Monday, 30 January 2012

Ok, enough, I have to rant about this messed up economic bullshit

Ok I'm going to have a rant about that ridiculous bonus Stephen Hester was offered.

Stephen Hester, as chief executove of the Royal Bank of Scotland (which, after monumentally screwing up, has been bailed out and is now 82% owned by the tax payer - yet for reasons unknown it's apparently wrong for the government to interfere in how it is run) has been offered an annual bonus of about £963,000. A bonus. On top of his annual salary of £1,200,000.  Last year he received a bonus of £2,000,000.

And yes, he's turned it down. Wow, the man has a tiny idea about PR and was facing a forced vote in the commons and generally becoming the most hated man in the country. So? next year qwhen we're not paying attention he'll probably pocket an even larger one.

Him turning it down or not isn't the issue. The issue is that this man was offered it in the first place when he works for a bank that is nearly entirely tax payer owned. In fact, screw that, the mere fact he was offered that -whether private sector or tax payer sector - is obscene. In fact, not even that, the mere fact he earns, even withotu bonuses, £1.2 million every year is ridiculously obscene.

And what's further obscene is the idea that refusing this bonus would be so unreasonable that the government faced the entire board of RBS spitting their dummies out and stomping off if it weren't paid

And what's further obscene is Dr Ruth Bender, Cranfield School of Management describing this ridiculous payment as "reasonable". Reasonable?! The median salary in the UK in 2008 was £20,801. To earn as much money as Stephen Hester earns in one year, the median worker would have to work for 58 years. And that's without his bonuses. What diseased culture have we produced that calls such an income "reasonable".

Sunday, 29 January 2012

We need a new car

Which means car shopping, since my old, much loved, creaky little rust bucket has finally keeled over and given up.

Now I am being weatched by everyone from friends to work colleagues to Beloved to make sure I don't buy another creaky old rust bucket. Anyone would think I have a habit for such things! *Hides*

Problem is, of course, that finding the time to car shop is not exactly easy at the moment.

Much BIGGER problem is that Beloved has offered to do it for me

Beloved, shopping, on his own. For a CAR?! A car he expects me to drive? Oh nononononononono I think not.

Actually Beloved also has reservations because his research so far has been shot by my having only 4 questions about a car:

1) Does it have 4 wheels?
2) What's the fuel efficiency?
3) What colour is it?
4) How much is it

Beloved seems to think I need to ask more questions. I don't know if there are more relevent questions. He finds this frustrating. He also thinks I should stop dismissing cars he shows me because "they're the wrong colour". What? I'm not driving a red, white, blue or silver car. Nasty things. And my old car was white (Mimi, from 'Allo 'Allo, so called because she was small, French, blonde and surprisingly powerful) and looked horrible.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Bad News Round Up

It's time for another Bad News Round up. Again, illness and general lack of time and energy has taken me a while to put this together, especially with the usual mental fraughtness of compiling these lists.

However, I do think they're imporant, so here it is in all its horror

Hate Speech
In North Carolina a gun range has decided it’s a great idea to advertise how they “convert pansies”. And it’s not like such language on an advert for a gun range is threatening of course, right guys?

A virulently homophobic calendar was on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In response to outrage over such bigotry, the creator is stamping his feet that those mean gays aren’t just being silent and accepting his hatred. Oh, and of course, AIDS is all our fault.

In North Carolina, a campaign poster against marriage equality suggests gays will shoot newly weds never mind that it’s usually us being the victims of violence from the hate groups

The hate group, the FRC (who is very anti-family) has released another typical screed against gay people and more from Tony Perkins. It is, after all, the reason for their existence. I’d ignore groups like this if mainstream straight society would do the same. The same goes for the AFA deciding AIDS would be cured by god if gay men stopped having promiscuous sex. And yet more bigotry from these hate groups why are they constantly given a platform?

In London, 5 men have been convicted of spreading leaflets that threatened gay people with death. Thank gods, my own experiences with homophobic notes on and around my home have frightened and unnerved me – to have an outright death threat posted through your door is several orders worse.

Oh and back to World of Warcraft, though I have left the game, it is still up to several kinds of fuckery. After much fail, the game has finally removed “transsexual” and “homosexual” from thjeir profranity filter. Fine. BUT question question – why were THESE words filtered yet, I distinctly remember from many many many WoW incidents that “f@g” and “f@ggot” were most certainly NOT censored?

