Monday, 29 July 2013

Pope Frances the Bigot and the Spin Doctor

The Pope has made a speech and suddenly everyone is falling over themselves hailing what a wonderfully progressive man he is and how he’s totally backed down on the homophobia.

Bullshit. Not only is it bullshit, but it is obscene and disgusting how many people are so quick and eager to swallow this man’s shit without any attempt to parse it through. The media reporting has been awful and it has been a major PR bonus for a man who is a grossly evil bigot and always has been

“It’s not for me to judge gay priests,” the pope says.

D’you know why? Because priests are celibate. Because for the last 3 popes the Catholic church has always said that they won’t judge gay people who are celibate, closeted or trying to be straight.

This is not progress. This does not change even a shred of Catholic attitudes or Catholic bigotry. It doesn’t change the fact the billion or so Catholics out there are supporting a grossly bigoted institution that attacks and dehumanises gay people every chance it gets.

The pope says he doesn’t want to marginalise gay people

Again, this is nothing new. The Catholic church has always claimed not to be homophobic, they have always claimed not to want to persecute or marginalise gay people. They have always claimed this - but their actions put the lie to the pretty speeches. Their hate speech put the lie to their pretty speeches. His hate speech puts the lie to his pretty speeches.

While he made that speech,
Catholic bishops are fighting against anti-discrimination laws in the US. Lack of anti-discrimination laws by definition marginalise gay people but the Catholic are there fighting - as they are fighting against GSAs, anti-bullying laws, anti-marriage laws and every other attempt to fight for equality we have. The Catholic church’s official stance is still that gay people are “disordered,” our love lives are “acts of depravity” and that we’re against “natural law”.

None of this has changed. Francis has changed none of that. He has continued to uphold the bigoted homophobia of the Catholic church. He is continuing to push the bullshit idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin” because they continue to try and make being gay something we do rather than something they are. They still deny our personhood.

Frances hasn’t changed that. He is every bit as much a bigot as the vile Benedict who was every bit as much a bigot as the vile Jean-Paul. He and his church will continue working to oppose all of our rights and our humanity, no matter how much it hurts us or how many of us die because of Catholic hate.

This is not progress. This doesn’t even resemble progress. Nothing has changed - but the media and an inordinate number of people are now willing to sugarcoat his bigotry because there are such damn low standards for accepting GBLT people’s right to exist as full people.

But you know one thing Frances is good at? Not compassion and certainly not decency, not with the hate speech he spouted. No, this man is awesome at PR. He is a bloody genius spin doctor. Whether it’s washing people’s feet or sitting in a chair and not a throne (did he sell the throne? No?), he knows how to make big dramatic empty gestures that don’t actually change anything but look so good and the media laps it up!

This pope is no better than his predecessors, but he’s already shown a devious ability to play to the crowd and ensure there will be people there to play apologetic for his bigotry.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Helping GBLT People in Russia

A series of homophobic laws in Russia – which I’ve mentioned in my Bad News Lists – have predictably lead to a rise in homophobic hatred in the country, which already had pretty high levels.

There are currently many protest methods going on – including boycotting Russian vodka (which I approve of, especially since the CEOs of these companies can’t seem to tell the difference between “support” and “marketing to”) and boycotting the Winter Olympics which I will definitely be doing. The point of a boycott is not just about the money, it’s about sending a message of fury, of refusing to be associated with anything so vile.

Of course, we know the Olympics Committee don’t give a damn – and they seem quite satisfied with Russia’s delay on their persecution while the athletes are present – because that’s totally ok, right!? I don’t expect better- we’ve seen the same response from Fifa over Qatar and Russia. International sporting bodies barely give lip service to being against bigotry – and both Fifa and the IOC has made it clear that they’re happy to support bigotry and the torture and murder of gay people. Professional sports remain a font of homophobic bigotry.

But while I support the boycotts I would also urge people to do something concrete to help the beleaguered GBLT people of Russia, especially since we know straight people have a track record of making excuses for why they’re allies but their need for sports/chicken/film/football/whatever is just TOO MUCH.

A Russian GBLT organisation, Coming Out St. Petersburg, has being legally attacked by the Russia government, declaring them to be foreign agents to try and shut them down. They need help. They need money.

Another GBLT org: Lesbiru, is also desperate for donations.

I encourage people to boycott – but if you have the resources, these people need your donations more. We need to put our money behind them.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

I have an anti-hippy cat

I have an anti-hippy cat

(Cut for pictures)

Monday, 22 July 2013

Cameron's new internet filter

Cameron, in the name of protecting the little kiddies from the evils of porn, is pushing a filter on all the internet in Britain to filter out online porn. To duck around it, you have to call up your ISP and say “RAWR GIMME MAH PORN I WANNA WANK” or some such. Probably not in so many ways, but making it explicitly opt out means you have to contact your IP and expressly say you want to see the naked people which promises to be extremely embarrassing.

