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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Pastors, hate speech and the messages we're all sending


So when we look at the big, dramatic (and typical) stories lately of religious bigots running their mouths with, frankly standard, homophobic bullshit – are we surprised?

When a pastor calls for gay kids to be beaten – are we surprised?




Why? All of this has happened –much as the straight world tries to erase history. It’s all still happening, for that matter. Why shouldn’t they feel like such language is acceptable? Have you read my “Bad News” lists? Take a moment, scroll through these horrendous lists – the Pope and many other religious leaders have said as bad in the past and likely will do in the future. Look at

Why shouldn’t they think this is acceptable discourse? Or, for that matter, why shouldn’t they think what they espouse isn’t acceptable policy?

Let’s make the root of homophobia clear: GBLT people are considered less than straight people. That is the root, the source of homophobia and we live in a homophobia society. In our society, the lives of GBLT people do not matter. I repeat, again, the lives of GBLT people do not have value. GBLT people are not considered valuable, real people. Our rights are less valuable, our personhood questionable, our humanity refused, our citizenship dismissible.

This is why, whenever we are murdered, we get the gay panic defence raised in court and it’s considered acceptable. This is why, when we die, the sentences are so weak.

This is why our rights and existence are debated on TV, why CNN invites hate group leaders to speak, why the BBC asks whether gay people should be executed.

This is why it took until 2005 fir the European Parliament to acknowledge GBLT people were victims of the Holocaust. That is why many Holocaust museums to this day still don’t include us. That is why some people still deny it happened. That is why bigots can openly compare GBLT people to the Nazis and no-one take them down for the sheer extremity of such vileness.  Usually we call that “holocaust denial” and it’s regarded with disgust. When it’s denying the massacres of GBLT people though? Well, that’s not the same.

This is why both hate groups and supposed social justice warriors alike can deny that there has been any history of oppression of GBLT people – outright deny it! Never mind that, in the west, in living memory you could be imprisoned and tortured and castrated for being GBLT. Never mind that for most of history we could be imprisoned, tortured and executed for existing – which still continues in so many parts of the world.

Never mind that, for most of history through most of the world there has been an unending genocide against us.

Yes, the g-word. Another word that you’ll find the social justice warriors and the liberals and the NGOs conspicuously not using. Oh no, not for GBLT people. We don’t count. Something about our deaths isn’t important enough for it to be considered genocide.

Sun, Sea and Sandwiches


It was Sunday, it was early (opinion is divided as to how early. I think it was “You’re shitting me O’clock” Beloved believes it was “virtually night time!” I think I’m right – if it were nearly night time my aim would have been better) when I was rudely rousted from my bed, forced to get dressed and bundled in the car with a flask of coffee and a bread roll.

I drank the entire flask of coffee. And we stopped at a coffee shop for a giant cup of coffee to go. And an iced coffee that I drank right after that. At this point I was capable of polysyllabic communication and realised a) we were out of coffee! STOP! And b) where the hell were we actually going and why?

“You’ll see!” was the only answer, with an annoying about of chipperness. I was to “enjoy the ride.” And apparently “enjoying the ride” means I’m not allowed to pull out the kindle and read.

After a moment of driving (and watching for a coffee shop) beloved has paroxysm of delight because he can see… the SEA! I do not even slightly understand Beloved’s fascination with salt water.

We arrive at the beach and he throws off his shirt and runs to cavort in the sea (salt water does not go near my hair. Ever) under the blazing sun (seriously, it was ridiculously hot) while I drop in at a local chemist and ask for SPF 9,000,000 sun cream and some aftersun for the inevitable and flop down on a blanket on the beach (to keep away that horrible horrible sand. I hate sand) with my kindle. Beloved eventually flops down to dry in the sun and I get to slather a thick, creamy substance all over his half naked body. (He protests, as usual that he wants to tan. Every year he tries to tan. He has the skin tone of Edward Cullen. He cannot tan).

While I am, grudigingly, inclined to admit that a day on the beach (so long as one can avoid the evil of sand and the vileness of salt water) eating ice creams and drinking coffee isn’t the worst way to spend the day (but ye gods it was hot) but I put my foot down at picnicking on the beach. Sand and food do not mix.

