Monday, 24 February 2014

Uganda's Law passes - The Hole in our Recognition of Genocide

The president of Uganda has signed the brutal and truly evil homophobic bill which strengthens the anti-gay genocide in his country. It is deeply wounding to see that there are so many people and so many places that want nothing more than for GBLT people to be completely eradicated from the planet; we have a long way to go until our very right to exist is universally accepted.

We need to keep fighting and campaigning, of course, though I doubt any of the rhetoric will be backed with any kind of action – if Sochi tells us anything, it’s how little the cishet world really cares about GBLT bodies – but we keep fighting because it’s all we can do.

Of course, I’ve said “genocide” which usually has someone bustling in to tell me how very wrong I am to use that word. Do not – this is genocide beyond any doubt.

In fact, let’s look at the convention’s definition of genocide:

So yes, countries that executed people for being gay are committing genocide.

Countries that flog, torture, starve, electrocute, force emetics on us, or otherwise brutalise us (and that definitely includes “conversion” therapy) most certainly fit under B

So are countries that imprison people for being gay – not even long sentences since you can’t STOP being gay so you are an inherent “repeat offender”. They are definitely filling C on that list and, frankly, are fulfilling A in all but loopholes. In fact, life imprisonment for existing is hitting on B as well

Countries that break up our families and take our children (including but certainly not limited to that vile new law Russia is proposing) are definitely going for E. And we’ve got to mention the forced sterilisation that more than nods at D.

These are just the blatant ones – and my gods there’s a lot of blatant examples for these alone. But the reality on the ground has a whole lot more genocide - creating a climate where mere mention of us is a sinful or obscene – or even a crime? That’s B – that’s driving us to suicide by any means necessary. If that were applied to political or religious groups there wouldn’t be the slightest doubt of genocide. Making our existence an obscenity is trying to erase us from society.

Raising GBLT kids to believe they are sinful, obscene and sick? That’s driving them to suicide, that’s trying to deny their personhood – it’s another part of the GBLT genocide that is pursued in every country around the world.

The legal definition of genocide isn’t ambiguous. It’s not really controversial either – and it cannot be sensibly argued that the crusade against GBLT people is not “almost genocide” – it is genocide, outright genocide. But we never ever use that word – not about Uganda’s  evil law, not about the evil laws that already exist in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and so many other nations, not about the genocide practices and rhetoric happening on our doorsteps every day.

Why, half the time it’s damn hard to get people to admit that gay people were the victims of genocide during the Holocaust.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It is not my job to pave your road to redemption

Someone does or says something that is grossly homophobic. Sometimes there’s outrage, sometimes there isn’t – either way there’s a number of people who remember that and the label “homophobe” is now attached to that person. A number of people, especially GBLT people, are not too pleased with them and will avoid them if possible.

Through a need to salve their conscience, improve their reputation or even (most incredibly rarely) a genuine need to be a better person, the homophobe asks how they can make it right. What do they have to do to no longer be considered a homophobe?

Well, your first problem is that people have different metrics – so don’t assume that just because you’ve pleased one GBLT person or organisation that everyone else is going to sign off on that.

But if you’re going to ask me what it would take for me to not consider you a bigot any more? Well, that’s going to vary from event to event but it would, at minimum, include:

An actual apology (not a non-pology or excuse and one that admits you are actually wrong. And an apology alone won’t even come close to me not considering you a bigot) that also doesn’t call your actions a “mistake”.

Not repeating your behaviour

Using any power you have to prove you have changed (politicians making pretty speeches but not actually changing policy or votes? Homophobes playing the PR game)

No appeals for “a second chance” or “trust” you are owed neither

Not profiting from your apology or your gestures of redemption

These are the beginning, the bare minimum, before I will even consider no longer thinking of you as a homophobe

But, y’know what? Sometimes I don’t have an answer. Sometimes I really can’t think of anything you can do. Or nothing you can do until an opportunity arises that may, indeed, never arise.

Yes, that means your homophobic words and deeds may have me and people like me deciding you’re a nasty bigot we want nothing to do with and there’s nothing you can do to change that.


This is not my problem. These are the consequences of your actions; if you are a bigot, people will treat you as and regard you as a bigot. And even if you want to change, no-one’s obliged to treat you differently until they’re satisfied that you deserve it – which may never happen. That’s not their fault. You are the one who showed your bigoted arse. People are treating you accordingly – no-one owes your forgiveness, no-one owes you an easy way out. No-one owes you ANY way out. You can ask how you can make it right – but sometimes you can’t, and if you can, it’s not my job to give you a plan on how to do that.

Here’s the thing, it’s not actually my job to pave the road to your redemption.

