Saturday, 25 February 2012

Your shock is a privilege - We Can't be Shocked by a Daily Occurrence

*deep breaths* my temper is frayed on this one. I’ve just come across a blog post by a straight person who is most displeased that the GBLT community is not more up in arms and outraged by the group beating of Brandon White in Atlanta. She wanted to see more outpouring of… I don’t even know what. Outrage, grief, anger, shock? She judges us for not reacting more forcefully to the gay bashing and not paying more attention to it.

And I wish it was just another failed ally pulling this privileged shit, but sadly, she’s not alone.

What did you expect? It was a brutal gay bashing? Yeah then and every other day of the week. You don’t get it. blinkered straight folks, this isn’t unusual or freaky or weird or shocking. This is a normal day. This shit happens every day. Every bloody day – and yes as bad and much much worse.

I have yet to publish a bad news list that didn’t contain shocking violence. Mob attacks, stitches, beating, broken bones, concussion, rape, rape with objects, burning people with hot water, setting them on fire and, of course, murder. Beatings, stabbings, shootings, burnings, arson. Over and over again.

And in my list of links for the next round up which I’ll get to once I have the strength for it I have at murders, mob attacks, mass arrests and a 16 year old kid with a broken jaw. And that’s just a brief scan of the links in the folder.

NONE of these cases get vast amounts of attention from the GBLT blogosphere or GBLT news sources. They’re reported on once, maybe twice and then we move on. If developments happen – like suspects caught or a court case develops, it is reported on – that’s about it. Even murders rarely get massive outpourings of shock and horror from us any more. There’s too many of them for more and we’re too inured to violence for a greater response.

What do you expect? Us to run around shocked and appalled? You can’t be shocked and appalled every day. We can’t live our entire lives in a state of hyperventilating panic. Sure, the hyperventilating panic overcomes me more often than I’d like, this is why I take my pills and visit the therapy blokey. But how do you expect us to function if we’re shocked, enraged and grief stricken every single time we’re the victim? It’s ok for you, you only have to dip your little toes in for some outrage now and then, then step back away from the pool when you’ve got other shit to take care of. We can’t, we don’t. I do not have a single gay male friend who hasn’t been beaten or attacked at least once. And once? Is the exception.

And this is just a fraction of the anti-GBLT violence out there.  A tiny fraction. Most isn’t reported because local, national and international news rarely gives a damn. A lot is missed by our community because we’re not everywhere and we don’t have the resources to see all. And even more goes hidden because the victims crawl home to bleed or stagger to hospitals and lie to friends, family, the medical staff and police because too often we can’t trust any of them. This isn’t even a tenth of what happens, not even a hundredth. In fact, the only reason we heard about Brandon White at all was because it was recorded – he himself said he wasn’t going to report it except the video was already out there.

But a blinkered straight person sees one video and is oh-so-shocked and is outraged that we aren’t pouring out in droves of fury over it? Get over your fucking privileged self. You get to be shocked because of your privilege. You get to be outraged because of your privilege. You get to be so upset about the violence because of your privilege.

The only reason this attack made ripples in the straight world is because it was caught on camera and you finally caught a slice of what it’s like to be us every bloody day. Otherwise this attack would have been as obscure and under the radar as every other mob beating of GBLT people that happens around the world over and over and over and over again. But you expect us to start squealing because you’ve finally noticed? You think you are qualified to judge whether our reactions are appropriate or not?

Don’t you dare chide us for not being all shocked and horrified about something that FINALLY burst your precious, safe bubbles when this happens every single day for us. Wake up and learn or get your nose out – your judgement is ignorant, unneeded and most certainly not wanted.

Friday, 24 February 2012

You're complaining about the lack of straight representation? Really?

So, I just saw a wonderful whine about the new Mass Effect 3 and apparently, of the new love interests, there are no EXCLUSIVE heterosexuals (i.e. they’re all gay or bi). Note, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have an opposite sex pairing – there are bisexual love interests and your straight love interests from the last 2 games which, in case you have forgotten, included ZERO same-sex relationships  (oh you could have female bisexual flings, but no relationships).

But but but shouldn’t heterosexuals be equally represented?! Equality should be equal!!!

Yes, equality should be equal. This is correct.

