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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The First Same-sex Couples in the UK married today

Today, the first same sex couples in the UK got married.

We can't yet because of pointless delays for no good reason - but the first of us got married today.

I never realised quite how much I was holding my breath waiting for this to be sabotaged - there was so much endless delay and so much utter viciousness from the usual suspects I didn't dare hope we'd actually make it to the end.

It's not perfect, there are still some more aspects of it to change...

...but it's here. It's finally actually here.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Homophobic bigots can make some decisions easy

I've been waffling back and forth about what browser to choose for a while. I don't make decisions quickly, it has to be said and Beloved has confused the issue more than clarified as is his wont.

But the new CEO of Mozilla is a homophobic bigot who spends his money to deny the human rights of people like me

Well that solved that dilemma. I'll never be touching firefox again.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Fred Phelps is dying

So apparently Fred Phelps is dying. I know there’s definition a temptation to talk about protesting his funeral or dancing on his grave – after all, the man was a pretty loathesome bigot.

Personally, I find myself largely not caring. Phelps, in his venom, was a negligible source of homophobia simply because his tactics were so cartoonishly awful that he would have added ammunition to our side of the argument more than anything – he provided one service to homophobes though: he served as the face of homophobia.

So all the so-nice straight people who are completely not homophobic (BUT…) can say they’re not homophobes because, look, they’re not Phelps. So long as they weren’t picketing funerals, they were the good ones. So long as their church wasn’t his, then people could deride Phelps as a “fake” Christian, rather than accept that his bigotry is pretty much standard across the majority of Christian denominations.

Phelps was a useful scapegoat, a distraction and a perfect excuse not to look at the more mainstream churches.

He was also useful to hate, wasn’t he? So many people hated him for the evil shit he did to straight people…

what, you thought he was hated because of hishomophobia? Please, his doctrine is hardly different from that of the Catholic church or the Southern Baptists. His homophobia was pretty standard and we can easily drum up rather a lot of pastors who want gay people deported/in concentration camps/just dead and think that Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia et al have truly fandabbydosy laws.

Don’t kid yourselves that this man was reviled for his homophobia. He was reviled because he was a TROLL. And pretty damn good at it at that. The hatred for GBLT people was pretty much standard – we hear as bad and worse every day from purveyors of Christian love – but his trollish antics enraged. His picketing funerals, especially soldier’s funerals in particularly was designed to enrage cis, straight people and earned him even the ire of the KKK. The wave of righteous hatred against Phelps has very little to do with his homophobia (he could have been denouncing cucumbers or the act of stepping on legos and he’d be as hated) – it’s all about him being a nasty little man who revels in offending and outraging people.

In short, trolling.


Will I be said the troll is dead? Not even slightly. Will I smile if people dance on his grave? You better I will. But is this a big victory of GBLT people? Has one of our great enemies fallen? Nope, I don’t see it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Gay men are never shamed for sex?

So, in three separate places now I’ve seen straight women talk about how much they love m/m because it lets them have their hot fetishistic sexy time without any kind of sex shaming and isn’t that wonderful?!

Because gay men are never shamed for sex…

…riiiiight. Have you heard about this thing called AIDS? It’s a global pandemic that vast portions of the straight world believe is ALL OUR FAULT. Our sex lives are held responsible for one of the biggest global plagues in the world today and you cannot even imagine the constant judging we get both in the community and from without because of our sex lives, our dangerous sex lives, our promiscuity, our terribad plague carrying evilness. AIDS awareness literature, speeches, lectures, documentaries (seriously, how many films out there with gay main characters involve tragically dying of AIDS?) are all encompassing because of our terribad evil sexing!

And what’s one of the main weapons the homophobes use against us? Our supposed sex lives! Martin Ssempa is one of the chief driving forces of the Uganda genocide Bill and he is roundly mocked for showing explicit gay porn at his seminars and declaring that gay men eat each other’s faeces.

Peter LaBarbera, one of the loudest voices of hate in the US has been giving the mocking name “Porno Pete” by some in GBLT community because of his overwhelming obsession with gay men having sex and gay male porn.

