Thursday, 30 September 2010

These bigots are beyond the pale

On top of the news of the suicides we have…

50 Cent, who urges men who don’t have sex with women, like yourstruly, to kill ourselves. Apparently it would make the world a better place in his view

Yeah, I can’t even comment sufficiently on that evil shit. Such hatred speaks for itself. And it’s not like it’s this bigot’s first time – at leats this isn’t an overt incitement to violence like his last.

And the “commodore” for La Crosse, Wisconsin’s festival decided to take objection to a 14 year old for having the temerity of carrying rainbow flags. He shoved her and told her “Go to a country where they hang people like you.”


Yeah, again I’m lost for words – what the hell is wrong with these evil bigots?!

Some more casualties from the attack on our youth

There is a very real cost to the constant dehumanisation of GBLTQ people – and frequently the ones who have to pay that cost are our young. In some ways, what really shows me the evil of the hate groups is how much they desperately fight and oppose us trying to save these kids – their true colours are plain to see

13 year old Asher Brown joins the sad list of youth driven to suicide by homophobic bullying The school not only tries to pretend no concerns were raised

They later ramp up the class – and blame the parents

The school has a history – another teenager at that school was beaten with a metal pole for being gay – and the teachers ignored the warnings and did nothing

An 18 year old university student Tyler Clementi has committed suicide. His harrassers actually installed hidden cameras into his bedroom to LIVESTREAM him having sex with another man. Yes, they streamed him having sex onto the internet.

Does there seem to be an epidemic of suicides among our young recently? No. Well, at least not recently. Because this isn’t new. The suicide rate among our youth is over 4 times higher than the norm. This isn’t happening more, we’re just becoming more aware

In other harrassment of our young

Chris Armstrong is the president of the University of Michigan student body. And he is openly gay.

This does not sit with with the Assistant Attorney General for Michigan Andrew Shirvell. No no it does not. See, this mind boggling bigot has actually started a blog expressly to harrass Armstrong – for his “radical homosexual agenda” And wow, it’s a doosey of a blog, it’ll make your eyes bleed. Frankly, it’s borderline stalking (and even the borderline is dubious).

Check that again, the Assistant Attorney General for Michigan is stalking and harassing a university student for DARING to hold this position while being openly gay. And no, his boss, Mike Cox, isn’t going to do anything about it.

Anderson Cooper confronted him on this and I include the link because… well, Cooper’s kinda hot (yes, shallow. I know). Worth watching because, DAMN it shows the hate and stalking. He is tracking him through the net and even protested outside his house.

An assistant attorney general is bullying a university student… stalking, bullying and frankly terrifying behaviour.

Oakleigh Marshall was voted homekinging king by his peers at Mona Shores High School in Michigan. Seems fine doesn’t it? His peers have elected him, the will of the people, yay democracy let’s find a flag to wave.

But no, administrators stepped in in outrage – because Oakleigh is a trans man. And, in their transphobic view, he can’t keep his title because he is registered in the school as a woman -never mind that uniform, his clothes at the prom and all the teachers all refer to him as a man -0 and rightly so. Never mind that the students of the school had voted for him.

Monday, 27 September 2010

And the consequences of the hate

And, from hate speech we move on to it’s child – the discrimination

Sadly it seems, in addition to not supporting same-sex marriage, Australia will also not allow Australians to get married in other countries either

On the good side, Tasmania turned round and said “screw that” and recognises same-sex marriages performed overseas

In British Columbia, Canada, a 17 year old teenager was pushed into leaving her church, a church she has been a member of all her life, because the ministers there could not abide her support for gay rights. I applaud her courage and her integrity – and curse the men who did this to her

Russian Gay activist Nikolai Alekseev was arrested and disappeared for several days When he was released it seems he says he was kidnapped and drugged by Russian Security Agents. In the interim, friends received false text messages purporting to be from him. The story is harrowing and more than a little frightening.

An MP for the Faroe Islands, Jenis av Rana has refused to dine with Icelandic PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir because she is a lesbian damn, I guess a modicum of professionalism is too much to ask

A US Navy Specialist has been discharged for being gay – because they found pictures of his boyfriend on his phone. But, hey, don’t worry – they don’t investigate people for being gay! McCain said so!

Another member of the US Navy faced a barrage of anti-gay harassment. He, not unsurprisingly, does not go on record as being gay – but it also highlights how hard it makes it for victims of such attacks to report them in the atmosphere of DADT

In Florida, Attorney General Bill McCollum not only wants to spend looooads of money fighting gay adoption – but he also wants to stop gays fostering. Why doesn’t he just establish like a 10 mile buffer zone between the kiddies and us? Just to be safe? They could catch teh gay after all

A public library in Burlington County, New Jersey has removed all copies of Revolutionary Voices: A Multicutural Gay Youth Anthology Why? Because it’s “child pornography.” Ye gods, I have not the words

In Memphis, City Councillor Janis Fullilove, has received death threats for trying to end anti-GBLTQ discrimination. Feel the love!

In Salt Lake city, an LGBT centre has been hit by unoriginal anti-gay grafitti. The presumption to exist offends some people so much it seems

An Anglican school in Dallas has joined a chain of schools refusing kids whose parents are gay. Her lesbian parents make her an unfit student – how grossly horrible is this to do to a child?

Christine Judd worked as a teacher for 12 years and was praised for her work. Then she married another woman – and was sacked. The idea of throwing away a great teacher for the sake of prejudice? These people put dogma ahead of the wellbeing of children again.

In Poland, there is protest over a text books used in schools that protrays homosexuality as an illness and even pushes the idea that GBLTQs can and should change and become “normal.“ The Polish government pretty much hand waved the whole thing

Then we had the Polish Equality Minister out a gay man on television AND speaking in favour of employers being able to sack gay employees Wow, she sounds nearly as good as our Equalities Minister!

Lady Gaga is bisexual and has made several pro-gay tweets in her campaigning. Apple objects to that.

Sadly, such censorship is not uncommon – T-Mobile has been blocking gay websites (and not just adult ones) You can actually reach straight porn sites – but a GBLTQ news site? Nope, that’s adult! Nor are they the only mobile provider doing this

Google’s new google instant also is protecting our delicate little minds. “Lesbian,” “bisexual” and “transsexual” are blocked from the instant search feature – to protect the kiddies. “Fag” and “dyke” are allowed, however

In Ontario, a library is also getting in on the action, blocking those nasty GBLTQ websites. For a library to do so is even more problematic in my eyes, as a library often represents the only internet access poor people can reach – and one of the few sources of GBLTQ resources.