So, after using the blanket to protect the car from Beloved who was now salty, slimy, sandy and sweaty (despite vigorous towelling on his part to convince me to let him come near me while being all manky. See, this is why I can’t get behind the sexiness of the beach – sure there’s eye candy but it’s yucky as well) and moved more inland to green and pleasant pastures.

After I grudgingly accepting that we weren’t, necessarily, going to be inundated and overwhelmed by ants, wasps, flies and snarks, we unloaded Beloved’s picnic. Which contains all the excess food we’d BBQed on Saturday, fresh bread, butter and other baked lovelies and pickles. And no cutlery. Ah Beloved. (Did you know it’s quite easy to spread butter on bread with a credit card?)

I have conceded that actually being outside isn’t entirely awful all of the time. Just most of the time. And if he wakes me up before 11:00 on a Sunday again I may kill him

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Tories are having a Free Vote on our Rights


Cameron has decided that the marriage equality vote, when it happens (if it happens, since the Tory Chief Whip seems to think it’ll never come up for a vote), will be a free vote for the Tories.

That means he won’t be putting out the Whip. Or, every tory is free to vote how they wish without pressure from the party. This is because it’s a matter of “conscience”.

No, Davey boy, it’s a matter of rights. You lose major points there in deciding our rights are a matter for personal conscience. We are due equality, equality is about our status as full citizens. It is not a matter of “conscience” excepting only that denying us rights is unconscionable.

This does not hint at Tory support for our rights. This does not point to the Tories caring about our rights. This does not show the Tories as thinking our rights are important.

And shall we make a prediction? Looking at your party, I still see marriage equality passing – because the Labour, Lib Dems, and sufficient defector Tories will vote for it. But what kind of PR/Gay rights/we’re not homophobes victory is that?

All 3 parties said they’d back marriage equality – but only the Tories (and the coalition mini-mes who re obedient little tools) decided a consultation was needed. That already sets you points behind. The consultation has already revealed major flaws – including lack of religious marriages even for those denominations that want them.

But then you go to vote, there’s a free vote – and it passes because Labour and the Lib Dems save it from Tory opposition? Let’s be frank, if, when the votes are counted, it’s clear that the Coalition couldn’t have passed this without opposition support (or, in other words, it would have been scuppered by Tory homophobes if Labour don’t support it) then how does it end up being a victory for the Tories? How does it even make a gesture of cleansing towards unflinching Tory homophobia?

You end up with pretty speeches YOU COULDN’T FOLLOW UP ON. At the last hurdle you needed the other parties to actually pass your anti-homophobia record.

Sometimes I just like to see a fool pounded

I know that in various areas of the net there are debates going on about the "dogpiles" you see out there, where all and sundry leapm one someoen for saying the wrong thing. And there are certainly problems with it

But y'know, day in day out I endure arseholes around me saying pig ignorant shit and getting away with it. They saying all this crap and knowing I am going to smile through clenched teeth AGAIN. Every day, hate speech is given a pass, put on a pedestal, given a pat on the back and declared ok. Every day I have to tolerate this shit.
 
So then, I log on and see yet more arseholes saying the same ignorant shit I've just spend so many hours of so many days of so many months of, well, forever having to endure. And there's a pause followed by the Glorious Beatdown.

And, fuck it, maybe it says something bad about my character, but I revel reading it. After so long of tolerating shit, of being expected to tolerate shit, of people getting away with the most ignorant, vile hate speech and everyone grinning and smiling, at least OCCASIONALLY this bullshit is treated as being out of line. It's relaxing, it's reassuring and damned if it doesn't make me smile even when I'm seething.


That doesn't mean I don't think there are problems with it- from white knighting, to slacktivism, to buzz words without substance (I'm not going to include "lack of opportunities to learn" because a) we don't have a duty to teach and b) sometimes training is better than learning) (I'm also not going to go with tone or emotion for obvious reasons and because I think outraged disgust is sometimes the best response), to ignorant people leaping in when they don't understand, to people doing it just to claim ally cookies they haven't earned. But sometimes, a good scream of rage is wonderfull cathartic.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bad News Round up.


Yes, it's sadly time for another bad news round up where we remember that homophobia and transphobia are happening and are happening constantly. As ever, I don't pretend to have covered even a fraction of all the incidents that have plagued us - even if I did see them all, which no-one can, I'd never be able to compile them. But gathering so many together in oen place reminds

And it brings it home. I think all of us and GBLT people particularly can get very innured to hate speech. Every day there's another celebrity on twitter, every day another preacher saying something so vile it should never have left his mouth. But it happens over and over again and the hate speech is deemed acceptable in our society.