In British football, Queens Park Rangers thinks that asking their fans not to engage in homophobic chanting will cover the fact they’ve just signed openly homophobic Taye Taiwo. So don’t use homophobic chants – but singing homophobic songs over the stadium mic? Totally ok. Of course, homophobia in sports is generally accepted, expected and given a token nod.


In Ghana, the education minister believes they can stop homosexuality. Of course, it can’t –but it can scar and abuse and torment yet more GBLT kids. But since when does the straight, cis world care about that? This follows attempts to arrest all gay men and lesbians in one region of Ghana and other homophobic bullshit that is sadly common.

In the US, Republicans have blocked the appointment of an ambassador to El Salvador, because she supports gay rights

In Oklahoma, a state representative is trying to reinstate DADT for the national guard. Remember, you have to keep watching your rights if you want to keep them.

In Saudi Arabia, a man has been arrested for using facebook to date other men he could be executed, imprisoned or tortured. Or all of the above.

Nigeria’s new anti-gay law contains extreme punishments for gay marriage but also contains draconian punishments for gay organisations and orgs these kind of laws force these orgs to go abroad and then be presented as “foreign interference”.

In Norway, a gay Iraqi asylum seeker has been denied refugee status and told to “go home and be discreet” in a classically homophobic position. He must now hide in silence and hope his secret is never discovered or his life is at risk. Iraq continues to be an incredibly unsafe place for GBLT people.

In the Kostromo region of Russia, is set to become the third region to ban pro GBLT activism is going ahead again making it nigh impossible to campaign for justice for GBLT people.

In Kaliningrad in Russia police harassed several joggers when they thought they were a pride parade. When it turned out they were right wing nationalists they were let go. Gays bad, fascists good, remember.

The new Hungarian constitution enshrines homophobia. Nothing like making bigotry part of your foundation legal document to make it clear how little our humanity is worth.

In Bulgaria, the Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov has spewed some hate speech against gay people. Always fun knowing government officials find your existence repulsive

Iranian “Human Rights” official and advisor to the head of the judiciary, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, is a homophobic bigot who believes… well just about every homophobic thing it is possible to believe. I need new punctuation. How do you surround a title with symbols that scream at how laughably ridiculous it is? Scare quotes don’t seem enough

Sunday, 22 January 2012

My immune system - an awesomely powerful diva

I have come to the conclusion that my immune system is an incredibly talented but highly tempremental diva.

If I sleep well, eat as I normally do then I can walk into the most infected, infested plague pit and my body will laugh in derision at these pathetic attempts at disease. It laughs, LAUGHS at the puny microbes that dare to challenge its supremacy. It is the mighty, perfect immune system and it will crush any who oppose it under its heels, booming out a triumphant victory song! Plague, flu, dipthertuberculebola - any of it will fail in the face of its awesome.

Buuuut, if its demands are not met, if a couple of days without sleep happen, or my meals end up just a little unbalanced then that is it. The Immune System is outraged by this lack of appreciation and stomps into its dressing room and slams the door, refusing to come out except to scream expletives at the interns.

And then? Then I can catch flu in a sterile clean room, surrounded by doctors oozing disinfectant from every pore. It's vexing it is.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

I'm tired of the "fundamentalist" derail

I’m going to have a rant here because there’s a huge raft of homophobia that I’m constantly seeing that I am beyond sick of. It’s a form of apologism that constantly denies and excuses homophobia – the idea that Christian homophobia only exists in fringe churches.

I am tired of the “fundamentalist” derailment/deception/apologism I am seeing . I am tired of people pretending that homophobia in Christianity only exists on the fringes. I am tired of people using these words and phrases to pretend that the hatred only lies on the extreme edge. I am tired of people pretending that “mainstream” Christianity, “real” Christianity is homophobia free.

The Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the vast majority of Protestant denominations and most certainly the Church of England are homophobic. Does “fundamentalist” now include the vast majority of Christianity?

To characterise homophobia as a problem that is limited to “fundamentalist” “right wing” or “extreme” churches is to completely ignore and dismiss homophobia as is practiced by the world’s largest Christian denominations – and the world’s largest religions for that matter. The problem isn’t the Westboro Baptist Church – people know them, hate them and treat them with the contempt they deserve. The problem is the Catholic church whose rhetoric is scarcely less hateful (if, in fact, it is less hateful at all – the Pope has just declared us a threat to the future of humanity. Seriously) the problem is the Anglican church which is a major force against our every attempt at equality in the UK and world wide has its fingers deeply in the GBLT genocide. The problem is religious charities like the Salvation Army are continually expected to fulfil the gaps of our endlessly waning social services while at the same time being massive forces of bigotry.