And finally, be at peace my friends for Indianapolis bakery, Just Cookies is stalwartly refusing to create those dastardly items, gay cupcakes!

And, inevitably, the violence

In Kingston, Jamaica, several homeless GBLTQ people were shot at in the street. Thankfully no-one was hit – but the circumstances, as described, are only getting worse.

The Trans Muder Monitoring Project has reported that there has been a deeply depressing 93 trans murders in the first half of 2010

In Atlanta, Durand Robinson, an organiser of Black Gay Pride has been shot and murdered Another tragic loss.

In Honduras, a policeman has been convicted for stabbing a trans woman as iof there weren’t enough reasons for them not to trust the police

The Bridges McRae policeman who beat Duana Johnson, a transgender woman has pleaded guilty in a new trial. Took far too long

In Israel, a young gay man was kidnapped by his relatives who then beat and threatened him to try and make him lead a “normal life.” It is horrific that one of the most powerful and deadly – and certainly soul destroying – sources of homophobia can be our own nearest and dearest – our own family can be the source of so much hatred.

Terry Majette in New York attacked a transgender woman – and it’s not the first time for him

In San Francisco there has been a gay bashing on the public transit system Again a group attack on one man

In Manchester, in perhaps one of the most boggling examples of anti-gay violence, soap actor Danny Miller who plays a gay man in Emmerdale was attacked. Attacking actors because they play GBLTQ characters? Honestly the world, it makes no sense.

In London, a gay man was attacked Again by a gang of men

In Spain, a British gay man was attacked by a gang of 7 – another homophobic attack and another gang to do it. He was left with broken ribs and head injuries.

In Brighton, 3 men launched a homophobic attack against another man.

In New Orleans, a gay man was attacked by a group (AGAIN) of men screaming homophobic slurs

Bad news cont: Hate speech

Hate speech is one of my main beefs. I believe it is the foundation on which discrimination, prejudice and violence is built. These things do not happen in a vaccuum -they happen because there are people, organisations, the media and authority figures giving their consent and encouragement with their hateful words and bigoted speech.

I very much believe this is the basis for so much of the badness we face

The Catholic Church is always a source of hatred, I wonder soemtimes if they try to generate as much hate as they do. Is it a concerted effort?

Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez has declared that “homosexuality is immoral” (pretty standard and even friendly for the Catholic Church) and moved on by saying BEING homosexual is disordered – like missing an eye or a foot. Hmm, ableism and homophobia together, it’s a hate twosome!

Cardinal Norberto Rivera in Mexico seems rather mundane by calling the Supreme Court’s ruling accepting same-sex marriage in Mexico City “evil” and “immoral” Can’t you do better than that? I mean there wasn’t even a condemnation to incest or paedophilia! You’re not even trying any more in your bigotry.

Ah that’s better! Sad to see you’re back to form And even worse than drug violence as well? That’s a new one!

Meanwhile, in addition to the third world comment we got with the Pope’s visit, another Catholic official in the UK, Edmund Adamus, calls Britain a wasteland for our support of GBLTQ equality

But then, they’re getting kind of desperate – even having to blatantly lie and alter their own polls to maintain proper amounts of hatred

In Nottingham men have been putting up “gay free zone” posters in response to Pride. No, really no. I know there’s a whole lot of people in this country that hates me, but hell no do we accept a “gay free zone!”

In Australia, Senate Candidate Wendy Francis hates gay marriage - in fact she thinks it’s CHILD ABUSE. Child abuse? Seriously/ Y’know what I think is child abuse? Feeding GBLTQ kids so much hatred and bigotry that they grow up hating themselves – and, all to often, killing themselves. THIS is child abuse. Marriage? Not so much. Unless the wedding is like REALLY long and the kids have to wear really uncomfortable suits and there’s CAKE there but they can’t eat it! Yeah, that’s kinda nasty. And, no, I never did like attending weddings as a kid – and whose idea was it to give the gold wedding rings to a pre-adolescent anyway?

Alveda King goes one step further. Gay marriage is GENOCIDE MUAHAHAHA! Genocide, because a common gay custom when tying the knot is to… annihilate entire populations, um, yeah. “I do. I’ve kissed my husband, now pass me the organised killing machine!”

Iowa Republican Candidate, Jeremey Walters has declared AIDS a punishment for homosexuality along with some very standard Bible based hatred. Oh dear oh dear, how unoriginal. Y’know every time we continue this myth that AIDS is a gay only disease, we’re putitng lives at risk. Ignorance is killing people. While Iowa GOP condemned him, anotehr republican candidate for the Senate, Dave Leach agreed with him and defended his hate. Bonus points for the “sodomite” line – isn’t that a bit old school now? But apparently the actions of sodomites CREATED AIDS. Uh-huh, more life threatening ignorance

A group backing Oklahoma rep Sally Kern called her transgender opponent Brittany Novotny a “confused it“. I really do wish that we had at least reached a point where such vile comments were political suicide

In reponse to a Blog report about the (lack of) DADT repeal vote in the senate, a staff member for Senator Saxby Chambliss decided to post a comment calling for the death of all “faggots.” Wow, stay classy there

The Tea Party doesn’t surprise by being a source of hate speech. But I admit that I blinked when I read what Tim Ravandal (president of the Montana Tea Party), wrote and condoned with Dennis Scranton

Dennis Scranton: “I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.”

Tim Ravndal: “@Kieth, OOPS I forgot this aint(sic) America no more! @ Dennis, Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?”

Dennis Scranton: Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years.”

A reminder I’m sure no-one needs – Matthew Shepherd was murdered and hung from a fence in Wyoming.

He was fired from the Tea Party, prompting Republican Nominee Kristi Allen-Gailushas to quit the Tea Party in protest – protest of kicking him out, NOT of the hate speech!

50 cent, in a spat with Perez Hilton (gods I cannot stand that man) decided to respond by tweeting about shooting up a gay wedding – complete with picture of 2 men running from a crowd

The Family Research Council is being its usual hateful self and has declared that allowing open gay soldiers in the military will increase the risk of HIV and other STDs because… um… well… knowing there are gay people around you makes you have unprotected sex, y’know.

