National Sections of the L5I:

Free sexuality from state and religion

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Gay men and lesbians suffer terrible oppression. Only in a handful of developed countries were the laws which criminalise gay sex repealed in the 1960s and 1970s. Even here, “exposure” can still result in traumatizing expulsion from home, harassment at work, and sacking. Many people are driven to suicide or their lives made permanently miserable. Churches, temples and mosques keep up a ceaseless barrage of homophobic abuse that is, in itself, an incitement to violence.

In most countries, gay sex still leads to imprisonment and even the death sentence. Yet same gender love and sex has existed in all known societies. It is as “natural” as heterosexuality. Nonetheless, in all modern societies, gays and lesbians are abused in the media, subjected to physical assault and even brutal murder.

Revolutionaries insist that sexual orientation and all consensual sexual activity must be a private matter — a matter of personal choice. Individuals should be entitled to engage in any form of consensual sex; to choose their gender; to dress as they please. We demand state recognition of the legitimacy of this choice and an end to all discrimination (e.g. refusal to legally recognise lesbian and gay marriages or partnerships). Likewise transexuality should be legal – people should be free to change their sexual characteristics and adopt the gender that they wish.

Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality should be prohibited. We should fight for anti-discrimination laws, campaigns against homophobia and the right of lesbians and gay men to self-defence.

The sexual freedom of lesbians and gays is a measure of the freedom of all. Those states and religions that persecute homosexuality invariably interfere with and regulate heterosexual freedom, too.

In the early twentieth century the revolutionary Bolsheviks legalised homosexuality – the first government in the world to do so. Yet Stalinism and social democracy returned to reactionary policies – which are still in force in Cuba today.

We live in a society that criminalises and bans countless forms of sexual expression, including consenting sex between young people. Banning consensual sex does not protect young people from abuse. Most of this occurs within the family. It is rife in care homes and orphanages, especially those run by the churches. A world that denies the sexuality of young people also denies the existence of sexual abuse and makes the victims feel to blame, rather than teaching young people in advance about problems they may face and to speak out about them.

There should be no laws against consenting sex and no criminalisation of “underage” lovers. There should, however, be laws against rape and domestic violence to protect children from abuse. Neighbourhood and school committees should confront perpetrators of violence in the home. Sex education must be provided for everyone, including children.

All over the world, and in ever increasing numbers in the semi-colonies, women, girls and boys are forced into prostitution because of financial hardship. The illegality of prostitution means that prostitutes are one of the most stigmatised and marginalised groups in society. Sex workers can and must be organised in order to fight for their rights. We demand an end to the criminalisation and harassment of sex workers, full access to healthcare, a living wage and retraining for free. Sex workers’ unions must be recognised and integrated into national union federations. They must have safe working conditions free from the control of organised crime and the dangers of life on the streets. The working class movement must demand the legalisation of prostitution under the control of the sex workers.