Claudette Buttigieg, PN MP writes:
Today the streets of Valletta will take on the vibrant colours of the rainbow to mark the annual Pride March. This event is not a stand-alone. Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC) put together a packed programme spread over Pride Week which included discussions, entertainment and of course the symbolic march.
Pride is more than just a celebration. It is a reminder that we cannot fail anybody in our society. We are as weak as our weakest links and we can only be strong if we work together as a team. So if there are minorities that feel they cannot be themselves for fear of being bullied or ridiculed or subtly discriminated against – at school, at work or wherever – then it’s not just the children or colleagues who are “different” that suffer. We all do.
A society that is complacent about discrimination is letting all sides down. The Pride March is about remembering all this.
It has been six years since I put forward the Constitutional amendment to safeguard sexual orientation as a fundamental freedom. But it’s still necessary to say that we need changes, not just in laws but also in mentality.
It’s not the job of politicians to tell people what to believe. We cannot pass laws to oblige people to love one another. We can and of course should pass laws to protect diverse views and lifestyles. But there is more we can do.
We can remember that everyone strives for recognition of their worth. Not being recognised for who we are is a recipe for misery.
If we fail anyone, we fail ourselves. We can only bring out the best in us by bringing out the best in everyone.
Therefore, for the LGBTQ community, as with other minorities, tolerance is not enough. Let us recognize what makes each of us unique. Awareness of others helps each of us be more self-aware. We shouldn’t let ourselves be the kind of society where some people feel they must live a lie.
That is why, in spite of our laws, it is still important to have Pride Marches. Their main purpose is not about being hip. The carnival atmosphere is there to make sure that diversity is visible in the fog of prejudice. It is about helping everyone actually see the world around them.
Today, I will not be able to attend the Pride March because of other commitments overseas but you should be there. You can march with your family and friends, you may choose to join an NGO or a Political Party. Your presence will make a difference, so will your absence.