They are supported in their hate speech elsewhere in a partnership with a Campbells Soup supplier of all brands to fight against anti-discrimination ordinances with lies.

Another of the hate groups, NARTH, has spread such much of its evil that it’s now being used by Christians in Hong Kong to try and fight against any GBLTQ rights. Exporting hate, well there’s one industry the economy isn’t killing

Speaking of hate groups. Concerned Women of American are here to tell you why black men aren’t graduating as much as they should. Is it racism? Noooo. What? Really – not the disproprotionate poverty rates, the grossly disproportionate incarceration rates, gang violence in neighbourhoods the police have written off – the same police who are fare more the enemies of those men than any kind of help. Nooo – it’s the GAYS

Bad news comes round again – media round up

I sadly have some catching up on the news. As ever, quite a lot of depressing things that should not be forgotten – here we look at some media fails

First of all, in the UK a study has shown the BBC to be the worst channel for portraying gay people. I’d like to be surprised, I want to expect more from old Auntie… but I really don’t… heh, my license fee is put to good use it seems.

In particular I look at this quote:

In 126 hours of programming across BBC1, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five, only 46 minutes showed gay people in positive and realistic lights.

BBC1 showed just 44 seconds of positive and realistic depictions of gay people out of 39 hours and 30 minutes of programming.

Channel 4 transmitted 12 minutes of positive and realistic portrayal out of a total 34 hours and 14 minutes of programming and was ranked the best for showing gay and lesbian people at all.

ITV1 transmitted 34 minutes of positive and realistic portrayal out of a total 50 hours and 3 minutes of output.

I wonder if I even consider it news, just turning on the television will make it blatantly obvious how true this is. It’s especially sad when you realise how much people’s information about us comes from the media and how much that has real life consequences

The BBC has also decided to reject complaints about them asking whether gays should be executed or not This is my surprised face. Yes, really

Channel 4 decided to air a segment on homosexuality and religion including giving a platform to some of the country’s most virulent hate mongers to properly broadcast their homophobia. Y’know, there are plenty of religious folk who would lash out at minority religions in hateful and disgusting ways but we wouldn’t think it right to give them a platform – or to think including a “pro-minority religion” spokesperson as well would make up for the hate speech

There was a truly flabbergasting trainwreck by A.A Gill, a columnist with the Sunday Times feeling free to let loose some gross homophobia against open Lesbian sports presenter, Clare Baldwin. Among other things, referring to her as a “dyke on a bike.” When she complained to the editor – well, it wasn’t pretty. Apparently marginalised people should just suck it up and deal. Thankfully Baddwin’s reply was made of both awesome and win.

Thankfully – and shockingly given the PCC’s past record and indifference to homophobia, her complaint was upheld (I guess there is some crap even the PCC can’t ignore)

A former American Idol contestant is suing the show because they demanded he “gay it up” as well as considerable degrading comments and asked to “act more faggy“. It’s depressing that we are required to play a role and meet a stereotype – that just being a person is never enough

CNN has again entered that tricksy media realm of asking damn foolish bigoted questions and asks – is the surge in gay tv characters bad for society? Bad for society? Seriously?

Someone needs to tell Michael Catherwood that, no, even if you’re a gay man, you don’t want to be raped in prison. I have not the words. I am just going to headdesk in a corner

While not the traditional media, it’s a good example of how much people lose their ever loving shit at the sight of even the mildest form of same-sex affection. 2 men laid close together on a subway, touching quietly. It hits twitter - and bam, the shitfits begin! And lo, this is why I don’t do public displays of affection

The Omaha World Herald joins the ranks of the media that things GBLTQ people are just too obscene to set in print – no announcements for Lesbian couples planning to wed, how dare they

In the utterly horrific category – a “pro-family“ Radio DJ in the US, Penna Dexter has blamed a 15 year old murdered gay teen for his own death. Apparently he was “bullying” straight kids by being gay. This is another one of those moments where any comment is redundant.

And no, it’s not a fringe DJ – check the guests this show has had in the link. That’s not fringe.

And in the incredibly tragic, actor Yuvraaj Parasher has been disowned and kicked out by his own family for playing a gay role…

Sunday, 26 September 2010

On the ONS survey – 1.5% of the UK population is GBL

Ok the Office of National Statistics has performed a survey and would like to let us know that only 1.5% of the UK population is Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual (725,000 people).

Queue the right wingers screaming about all the fuss about such a small number of people. They’ve been yelling about how we’ve been inflating our numbers, lying blah blah blah, hysterics, screaming meemies hateful flouncing etc.

Now, my first point is – so? Does it really matter how few we are? Would it make the laws and protections less necessary, the bigotry less wrong? Is there a magic percentage we have to reach before the badness against us matters? It’s certainly not an idea I’d like to encourage – apart from anything else, per the census, there are several religious and ethnic groups that make up less than 1.5% of the population. This is a bad idea to encourage – a minority doesn’t need to make up a certain percentage of the population to be due respect and consideration.

So, yeah, I kind of put this all down as non-news and rolled my eyes at the right wingers using an extremely dodgy excuse for their hate mongering – except the statistic is so blatantly and obviously wrong and foolish.

The most obvious reason for the wrongness is the simple fact of the closet. Surely anyone with even an ounce of clueness would realise the problem of identifying a population that regularly hides? Yes, the closet exists. Yes, if you ask us “are you gay, lesbian or bisexual?” a lot of us will *gasp* LIE! Yes, there are stealth gays among you! MUAHAHAHAHA! And this especially applies to official looking types in suits knocking on your door or complete strangers calling you up on the phone. Such a question would be far better on an official census that is more acknowledged and known and is likely to rouse less suspicion (and doesn’t require a face to face or over the phone outing!) and encourage a more honest response (but even then I wouldn’t take it as 100% accurate by any stretch).

We can also look at the 3% here who didn’t answer. Chance of them being straight? Pretty damn low, straight people don’t usually need to hide their identity. The Box Turtle Bulletin goes into more detail why these statistics are questionable

It’s also especially dubious that the right wing sources have occasionally referred to this as the “non-heterosexual” population. It seems very unlikely that the ones who declined to say or who wrote other, while not identifying as GBL, identified as straight.