Direct quote from professional homophobe Matt Barber on what being gay is “…one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Ever heard of “gay bowel syndrome”? It’s completely fictional but still being trotted out by the haters on the right with depressing regularity.

A huge plank of the attacks against our every single right and protection is “Ewwww gay buttsex!” But our sex lives aren’t shamed? Are you serious? There are people campaigning to have us murdered on mass using sexual shaming as a major plank in that campaign.

In fact, one of the common polemics about why our love is not real, why we don’t deserve marriage equality, why our families are fake is because we’re supposed to be so utterly sex obsessed. Overwhelmed by lust, incapable of commitment, driven by endless dark urges – churches, court rooms and halls of government alike have rung with cries of what dirty sex monsters we are and that that justifies us not having equality

And even outside of the blatant hate groups – how many memes and bad jokes have you heard about gay men and sex? The hamster meme? The ridiculous and homophobic lie about sagging trousers being a signal you’re receptive to anal sex in prison to try and shame youth into abandoning the style?

And how often when something does happen – like the recent tragic death in the UK of a man in a gay sauna – did the forces of shaming and policing (both in and out the community) rush forward to remind us all how dirty and naughty and wrong we are?  Do you remember Jan Moir deciding that Stephen Gately simply had to have died of unnatural causes and was having kinky threesomes throwing in an extra dig that we don’t need civil partnerships?

Every time there is even a suggestion or possibility of a gay man somewhere in the world involved in even the most mild of “sex scandals” we get another repeat of why we’re dirty and wrong and don’t deserve have rights – or even to exist.

Our sex lives are constantly shamed.

Which is one of the reoccurring and glaring issues with these conversations about M/M. We have these female authors and readers extolling the joys of reading about the hawt sexing without issues they have to deal with as a marginalised people – while completely ignoring, disrespecting and being outright contemptuous of the marginalised people they’ve decided to use and exploit. They are not only not gay men, but they neither know nor care to know about the issues gay men face that they so merrily pass over when using us as tools for their useage. Even the slightest attempt to be aware of gay men as actual people would have realised that “gay men don’t face shame for having sex” was a truly ridiculous and insulting thing to say – but that attempt isn’t there. Gay men as people are not considered – only as objects: objects to help avoid their own issues or objects to fetishise for titillation or both.



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Jonathon Ross steps down from the Hugo Awards

Jonathon Ross was going to be part of the Hugo awards. He volunteered, there was backlash, particularly from women and minorities, he stepped down.

And there has been kafuffle all around this

This is a new spin on an old problem.

The old problem is that SF/F – its conventions, its fandom, it’s various bodies of varying degrees of authority, its awards and a huge amount of the work produced in the genre has a problem of, at worst, outright prejudice towards minorities or, at best, not particularly valuing minority participation or presence.

In terms of inclusion, the genre, it’s subgenres and its related genres are probably worse than the mainstream. And you only have to have been on twitter to have followed the huge number of dramas about race, gender and (usually completely absent) sexuality that have raged around – but on the plus side show a level of at least confrontation (even if it is dismissal) that gives me some hope we’re at least kinda, sorta, maybe addressing that there is a Problem.

Well, maybe, it’s somewhat wishful thinking of me, but I can cling to that

I like to hope that, with glacial slowness, enough happy geeks are starting to see that attacking and driving out marginalised people out of some bemusing need for some abstract “fan purity” is a bad idea. I like to hope, with the same glacial slowness, enough happy geeks are beginning to realise that geek spaces have become incredibly hostile to marginalised people and that this needs to change. I like to

In short, I like to hope that, with glacial slowness, geekdom has realised it’s protective, insular culture (often built on the idea of, even if rather exaggerated, mainstream derision) is hostile and damaging to geeks who do not fit their very narrow straight, white, cis, able bodied, male definition of what makes a geek.

Maybe, again, but it’s a battle that is being fought though not necessarily won.

Now we have something of a context shift; geek is IN. Just look at the major films that have geek stamped all over them – of the mainstream channels grabbing at content in prime slots you’d normally find on Syfy or of celebrities who are quite happy to wear their geek badge with pride. Geeks are IN.