“Is that a new standard that the society is being asked to now adopt? Are our colonial hang-ups and archaic societal constructs so rigid and prejudiced that we cannot see beyond a person’s sexual orientation to determine if (s)he is competent to perform a task for the benefit of the nation?
“Assuming but not accepting that the President-elect was of that persuasion, how would that impact on the performance of her official duties?”
The following Letter to the Editor, which raises questions about the relevance of the President-elect’s sexual orientation to her appointment, was submitted to Wired868 by Satyanand Maharaj, Spiritual Head of the Satya Anand Ashram in Aranguez.
It is indeed extremely unfortunate the President-elect Paula-Mae Weekes was essentially forced to declare her sexual orientation after social media trolls began spreading propaganda and hate asserting that she was a lesbian.
How exactly does the sexual orientation of the President-elect have anything to do with the competence of the individual elected?
Is that a new standard that the society is being asked to now adopt? Are our colonial hang-ups and archaic societal constructs so rigid and prejudiced that we cannot see beyond a person’s sexual orientation to determine if (s)he is competent to perform a task for the benefit of the nation?
Assuming but not accepting that the President-elect was of that persuasion, how would that impact on the performance of her official duties? To suggest that the sexual orientation of a person would affect his/her job performance is akin to stating that the sexual orientation of the Chief Justice would affect the justice dispensed by the courts.
Sexual orientation has no place in the selection of a candidate for any job subject to very rare and extraordinary exceptions. Our nation’s common law and constitutionally guaranteed rights make provision for equality of rights of all citizens, irrespective of creed and race as well as of sexual orientation.
Previously, I had expressed concerns that the Government could not have found a single qualified Hindu for the position of president and thereby make history. Having regard to the election of Paula-Mae Weekes, as a nation we must respect the appointment and not attempt to sully the good name of the President-elect before she assumes office.
The Hindu view is that we reincarnate several times, also switching gender as we are born again and again. Hindu astrology also points out that, in one of these births, while the body may have an assigned gender as male or female, the person will have to choose his/her sexual orientation.
Discrimination under any guise such as race, religion and sexual orientation is offensive and reprehensible. In the history of Trinidad and Tobago from their arrival in 1845 to the very recent past, Indians in general and Hindus in particular have borne the brunt of State-sanctioned discrimination in various forms. It is therefore inconceivable that any Hindu can participate in any discussion that accepts State discrimination.
It is time that the Parliament debate the issue of protection of rights of all citizens who may have a different sexual orientation and keep up with the rest of the modern world.