But just to really make the point. Gaydar and Gaydargirls (online dating sites for GBL folks) would like to point out that they have 2.2 million profiles from the UK Gaydar Radio alone has racked up 750,375 listeners.

As [personal profile] theweaselking points out this would require every GBL person in the UK to not only be registered with gaydar – but to have 3 profiles EACH.

Even saying a third of them are trolls/duplicates/whatever – that still leaves 2 profiles per GBL person and EVERY GBL person being registered.

Now, the Gaydars are very popular sites, that’s certainly so – but even the idea that the entire UK GBL population has a profile is a bit of a stretch. I imagine if they even reached half of us it would be beyond Gaydar’s wildest estimations.

Or, to put it another way, the ONS’ survey isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

It Gets Better

I have said before that perhaps the matter that concerns me most in the GBLTQ community is our kids. Our kids go through hell on a regular basis. None of my close friends have had easy or happy childhoods due to reactions to their sexuality or genderidentity.

We can see the repeated vileness imposed on our young. We see kids refused a place in schools because their parents are GBLTQ. We see kids suffer vicious bullying – to a degree so omnipresent that study after study points to nearly every GBLTQ kid suffering some form of harassment and attack in school for being who they are.

We know that often these kids cannot turn to their nearest and dearest for help. In the closet, they cannot reach out to family, to parents – even to teachers or counsellors or medical professionals. Indeed, these are often a part of the problem (and that includes the medical profession. That is why these cases of anti-gay counsellors being slapped are so important. Can you imagine being at a vulnerable place in your life, reaching out to a medical professional to try and help you work through it or endure it, to even pull you back from the ledge and… ooops, you got yourself a bigot?) – and our children have a horrendous rate of homelessness, at least in part caused by rejection from their very homes.

Suicide rates among our young are horrendous, many times higher than their straight, cisgendered counterparts. And in so many cases this pain is completely ignored by school authorities. Children are being attacked and they are despairing and dying and little is done about it.

In fact, the hate orgs fight tooth and nail over any attempt to combat anti-GBLTQ bullying anywhere, even pushing a boycott of schools during the Day of Silence, even if inclined to help, school staff are hampered by the gagging of the outraged right that cares nothing of the lives lost. This is not a story of one school or even one country – because this shit is happening over and over everywhere.

In light of this, I applaud Dan Savage’s new initiative “It Gets Better”

Dan Savage is certainly a problematic figure, but I don’t think this detracts from the worth of this, especially since it very much isn’t about him. This is a project open to all LGBTQ people to submit their stories – stories of surviving, stories of recovery – testimony that it DOES GET BETTER. A statement to all our young on the edge of despair that it does get better, that there is hope.

It’s not perfect, it’s not ideal. But perfect and ideal are not remotely attainable at this time. While we can and should fight tooth and nail to try and push back the harassment of our young, it’s an uphill battle and anti-GBLTQ bullying, homophobic and transphobic society, erasure and general pervasive heterosexism and cissexism everywhere means perfect is a long damn way off.

But this could be a lifeline. If it gives some kids just a little hope to hold on, it is worth every second people take and more.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

When “Intersectionality” only goes one way

Intersectionality and pointing out intersectionality fails are vital. Far too many progressive or rights movements focus on one form of oppression and ignore the others – therefore ignoring their members and the issues of their members that straddle several different oppressions, as well as causing no small amount of harm with their own privilege.

If we’re supporting marginalisation while we fight against our own oppression, then we’re achieving little and only helping those who would oppress us all.

Every movement does this (though some are called out on it considerably less than others). I have yet to see a single movement for the marginalised that DIDN’T have occasionally through some spanners in the works. That’s privilege for you, it will blinker you and it means the clueless moments are all but inevitable. Which is why working towards and educating oneself on intersectionality is important – and calling out intersectionality fails.

But in some cases I’m beginning to wonder at their “calling out.” Because it’s amazing the wonderful ways and means people will use to put a cover over their own prejudices – whether unaware or not. And I’m seeing some “intersectionality fail” criticism that, frankly, is looking like just an excuse to exercise their own prejudice. And sometimes, the criticism is done so poorly that no matter how well motivated it is, it is going to plug straight into the oppression the group faces and not be well received

So I’m looking at these and thinking of some of the ways that these essential criticisms can be done grossly wrong. The times when calling out intersectionality fails looks more like an excuse to stick the knife in, when the double standards loom so large that it makes me think the “intersectionality“ is just a tool. Like I’ve said before on legitimate criticism there are ways people can indulge their prejudice even when rightfully criticising something that deserves it.

Be very careful when calling our a movement or group on the basis of the actions of one person. Maybe you will use their actions as a springboard to talk about a commonplace problem, but be very careful about implying that you think that the actions of one person are some how indicative of the group as a whole. A pervasive form of prejudice is to hold marginalised people accountable for the individual actions of all marginalised people everywhere – to treat us as one body, responsible for each other and sharing blame for all misdeeds.

Be very careful when declaring that a community supports someone who has done something arseholerish – especially when you’re not part of that community. How do you know who and what that community supports? I’m amazed at the number of people I’ve never even heard of who I am supposed to support and uplift.

Ask yourself whether you cast that same critical eye on other movements?

See, intersectionality fail can, alas, be found in nearly all progressive movements. I have a group of blogs and sites on my RSS that I think have great information on some issues, but I keep them in a separate feed because they fail so grossly on others they can be outright triggering. Maybe there are some movements out there that don’t fail occasionally, maybe there are some that don’t let their own privilege blinker them to the harmful and prejudicial things they say.

Maybe there are. But I haven’t seen them, personally.

So, with intersectionality fail in (nearly, or probably) every movement – are you continually hitting on one and grossly ignoring the fails of others? Why are you doing this? Do you think their fail is worse? Do you think it is more serious? Do you look for it more? Are you just more willing and ready to criticise them?

And this applies equally to people who are a member of a marginalised group and pushing forwards with a progressive agenda. If you’re willing – nay, eager – to point out the many intersectionality fails of other movements, do you ever cast that same criticism on your own?

And if you do, is it as often? Or do you only give partial scrutiny every now and then, a token gesture, a vague nod to overall intersectionality before you return to sticking your knife in other movements?