Well, I bring it together - the words and the consequences and the costs so we can see just how exteme these people are, just how common these people are and just what damage these people do.

Because it matters. Because we matter. And because this shit is not ok. Even if we see it every day. Even if we've been trained to endure it, even if society tells us it's accdeptable. This is not ok.



 
Religion

As Rowan Williams is planning on stepping down, the Anglican church is looking for a new Archbishop of Canterbury.  The body that advises on who to include contains raging homophobic bigot and ex-gay advocate, Glynn Harrison. So the Anglican church is sticking to its bigotry then. Speaking of the Archbishop of Canterbury – Archbishop Sentamu, tipped to be the next Archbigot, is still a homophobe.

In London, hate group Anglican Mainstream tried to produce mockeries of Stonewall’s iconic “some people are gay, get over it” signs to encourage ex-gay torture and have them pasted on the side of buses

The Church of Ireland tried to court a lot of good PR by saying they were going to acknowledge the pain Christian homophobia had caused and reach out to gay people. But when the synod met they decided to drop all that and go for good old bigotry instead – marriage is for straight folks, gay people not due equality, our love not the same as their precious love. Same old same old – don’t even pretend to be inclusive if this is the best you can do, bigots.


In Maryland, the Mormon church is pushing to try and repeal the marriage equality law – because cutting people’s rights and treating us as lesser people is the “moral” thing to do.

Religious leaders in the US are also very very annoyed at international GBLT policy – especially that nasty nasty push to decriminalise being gay. These people are pushing against our right to exist, literally.

In Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain is also leading a charge to desperately push back our rights and fight against laws recognising us as full people. Because destroying gay families is so damn vital to these people.

In Moldova we have more Christian love as a proposed anti-discrimination bill to protect GBLT people is being fought against by the Orthodox church

Iranian Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli thinks that not only are gay people like pigs and dogs but that politicians who don’t want us strung up are not better as well.

The Catholic church is always eager to add to the hatred. With Catholic schools in the UK pressuring 11 year old children to sign the anti-marriage equality petition. In Italy, Catholic group Militia Cristi is losing its shit over gay-themed film “good as you.” (Definitely a radical message! Uppity gays be annoying the Catholics again. The Catholic church is also busy in Colorado, cutting more charity co-operation with an immigrant righstroup because it dares to acknowledge gay people as, y’know, people. Obviously helping people is far less important than hatred to the Catholic church. The US conference of Catholic Bishops is also trying to play the martyr card because everyone’s not all happy about their bigotry. They’re also appropriating just about every civil rights leader their ever was But the Vatican is encouraging religions to come together – yes, Christians, Jews and Muslims should all come together in hatred for gay people. Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Pastor Sean Harris advocates beating gay kids straight. And Pastor Charles Worley pushes to have gay people put in concentration camps. His congregation fully support him. In a classic display of integrity, Bishop Mckinney continues to defend NOM and it’s bigotry while pointedly not addressing the vile tactics of the hate group. In Minneapolis, a preacher is suing for the right to scream abuse at GBLT people. Because Christian freedom of speech demands we be victimised and submit to victimisation. And a Vicar in Denmark refuses to a bury a woman – because she’s a lesbian. Oh the Christian love, we’re drowning in it. After NAACP finally supported marriage equality, Pastor Timothy Johnson lost his shit – and was followed (predictably) by Alveda King adding her own bigotry in between reciting her entire family tree.


Hate Speech

So it’s the anniversary of the Titanic sinking which had a lot of people doing many silly things – including a convoluted metaphor where the US is the Titanic and gay people? We’re the iceberg of course. Yes these people aren’t even trying to make sense any more

Speaking of silly things – there was a scandal with numerous US (straight) secret service personnel in Colombia were enjoying the services of (female) prostitutes. Whose fault is this? According to Tony Perkins, it was the fault of gay folks, of course!

One Million Moms is losing its shit again. And again.  Which follows similar losing of shit in the past. How many times do your dramatic boycotts have to fail before you stop trying this? At this stage I think we may want them to keep going – because the amount of advertising their outrage grants these companies means more PR firms will encourage gay themed adverts simply because it will provoke One Million Moms to lose their shit.


