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As President of an LGBTI organisation, I meet some people who tell me something along the lines of “What else do you need? We gave you everything you wanted”. Now, let me be clear, it is a minority. Usually, conversations go like” Well done, keep it up” or “ We need more youths like you” But as they say, there is no majority without a minority and so today, I will address the minority.

For starters, the fact that you ask that question “What else do you need? We gave you everything you wanted” is the same reason why we keep on working. We keep on demanding what is our right not because we want it because it is ours as much as it is yours. I won’t use foreign countries as for example of homophobia and transphobia but will share some local experiences and realities. Recently, the Malta Gay Rights Movement published a research survey about attacks on LGBTIQ individuals in Paceville.

“I was roughly separated by bouncers who thought I was dancing too close to another guy(he was straight and we were friends). Another time because I kissed a boy they ran to us and shoved us apart”

Still don’t get the message, let me spell it out: Discrimination and physical abuse - just to start off with. The fact that this quote is using plural worries me. They ran to us. This is one quote of many experiences that showcase the systematic abuse of power that bouncers have in Paceville, where no one seems to be accountable for their actions, no regulation is currently in place, and quite frankly going to unwind and meet your friends can turn into a traumatic nightmare.

“We have been kicked out and couldn’t report because we are asylum seekers - we don’t know if we have the right to report or not”

Get the pattern? I am no legal expert, I leave that to Aditus foundation that does amazing work and I bow my hat to the good work they do. But the fact that someone is not sure whether or not they can report or not because they are asylum seekers makes me want to cry. Actually a tear trickled down. Whoever wrote that, if by any chance you are reading this, a couple of things:

Firstly, you are a human, love yourself and others that love you back.

Secondly, because you are a human, yes you do have the right to report as much as the right to love who you want to love.

Why is this opinion piece titled 2020 Vision?

I invite cabinet members and the relevant authorities to take a hard look at the current situation in Paceville and act accordingly, to walk the talk and show why Malta is first in LGBTI rights and ensure that no other blunt homophobia and transphobic acts are done. We talk about the pretty stuff that surrounds legislation but it is time to face the harsh truth that the survey was filled in by over 200 people, that’s 200 cases more then I would want to be discussing and that is at a minimum with the majority of them were not reported.

So for that person who thinks you gave us something, I beg to differ, we took what’s ours by right and keep on advocating for those who cannot!

Eman Borg

President, LGBTI+ Gozo

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