So, for this to happen, I propose that EVERY PIECE OF MEDIA produced for the next, oh… 3 centuries? Better make it 5. Yes, for the next 5 centuries every piece of media produced will contain NO straight characters at all. Oh, alright, you can have 1% straight characters – but they must be servants or miserable and preferably dead by the end of the piece.

After these 5 centuries of near zero straight inclusion in the entirety of our media, we’ll talk about equality being equal.

Until then, kindly shut up, your privilege is showing and it’s really not pretty. And we’ve already seen the same thing with that Bioware troll (who was most epicly slapped down in a way that makes me starry eyed andfanpoodly) and I imagine we’re going to see more of it as the games industry comes to the shocking realisation that we *gasp* exist.

Really, complaining about the lack of straight options is… is… I don’t even have a word for it. I want to point you at our entire planet and ask where you’ve been living that you think this is even slightly a sensible complaint. I mean, really? C’mon, really?

Or, y’know, you could play any one of the gazillion gazillion games that cater to straight entitlement. It shouldn’t take you long to find one.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

On Girlf@g by Janet W Hardy

So Janet W. Hardy is writing a book that she has a kickstarter page to announce. And the book is called Girlf@g. (I am not linking to it, the last thing I won’t is for even one link from me to add so much as a penny into having this homophobic book put on the shelves)

Yes Girlf@g. Though Hardy, of course, doesn’t remotely have the respect to disemvowel the slur –if she did she wouldn’t have used the slur in the first place. And this book is about? Women who are sexually attracted to gay men. No, let's not even be that respectful. A book for women who fetishise f@gs, since that's the term this woman uses. Oh yay there’s a book about the fetishists now.

How to count the many things wrong with this?

Let’s begin with the slur shall we? Even if you wanted to write a book about women who were creepily obsessed in gay men, the very least you could so is not slap a gay slur on the freaking cover. I suppose I should be happy for honesty in advertising since it very clearly says "this woman doesn't give a fuck about you as people." A slur is utterly disrespectful and dehumanising. Using this slur already shows the extreme contempt Ms Hardy has for gay men. There are no doubt a dozen ways she could have titled this book

Her excuses so far are that she didn’t coin the phrase – what, so a slur is only offensive now if you invent it? Most slurs out there are older than I am, the fact I didn’t invent them doesn’t make them not offensive if I use them. That it isn’t meant to be hurtful (yay magical intent, that many gay fetishists absolutely love that word (got that, it may offend us, but the people doing the offending love it, so what’s the problem? Ye gods what is with that logic?!) and that it’s a reclaimed word.

Do we have to revisit reclaiming again? This is getting tiresome. You cannot reclaim a word that cannot be used against you. F@g is a word used against gay men. Ms. Hardy is not a gay man, she cannot reclaim this word. Ye gods can we stop having this conversation already?!

It is not ok to use a slur. Slurs are violence in spoken form. Slurs dehumanise, reduce us to things, reviled things at that. A slur carries the full history of violence and oppression and persecution. Slurs carry the full weight of societal prejudice and loathing. Slurs are so often trigger words that cause so much harm to so many trauma victims. Slurs are not acceptable and not excusable.

Now let's tackle the idea of women being sexually attracted to gay men. Note only gay men. Not men. Because we’re different from other men, apparently. We’re weird, odd non-men and a totally different being from straight men. That’s right, we’re so different from straight men that there’s a whole new attraction just to us that in no way encompasses the straight men. Let me reiterate – it’s not attraction to men or men of a certain body type, hobbies, interest or whatever – not, it’s gay men who are so very different from straight men. As is further revealed when I tried to email her to explain how offensive she was being (it didn’t work, she doesn’t care) she described her partner as “gay-seeming”. Yes, gay seeming. Whatever the hell that means. Born with a rainbow tattoo on his forehead?

She also seems to think being sexually attracted to gay men is a sexual orientation in and of itself. Yes, a woman attracted to gay men is a new sexuality. See, we’re so far away from “normal” men that a woman attracted to us doesn’t even count as heterosexual in Hardy’s world! (Dear fetishists, if you are attracted to gay men then do not even remotely claim that that makes you part of the GBLT+ umbrella because I may have to scream if you take your fuckery to that level of appropriation)

And, of course, we’re homogenous. Because it’s attraction to gay men – not a specific people with hobbies or tastes or a specific body type or anything like that. Not like there’s vast diversity among gay men so simply being attracted to gay men is ridiculously narrow. No its gay men in our nice, rubber stamped whole.

