MLA is “unbelievably hurtful”


I agree with the sentiments expressed in the letter to the editor “God would never behave so badly” and the editorial “Nunavut avoids embarrassment” (Nov. 7), but I believe that at least two additional points need to be made.

Last week, a member of Nunavut’s cabinet publicly equated homosexuality with pedophilia. The MLAs were debating whether all Nunavummiut should be protected from discrimination when Manitok Thompson said that “There have been many young men that committed suicide that were abused by Ed Horne. That is why I cannot accept the wording sexual orientation in this bill.”

There can only be two explanations for this unbelievably hurtful statement. Either our minister of education doesn’t know the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia, or she does understand the difference – and was trying to manipulate people into thinking that gays and lesbians are perverted and predatory.

Perhaps I can explain the difference to her. Homosexuality is the attraction of one adult to another adult of the same gender. All of the gays and lesbians I know – including my sister – just want to live a happy life with someone they love and who loves them back, and not get beaten up or fired from their job because of the sexual orientation that they were born with. They have no desire to “recruit” other people to their sexual orientation.

Pedophilia is a deviant sexual desire by an adult for children, a perversion that homosexuals abhor as much as heterosexuals do. Ask any psychiatrist: almost all pedophiles maintain “straight” adult relationships. Virtually no pedophiles are homosexuals – the habitual molester of boys is almost never attracted to adult males.

These facts are common knowledge among Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I would think that the great majority of high school students in this country understand the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia, but here in Nunavut, the minister of education is willing to stand up in public and voice her ignorance and prejudice by equating two things that have absolutely nothing in common. One is a situation where two consenting adults love each other, and the other is an act of sexual violence against a child.

The second point is the question of “Inuit culture.” One MLA, who appears to be in serious denial, said that there are no gay or lesbian Inuit – but of course there are. Another MLA stated that Inuktitut doesn’t have terms for “gay” and “lesbian,” but an elder brought in to advise the legislature on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit said that indeed there was.

And while some Inuit MLAs claimed that the IQ take on sexual orientation was that gays and lesbians should not receive the same protection from discrimination as other Nunavummiut, another Inuk MLA said that as far as he was concerned IQ stands for all people being treated equally. What this tells me is that no one politician “owns” a culture, and that no one politician can speak with absolute certainty as to what “our culture” feels about any given issue. I sincerely hope that our politicians won’t make a habit of using IQ to justify discrimination.

What if some white politicians in the southern U.S. and in South Africa had gotten away with saying that “our culture” doesn’t recognize the right of blacks to be treated as human beings? What if some male politicians had gotten away with saying that “our culture” doesn’t recognize the right of women to vote? What if some qablunaaq politicians had gotten away with saying that “our culture” doesn’t recognize the right of aboriginal peoples to self-determination? (There would be no Nunavut, that’s what!)

Manitok Thompson and seven other members of our Legislative Assembly don’t seem to grasp that all human beings are born with inherent human rights. It’s not up to politicians to grant or deny other people human rights – no one elected these people to play God. Their role is simply to recognize that human rights exist, and to enshrine them in law. Taima.

(Name withheld by request)

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