You’re the arsehole here. You, carelessly at best and wilfully at worst, displayed your bigoted arse for all to see.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Sochi Olympics: I will not be part of this

The Winter Olympics in Sochi are, of course, still going ahead. While the campaigning and fighting has drawn a lot of attention, it was never going to stop or change the games because the cishet world has always had many many many more priorities than our lives.

Needless to say, I won’t be watching the games, or having much to do with any coverage focusing on people playing sports rather than the gay bodies they’re stepping over to keep playing – nor do I want anything to do with the huge number of commenters who say they totally oppose homophobia while going to the games unless they are actually going to do something substantial to challenge the homophobia they’re tacitly endorsing.

Because that is what you are doing. Did any of us think that we could pull of a boycott of Sochi? No. Did any of us think we could force Russia to change their laws? No we do not have and never have had that kind of power or that many allies – we’re more than aware of that. Did we hope we would gain some kind of temporary hold or blanket immunity of GBLT travellers during the Olympics? That was never the goal – and frankly it’s nauseating to sign off on Russia temporarily suspending evil persecution while the cameras are pointed their way then go back to blood business as usual when we’re looking away.

The point is that there are some things you don’t want to affiliate with. There are things that are more important than sport, that the lives of GBLT people are worth something. By staying in Sochi, the International Olympic Commission has denied that; by boycotting the Olympics I am rejecting the IOC’s denial of GBLT humanity. We exist and Russia’s creeping attempts to criminalise our existence, to make GBLT people invisible and to tacitly support brutal persecution is not tolerable

I do not want to be part of this:

Mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov has declared there aren’t any GBLT people in Sochi at all, so totally no problem right? Ignore those gay bars, Anatoly has declared gay folks non-existent to his straight eyes.

Putin, who can always be relied upon for some vile bigotry, has assured us all that gay people will be safe during the Olympics. So long as gay folk leave the children alone – because we’re all evil child predators, of course. He also believes countries that don’t persecute gay people are considering legalising paedophilia. Putin loves his homophobic hate speech and is a repeat offender.

This is a sentiment that has been shared and repeated by the deputy prime-minister Dmitry Kozak

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has assured everyone that no gay people have protested about the bigoted laws… showing that he also has the same spectacular cishet disease as Anatoly Pakhomov where gay people are just magically invisible to him.

And a law is brewing to take children from gay parents – to forcibly separate gay families.

Of course, Russian media is playing along – with some almost comically over-dramatic homophobic screeds like this from Pravda – invoking Sodom and Gomorrah and gay people being “terrorists.”

The head of Russian TV news agency, Dmitriy Kiselyov goes further – our bodies and organs need to be burned on death lest they be used in organ donation and poor cishets get tainted by us.

Well, maybe – after this debacle I have zero respect for the Olympics.

A library book is being investigated because it may acknowledge gay families exist – stoke up the book burning. The goal of homophobes is always to render us invisible – if they can’t make us extinct, they like to pretend we are

A gay dating app has been blocked in Russia – and a message added to it threatening users with arrest.

A protestor who dared to hold a rainbow flag has been arrested for that terrible crime of trying to assert GBLT humanity.

3 men have stabbed a man and set him on fire, believing he was gay.

And what has the IOC done about all this?

Well, Thomas Back has loudly spoken against… anyone protesting at the games or distracting from the precious sport by bringing up the pesky lives of gay people. He also creates a wonderful straw man about people expecting the IOC to change Russia’s laws – no, bigot, we expected you NOT TO ENDORSE THEM. You don’t have the power to change laws, you do have the power to give your seal of approval. He also took the opportunity in his New Year address to snidely criticise “politics” and “division” at the Olympics

The last IOC head, Jacques Rogge, doesn’t even think the law is homophobic. After all, straight people can be imprisoned for acknowledging GBLT people exist as well! Totally equal guys!

Canadian IOC member Dick Pound just dismisses the whole thing – after all countries put GBLT people to death so why should the IOC give a damn about a little brutal persecution? Silly gay people getting overexcited!

Several athletes are also annoyed that we’re daring to talk about the persecution of GBLT people which is a total distraction from their fun – like skater Tara Lipinski and pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, skater Jeremy Abbot and quisling Jonny Weir. And the innumerable others offering complicity with their silence.

And it goes without saying that the godsquad is positively salivating at all this homophobia – the Russian Orthodox church fully supports excluding criminalising being gay – they want to go for full on genocide. FEEL THE CHRISTIAN LOVE!

Of course, much news has been made of various people “snubbing” the games… except they – including Cameron and Obama – have been quick to assure us that it totally has nothing to do with the persecution of GBLT people. So that renders any “snub” pretty pathetically meaningless – but gee thanks cishet leaders for your dedicated concern!

Enjoy your sports. Don’t let the blood distract you.