We could ask what she pictures gay men as being, but since the project mentions musicals, theatre, showtunes, we can see that the stereotypes are positively frolicking here. There’s not even a pretence here of seeing us as real people – just stereotypes and fetishisation. She’s not only denying our masculinity with this, she is denying our humanity.

And do I have to talk about what fetishisation does? How we’re reduced to objects to serve? How we’re presented as people who are worthy only when straight people area amused by us? How it ruins our safe spaces as straight tourists come in treating us like circus animals? How people ask us to kiss and pose on demand for their fetishising pleasure? Let alone the fuckeries in the m/m genre?

Reducing us to objects isn’t positive or friendly. It’s dehumanising, it’s demeaning, it’s reductive. We are people, we deserve more respect than this, we deserve to be treated as human beings. We deserve equality, not to hope to become your favoured pets or toys

Of course, speaking to the author she is quick to mention her gay friends. She waves them like a flag. I’m saddened that these gay friends are so willing to put up with her contempt since she has so little regard for gay men’s humanity. As is revealed by her willingness to use them as an excuse

Frankly, I’m almost impressed by the amount of contempt this woman has churned out for gay men, all the while claiming to like us.  If there’s one good thing that could come out of this offensive hot mess, maybe the fetishists will use this awful term more often – then we can start recognising them on sight and run like hell the other way/keep them out of our safe spaces. It’s be nice to be able see them coming.

Syd, please don't give the homophobes a damn excuse.

Well Syd, I actually kind of hope your support and promotion of homophobia and excusing of homophobic bullshit from straight people actually does get you greater success in your chosen field. Partially because I think the world sorely needs more out lesbian musicians and hip-hop could certainly use a few. And also because, I think, if you’re going to shit on the rest us so completely I dearly hope it’s worth a decent amount of money to you. I’d hate for you to encourage homophobia and excuse homophobes to this degree and NOT get a decent amount of payment for it – I’d hate for it to be a whim or cheap.

If someone uses a gay slur as an insult then they are a homophobe. They are making it abundantly clear that they think of us as less, as something hateful, as something vile. And while you try to excuse slurs against gay men (was that a conscious choice? Excuse a slur that’s unlikely to be used against you to limit splash back?) they are still slurs with all the power and the meaning of those slurs. And when a straight person says them, then yes, it has all that impact and attack when in a straight person’s mouth. And I don’t believe for a second Syd is that utterly clueless about reclaiming that she’s even connect GBLT people using slurs against us with straight people using them.

You may not be offended by the word f@ggot, Syd (though, again, nice catch at using a slur that is most commonly thrown at gay men) but many of us are – offended and triggered and hurt (similar to how many disabled people are by lame as an ableist slur) and when straight people use that word yes they DO mean it that way. And we’re not going to take it, the hatred and the violence attached to it “less seriously”.

Why do you even think that slurs for gay men are used as an insult? Or to say something is broken and bad? Could be because they regard us as broken and bad? Are you really this blinkered, Syd? I doubt it, I really do.

But here’s hoping it at least pays off for you, you become a major success (though I’ll certainly not be listening. I get enough bigoted shit from straight people) and then, when you are a major success, you decide to stop encouraging and excusing homophobia and dismissing so much hatred and violence.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Kicking victims for the sake of bigotry

So over in the US the Violence against Women Act has become partisan because it contains inclusive clauses for GBLT people, undocumented migrants and Native Americans

Which means, for these over-privileged arseholes, they were willing to scupper this bill – and throw all those women who desperately need this out because their hatred is more important than saving women’s lives. It isn’t just bigotry to those covered in those clauses, it is a callous disregard over everyone who is a victim of violence, stalking and domestic abuse.

Of course, given the source that’s not exactly surprising. But it’s an extra part that needs to be pointed out – none of these victims matter to them. Not the ones who are covered by the new clauses, nor the many other victims who they’re willing to ignore to flex their prejudice

And those clauses? They are needed. There does need to be specific addresses to marginalised groups that fall through the cracks, who the law often ignores even more than usual, who the law is often not even built to protect or acknowledge. They are needed because there are often extra issues that apply to minority groups that the law for the larger population of victims doesn’t address.

