Forgive Kevin Hart and other formerly anti-gay converts

COMMENTARY: The case of formerly anti-gay Kevin Hart shows the LGBTQ community how it SHOULD NOT respond to reformed homophobes, says African gay rights activist Edwin Sesange.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


U.S. comedian Kevin Hart
U.S. comedian Kevin Hart, formerly anti-gay: “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. I’m sorry that I hurt people.”

Hart stepped down yesterday as host of next year’s Oscars award ceremony amid a controversy over jokes and anti-gay tweets that he wrote between 2009 and 2011.

At first, the American comedian refused to apologize for his Twitter messages, essentially saying that they were written by an old version of himself and that he has changed:  “I work hard on a daily basis to spread positivity to all.”

Edwin Sesange (Photo courtesy of WorkersLiberty.org)
Edwin Sesange: “We cannot expect people to change their attitudes towards us when we cannot change our attitudes towards them after apologies.” (Photo courtesy of WorkersLiberty.org)

Finally, though, as he resigned as Oscar host, he stated, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. I’m sorry that I hurt people.”

For LGBTQ rights activist Edwin Sesange, the Kevin Hart story demonstrates that the LGBT community doesn’t know how to treat reformed homophobes.

“We should welcome those who have changed their views towards us,” he stated.

“Our work is to change people’s attitudes, perception, views and possibly laws. If they change, we should embrace and move on,” he stated. He cited the example of St. Paul, who changed from being a persecutor of Jesus’s followers and became the most effective evangelist of the early Christian church.

In a separate statement, Sesange noted that the United Kingdom overall has undergone a massive change of heart. As a colonial power, it introduced many of the world’s anti-gay laws, but now it “is regarded as one of the most LGBTI-friendly countries in the world.”

Sesange is a director of the London-based African Equality Foundation, which advocates for the recognition of human rights of LGBTQ Africans.

He wrote about Hart:

Kevin Hart shouldn’t have resigned because of his past homophobic messages or views.

He changed his views and apologised. Our work is to change people’s attitudes, perception, views and possibly laws. If they change, we should embrace and move on. Otherwise we are closing the door on ourselves.

We cannot expect people to change their attitudes towards us when we cannot change our attitudes towards them after apologies.

Kevin Hart should be treated like other people whose views have changed.

We should welcome those who have changed their views towards us.

Look in the Bible, who St. Paul was.

Source: Rights Africa

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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