There are many things wrong with this.

This degree of internet control, tracking and meddling is discomforting to say the least

The fact the man who is still supporting Page 3 is also in favour of a ban on porn is indicative of who pays the Tory’s paychest

Frankly, it’s people’s damn choice if we want to watch/read/look at other nekked people doing happy adult things and we shouldn’t have to opt out of being controlled. And yes it’s sad if children see something inappropriate – well that’s what parents are for. Doing that whole parenting thing. Because believe me there’s a damn site more worrying on the internet than your children seeing some inappropriate jiggly bits.

And let’s be clear here – while the morality brigade screams about child porn (which we already have laws about), this is about all pornography – or everything that is defined as pornography. Defined by who? I have no idea. And that’s shady already – what counts as porn? This is particularly worrying to GBLT people because we’ve seen time and again videos or depictions of GBLT people considered “adult” when a similar depiction of straight people would pass anyone’s censor. Us holding hands or kissing or gay men standing too close to each other while being shirtless has been considered pornographic in the past. What is pornographic?

For that matter, what depiction of sexualised nudity is ok and what isn’t? Because at least porn is fairly honest in what it is (while still being a fairly ridiculous depiction of sex) in that it’s there for sexual titillation – unlike adverts for cars, perfume, just about everything, pop stars gyrating and other commonplace sexualisation that I’ll wager do far more damage to impressionable young minds than porno ever did – in fact, here’s some great words on the ridiculousness of being so utterly anti-sex while at the same time being so sex saturated.

Which brings me to a major complaint I have - internet filters are awful. Part of that is the aforementioned inability to adequately define porn, but part of it is that the inability for technology to recognise a porn site. Does it block a certain percentage of skin showing? Certain body parts? Certain words? Is it going to include pornographic blogs or tumblrs or flickrs or whatever else people use?

The technology is dubious to say the least. At present, various filters in the name of stopping porn block STD clinics, family planning clinics, breast feeding sites, rape crisis centres, sex advice sites like scarleteen and, of course, any site involving GBLT people. In fact, Tumblr’s filter is a prime example which is has started blocking searches for the words #gay #lesbian and #bisexual

This isn’t an isolated case, it’s what happens every single time there’s a filter – there are false positives and GBLT people inevitably get included in them because our existence is still regarded as inherently pornographic and “adult”.  And if you think a 15 year old asking their parents to take off the porn block because they want to see porn is a difficult prospect, change that to a 15 year old asking their parents to take it off because they want to see gay blogs and connect to the gay community.

It all comes back to the cities and not even subtly.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Uh-oh... this could be a problem

Beloved has bought me all the expansion packs for Civilisation 5.

I don't know whether to declare eternal love and a promise to accommodate any and all kinky requests forever (once I've finished playing) or to curse him out for destroying my time when he KNOWS i'm busy, damn it.

Can I do both?




Must resist.... muuuuuuuuuuuust resist the shiny. I have work to do! Work! No games! WORK!

Ah hell, I'm screwed.

Boycotting Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card, as you probably know, is a nasty excuse for a human being and one of the worst bigots you could ever hope to meet. He has also written a series of books that are pretty popular and many a straight “ally” has twisted themselves into knots about that.

And now one of his books has been turned into a film, Ender’s Game. I’m kind of disgusted that Lionsgate would go near this man - so I fully support Geeks Out’s petition urging people to skip this film.

And cue straight people defending, dismissing, downplaying and otherwise squirming around Orson Scott Card’s bigotry so they can justify to themselves why they should see the film and so they can attack GBLT people who are daring to call for a boycott. Let’s cut through some of this apologetic crap

Orson Scott Card’s precious opinions

First of all, he is not a man who disagrees with marriage equality (though why gay people shouldn’t boycott someone who fights against any of our rights bemuses me); he became a director of the hate group, NOM. That goes beyond even speaking against our humanity or campaigning against our rights or putting his money into the fight against gay people – he became the director of a hate group.

And he is actually in favour of overthrowing any government that supports gay families.

But this is just part of Orson Scott Card’s bigotry – this is a man who opposed every and all rights for gay people. He actually supports sodomy laws, he wants being gay to be illegal. He wants to lock us up for existing – that’s a genocidal policy aimed at eliminating us. That sounds like a pretty good reason to shun him.

Orson Scott Card is so utterly steeped in homophobia that he actually re-wrote Hamlet’s father as a gay paedophile, turning people gay. He’s on record saying that it’s sexual abuse that makes people gay.

Stop downplaying the extent of this man’s hatred and how much time, effort and money he has put into bigotry. If you need to deflect the truth to salve your conscience then that should tell you something.