For that matter, does your tone differ? Will you attack the intersectionality fails of a movement you don’t belong to with both barrels, fiercely criticising the privilege, the prejudice and the whole community for its failure? Will you make sweeping statements, display large profile, inexcusable actions of a celebrity and make it about the whole movement? Will you then turn to your OWN group and speak gently? Will you make many justifications and excuses? Will you make sure that the actions of an individual are always confined to them and them alone?

Will you talk about how utterly non-diverse a movement’s leaders are, while ignoring the unified conformity of your own movements‘ leaders?

Because I see a lot of this. A lot of intersectionality warriors who’s furious gaze will fall everywhere but the mirror. I see a lot of people calling intersectionality but obviously playing the Oppression Olympics with all they have. They elevate one oppression above others, clearly consider some oppressions less “real” or “important” than others – even demean other oppressed people as just “seeking privilege” while, of course, THEIR oppressed group are fighting marginalisation.

And it damages them – a lot. The double standard they put pout means their criticism – their real, legitimate criticism – is severely weakened and even lost because their motives are suspect. And, perhaps worse, they bring down the already fragile idea of intersectionality because they’re using it as a weapon. They’re using it as a tool for prejudice, as an excuse to lash out at marginalisations they do not share.

Intersectionality is important – vital. And it deserves a lot better than it gets from some of its “advocates.”

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Ok on work again the meeting of doom

Was long, very very long. But technically a success.

It wasn’t great though. Things were said that… I’m going to have trouble forgiving and even more forgetting. It’s going to be a big shadow on my interactions with the 3 SPs all the time. This is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to avoid in such a meeting – I was worried that they would say things that I’d then not be able to let go or forget.

Still, for now I can pretend they weren’t said, or shoulder on and grumble without dealing with that, so long as our professional interactions remain doable.

In terms of results, my points were met and acknowledge. And, eventually, agreed with. I’ve often thought this simply by the fact they’ve avoided the confrontations for so long told me they knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on – because if they did they’d argue me down.

And part of it was because it was so self-evident. You can’t look at a 90 billed hour week and think that’s remotely reasonable.

Each SP did, eventually own their own problems. SP#1 admitted to dumping anything he had spare one me. SP#2 admitted that while she didn’t do this personally, she was the primary reason everyone ELSE in the firm felt they could. SP#3 owned that he was scheduling me on next to no notice to fill any gaps in his schedule.

They did not admit to any kind of homophobic or heterosexist motivations (well duh) nor did I encourage them to – but it was concede that my “relationship” (‘marriage‘ guys. Is it really that hard to say?) was not accorded the respect it was due. We had a brief kafuffle where they repeatedly referred to my “sex life” before I had a SMALL snap and angrily pointed out that I want to spend time with my husband for more reasons than constant humping.

We have hashed out some degree of agreement

1) I don’t mind working flexible hours or travelling or being on call – but nor do I want any of them to be the norm

2) I would like some notice when required to do any of these things short of it being a genuine emergency. I’d like to be given a chance to say “no” and explain that I can’t. I’d like to be asked, not have my actions assumed.

3) If we are going to continue to take cases that require a lot of travel and/or expand our work load then the labour needs to be spread. I’m not telling them to turn down a case or not (not my place)

4) I can only work so many hours. I have a right to a life. I don’t have to justify my need for a social and family life. Yes, sometimes I will pull epic weeks of cramming, and will do so – but they can’t be the norm and when I do, I will not work as many hours the week afterwards. I can’t – won’t – maintain it.

5) I expect the same treatment as my colleagues. If you ask X to do something and he says “no, I have plans with my wife” and then turn to me and I say the same thing, I expect to have the same reaction – not nagging wheedling, grumbling or guilting.

So, in terms of results? Yeah, technically I got them (verbally anyway). I have problem acknowledge, I have solution agreed, I have made my point and, yes, they did listen. It was unpleasant but it was done.

Of course, last night we had our first fail (yes, less than a week, I’m impressed). SP #3 tried to put me on call, again at the very last minute. I got an email, 5 minutes before he was leaving saying scheduling was iffy and I needed to fill the gap. Again, not a request. Again, no chance or opportunity to say no.

I called him and couldn’t get hold of him. So I sent an email back saying I couldn’t, I had plans and would be unreachable. And went home and screened my calls.

Today there was a lot of snarky complaints but I hit him with hammers – if he needed an urgent response he should have called not emailed or even walked into my office or asked me to come to his. There’s no way he should have waited until that late to let me know and no excuse for leaving the office the second he’d hit the “send” button (what, man, did you run? Did you lace up some spiked running shoes before you clicked? Did you have someone else click it so you could get a head start?)

I told him this, at length and told him, AGAIN. He is now pouting. And I am sighing.

On the plus side, everyone else is sort of getting the message (I understand that the only real way SP#2 could have stopped what she was doing would be to send a message firm wide to leave me the hell alone, but there seems to be less encouragement).

Saturday, 18 September 2010

On the pope in the UK

The pope is defiling our shores with his hateful presence and this makes Sparky not happy indeed.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Catholic church and certainly not of the current pope (nor, however, do I follow this fawning over the last pope either – he was also a grotesque bigot whose words, actions and policies left deep scars on the land) and I can certainly rant at length at how the millions of pounds we are spending to host this vile man is setting my teeth on edge.

But, yes, people have expressed their rage and contempt for the Pope – but I want to express my ire at something else that is repeatedly happening – the whittering over the ZOMG “DISRESPECT!”

For we are disrespecting the pope and this is a bad thing. Bad bad naughty people. How very dare you!? Scantily clad gaydar angels? Yumm.. I mean SHOCKING! Homoerotic Catholic themed adverts and pregnant nuns? Take them down right now! How could you do something so tasteless! What has the pope done to earn such… oh… yeah.