By denying that these mainstream churches are homophobic, you are saying that their policies are ok, not bigoted. So fighting against our right to exist, fighting to keep us criminalised (arrested, imprisoned, tortured and murdered) is not homophobic. Fighting against discrimination laws, against our right to be treated as full citizens is not homophobic. Fighting against hate speech and hate crime laws, against our right not to be abused, is not homophobic

It’s all homophobic. And it’s all supported by mainstream Christian churches. And when you deny that these churches are homophobic, you deny their actions are homophobic. You support and justify homophobia.

I’m sick of the distractions. I’m sick of people excusing homophobia by constantly using these buzz words – “fundamentalist” “right wing” “extreme” “so-called Christians” – to deflect and distract attention so they can pretend that it is a fringe issue. Meanwhile the homophobic churches they empower continue to try to ruin our lives.

And yes, they empower. The Pope has a special seat at the UN. When he shows up in a country there are crowds hailing him. Word leaders listen to him. This is a man whose rhetoric is scarcely that much more moderate than Fred Phelps or Stephen Green. If he weren’t who he was, he wouldn’t even be allowed in this country for the hate speech he espouses. The bigotry of his church is used to fight our rights across most of the globe and we are demonised by this church constantly. Whenever I do a bad news round up? The Catholic church will be there, holding the flames of hatred high.

And why? Why does this man have this much power? Why does this man have the ability to spread such evil unchecked and unchallenged? Because there are 1.18 billion Catholics in the world. Those 1.18 billion people Catholics give him that power. Without those 1.18 billion Catholics he is just a hateful man with odd taste in clothes. Just as the huge number of Anglicans in the UK are the reason why we still have bishops in the House of Lords and the bigoted Anglican church still has so much influence to push homophobia.

And, I can see it now “I want to change it from within” well, I doubt that will happen, I really do – but assuming for a second you really are -  how does anyone expect to change these homophobic churches if you don’t even acknowledge their homophobia? If you’re constantly distracting to the “so-called Christians” if you dismiss the homophobes as “fundamentalist” if you wave the Westboro Baptist church as the example of Christian bigotry then how are you going to really fight and challenge the homophobia of your own church? How do you combat what you refuse to see and what you fiercely try to stop the rest of us seeing?
And I’m not saying you should leave your churches now or you’re a bigot. I say that your membership of these churches supports and empowers homophobia, but there are likely other reasons why those churches are important to you that outweigh that in your eyes – and I’m not going to dismiss them. But nor should we ignore that these churches are homophobic and it is empowering homophobia – and the constant pushing of “fundamentalist” and “extreme” and “so-called Christian” will not fix that – it defends the homophobia, it distracts from it and, in doing so, it empowers it. In short, pretending mainstream Christianity doesn’t have a major homophobia problem acts to create and support yet more homophobia. It’s further empowerment and justification of homophobia and yet another way religion is a weapon against us.

So, you want to change your churches? You really want to combat homophobia?  Drop the “fundamentalist.” Shelve the “so-called” Christian. Stop pretending only the fringe churches are bigoted, stop excusing and justifying the bigotry of the mainstream church. You don’t fight bigotry by fighting to protect it or by raising straw men to attack. And while I’m all for throwing rocks at the Westboro’s, oh yes I am, perhaps you need to cast an eye on your own pulpits and ask how different they are.

Another rant about my labels

Yes it’s time to say it again. Not particularly because I think it’ll stop people calling me it, but at least it lets me vent, and why have a blog if you can’t vent when you need it?

Do not call me queer. Yes I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it 100 times more. Do not call me Queer. I don’t care what the word means to you or how you identify or why – that’s your identity and your label, not mine. Do not use it to refer to me.

And don’t try to poke or police me into accepting the label. Don’t make assumptions about me because I refuse to use your preferred terms.

My using the word gay doesn’t make me conformist. It doesn’t mean I’m not an activist. It doesn’t mean I secretly want to be straight. It doesn’t mean I’m not REALLY fighting for equality. It doesn’t mean I’m not a real gay man. It doesn’t mean I don’t REALLY face discrimination or that I don’t know what prejudice and bigotry really means. Pack up your shaming and get the fuck out if you think these things because I am beyond sick of it.

