a pious family man.
Sadat describes the “gay commotion” in Afghanistan as an “unprecedented move” given that same-sex relations in Afghanistan can be penalized with the death penalty.
But more needs to happen to engineer progressive change to secularize Afghanistan, Sadat said in globalpost.com.
In the last twelve years gender rights’ efforts in Afghanistan excluded the LGBTIQ community and without a single advocacy group in the country, gay Afghans were vulnerable to suicide, marrying the opposite sex or fleeing to a safe haven, he said.
“Living a gay lifestyle in Afghanistan is impossible when society is ignorant about gay rights and homosexuals, under the current laws, can be put to death for simply being who they are” he added.
If Afghanistan wants to end the communal wars then it must extend human rights to all citizens including LGBTIQ who currently have no legal status as they are deemed sinful, said Sadat who now promotes equality rights in Afghanistan from the United States.
“Even heterosexual men will be happy and live harmoniously when everyone can cherish their gender identity and sexual orientation and explore romance and their sexuality,” he said.
Sexual repression is a perfect recipe for violence and though in Afghanistan it may not be the root cause of war “it’s certainly the reason why there is no peace and so much poverty,” he added.
Honoring a person’s sex and sexuality is a basic human need and the only solution is to integrate everyone into a secular regime that is fair, equitable and just, Sadat said.
The campaign for Afghanistan’s second round of presidential elections kicked off May 22 but because no one received a majority the two frontrunners will square off in another round scheduled for June 14.
This is war-wrecked Afghanistan’s first ever democratic transition of power and where millions of Afghans defied Taliban threats to take part in the election.