I’ve said it before on laws about bullying. Minorities often have specific issues that are specific to them above and beyond what the majority of victims face – that doesn’t make them more victimised, but it means if you want to address THEIR victimisation, you need to address their issues as well.

Like a domestic violence victim being afraid to come to the police or other external because they fear deportation, or the issues of institutional prejudice or confused or unhelpful jurisdictional wrangling. No matter how good the law is at protecting victims from abuse, if you don’t address that issue then these victims will not be protected.

Enough AGAIN, why are people still justifying slurs?

Roland Martin tweeted some homophobic bullshit.

And yes, it was homophobic bullshit. No, I’m not debating that, certainly not with straight people. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks editing my twitter and RSS feeds to get all the straight folks lecturing gay folk about what is and isn’t homophobia out of my face. It took a depressingly long time.

His words were homophobic. Not only were they homophobic, they were violently homophobic – and from a man who defended Tracy “lets stab gay children” Morgan. So even if I was inclined to offer some benefit of the doubt (which no straight person is OWED for their homophobic bullshit) I don’t think any gay man can be expected to offer it to this man. In fact, I’ll go further, expecting us to is homophobic bullshit in and of itself.

But, in the aftermath of another homophobic fool opening his mouth I find myself truly moved to emotional response by the many many Clueless Straight People who were positively falling over themselves with their urge to help me and all other silly silly gay men.

Ah, dear clueless, privileged straight people – I graciously accept your generous attempts to educate gay men as to what is and is not homophobia. I can only imagine how bright and shining your spirits are that you are driven to guide us through and issue you are clearly far more knowledgeable about than we.

In the face of such learned and enlightened guidance I find myself positively driven to urge you, from the very depths of my heart, to shut the fuck up.

Here’s a handy-dandy, ultra-quick guide to whether or not something is homophobic: do the gay people say it is? Yes? THEN IT IS! See? Simples! This would be because we’ve been . And you are not qualified to spot homophobia because not only have you not been stabbed with it every day of your lives (therefore completely unable to spot it so much of the time) but our whole society has a whole damn culture of excusing, accepting and promoting homophobia. And the proof lies in the huge, inordinate number of you Clueless Fools queuing up to school gay people on whether or not Roland’s words (or any one of the many many many many many oh my GODS many celebrities who think homophobia is so damn clever/funny/witty/whatever) are actually homophobic or not.

We know homophobia when we experience it. We have suffered from it. We will face the consequences of it. We have the scars from it, the fears from it, the damage from it and we are the bodies scattered in its bloody wake. Your input is not needed or welcome. Your education is unnecessary. Your instruction is unwanted. Your condescending “advice” adds nothing except to remind us that the homophobic arsehole who opened his mouth is not alone.

And, while we’re at it, don’t don’t don’t tell us how to react to homophobia. Seriously, in what possible world would you think you know better than us what we should feel, how we should respond to an attack, how we should we respond to yet another “joke” about violence against us. In fact, who the hell do you think you are to lecture us on our lives and experiences; can’t you see the utter arrogance of it?

We react as we see fit when attacked. We defend ourselves. And no, many of us don’t think minimising the attack or pretending it didn’t happen or, for crying out loud “reaching out” to the damn attacker is the way to go. We have lived this, we will negotiate it as we see fit, we do not need telling what we should do or how we should deal. And we certainly don’t need chastising for “sensitivity” or “overreaction” or similar bullshit by straight folks who can’t stand it when gay punching bags forget our place.

Perhaps, just once, just one bloody time, all you fools out there could start listening and stop talking. Then maybe we won’t have to say the same damn thing next week.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

We have Gremlins

So the utter icy frigidness of the house is explained by the hall/stairs/landing heater being broken.

Now we have this heater because it's efficient, cheap to run and by heating the room from which all other rooms attach it keeps the whole house warm and draft free even more effecitvely than the central heating (which has a thermostat in the ICY HEART OF BEIRA IN WHICH GLACIERS ARE BORN the living room. I'm not entirely sure why this room is impossible to heat, it may be the front and back huge windows. Either way, the central heating tries to keep that room warm and the rest of the house HAIR METLINGLY HOT).