To me that word is attached to my bones that ache because they’ve been broken. That word is attached to the scars on my arms and my back. That is a word of my nightmares and memories that still haunt me. I take a cocktail of pills to keep my brain working because of the echoes of that word. You have no right to decide I should use and claim this word. You have no right to demand I just swallow that and “get over it” and move on so I can follow your word choice.

My life. My being. My labels. Respect them or get out, simple as.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Updating the Law on Rape

So it seems the FBI is finally getting round to changing how it defines rape to actually include a lot of rapes it had previously ignored. The new wording now reads:

The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

I’ve read a lot about this and how important it is. It has made changes that have been well examined and talked about at length and in great detail which is wonderful to see – especially the removal of the necessity of “force” which previously was present and excluded so many rapes.

But another thing it has done is actually acknowledge that men can be raped.

This is vital and doubly vital for gay men because there is a pervasive idea that gay men cannot be raped.  After all, we want sex all the time right? A gay man is a raging sex driven monster that leaps at any and all possibilities of sex, right? So how can we be raped? If we always want sex with men (and remember, it’s any men all the time, no matter what, who or when) then how can we possibly be raped? Surely we not only always consent but are always ultra ultra eager, right?

Yeah, it should be laughable – but it remains that an ultra-common response to a gay man who has been raped by another man is “but you’re gay!” And that most certainly extends to law enforcement.
Even rape within a gay relationship – and all relationship rapes are poorly understood at best – is faced not only with the idea that gay men always consent to sex all the time, but also a pervasive belief that our relationships are entirely sexual, that sex is the only reason we’re ever with another man (and if sex is the only reason we’re together, and we always want sex, how can there be rape?). Added in the prevailing belief that our relationships cannot be happy, loving or anything other than miserable (another element that makes it nigh impossible to have any acknowledgement of domestic abuse) and any kind of reporting or acknowledgement is fraught.

In fact, if we ever consider rape and gay men, it’s inevitably considered something we will inflict on the poor straight men. The whole gay panic defence has been built around the idea that gay men are sexual predators, constantly hunting sex and a second away from leaping at any straight man who crosses our path. If rape and gay men is considered at all, it is considered as something we commit, not are victimised by.

One of the unsurprising statistics that was found in the UK is that the vast majority of men who rape men are, surprise surprise, straight. This shouldn’t surprise anyone really because rape is about power and expressing that power. Similarly, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that a disproportionate number of men who were raped by men were… gay. It’s actually a not-uncommon hate crime – especially penetration with objects. And at the moment? At the moment it’s not only hard to prove that such victimisation happens – but it’s hard to have it accepted that it’s even possible.

Of course, this isn’t going to magically fix anything, not by any stretch. Nor will it add support which is usually non-existant (if you're a gay man facing rape or domestic abuse in my city then you better have some good friends or be able to get through it alone because that's all you have) Nor is this new definition all inclusive, there’s a lot that would fall through the cracks here. But at least acknowledging that this kind of rape actually exists, that these people can be raped is a long over-due step in a very long road that has long since needed travelling.

Such old and flawed laws are not just in the US – many rape laws are missing some severely vital inclusions (the UK law, for example, doesn’t see rape if a penis isn’t used to penetrate) – and they need severely dragging out into the light for re-wording

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Food and parties!

This is my desperate attempt to stop whining which seems to have been my constant occupation since 2012 began. Even now I've only just got in from work, I'm tired and manky, haven't eaten since this morning but even the thought of precious coffee turns my stomach. Yes, whining again!

So time to fight back by recounting some good events of food and partying over the holiday. See, as one of the skilled cooks of the family, many of the gatherings expected me to bring food. And I did and my food was awesome. And yes, great aunts, my fruit cake was the best, admit it, admit it. Yeah, there's a reason why it was all eaten - and no I know you didn't see anyone eating it, that's because they hid it from you but the cleared plate speaks volumes. I will now victory dance

Also my uncle with the small holding showed me how to make utterly disgusting but so tasty piggy things since no-one else will help him with the up-to-the-elbows-in-offal-thing. Pfft, I have no illusions where my food comes from.

