Last month, US pop queen Lady Gaga criticized governments for not doing more to defend gay rights in a speech in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in Rome, Italy.
The 25-year-old singer, ranked this year’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes business magazine, called for action to end discriminatory attitudes and legislation before a performance to conclude a huge European gay rights march.
“We stand here to demand an end to intolerance,” she shouted, in the Catholic Church’s own backyard. “Today and every day we fight for freedom. We fight for justice. We beckon for compassion, understanding and above all we want full equality now. “We have the same DNA. We were just born this way.” Lv Liping could learn something from Gaga.
Last week the Chinese actress re-posted anti-homosexual messages on Weibo, or micro blog, China’s answer to Twitter.
The comments, which describe the gay and lesbian community as “shameful” and “sinners,” originated from a US clergyman, no doubt outraged at the decision by lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in New York two weeks ago. Apparently a staunch Christian, although perhaps not of the “love thy neighbor as thyself” variety, Lv encouraged her religious buddies to spread the hateful message further.
Thankfully, many of China’s netizens were suitably outraged by Lv’s blatantly bigoted attitude, and support for gay rights came thick and fast from many micro-bloggers, including other Chinese celebrities, some of whom are openly gay.
Lv’s husband-director Sun Haiying, who courted controversy in 2007 when he labeled homosexuality a “sin against humanity,” jumped to his wife’s defense, saying she was entitled to her opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about freedom of expression. As it was famously put, by someone far more eloquent than Sun, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
But when by asserting your opinion you seriously infringe on the rights of others, I say, keep it to yourself.
And more so, when you have reached your present stature in life at the hands of adoring masses, please, think even more carefully before you speak.
Because you are in a position of incredible influence and what you say can too easily shape the thoughts and actions of our society’s young and impressionable, who follow your every tweet and retweet.
Like Lady Gaga, Noxolo Nogwaza fought for gay rights in South Africa. Less than three months ago, she was found dead in an alleyway, having been stabbed repeatedly with broken glass, and beaten so severely with chunks of concrete that her teeth were scattered on the ground around her.
She had also been repeatedly raped.
In a country where same-sex marriage is legal, such attacks on lesbians, often called “corrective rapes,” are a frightening trend and, in my opinion, evidence of a deep hatred for humanity that should never be nurtured or encouraged.
Lv may feel that her utterings in cyberspace are far removed from the harsh realities of daily life for the Noxolo Nogwazas of this world, or for that matter any young gay or lesbian struggling in a society that makes it tough for them to be themselves.
But if she believes that, she is kidding herself.
For all its virtues, the Internet also means we are now able to insult and hurt each other with unprecedented ease and speed. What we used to say at a dinner party with close friends, we now broadcast to the world.
As easy as a click of enter, hastily-put-together thoughts, whether they be flippant, passing or misinformed, are immortalized in the virtual world, shaping and reshaping the attitudes and perceptions of the worlds we live in.
In blogging sentiments that fuel hatred for other human beings, good-Christian Lv couldn’t have been less Christ-like if she tried.