But now efficient heater is apparently dead and winter storms are now raging up and down the stairs.

Checking the heater necessitated making some dusty mess, removing the cover and all. So out comes the vaccuum cleaner aaand... BANG

It's motor is broken, dead and, judging by the noise, exploded. And it's nearly brand new! And it's dead AGAIN.

But I didn't have time for this... I had a dinner to serve! A lucious pork joint with... wait... why is this oven tray not hot?

Actually turns out what I ACTUALLY have is a raw slab of pork and some raw veggies sitting in the tray in the stone cold oven which is... Broken.

At which point I officially give up. I am now in a fuzzy dressing gown and I'm going back to bed to sulk.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

I need clearer notes it seems.

So I had to work late today. But I started late so I had an idea. Anticipating this, I already had dinner prepared before I left – I actually had a productive morning and left Beloved detailed notes on what he had to do to ensure we had dinner. Simples, right? (and yes, I did just pick sides in the Meercat vs Opera Guy war).

So I thought.

Then I started getting texts:

Beloved: So, I’ve taken the pot off the hob, now what do I do with it.

Sparky: WHY did you take it off the hob? Put it back, top up the water and let it steam on a low heat. Did you get my note?

Beloved: I Put it back. Yes I have your BOOK. Your note has chapters. And an Index. And a Glossary.

Sparky: good, you have your instructions, follow them

20 minutes later…

Beloved: So, when do I take it off the hob? You forgot to say. It’s been on for hooooours.

Sparky: It doesn’t say because you don’t. Just top up the water if it’s boiling dry. It’s a steak & kidney pudding, it’s meant to cook for hours. Peel some spuds instead.

30 mins later…

Beloved: Where’s the sage? What oven temp for bread in airing cupboard? Putting treacle sponge in microwave- how long for? Note doesn’t say.

Sparky: Put teacakes BACK in airing cupboard, leave sponge alone. You don’t need sage – why would you want sage? If note doesn’t say DO NOT DO!

10 mins later…..

Beloved: How much boiling water should I add to this custard?

Sparky: wait, what? NONE, it’s home made custard not powder! Why are you even messing with the custard? Leave the custard alone. Is custard in the note? No? Then LEAVE IT ALONE

5 mins later…

Beloved: I’ve chopped the leeks, can I microwave them or should I get a saucepan out? Note doesn’t say.

Sparky: Leeks? We have leeks? Since when did we have leeks? Did the note MENTION leeks? No, it did not, so why do we now have leeks?

Beloved: Winter leeks in the garden. I picked them and chopped them, now what?

Sparky: Did you wash them?

Beloved: No. The note didn’t say to wash any leeks… not my fault.

Sparky: It didn’t say to pick them either! Put them in a bowl of ice water with a tiny squeeze of lemon juice TINY SQUEEZE! NOT A BOTTLE! NOT A SLUG! NOT A CUP FULL. Then SIT ON YOUR HANDS and do NOTHING unless the note tells you to.

15 mins later

Beloved: The cat’s just been sick on your computer chair

Sparky: Ugh, clean it up then.

Beloved: Sorry, the note doesn’t say to. No can do…

Beloved: *does not answer phone when called*

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Guess whose fault it is?

Shall we look at this new fail

The John and Ken Show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have a someone to blame for fashion pushing women to be ultra-thin

Yes, it’s gay men. Because we like to look at 14 year old boys and we control he fashion and casting industries.

Shall we look at what’s wrong with this shit?

First of all – anything that begins with “gay people control” deserves a slap right there. I boggle at the number of people who think we have this much scary power. Oppressed minorities control nothing, half the time it’s a struggle to exist – and that existence is based on us jumping through the hoops of straight people. But it comforts the homophobes to believe we’re this immensely powerful force because it justifies homophobia

Secondly – gay men as paedophilia, really?

Thirdly – we’re blamed for this? The appearance and body policing of women is based on gay men? Because gay men are that focused on women, right? This is getting beyond ridiculous. Is there anything we won’t be blamed for?