And, of course, Beloved wanted me to cook for a large circle of people. But wouldn't tell me/forgot exactly WHO (he maintains that he wanted to surprise me, I maintain he forgot the list) and he hadn't asked any dietary questions which lead to:

Sparky: So any dietary restrictions?
Beloved: Its the holidays, no-one's on a diet
Sparky: Y'know, I should get points for not making a blond joke there. Is there anything people can't eat?
Beloved: Metal? Wood? The furniture
Sparky: Shame, they could gnaw on the hideous stuff
Beloved: I still like that table.
Sparky: Which is proof of its hideousness, o tasteless one. But no, what I mean is - any vegetarians? Kosher? Allergies?
Beloved:  Umm... I'm not sure.
Sparky: Uh-huh. Vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, hindu, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, nut allergy - any of this ringing any bells?
Beloved: Can't you just make everything ok for everyone?
Sparky: For EVERY possible allergy or food restriction? Yes. You will get a slab of unflavoured tofu and a spoon. And you will enjoy it.
Beloved: But but but...
Sparky: go find out
Beloved: *whinnnne*

Gah, so no, I didn't serve up unflavoured tofu, but I did end up producing many platters with little signs next to them saying . This did cause F to play a game of hunt the vegan because she didn';t thiknk i knew any vegans and thought I should share. There were no vegans. But then she was already collapsed laughing sicne she thought the kosher platters were for her, despite her creating a recipe for Passover Gammon. (I think she did it to annoy her mother).

There was no goji juice served. Tofu did get served - it was fried and flavoured and yummy

Monday, 9 January 2012

Stompy bad mood

After a holiday full of the usual crap and some extra crap and some work crap and some general crap, and just crap crap, my energy, tolerance and general give a fuck reserves are at a severe low. And it pisses me off further that I've supposed to have just had a holiday and I'm feeling as tired, angry and manky as if I've just done a months worth of 12 hours days without weekends. Which is something else which has supposed to just happened but instead I feel run down and there's MONDAY looming tomorrow.

So I'm tired, irritated and generally hacked off.

And I can feel it building. Some day soon someone is going to get it in the neck. It's all going to build up and one of these days someone is going to get several weeks of crap launched straight at the jugular.

And can people stop pushing straight authored books as giving me an amazing insight into GBLTness? It's tiresome

And I'm not even going to address the idea that, to counter the Male Gaze (that would be the straight male gaze apprently, or I'm not male again) it's wonderfully progressive to make a site where straight women can ogle guys getting it on with each other.

And if I get one more, one more damn covnersation, post, email or message explaining why a slur is ok I'm going axe murdering, ok?

Good. The world has been warned

Sunday, 1 January 2012

On going holiday thingy

And yes, ongoing. See the thing is there’s a lot of family social stuff this time of year for us and it tends to bleed over a lot more into less a few days of holidays so much as a couple of weeks. And when we get a day spare it becomes more a case of “we’re alone! ALONE!!!!” and not wanting to do anything else. Except the damn neighbour

So some quick whistle-stops before I go into detail when I have time

We managed to get through the whole season without throwing any food away. Considering how much we bought? Impressive.

My brother didn’t manage to get up from Wales. This officially makes him Public Enemy Number 

One for being in the land of the savage leek and not with any member of his family during the holidays. He is coming up this Thursday. He Will Be Judged. Several twigs of the family tree are blaming the Welsh. No, they don’t have to make sense, they never have before.

Christmas day remains one of the hardest, most headache causing day of the year. Mum has long since called the day “Duty Day” as it becomes an endurance test of annoying relatives, policing them and keeping them happy

The whole season was tiring in general for that matter. I never find this time of year jolly with holly and other tings ending in –olly. It’s too overwhelming, there’s too much to think about and there’s zero privacy

There were fail moments. Big horrible make my brain melt moments. But a lid was kept on things because a) therapy and pills b) more pills c) booze which shouldn’t mix with pills, d) my over-using the line “stop now and I’ll pretend you didn’t say it. Otherwise we have to have an argument, you may say something unforgiveable and then I have to kick you out/storm out and not speak to you either”. Not perfect because “pretending they didn’t say it” doesn’t mean they didn’t say it but it was at least a non-escalation

That being said, I can feel the… fraying. No time for peace, no time for privacy, none of my own space, all these people in my house, all those days outside my house, the neighbour’s oh-so-fun-literature, the arguments, the fail, the sniping, the general family being family… I can hear the thin ice of my psyche cracking

Beloved has long loved Steam, but has now developed a disturbing addiction to it. We may be bankrupt by February at this rate. And he keeps tempting me with things.

I still have Christmas cake left. And it is rich and yummy. And I have Baileys double cream

I also have a lot of mussel meat. Not mussels in the shells, just mussel meat. Need to decide what to do with them