A DJ in Ohio, responding to a man who has a lesbian daughter, said that she should be raped to cure her. I really wish I was making that up – it’s almost amazing how much these people try to get away with – and how much they do get away with.

In Monroeville, capital of Liberia, flyers are being handed out calling for vigilante action to torture and kill gay people. Which is, sadly, pretty much on par with the government’s policy.

In Germany, football fans decided to spice up the game by waving homophobic signs. Can’t even go watch sports without the bigots slapping you down.


After introducing gay characters into Mass Effect 3 (which are awesome by the way), EA is being inundated by outraged homophobes

In San Francisco, a group calling itself the Straight Liberation Movement has been posting fliers

And we have our usual crop of celebrities and hate speech. American Football player Roddy White, baseball player Reggie Williams who doesn’t get why there’s soooo many of us, footballer Leon Knight just doesn’t understand why slurs offend us and NBA player Dominique Jones takes their bigotry to Facebook. Bollywood star Kamaal Rashid Khan assures us he would shoot his child if they were gay. Boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao is joining the homophobes taking advantage of Obama’s pro-marriage equality announcement to spout hatred. And Comedian Colin Quinn lost his mind on Twitter.

The Massachusetts Tea Party is, unsurprisingly, made up of homophobic arseholes.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Beloved, Bad Influences, Alcohol and Matches


So, as I mentioned,. Beloved has experimented with home wine making. I thought he’d forgotten about it but apparently that jug of… stuff that has been in my way in the back of a cupboard is actually wine.

Hmmm.

And Beloved wants to try it because it’s ready.

Uh-huh.

Now, I’m actually quite fond of living so I declined to try the questionable liquid, at least until a suitable guinea pig has been found to test it on.

Enter F who, on hearing that there’s potentially lethal free booze on the go, was there so fast she virtually teleported. She also has the super power of hearing a tequila bottle open at 10 miles distance.

So they try it and quickly conclude that it is rather strong (and tastes like fiery battery acid). So strong, in fact, that they wonder if it counts as wine or spirits.

There follows a lively debate on exactly what the difference is. After much discussion they decided that if you throw a lit match in room temperature wine, the match will go out. If you do the same in spirits, the spirits burn. Pleased with this test, they went looking for matches.

It’s at this point I decided it was appropriate to intervene.

And people wonder why I worry about leaving Beloved unsupervised.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia


There are many things happening on and around this day to try and fight against the evil that is homophobia and transphobia. Their site has a long list of excellent sources.

What I ask on this day is for people to stop. Simply stop.

Stop engaging in homophobia and transphobia
Stop heterosexism and cisexism.
Stop tolerating homophobia and transphobia.
Stop saying we’re less

No matter how minor, if someone says that GBLT people are worth less than straight, cis people, then they need to stop.

We will not make homophobia and transphobia go away simply by concentrating on people who throw bricks at us. Those people do not exist in a vacuum, they do not spring up put of nowhere. They exist because we have encouraged them – every day when we say gay and trans people are less, every day when we make those not-even-funny jokes. Every “no homo”, every “that’s so gay” every casual slur, every little slight; every time there’s another long debate on whether we’re due equal rights, every time another religious leader stands up to explain our sin, every time another leader tell us how wrong we are; and every time you are silent when you hear these, when you see these – this creates the bigots who beat and kill us. This puts the blood on your hands.

The hate does not exist in a vacuum. It is because we, as a society, agree to that hate and encourage that hate. When TV programmes still include vapid gay jokes and stereotypes, but we get outrage at gay kisses before the watershed. When priests explain why we’re not due humanity, when MPs rage and debate whether we’re due equality, when people rise to high office despite an unrelenting record of hatred, when every second of every minute of every hour of every day when we get disparaging slurs and contempt that people will not remove from their language – this is the soil in which hate grows, this is our society’s agreement to hate.

Stop agreeing to homophobia and transphobia. Stop encouraging it. We can’t continue this ridiculous charade of having homophobia and transphobia on every channel, in the pulpit, in the newspapers and in the Commons and then turn round in shock that another GBLT person has been kicked out by their parents, has committed suicide, has been hunted down in the street and beaten and burned and killed. We can’t cry the crocodile tears and say how horrible it is when every other day of the year we cheer lead for it.

Stop homophobia and transphobia. Stop it – don’t do it, don’t encourage it, don’t tolerate it.