Malta Diary; Is it all about sex?
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Some anecdotes stick in one’s mind and remain throughout a lifetime. Many years ago I read one about the Canadian international magnate now passed on, Lord Thomson. A probing reporter asked him, “What do people like to read most in your newspapers?” His answer was non-hesitantly prompt.
“Sex and crime”.
“Yes” said the reporter, anxious to get a more in-depth answer, “but then beyond sex and crime?” Equally non-hesitantly was Thomson’s reply.
“More sex and more crime”.
So, is it all about sex and nowadays about gender equality, the rights of gays, lesbians, transgender, cross-dressers, bisexuals, androgyny and everything else in between, over and above?
Going back some decades, sex or any mention thereof was strictly taboo, homosexuality was classified as being a crime and illicit extra-marital relations were secretive and never mentioned. Living with a partner outside marriage was “living in sin” and prostitution regarded as an unwanted but necessary evil to satisfy the needs of lecherous men.
These taboos were amplified in Malta and Gozo, islands totally dominated by Roman Catholic decree and absolute command and were my grandparents to be resurrected from their graves today, they would promptly pass on again as a result of acute shock.
On 9th September, Malta held its annual Gay Pride March, attended by some 3,000 persons including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and many politicians all anxious to assure their electorate they were “all for it”.
This year’s adopted theme was a celebration of the legislation of further rights including same-sex marriages as an extension to the already-legislated civil marriage.
Malta and Gozo are now among the most LGBTIQ equal countries in Europe, if not the foremost. In legal terms, the words “mother” and “father” have been written out because of child adoptions by same-sex couples. Indeed, as far as I am aware, the EU has now legislated that on official documents there are THREE options if gender is requested, that is Male, Female or simply X.
This is now also applicable to newly-borns whose parents may wish to designate them as “X” with the future in mind that a person may be born gay or lesbian or anything else. Legislation has also been passed for a sex change because up to recently a male who may have had surgery to become female would still be regarded as “male” on official documents.
In contrast to all this liberalisation, with the current Government sounding out the vibes as to whether prostitution, brothels and so-called “Gentlemen’s Clubs” should be legally legislated has raised a storm of protest from women’s organisations and some politicians who class these as being “demeaning” to females.
Among the most vehement protestors have been the lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic and the Chairperson for the Association of Women’s Organisations Lorraine Spiteri. Clubs, specific massage parlours and any form of brothels are regarded as centres of criminality rampant with human trafficking and other forms of crime.
Prostitution has been classed as being the most demeaning factor placed on females, together with all the trappings it carries such as soliciting, pimping and what have you.
A strongly worded statement issued by the National Council of Women said that legalising brothels and prostitution would be “a confirmation that women are considered a commodity and that the sexual favours of women are there for the taking as long as long as one pays”. Classing this as totally unacceptable the Council classed this as the worst form of degradation to women.
Earlier this year six massage parlour workers were arrested and arraigned in Court and charged with being involved in the running of brothels by using three different parlours for what was termed were “being used for prostitution or other immoral purposes”.
The women, all Ukrainians and in their late 30s were given suspended prison sentences and the Court ordered their repatriation to The Ukraine.
To continue to underline the situation, recent internet surveys have classed Maltese internet users as being among the most avid seekers of porn and caused Lorraine Spiteri to lament that nowadays children are receiving their sex education via the internet.
So it seems all those decades away the venerable Lord Thomson was on the right path because these themes are currently dominating the political agenda and what prevailed under cloaked terms then prevails openly today.
Naturally, all these currents have left the Church and religious entities in a great quandary. On the humane side to be outwardly opposed is to isolate all those involved from religion while on the other hand religiously and morally these developments are unacceptable.
Any lack of pronouncement on any of these themes is publicly regarded as “sitting on the fence” and therefore veering to the hostile. Religiously, this is a time of concern and preoccupation.
On a weekly basis I am inserting a Maltese saying, expression or proverb and where possible English equivalents that will help give insight into the Maltese psyche.
“He puts his own interests first and only God is his Master”
The description of a selfish person who puts his own interests first and foremost and only recognises God as his better.