Why Boycott – the money

Lionsgate have tried to do their best to downplay how much Orson Scott Card is involved and Gavin Hood, Harrison Ford and Robert Orci have definitely done their very best to dismiss concerns (which makes me think I should be boycotting more than Card if these three men are so desperate to downplay and ignore homophobia). While homophobic defences abound, Card has most certainly earned a big wadge of cash from them turning his book into a film – not only that, but he is listed as a co-producer of the film. If this film is successful, he will get more money.

When Gavin Hood, Harrison Ford and Robert Orci say Ender’s Game has nothing to do with Orson Scott Card, they are lying to cover the homophobia. They are putting money into the pockets of a rabid bigot who has a track record of using his money to fight against gay people’s rights. The audiences of this film will be putting money in Orson Scott Card’s pocket.

And not only this film. If this film is a success it’s quite likely that more of Orson Scott Card’s books will be turned into films, raising his profile and putting more money into his pocket.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Marriage Equality Has Passed the Last Hurdle

Finally, after a long and painful battle, the equal marriage law has past its final hurdle in the commons and the lords and it’s heading for royal assent

Royal assent is a rubber stamp, even though there’s a petition from the homophobes to try and encourage Her Maj not to sign it – that’s just ridiculous. Even I, at my most paranoid and cynical (which is very very paranoid indeed and cynical beyond measure) don’t believe for a second that royal assent isn’t going to happen.

David Burrowes, the eternal homophobe, was the last one to try and derail this and he failed. It has been an exhausting and soul destroying fight. The homophobes in the media, on the net, in parliament, in daily life and most certainly from the churches have been overwhelmingly vicious. It has been a trial these last few months while the bigots did everything they could to hurt us, to attack us, to say grossly unacceptable things about us, to do everything they possibly could to stop our rights advancing.

Their fight shows that our fight cannot stop- there are still so many battles to fight, we still have to battle for our place in society, our place as full members and our place as people due respect and even safety. We also have to expect that they will push back against us, they will launch their stealth attacks, their exceptions, their loopholes for bigotry – and they will certainly try to claim that homophobia has disappeared.

Remember how ridiculous that claim is. Full legal equality (which we don’t actually have due to some holes) does not mean prejudice and persecution dies, nor does it mean we’re going to live in a country that fully respects us as people. In truth, full legal equality merely brings us to the same place that other persecuted minorities already occupy in the UK – and only the most privileged, delusional or bigoted (Daily Mail readers) would claim that sexism, racism et al have disappeared and there’s no problems left in the country.

We still have to fight – but this battle? This battle we won. I can still scarcely believe it, at every stage I expected one of the innumerable attacks to succeed in derailing us… but we got there.

We’ve taken a step forward – but there’s a long way yet to come. But I’m going to stand on this step and feel the joy for a while.

We will be able to get married in summer 2014, most likely. I don’t think it will truly sink in or I will be able to relax until it actually reaches then – but we’ve passed the hurdles.

Friday, 12 July 2013

State of Me

I’ve not been around as much as I’d like lately and it stems from numerous reasons.

As alluded to in my post about the Great British Food Festival, I had a mental hiccough. Sadly, I’m bad around crowds. There are very few occasions I feel safe in a crowd of people unless I know most of them are GBLT (i.e. most gay bars and Pride – which is about it). I manage at work when I am forced among a crowd because that is in a formal and very familiar setting and my brain can easily recognise that beating down the gay guy in the middle of a court room is Not Done and may be construed as contempt and, at very least, the judge will be a bit huffy that you didn’t wait until you’re away from the court room to engage in such unseemliness.

Crowds get me on edge, even at an event I’m enjoying (including watching Beloved turn bright, burning red in the sun), I can’t relax, I do the full hyper vigilance thing and I’m prone to panic attacks. It’s exhausting, it’s migraine causing, it drains me for days afterwards, as the hypervigilance/nervous wreck elements last several days after the event. It’s also one of the things I have made zero progress on with therapy or pills. Crowds still destroy me.

I’m going to cling to the good in that, while I did after continued blllaaargle from crowd meltdown, I only had relatively minor(ish) blaaargle of self-hatred and anger and “ZOMG HOW CAN YOU NOT HANDLE THIS!? WHEN WILL YOU BECOME A FUNCTIONING ADULT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL DAMN IT?!” Ok, maybe not that minor but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Technically. Or so I’m telling myself and I’m clinging to that otherwise I will have to have another Blaargle over the blllargle I’m having because I’m not functional enough to handle the first blaaargle. And that way leads to an infinite loop of blaargles which is just a nasty spiral down into a very very bad place.

