Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Dimming of Beloved's Shininess

Beloved has been having a hard time with his family this year which I’ve alluded to before the holidays. His parents said some things that… well, are hard to forgive. It began with some deeply unacceptable comments about Beloved being a hypothetical parent and it just escalated from there – and the fact it managed to escalate after setting the “oh you did not say that?!” standard

Your own parents implying you’re a danger to children is… not an easy thing to swallow. Especially since we were both pretty much convinced they didn’t have a problem in that area. Turns out hypothetical jokes go out the window when possible reality looms (not that it is, but they thought it was). It just got worse from there, it’s like a decade of carefully bottled bigotry broke the dam and splurged everywhere.

It was bad.  His parents way of dealing with this “let’s pretend it never happened and never talk about these things again” isn’t sufficient to mend any rift – and agreeing to disagree on whether or not we’re child abusers is not on the cards either.

To rub salt in the wounds, Beloved’s sisters are working over time… to make excuses. They’re not saying what the parents said was right, but they are brushing it off, downplaying it and generally jumping on the “la la la la didn’t happen!” train to eternal family peace. I know this train, it runs regularly in my family.

It hasn’t been easy for Beloved.

To this add that I have resolved to remove things from my life that aren’t helping – urged by Beloved with his usual good sense but a whole new level of impatience for homophobic bullshit. One of those things is Not!friend who is a good friend of Fs but, frankly has had years of driving me up the wall. I could list the many times she has annoyed, offended and infuriated me but that’s a post in itself; in a nutshell, she is the epitome of the straight woman who thinks gay men (no, sorry “the gays”) are cool, fun toys and pets for her amusement, she has no sense of boundaries, is incapable of treating gay men as individuals and believes her oh-so-coolness makes her a member of the community happy to speak at length (and in judgement) of things she knows fuck all about, complete with slurs that “totally don’t matter because it’s me” -  and she never ever learns no matter how many times she’s been told she’s out of line.

We dumped her which was a relief – but she still hovers around like a freaky freaky stalker and she’s been giving her friend F endless grief because of it. I sympathise, it’s not a nice situation for F to be in – but nor am I  - are we - going to listen to apologetics from F about Not!friend nor am I particularly thrilled with F for basically tricking me into social situations with Not!friend. F has had a front row seat to a lot of Not!friends antics for a long time now and I am… saddened that she thinks I should brush this constant aggravation aside or that it isn’t that much of a problem.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

We're causing natural disasters again

UKIP councillor  David Silvester has decided that all the flooding around the UK this year has been caused by… marriage equality. Yes, us gay folk be causing natural disasters again. (UKIP again comes forth with the excuse that though they don’t support equality and their elected members are rabid bigots who they happily embrace that totally doesn’t mean the party is homophobic, honest)

We’ve heard it before haven’t we? Earthquakes – gay people did that. Floods? Gay folks. Hurricane? Yep, that’s the gay people. Fukushima, Katrina, the Boxing Day Tsunami, the death of bees and birds and endangered species and serial killers and gun massacres – gays gay gays, gays have done all of that! We’re the ultimate scourge of humanity - like the 7 plagues, all the signs of the apocalypse and the Kardashians’ continued career all in one.

And no, even though we make a joke about it, it’s not harmless – this kind of demonization does dehumanise and does encourage persecution. It is the extreme end of a constant meme –we’re sinners, we’re wicked, we’re evil and we have to be stopped. It also shows a lot about our media and culture that hate speech this extreme is not really considered all that outrageous.

But I’ve said all that before and likely will again. Today I’ve been thinking about just what this says about the god David Silvester and his ilk worship and praise. Because this is a god who, apparently, has looked at history – looked at slavery, torture, murder, massacres, genocide, abuse, cruelty and all kinds of evil that lurk there – and decided to not do a damn thing.

But the minute gay people’s rights are recognise then your god is shifting his arse off that cloud and getting in some smiting? Really? This is his priorities? Because I kind of think if gay marriage is worth some bad flooding then the slave trade had to be worth wiping out a substantial portion of the map.

This is something I just cannot understand with these bigoted Christians. Why would anyone worship their god? Even if you believed in this capricious, cruel, sadistic monster, why would you ever worship it? Why would you support something so patently evil?

I cannot understand loving such a being, supporting such a being and praising such a being. In fact, I'm deeply disturbed that someone would believe in a deity so lacking in priorities and so capable of evil - and then praise it. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The FA's Inclusion Advisory Board Fiasco

Football has a terrible reputation when it comes to bigotry – all stripes of bigotry, really. Much the same as rather a lot of professional sport does. It generally happens unchecked, either being ignored by the governing bodies and big names or being tacitly approved of and encouraged.

This certainly applies to homophobia – there is a reason why out footballers are not common

In an attempt to supposedly combat this, the Football Association created the Inclusion Advisory Board, chaired by Heather Rabbatts who has a long history of challenging racism and sexism in football. The 10 member board was filled and due to start.