Even as he came here he launched an attack on our Equality Laws, one of his aides referred to Britain as a “third world country” and now he has tried to equate atheism with Nazism – we still have people hyperventillating because he is not being respected enough

I ask this again – how much respect does this man deserve? After the ongoing (ye gods, Belgium estimates that the child molestation scandal there has touched almost every Catholic congregation in the country – AND the Pope is outrages… by the investigation) child molestation scandal, the repellent misogyny, the overdone almost to the point of comedy homophobia and transphobia and the, and I say it with no hint of hyperbole, genocidal attitude towards condoms in AIDS ravaged nations (and the rest of the world for that matter). How much respect is this man owed? Because I’m still of the ideas that not screaming obscenities in his face is showing him

In the past I – and certainly others, have referred to the Pope as “Pope Palpatine” and similar labels. I’m not going to do that in the future (though, you have to admit the resemblance is very very good). Not out of respect – but because it’s redundant. You don’t need to compare the Pope to an evil fictional character to demonise him. His own actions are so grossly inexcusable, so utterly wrong – so totally evil – that he demonises himself. His own name, his own self, his own actions is sufficient demonisation for any man – and there is little insult given in comparing him to another – his own actions are more than damnable enough.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Work again. Yes I am whining still :P

Work continues to be… problematic. I got back today to see that my email had exploded with requests, demands but above all, assumptions

Oh how I hate those assumptions. “I have a client coming but can’t make it, so thanmks for meeting him at X.” “Y can‘t be on call to night, an issue, leave your phone on. Thanks.” “I need this filing/sorting/meeting/working, thanks!” It’s crafty, I have to give them that. If you ask you give someone the option of saying no. If you demand they have a chance to argue. If you order they can paint you as unreasonable. But just assuming you’ll do something implies that you’ve already agreed and if you say no it’s like you’re changing your mind and leaving them in the lurch. Bonus points for ensuring there IS a lurch. Wait until the last moment so no alternative can be arranged. Make it important, make the consequences for it not happening seem so dire and awful. Make it hard to be reached to change it, make it hard to change at all – inform the client already, or the court, or the other firm – anyone. Make it a hassle and odd and unusual to change it back again or change it to someone else.

Yeah, they’re good at this.

Anyway I ran into SP #3 who failed to avoid me quickly enough. Our brief and hurried discussion wasn’t exactly deep since he was in a hurry to get to court (keeping judges waiting? Bad. Yes yes it is). But he doesn’t think that treating my family and spousal commitments as less is important (quite literally hand waved it, in fact) because clearly they’re not a prejudiced firm because they hired ME (and an ex-colleague who has moved across the country) AND kept me on for years now. Oh and by all the gods let me be wrong in interpreting the tone, wording, facial expression and implication of that, tell me, SP #3, that you did not expect gratitude? Oh please let me have got that wrong. I’m extending the benefit of the doubt again, but this is getting awwwwwfully stretched.

I do not want another week like the last fortnight. I don’t think Beloved would stand for it. Even this weekend when I refused to go in for work I still brought work home with me, still put in reams of paperwork and spoke with clients.

Soooo, subtly hasn’t worked. Snarking hasn’t worked. Hints dropped like great big anvils haven’t worked. Trying to kill people with my glare hasn’t worked. Being so tired I can’t even drive to work without endangering the lives of myself and others hasn’t worked. I suspect running around the office with a big axe would work, but may have unpleasant consequences. For the same reason i have put down the napalm, alas.

So, it’s time for the dreaded confrontation – I’m aiming for all 3 partners there. SP #3 because he’s a lot of the problem, SP # 1 because he’s most of the problem and has 90% of the power (officially there’s no hierarchy, but personality-wise, he has the power) and SP #2 because she is more aware of the problem and more directly involved in giving the rubber stamp to the rest of the office to perpetuate it – and she may be the more clueful of the 3 partners.

So I’ve drafted a long and agonising “calling you out” email telling them I expect to able to see all three of them at their earliest convenience. Which I expect to be this week. Before Friday.

I’ve attached not only my email list for the weekend (with note that I received this AFTER having been driven to the point where I was unsafe for work or driving due to exhaustion, this was known at the office and STILL I get this load) as well as snap shots since I came off semi-sick and from beforehand. This work load is not reasonable

I pointed out that my unit count is now about 90 hours a week. The lowest it has been (barring one week during my fall) in the last 3 months has been 70 hours a week. Ok this is billed units which isn’t QUITE the same as hours (hush, lawyer secret) but still. On average I pull in a good 50-60. This is not maintainable. My home life, my social life, my health cannot maintain this. And I know it’s happening already – quite aside from the mood swings, whenever I skip meals and sleep my immune system plummets and I get sick, I can feel it happening again. I hate being ill. I’m REALLY whiney when I’m ill. You think these are all angst filled and moany now? If I get ill i will be whole new levels of pathetic.

I awkwardly and, I think politely and carefully, pointed out that there is a significant difference between how I am treated and how straight members of the firm are treated. How their relationships and families and respected, how they are expected – encouraged – to take time for their partners and spouses while my free time is always considered available, how my desire to spend some time with Beloved is treated, at best, as an unreasonable imposition and, at worst, as a hollow, shallows excuse. I think that, if anything, I’ve stressed how much I want to believe I am just being treated as the firm’s doormat – the accommodating fool who can’t say no – but there have been too many comments, too many hints that my relationship is less, to much ignoring of Beloved, too much consideration given to any relationship but mine and – now – an implication that I, as a gay man, should be grateful that I am employed by the firm – GRATEFUL! – that I can’t ignore it any longer

In doing so I have also made it clear that I’m not saying this as a foundation for a discrimination claim. I debated including this – but we are a law firm and such a claim will come to mind even if I don’t expressly state it. I haven’t pointed out the unfairness of my treatment, the random comments and the general badness as a comment on homophobia in the hope of a payout or legal resolution. They are included as a wake up call, as a desperate plea for them to see sense and see how unfair and wrong what they are doing is, not as a threat, but as an attempt to educate and raise awareness.

Above all I made it clear how much I love this job and this firm. And I do. I love the SPs, I love SP#1 with his voice that has the depth and resonance of Christopher Lee, the vocabulary of Shakespeare and the power of Brian Blessed as well as respect and am in awe of his encyclopaedic knowledge of the law that is second to none. I love my colleagues, I love the old building, I love the vault that we can shut trainees in, I love the randomness the eccentricity, the general silliness. I love this place and I want to continue to do so – but it’s getting damn hard. I stressed that my point here is a wish to return to sensibility, a wish that things be reasonable – not an ultimatum, not a threat and not a general whine against the firm. I like this firm, I don’t like its current actions.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Random funsies

Beloved: What do you think?

