Open letter to members of the National Assembly Gay and “a criminal in the eyes of the Mauritian law”

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Dear Honourable Members of the National Assembly, 

I wish to bring to your urgent attention a matter of great injustice in Mauritius. I left the island in 2005 to study in the UK, with the intention of completing a degree and a PhD in Physics, and coming back to Mauritius to help with the scientific advancement of our “Paradise Island”.

Along the way, I eventually realised that all the homophobic propaganda I had been exposed to during my teenage years (including a religious supremacist school teacher telling me that homosexuality was a disease), were factually wrong. I learnt that gay people can be law abiding, tax-paying citizens, and they can find love, build families, and have a place in their community. Indeed, I now hold a job where I perform valuable research towards the improvement of weather radars, and four years ago, I found a man that I would like to spend the rest of my life with.

As a scientist whose undergraduate education was funded by the State of Mauritius Scholarship, I would have been interested in contributing to the Mauritian economy/society but, unfortunately, the law of the land in Mauritius treats me as less than human. In fact, Section 250 of the Criminal Law Code includes sodomy and bestiality in one paragraph, and the exact definition of “sodomy” is not even explained – indeed, any form of intimate contact that is not strictly aimed at procreation (i.e. even consensual acts conducted in private between adults) can be grounds for criminal investigations.

In the UK, my partner and I are considered human beings, entitled to the same fundamental human rights as any other. In particular, Article 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, i.e. the right to a private life and to family life, is respected. In Mauritius, on the other hand, not only would a request for a spouse visa for my partner be denied, but we would actually be considered criminals in the eyes of the law.

In the last few years, the democratisation of information through the internet has allowed a fair debate to be held in many countries in the world, and gay couples can now get married in fifteen countries, and eighteen different states in the US. It is high time for the Mauritian Government and the National Assembly to decriminalise homosexuality in Mauritius, and provide some basic protection for gay/bi/transgender people, and their families.

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