Except one of the members, Michael Johnson, actually did a television appearance in 2012 in which he described being gay as “detestable” and was very not supportive of trying to combat homophobia in football.

This man was appointed to an Inclusion Advisory Board intended to fight bigotry – including homophobia. You would think this wouldn’t make him the best choice.

After a week of bad publicity he resigned from the post he was so woefully unsuitable for – but problems remain.

Firstly, how are GBLT people – and minorities in general – supposed to take this body seriously? It’s clear the selection process has been at very least amateurish – either it has been handled in a singularly incompetent fashion or the FA simply didn’t care enough to actually put even a half-assed effort in (it wasn’t like his homophobia was obscure – this was a televised incident on the BBC) or they did do decent background checks and just decided homophobia wasn’t a problem.

None of these are good options. None of these suggests that the Inclusion Advisory Board is capable – or willing – to do what it was created for

Secondly, when Michael Johnson’s homophobia was revealed, the FA didn’t instantly declare “oh shit, our bad” and remove him from the board. They defended him. Heather Rabbats personally went to bat for him (homophobia apparently not being something that concerns him) and is still doing so today – even talking about continuing to have the IAB consult him. Again, this shows that the FA, the Inclusion Advisory Board and Heather Rabbatts aren’t all that concerned about homophobia. There has been an echoing silence from the other board members.

Thirdly, the charities that the FA refers to on its site as helping combat homophobia (kick it out, pridesports, stonewall) were silent on this matter. Kick it out the only one who mentioned it at all, and they only providing the FA’s press release after Michael Johnson stepped down – and that’s all they provided, a copy and paste. This looks a lot like charities supposed to be acting for equality stepping back if it may actually put them in combat with the FA – again, I question their purpose. If a bigot on the Inclusion Advisory Board of the FA isn’t worth speaking about then why pretend you are fighting homophobia in professional sports at all?

Michael Gove, stuff your patriotism, honour and courage.

Michael Gove, our ignorant and generally nasty education secretary has a long list of bullshit he likes to pull on a regular basis. His latest gem is to lash out at Blackadder – and schools showing it – for spreading “left wing myths” about World War 1. See, they should be teaching about Patriotism and Honour and Courage – not incompetent generals, grim conditions and horrendous loss of life.

World War 1 was one of the stupidest conflicts in the history of mankind. It was fought because all the great powers of Europe rather laughably though their rather shaky domino-alliances would stop them all going to war – instead those alliances ensured that a relatively small regional conflict escalated beyond all measure. It didn’t have to have been the death of the Archduke, not long before there were severe tensions between Britain and Russia which almost set the whole ball rolling anyway. It was inevitable because, ultimately, you had a lot of power mad fools, playing the whole world as if it were some kind of chess board with zero inclination to talk to each other just dying to slaughter a whole bunch of people for the sake of those 3 demons: Patriotism, Honour and Courage (with Glory also raising its ugly head).

Not only was it fought for stupid reasons, but it was fought in a mind numbingly stupid way – a way that was guaranteed to massacre lives over and over again.

This isn’t “Blackadder” or “Oh What a Lovely War” that created the whole “lions lead by donkeys” meme – HISTORY created it. We had a deadly modern battlefield complete with fortified trenches, artillery, machine guns and poison gas and generals who were still using tactics that were 50-100 years out of date. Maybe that could have been excused, but they were so insulated from the suffering on the ground (and had a pretty callous view of the troops anyway – just look at the fate of those men who were shattered by shellshock, so many of them shot as “deserters”) that they stuck to those tactics over and over again, no matter how many times they failed.

This isn’t “revisionism” Gove, this is history. This is the history of conflict that killed over 15 million people for no damn good reason at all and ended after a good part of the continent was absolutely shattered with a treaty that settled very little except sow seeds of simmering resentment that would grow into World War 2.

And as for “patriotism”, “honour” and “courage” (and of course, “glory”)? Manipulative buzz words used by the elite to send a generation of men to their death – and it’s the same lie they try to peddle today. If teachers and TV shows are exposing this then more power to them! Let them expose the rampant foolish pride of nationalism that you want to hang the flag of patriotism on. Let them see how little “honour” there is in innumerable rows of graves – let them find no honour in filling those graves (with their own bodies or another) and instead look for true honour in peace. And the courage to die needlessly for arrogance, for pride, for pigheaded refusal to talk and think and learn – that isn’t courage, that is a foolish obscenity, a waste of insufferable proportions.

There is only one possible good that could have come out of World War 1 and that is showing us the utter horrors of war so starkly as to expose the lies of those who sit peacefully in the halls of power while sending another generation off to die.

If teachers and Blackadder can firmly bury Patriotism, honour and courage as the murderous deceivers they are in the minds of school children then I will celebrate them for having achieved something amazing for our future.

And Gove, from his lofty perch on high, again shows how unfit he is for the role he fills.