Sparky: … you’ve been watching my Doctor Who DVDs

Beloved: Yes, but isn’t it cool?

Sparky: You’re not going out in public like that, right?

Beloved: Why not? Bow-ties are cool!

Sparky: Yeah. I’m going to check your wardrobe for a Fez now.

Beloved: You’re totally arguing with the Doctor. You should know better.

Sparky: And how can you tie a bow-tie but it takes you the better part of an hour to tie an ordinary tie?

Beloved: Skills!

Sparky: I don’t think the look works for you anyway, you don’t have the cute geekiness to pull it off

Beloved: Hey, I’m a cute geek!

Sparky: A cute geek that looks like a surfer, though…

Beloved: *preen*

Sparky: A short surfer, anyway. With bad dress sense.

Beloved: *pouts* But I’m cuter than Matt Smith and David Tennant, though

Sparky: Yeah, you’re cuter than Matt Smith.

Beloved: Yep and… heyyyyy, what about Tennant?

Sparky: Uh… *run awaayyyy*

Beloved: *RAWR*!

Beloved: Admit I am sexier than the Tennant!

Sparky: Impossible, nothing could be that sexy. It would explode like some massive sexy bomb

Beloved: Gah, you have silly taste in men

Sparky: Obviously, look at who I married.

Beloved: RAWR!

Sparky: Hey, no fair, you practically fed me that line!

Friday, 10 September 2010

DADT has been declared unconstitutional

Yes, yes it has.

Yes really! Really really. Naturally there is a chance for appeal, but Judge Virginia Phillips has said she will issue an injunction stopping the govt from enforcing the policy.

Time for a happy dance, methinks.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

“Burn a Quran day”

I’ve started to write about this three times but what always comes out is a great big, “what? NO!” And then a huge line of “noooooooooo!!!!!” repeated endlessly until we reach 4 pages.

For those who haven’t heard, Rev Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida (now that’s a name that rings some bells, sadly) is having a burn the Quran day on the 11th of September.

It really is one of those things where it’s hard to form a coherent response – I mean, it’s so patently, obviously vile and wrong that what can you say? It’s like commenting on someone planning to feed kittens into a woodchipper – there’s nothing you can say that wouldn’t be blatantly redundant.

This is hatred and bigotry – this is aimed to hurt. I say this as no fan of ogranised religion, but this act is done not in protest, not in repudiatioon or rejection and certainly not remotely confined to “radical Islam” (and how any church willing to go ahead with this could possibly condemn another as “radical” I do not know). This is being done to hurt, offend and upset Muslims in general. It’s an expression of hatred and bigotry and no amount of words can hide that – especially as it comes at a time of considerable Islamaphobia, crimes, discrimination and attacks

If there’s one tiny bright spot in this great big shitpile it’s the number of people who have come out and said “no, this is wrong.” Because it definitely needs to be said and such hatred most certainly needs to be rejected

Monday, 6 September 2010

I said “husband”

“Yes, he’s my husband”

“Ah,” I get the reply “civil partner.” (And you get bonus points if they say ‘civil partner’ in a way that implies they’re picking up their dog’s leavings or lifting something icky with tongs. Because the whole thing is sooo distasteful.)

I said husband. I didn’t say civil partner. Yes, thank you, I KNOW the law doesn’t let us marry. Shockingly I am painfully aware of the fact. I KNOW that marriage is considered too good for the likes of us. I KNOW that it’s oh-so-special and cannot possibly be allowed to be sullied by our terrible gayness. I KNOW that our love is considered inferior compared to straight love to which I must gasp in awe and bow.

I know the law. I’m a family lawyer and a gay man and in a civil partnership. I don’t need to be reminded that I have a lesser marriage. I know. Do they think I needed reminding? Were they afraid I’d forgotten?

And I called him husband, MY preferred reference, my summation for my relationship. And that couldn’t let that stand, oh no.

Did I need correcting? Am I getting above myself? Do I presume too greatly? Am I out of line? Do I need putting back in my place? Do they know better than I how to term my relationship, my loved one, my own partner?

*continues to fume*

This is not helping keep Rage Brain under control enough to address matters.

And some more closeted homophobes in politics

We have another series of closeted homophobic politicians having their hypocrisy exposed to the world.

In the US there is Mehlman who has some truly sterling homophobe credentials. I didn’t think anyone would compete with Rekers for Hypocrite Homophobe Extraordinaire. It kind of makes me wonder if any homophobic politicians will continue to be so rabidly homophobic since if it keeps up like this it will be like outing onesself.

Closer to home we have Tory MP, Crispin Blunt. I have seen around the net various rumblings of “awww, he’s not that bad a homophobe.” Which boggles me because his voting record? Yeah it’s pretty awful. Yeah we don’t expect much more from 90% of Tory MPs, and sure, it’s better than our current Equality Minister. But that’s not saying much (and did I mention how grossly depressing that is again?) and I don’t think “he‘s a Tory, you expect bigotry” or even “he’s no more bigoted than the average Tory” really is much of a pass here.

But there’s another part of this rumbling around the edges and I’m not going to say he’s gay, that he’s been outed or that he’s anything other than straight. William Hague.

Now, ol’ Bill is actually more homophobic than your average Tory (one of the reasons he was head of the Tories once and certainly takes some doing) and believe me nothing would make me happier than to see him sweating and writhing from the consequences of his own hatred (except that sounds vaguely kinky which then means I’ve connected “kinky” and “William Hague” together in the same sentence and I have to ram my head against a solid surface until the mental images are banished).

However, I do not think the “outing” is anywhere near conclusive. But the way the Tories have handled this has been, well, something of a trainwreck (the press not much better for that matter).

Yes, he did apparently share a hotel room with a younger staff member. Which, well boggles me a little. Even the stingiest of expense accounts should probably stretch to a room each (and it‘s not like any MP has anything remotely akin to a stingy expense account) – and it’s not like Hague is lacking in means himself. But let’s supposed, I don’t know, maybe he’s afraid of the dark and left his night light at home. Yeah it’s odd and suspicious – but it’s also pretty empty and hollow.

And should have been treated as such. But damn, the Tories worked over time turning this molehill into Everest, didn’t they? They could have just dismissed it, ignored it or even said “honestly, aren‘t we past speculating and attacking people through their rumoured sexuality?”