Then there was a lot of work consuming my time, part of that is due to work always being hectic and partly due to my insecure need to prove I am actually an adult who can leave the house without someone holding his hand and will show everyone this fact by becoming stressed and snappy and even more huddled and hermitting, focusing on work and ignoring my brain slowly becoming mush. My coping skills are lacking still

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Freedom of Speech - that doesn't mean what you think it means

After numerous recent brouhahas (there’s always numerous), the Freedom of Speech wars are raising their ugly heads again, and like a compulsive whack-a-mole player, I simply have to hammer them down, because it’s amazing how much the people who scream “freedom of speech” the loudest are the ones who seem to understand it the least.

Freedom of speech – the freedom to not have the government come along and censor you without good reason (yes, good reason – it has never been an unqualified right). Are the people “silencing” you the government by law? No? Jog on then, your right is not being violated.

Of course, some people have severely missed what the freedom of speech actually means – or, rather, they’re trying to stretch it into weird and not very wonderful shapes to cover their scabby arses which has left it rather deformed.

Firstly, no-one has to give you a platform from which to speak. You can say whatever you want – but I don’t have to repeat it. I don’t have to let your words appear in my spaces, I don’t have to let you use my blog to spread your words to my audience, an editor isn’t obliged to print your letters or your articles, a TV station isn’t required to point a camera at you and spread your crap far and wide.  You can speak – you can stand on the street corner and speak, you can open your own blog, publish your own newspaper, write your own book, whatever; but no-one has to do these things for you. We didn’t sign up to be your publicists; if we don’t want to allow your voice on our spaces then so be it

Secondly, no-one actually has to listen to you. It doesn’t matter how wise and erudite you think you are, it doesn’t matter if you think you have are the bestest expert ever, no-one is required to listen to you. No-one has to take time out to see what you have to say, no-one has to visit your blog, listen to your excuses, accept your apologies or believe a damn thing you say.

Thirdly, no-one is required to go down in flames with you. If you open your mouth and all kinds of bigoted foolishness comes out, no-one is required to stand by you or defend you. No-one has to speak up for you. And you’ll probably find a lot of people dropping you – including employers, and advertisers – especially anyone who has been using you as a “spokesperson”.  That’s their prerogative, they’re not silencing you when they flee the sinking ship you just scuppered.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Great British Food Festival

After a couple of weeks of doing nothing but poke obsessively at Fangs (due to current bad mooseness I’m on all hands-on-deck mode in a classic obsessive need to DO ALL THE THINGS) and poke obsessively at work and occasionally poke obsessively at various other projects (which also somewhat explains my not entire presence here or on twitter which may continue for some time), Beloved decided I needed a break and booked tickets for the Great British Food Festival; a nice day out where I could indulge all my foody leanings.

See, he can be a good one when he chooses.

Ok there were hiccoughs. No.1 was his insistence that the festival is pretty close until our Satnav informed us that the site, Shugborough Hall, which is in Staffordshire, aka FREAKING MILES AWAY. This meant getting up at yefuckinggods o’clock on a Sunday morning. (Also worth noting, yes Staffordshire is a pretty pretty county and yes those olde timey hump-back bridges are pretty – but single lane blind humpback bridges allowing 2 way traffic is a whole new form of quaint and picturesque terror).

The Good:
Food! There were so many food stalls with so many things cooked and just begging me to try! Food of all kinds, lots of local produce, lots of different cooking styles, a few odd exotics (kangaroo?). You could walk around buying and eating stuff and trying all the wonderful things. If I had even the slightest complaint, it’s that too many of the stalls didn’t embrace the idea that we want to TRY ALL THE THINGS and needed to sell food in smaller portions

Price! Ok it wasn’t cheap – certainly not the drink (but zomg! Scrumpy slushies! REAL scrumpy! And crushed ice!) – but nor was it price-gougy ridiculous that you often expect at these things (except the lemonade. I don’t care if it is home made from diamond encrusted lemons and limes, £3.50 is silly).

Produce! Ok there was the craft fare clinging to a corner (who goes to those things?) but other than that there were lots of butchers, brewers, wine makers, cheese makers, bakers et al providing a gazillion free samples of truly awesome yumminess; including some amazing infused oils and a rhubarb and Custard cordial. Rhubarb and Custard drink that is just so good. Some of these stalls were good enough that I didn’t just eat samples and buy stuff, but made a note of the company so I can find the nearest supplier (Snowdon cheese? Your whiskey cheese owns my Soul!)

Cooking demonstrations, a local chef gets up on stage and cooks and shows us how; these probably needed a bigger tent because they were popular. We caught 2. The first was really excellent – funny, clever and informative. Ok what he cooked wasn’t complicated, I’ve done it before, but he had ideas and techniques and hints that I hadn’t.