And I know, it’s almost funny. We’re blamed for earthquakes and hurricanes, we’re blamed for bird migration and the death of bees. Yes, bees. We’re blamed for every damn thing and it sounds hilarious – I mean, who re these fools who believe such silly things? Of course we’re also blamed for every and all cases of AIDS and all child abuse out there.

But scapegoating like this is insidious and dangerous. It’s one of the powerful steps to dehumanising people – blaming them for any and all evil. You look at any marginalised group, past and present and somewhere, at some point, you will find them unfairly blamed for something. And that blame? That blame is then used to justify… penalties, punishment, “precautions” to “protect” the rest of the population. And lo, we have “justified” persecution.

And even with silly things, like the damn bees, there’s that sinister undertone. Blame the gays, it’s the gays fault. It’s a habit – and it’s a disturbing one

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentines Day

Valentines day has swung round again. And words cannot express how much I hate this day (though I am looking forward to the much more fun holiday - cheap chocolate day!)

Not just because it's so commercialised that cupid should have a Clinton Cards logo branded on his arse. Not even because I think greetings cards are the biggest con since people started trying to sell London bridge

No, my first annoyance is just how empty it is. To me Valentines day means "society has told me I should give you this card and this sanctioned gift. This is no indication of my feelings - it's required on this date." Nearly every couple around the country - and more, will be doing the same thing, probably even the same gifts and maybe the same cards. It's very impersonal...

But the main reason I hate it? Well, is there a holiday on our calendar that is more heteronormative than this one? Is there one holiday that is more overwhelmingly straight? For the weeks leading up to it and the day itself, it's one giant het-fest - even more so than daily life.

I'm glad I don't watch much television, because the weeks of adverts of lots of straight folks celebrating romance would quickly drive me up the wall. I mean advertising is usually wall to wall straight folks anyway. It's absolutely everywhere you look, in every media you consume and it's all straightness all the time. Well now we get to throw in the emphasis on love and couples blaring from every direction and the omission is glaring. "It's the time of year where we all celebrate romantic loooove! Uh... but not yours. No we don't want that. Yours doesn't count. We mean real love. And by real love, we mean man/woman love - the only love there is!" Which has the added bonus of meaning that I could never ever truly know love - don't you just loathe that meme?

What's with that Milk Tray man?! Am I not worth James Bond rip-off stunts to bring a box of poxy chocolates too?!

If I go shopping I am bombarded "straight love! WORSHIP THE STRAIGHT LOVING! Anyone not in a straight loving relationship right now is sad and lonely in a desolate empty life!" (can you tell it bugs me?) Signs and banners, packaging and jingles. And don't even get me started on the music. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Girl sings about losing boy. Boy sings about wanting girl. Boys and girls sing together about how wonderful the opposite gender is. Gods, if they do a cover of a song that was sang by the opposite gender they change the damn words to desperately avoid THE GAY! *crash of thunder* *lightning strike* *maniacal laugh*

And it's a damn good thing I do think cards are just a con because if I did feel the need to buy Beloved a Valentines day card I'd have to trawl past acres of straight cards and hope I could find something suitably generic that will hide the fact it's meant for a man to send to his girlfriend - or vice versa. Actually finding a card for gay men to celebrate out love? Yeah, that's going to be a specialist supplier there. Major greetings card companies just don't cover same-sex love. Last year I complained about Hallmark "thinking about it." and taking  "baby steps". And Clinton Cards’ homophobic offering with THIS vile thing. Well they’re joined this year with this wonderful same-sex marriage card. Congratulations on your marriage! Let’s hope you don’t burn in hell! Romantic, right?

So yeah, cards? Probably not even if I were willing to spend that much on a piece of paper.

This holiday is a constant barrage It's 99.9% man/woman man/woman, man/woman THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE! MAN/WOMAN!!!! The Hetero-holiday has spoken! And what is starkest about this is not only that it devalues my relationship – but it also devalues and demeans any relationship I could ever
possibly have had. My love is INHERENTLY flawed – not just my relationship, but my very capacity for romantic love.

I originally wrote parts of this piece last year, but really, it still applies I won’t be taking parting in the national hetfest and I will just get steadily overwhelmed and irritated by the constant “you’re love is WROOOONG!” messages until we’re rid of it.