But no, biiiiig public speech announcing that no, he is not gay! NOOOO! And He has Cameron’s full support (what? What for? What does that even MEAN? He needs supporting from what? What, you have to hold his hand and comforting, “I’m sorry they called you a homo, William” while he sobs himself to sleep? Did you consider sacking him and were rejecting that?)

We have William Hague not only telling us about the sex he’s had with women but, for gods’ sake, actually parading poor Ffion Hague’s miscarriages in the public media (ye gods I cannot imagine how hard that was for her). I cannot imagine what he thought he was doing there, or how much pain that caused the family, since gay men have had sex with women (simply looking at the legion of outed homophobes will tell you how many have wives and children) and, y’know, bisexuals do actually exist.

Now it is rather fun watching a whole boat load of Tories say “ewww gross, no he certainly isn’t gay! NO NO NO!” While at the same time trying to tack on “not that that’s a bad thing!” somewhere (well, those that have bothered to anyway). As well as running around having the screaming meemies about someone being gay (it almost makes me nostalgic. Well, except that nostalgia has a habit of making that past seem somehow good which I’ve never really got behind).

It‘s all been rather a train wreck, and I’m somewhat torn between being amused by the sight of Tories squirming (good sport that is) and cringing at just how utterly embarrassingly badly this is all being handled. I really do so hate to see people fail so epicly, even when they are people I hate.

Let me also add in that IF William Hague is gay then yes, I would support outing him. And I don’t buy all that crap about how it “sullies journalism/blogging/GBLT people/all that’s good and right blah blah” at taking such a low road. I would support outing him NOT because of prurient sexual interest or because being gay is bad or even that him being gay is anyone’s business than his own – I would support outing him because this man, this utterly vile and hateful man, has worked so hard and done so much to try and destroy us, our rights and our worth and such hypocrisy needs exposing, such actions need undermining and such people have long since cost any respect that I, or, in my opinion, any GBLT person owes them. (There is also an argument about him giving a job to someone who he is having a relationship with, but isn’t that pretty par the course with MPs nowadays? And could really have been solved with a simple “no I didn‘t“ from both of them rather than this great big epic “I‘M NOT GAY!” performance)

I am sympathetic to the plight of our siblings who have been closeted so deeply and so completely that they can only lash out at those of us who are more free. My heart bleeds for them, I literally weep for them. I cannot even imagine or begin to comprehend the utterly horrendous pain that such a life so deep in the closet would cause. I pity them, deeply. And, yes, I celebrate not just their fall, but when they are free.

But I do not forgive them, nor do I think they should be shielded nor the harm they do should be in any way considered excused, pardoned or mitigated. Nor, do I think, we should handle them with kids’ gloves because we do not owe them that – for the sake of our own lives, our own rights, our own respect, and our own value. No matter how much I pity them, what they do is so beyond not ok and comes with a cost – and I don’t think they don’t get to ignore that no matter how unpleasant things are for them. Something I firmly believe – homophobia is never justified or excused.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The quest for normality continues

But is yet to be achieved. Work this week has been… hard still and more than should sensibly be attempted, but it hasn’t been as bad as last week, mainly due to cutting travelling and odd hours – but not so much the overtime; the rather overwhelming workload and taking more work home with me than I actually did in the office continues. Also, I’m still on call a ridiculous number of times.

Still, snarky emails of not-so-subtle hinting seem to have at least clued people in that there is a problem and that Sparky is Most Displeased. But half the office seems to be avoiding me, which is kind of a good thing because it suggests some degree of guilt. The Partners, in particular, are not exactly conflict averse so wouldn’t be doing this evadey-dance if they didn’t, on some level, feel they lacked a leg to stand on.

And I should push it but have been unable to because of Ragey Brain.

Logic Brain: Senior Partner, I must speak with him

Ragey Brain: AHA! I shall EAT HIS SKIN!

Logic Brain: Ah, maybe not the best time.

Ragey Brain: Gah, foiled again.

Logic Brain: Senior Partner 2, perhaps I can talk with her

Ragey Brain: Oh yes…

Logic Brain: You’re not planning any skin eating are you?

Ragey Brain: Ye-mayb-uh. No?

Logic Brain: Ok, maybe some other time.

Ragey Brain: *seeeeeeethe*

Still I’m trying to get a handle on things, not least of which cutting down my ridiculous coffee consumption that has kept me going (and the mood swings that come with this much coffee and this little sleep. I think my record is 4 intense mood in the space of 20 minutes. Beloved would be concerned but he finds it amusing and is developing placards “ok rage, let’s have rage now! ooh oooh, can we go for sadness?” I missed when I threw things at him. It’s been a roller-coaster, and not a fun one. Not that I’ve ever really found roller-coasters fun – there’s an attraction to convincing your body it’s hurtling towards its death? *boggle*) and also actually eating occasionally (skipping one meal a day isn’t great, skipping 3 meals a day is just plain foolishness).

And it occurred to, well, Beloved (to my shame) that we hadn’t actually eaten a meal together for the best part of 2 weeks. It seems a small thing but it’s a quirk of ours. We’ve always had secludes that tend to run around with their hair on fire – and there was always a chance we’d go weeks without seeing each other – so we eat together. Evening meal, on table, 2 chairs, no distractions, just us every night short of major drama llamas even if it means eating at silly times. It’s irritating it is to have missed this time with him for so long. He’s not best amused either.

And of course, dear colleague you did not help telling me how lucky I am to be able to work all these hours and impress everyone – and you would do the same but you had a wife so couldn’t possibly. Yeah, Rage Brain wanted to eat your skin. It’s probably best you left then while apoplexy held me silent.

Beloved has been cooking and baking (though the word “baking” is used in the loosest definition of the word, since the man expects food to behave like maths) a lot. I would commiserate for how much more of the household thingies he’s had to take over if it weren’t for the fact I am too busy pitying me. Especially since he made a fruit cake. With 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in it. And apparently lacks the sense of smell to tell cinnamon from cumin.

Are things sorting themselves out? Yes. No. Maybe. Hopefully. I hope to be posting with some regularity in the relatively near future but sorting work comes first, sorting Beloved comes second and my commitments to some orgs come third. And maybe, just maybe, health and sanity can squeak in at fourth.