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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Not amused face – No history of oppression, NOM?

NOM, the National Organisation for Marriage, is an American hate group that runs on homophobia and denying of rights to gay people. Hate groups rarely amuse me and NOM is no exception (though NOM is slightly amusing because the ex-head of NOM can be relied upon to hyperventilate whenever she is accused of hating gay people).

But this is not something I can smile at. When we see this on their facebook page:

(Gays and lesbians) are not being repressed, discriminated against. There is no and never has ever been a homosexual man hunt for them. Jews, Christians, and Blacks were hunted down and murdered. Homosexuals have nothing in common with the three.

Now, the ignorance here abounds. And it’s not much more than I expect from an org like this who never let the truth get in the way of hatred.

But this is not only ridiculous, it’s also not unique. I have lost count of the amount of times people have said to me “gays haven’t faced X!” (where X is the bad thing) or that gay rights are so new and why are we so damned impatient, after “all-anti-gay oppression is such a new thing and it’s not like you’ve had hundreds of years of badness!”

Or, in short, GBLTs have never REALLY being oppressed and any oppression we have faced is all recent and not so bad.

Right. How much is wrong with this idea? Do we even have to mention that gay people were targeted in the Holocaust? It’s depressing how often – and repeatedly – that is completely forgotten. (Be warned, link does not make for safe reading) And after the Holocaust? After the gay survivors were rescued, what happened? No-one wanted to hear their story, they couldn’t speak of it, none of them received compensation – because they were still considered criminals by all the liberating powers. Some of them were thrown back into prison. The Allies rescued gays from the concentration camps to re-imprison them afterwards. Gays were being imprisoned in Germany until 1969.

In fact, for that matter, a current debate in the UK is striking the criminal records of men who were convicted of having sex with other men. Yes, people alive today – people who aren’t that old – have criminal records for being gay.

Historically the penalty for “buggery” was death – even for privileged clergy who couldn’t even be hanged for murder. We were executing gays right through to the 19th century. but we changed that to imprisonment with hard labour and later to mere custodial sentences – or, if you could take the choice of taking massive doses of female hormones to chemically castrate you as was forced on Alan Turing.

While we did use the electrode method of “curing” gays (showing gay people images of the same sex then electrocuting them) a more preferred method was the use of emetics. Restrain your victim to a bed, show them a picture of someone of the same sex then inject them with something that made them violently sick (it often caused explosive diarrhoea as well). Then leave them in their own vomit and come back in an hour – and repeat the process. Keep going for several days.

Being gay was illegal in the UK until 1969, along with Canada. The first Australian state to repeal their criminalisation of being gay was South Australia in 1976. Tasmania was the last Australian territory to do so – and was forced to in 1997. New Zealand repealed their buggery law in 1986. Being gay was illegal in parts of the US until 2003 – 2003! – and the only reason that was repealed was because Texas tried to keep enforcing this bigotry into the 21st century. India had their law challenged in 2009

70 nations today still criminalise being gay. Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, parts of Nigeria and Somalia will execute gay people. And this doesn’t include nations like Iraq, Uganda, Egypt, Zimbabwe and so many others where being gay faces extreme persecution, torture and murder with the state’s negligence, ignorance or active complicity.

But there has never been a manhunt for us. We’re not really oppressed. We have no history of oppression. Despite the fact that throughout most of the last 500 years our very existence was punishable by death. Despite it being illegal for us to exist in nearly every nation in the world WITHIN LIVING MEMORY. Despite the Holocaust, despite the state backed genocide of GBLTs in nations where our lives are worth nothing, despite the hate crimes. Apparently there has been no manhunt. Apparently we have no history of oppression. Apparently we’re just Johnny-come-lately selfish whiners.

H/T Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters