Friday, May 29, 2009

Placing Blame

Leading bigots and gay-haters in SA are of the informed opinion that SA's gay movement do not do what the gay movement in the USA does yet - asserting that America's movement is 40 years ahead of us, but that we are learning and catching up.

They may have something there. In SA our leading groups are often silent except to bicker among themselves and try to prevent newer groups from stealing their limelight while they themselves are doing nothing to benefit the pink community. While you may see similar destructive behavior in the UK of late, you certainly do not see this idiocy in the USA. And lastly to disagree with our learned friends, SA has a growing online activist community which is part of the rapidly growing "Stonewall 2.0" movement which sprung into existence in response to the debacle in the USA - now called "Proposition HATE".

Milk Review

Tuesday night I went to watch the new movie "MILK" at Uptown theaters in Port Elizabeth, accompanied by my girlfriend Tuuli and my mom. Although we had already seen this movie on a pc, we decided to see it on the big screen as they say, and to support Uptown for supporting us. Uptown is the ONLY theater in Port Elizabeth even showing Milk. When we approached Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor about the matter, it was before we were aware of the Uptown feature. Needless to say, Nu Metro made some half-hearted excuse about there not being a demand for it, while Ster Kinekor never bothered to reply.

What It's All About

It's been a hectic day. Really hectic. Thought I was going to spend the day in my jammies and slippers watching TV or something, instead I spent yet another day racing around town to attend meetings and other sundry sideshows. Anyways, got another meeting tonight at 530 and I am already exhausted. And I'm supposed to be on leave so I can recover from my really hectic work schedule which seems to be following me relentlessly and not taking no for an answer.

At least next week I will be out of town for my second week of leave - in a place where there is no internet signal. I'm even thinking of leaving my phone off! Sounds more like heaven every time I think of it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Upside Of Down

Many anti-gay persecutors have the opinion that most scientific and medical evidence that proves gay and trans people are born as naturally as heterosexuals, is based on someone's opinion and not "hard-core facts". "Hard-core facts"? Do they mean like the bible? Or the rantings of people who foam at the mouth while inciting hatred against an inoffensive and un-threatening portion of society? Some facts. At least scientists can show evidence to substantiate their facts.

They back-pedal from the accusations that they hate gay and trans people - arguing that they "love gay people", but "hate the sin" and try to show that pink community are "being hated in the wrong way" - how is there ever a "right" way to hate people? HATE is never right. And I have yet to understand the difference between hating somebody and hating somebody for what he is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Body Count

Some nice people who insist that they don't hate gay people, but rather that they "love gay people enough to point out their faults" at the same time paradoxically insist that the disputable OT biblical law that states gay people should be murdered for "defying god" in being born gay, should be made part of our countries judicial system. This is part of what is known these days as the Dominionist or Reconstructionist movement - or "Kingdom Now Theology". Virtually every religious grouping which uses the word "transformation" this or that in their literature is part of this movement today. They are increasingly gaining power, increasingly involving themselves in politics, their sights set firmly on putting their religious dogma in the driving seat of government, no matter what anybody else thinks or feels about it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The No-man's-land Of Spiritual Warfare

I object to liars tarnishing the name of gay people, reducing them to "deviants who choose to sin" and who "can change" - in turn helping to make life even harder for them.

I assure you, gay-hating pulpit-pilots could never be as sad as I am when I see inequity and deceit peddled as truth and used to destroy the lives of innocent people because of idiotic superstitions and childish spite. People who believe this rubbish should be ashamed - and as a former Christian I am ashamed of and for them.

Besides, unless you are born GLBT or I, how would you ever know the truth for yourself? And then you nice bigots display the arrogance to call me ignorant - you who wholeheartedly worship a god you have never seen or heard or seen any true evidence of.

Nobody could get better at "brainwashing" people than the church - they have been at it for 2000 years and they often get people to deny their own natures just out of fear of the machine they are well greased little cogs of.

And just because I dont buy into their religion or their method of believing anything does not mean I am not "spiritual" or don't have faith. However they usually assume that just because they don't like the facts it means they can and should turn nasty. How they deduce this hatred and intolerance could ever prove their "Christian love" for anybody is beyond me.

I repeat - how can you know something if there is no way to know it? How can you possibly trust books written and edited and mistranslated - and then even the word of others who have only read the same unreliable rhetoric and thus know as little if not less about the subject as yourself?

Quite frankly I am not interested in what other people say god is or wants or says - or what they say makes him, her or it vomit - because the truth is, NOBODY really knows. I will find out for myself - as in the end will they.

Interesting claims they make in their desperate scramble to cling to any last threads of legitimacy and godly authority in their crusade to destroy the pink community in their vaunted "culture war" - their self-proclaimed "war on homosexuality". All respect to your faith, but there is no way you can prove anything you claim - all that you can prove is that you believe it.

No people, I'm not fighting God - I'm not that arrogant or ambitious. I'm fighting against hate and bigotry and ignorance and the persecution and suffering of people like me. So we have the same freedoms as straight people? Really? How about the people who are murdered out of hate for being gay or trans? The lesbians who are "correctively raped" - or the hate people vent publicly and in the media against the pink community out of their precious "morality" - with IMPUNITY? So much for our vaunted equality.

You demand "morality", do you? - well honey, as they so rightly say - charity begins at home.

If you call standing against hate 'evil' or even 'wrong' then perhaps you are the one who has lost touch with reality and not me? I think you have lost the plot - it is in your churches and groups and basements - thickening - congealing like spilled blood.

And if there is a god, (as I sincerely hope there is) will he be standing beside people being persecuted - or with those who commit acts of hatred, especially in his own name?

They keep showing how uncompassionate they are by calling our state of being a "lifestyle" - they call it a choice - and yet any gay or trans person KNOWS there is no choice, it is who we are. And science accepts this, has even found ways of showing this to be fact - and still some refute it because it happens to challenge what nonsense they have been taught by other people with massive chips on their shoulders and social positions to maintain through blowing hot air and keeping the little ants busy to prevent the hive from falling apart through lack of giants to slay.

This is how we come into this world - and people who do not care enough to even try to understand us, condemn and perscute us out of hatred and ignorance. They see what we are as a disease or something that should not be tolerated and should be changed or stamped out at all costs. I must say that sort of outlook causes me to question what kind of a god they have faith in - or more to the point - what kind of monster they think god to be.

Yes, they are ignorant. And without compassion. God help their children if any of them happen to be gay or trans - because it seems they will not. Instead they will bombard them with intolerence, reject them or worse, pack them off to some "ex-gay" boot camp to try and bend them straight and to their will, not God's - even at serious risk to their lives.

In the end, Christianity is the lifestyle - and a choice - no more, no less.

Do not presume to tell me what I say to God, or question my faith or the state of my own heart - when they know nothing of the relationship between me and god. People claim to know all about this god - and yet they show no token of mercy, fogiveness, or tolerance of this god whom they profess to have faith in - and they delight in the sorrow and suffering they cause in others - and call it just. They set about making people so unhappy and isolated and when they crawl into a hole and pull it in after them, they have the nerve to call homosexuality a "suicidal lifestyle".

And yet they do this - and deny that any gay or trans person could ever be a "true" Christian.

If they say that gay people cannot believe as they do , then I am bound to take that as a real genuine compliment.

I have seen and tasted the hatred of people who claim the mantle of god's authority - but who do not act or speak for him - and I will never again bow before any mortal, nor feel inferior just because I happen to be different to them. The "ex-gay" rubbish these people call "science" or "Christian love for homosexuals"? I have seen it - I have tasted it - and it tastes like blood and bile. Many people have taken their own lives out of the sorrow, suffering and misery of not fitting in, of not being accepted, of trying to be what they are not born to be. Would you call that the love of a loving god? Either these people who persecute us are wrong and are acting on their own, or they are right - and god is not a just and loving father god. One of these two choices must be true. Logic.

Personally, I know what I am inside - and what I've always been, and what the fight to conform to their norms cost me - so excuse me if I prefer a loving father god instead of an ogre - and that makes people who think as they do - wrong.

Call me arrogant then, just out of sour grapes because I see through it and call it what it is - false. Call me a liar because I insist from my own experience that a man who claims to have "reformed" and "left the gay lifestyle" is a both a charlatan and a fraud who is still every bit as gay as the day he was born - and up to the day he will die. Call me a god-hating "christophobic" bigot simply for standing up against rhetoric and hate and lies employed by people who have hijacked a peaceful, loving religion and painted a loving father god as a vengeful unjust monster without any love or regard for those whom he has made.

I hope that one day those who think as they do will see the truth - because their eyes and ears are closed tight - out of fear of seeing and hearing it.

Hate Is Not A Religion

It is not a new thing in the world for people to call and campaign for the death penalty for gay people 'as punishment' for being gay, although it certainly is fairly new on the political scene in South Africa.

This is a disturbing trend among radical gay-hating people, who are usually fanatical fundamentalists or literalists ascribing to one of many religions. Their hatred for those who differ from themselves overflows and overrules common sense, logic and compassion for fellow human beings. We can only attribute its arrival here to the heavy influence of the American religious right groupings who have overrun the US Republican Party and used the gay community as a scapegoat and rallying point to try and institute a theocracy in that country over the past 8 years - and certainly the dangers of mixing religion with politics can be seen in this. For many years right wing fundamentalist "missionaries" have been coming to SA and assisting these groups under the guise of "church planting".

Many groups have sprung up in SA which were inspired by and even named after US groups and who followed their lead in persecuting the pink community. In many cases even the rhetoric they espouse is supplied by the foreign groups. Sadly this ideology and fanaticism seems to have found a home in South Africa in the form of "ex-gay" groups and political parties such as the ACDP and CDA.

The dominionist movement (also known as 'Kingdom Now Theology' and 'reconstructionism' or 'reformationism'), which is at the root of most evangelical churches around the world and which originated in the USA, is founded upon the "great commission" which they have twisted to mean "let's take over the world tonight, Pinky. Narrf!"

Part of the doctrine at the root of this movement is the precept that ancient biblical laws predating even Christianity should be raised up as "moral law" in this country and included in every aspect of life including the privacy (not anymore) of people's homes. They also want to replace democracy with a theocracy (church as government). Part of this strange concept is the execution of people whom they deem criminals - including among others, the whole pink community - a prospect which many of these people seem to look forward to with a great deal of excitement.

I'm not so sure if I find genocide that exciting, but essentially, that is what these people want. In fact they want it so badly that they have in effect hijacked a religion as a vehicle to achieve it. It is quite ironic that those calling the loudest for "morality" in SA are the most immoral of all.

The more religious figures we can get to rally against this narrow and twisted way of thinking, the better for human rights, equality and decency in this country. They need to rise up and take back their religion from the bigots who have hijacked it.

There is no point in arguing with them. Truth is they KNOW NOTHING about being gay or transgender - which is evidenced by their irrational and illogical insistence that it is a choice. Nor do they know any loving god, nor compassion, nor love. And neither do they know anything - anything at all - about me.

They call me blind simply because they cannot accept that the same god that made me, made them - and both of us as we are - in fact it is them who is blinded by the hateful ambitions of other people who have twisted biblical teachings into a hammer with which to smite down innocent people in injustice. It is they who have chosen death over life - and not just for themselves - but for others too.

If there is a god - what do you think he thinks of people who perpetuate the suffering of people whom he created as equals to themselves - and therefore loves equally? They should crawl under a mountain out of shame for their ill-conceived zealotry and unchristly hate.

I know what is right and what is wrong - and what people like them say and do to gay and trans people is not right - and no amount of flowery prose and empty meaningless writings or warm tingly feelings in hollow churches will ever make it so.

Hate is not a religion.

Your bible is your god - but god is not the bible.

Keep your two-dimensional version of god, keep your fanatical all-consuming religion of hate and keep your idiotic rantings. Regardless of what comes, I will stand with those who have no voice, with the small in number, the weak and defenceless - in defence of them against such as you, the mad, the vicious and the vile. And I will show them love - and that is the RIGHT thing to do.

Go crawl into your book - see if the living god dwells in your paper and ink, when he should be in your hearts instead - and when you do not find him there - pull it in after you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

To Do List 2009

The Christian fundamentalist hate groups and political parties got their asses kicked at the polls in this year, so after that it seems pretty much smooth sailing for the short term. However, since things are now looking somewhat brighter than they did up to the 22nd of April, I have made a short list of things I would to do or see in the near future. Call it a wish list if you like, but oh well, here it is:

I would like;

1) to actually be allowed to forget all the nasty names people call the pink community (such as "deviants", "faggots", "queers", "he-she's", "gay taliban", "terrorists", "god-haters", "pedophiles", "threats to civilization", "mentally ill" etc).

2) to see a more positive attitude among the pink community, and people showing more interest in affairs which affect them, including more participation and getting their hands dirty when there is a need. I have grown sick and tired of seeing Facebook posts and statuses from members of the pink community - as challenged and hated as the rest of us - claiming to be completely uninterested in politics and describing voting as a "waste of time". People like this are the reason we struggle to overcome legal attacks on our human rights and equality (such as the USA's Proposition 8) and will cause more problems for us as a community in future. Apathy is one of the biggest obstacles we must overcome and the best way to do this is by standing together.

3) to see less division in the pink community when it comes to social activities and interaction - by this I mean less planned activities or events "just for" gay women or gay men only - and much more inclusivity. As far as I am concerned this segregation is destructive and a load of elitist bullshit that just aids in dividing us further. As it has been pointed out on numerous occasions, our enemies see us as one group - and it is strange that we do not. It makes no sense at all to fight in a burning house. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people need to bury their hatchets and stand together to fight back-to-back for our communal rights.

4) to see more of the pink community getting involved in politics. The more of us there are in representative positions the less likely the bigots and anti-gay groups will be able to force their bigotry through Parliament to make laws that will strip us of our human rights and equality. To see what happens when this pink element is absent from politics, take a look at Uganda.

5) to see less people fired from their jobs because of prejudice and discrimination against their sexual orientation or gender identity - and more people penalised for taking out their narrow views and bigotry on innocent people.

6) to see more informative and unbiased articles in the media about affairs affecting the pink community and less apathy and indifference bu media companies who often treat us like pariahs because they fear a backlash from conservative viewers/readers.

7) to see less conservative readers/viewers/audiences and more open minded intelligent people willing to find out the truth about people before arbitrarily judging them.

8) to see more co-operation between advocacy groups instead of arguing amongst themselves over petty party politics and neglecting their core business of defending or promoting the equality and civil rights of the pink community - which is why they were founded in the first place.

9) to go out on the town with the partner of my choice without being stared at, spat at, insulted, preached at or given bad service to by people without the common decency to live and let live - or the realization that they may one day reap what they sow.

10) to help build a more tolerant society where people are not judged on the basis of sexuality, gender or gender identity, race, language, culture, who people love or choose to marry or on religious beliefs and where all people are truly equal and can live together in peace.

11) to reach out to people who make up the pink community and to help give them the support they need to overcome the wall of hate that has risen to meet them.

If I think about it much more I am sure I will have a list of a hundred points long. But still, if you sit and think about the things you would like to see, I am sure you will make a long list too. Ghandi is famously quoted as saying "Be the change you want to see in the world" - and I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gay Marriage Killed The Dinosaurs!

I was most interested to hear that a group of Muslims had challenged the marriage laws of SA on the grounds that their Muslim marriages (or more to the point, divorces) were not legally recognized. More power to them, but how can this be? Easily. It seems that (gender issues aside) only civil unions and Christian marriages are legally recognized, making all other forms of marriage illegitimate.

What a surprise.

A short time ago I engaged a rabid fundamentalist group on the subject of same gender marriage - and this group seemed pretty adamant that the word "marriage" belonged to Christianity. This of course was shot down by the simple presentation of facts. Contrary to their beliefs, there are other religions in the world too, besides theirs - and the believers of those also marry. Aside from this I took great pleasure in pointing out that whenever gay people want to marry, whether in a religious ceremony (or in a court of law) they get taken to task by people who jump up and down claiming that marriage is an institution ordained by the Christian god and that gay people may not even speak the word "marriage", let alone use it to describe their "unholy" unions - but if Fatima and Achmed want to marry at the local mosque or a pair of Hindu's get hitched, they don't take any notice. Then of course, it is ok for other people to use the word "marriage" - which bears no copyright, by the way. This exposes their bias and prejudice for all to see, causing them to change the subject or resort to ranting, raving or quoting reams of irrelevant rhetoric - which is essentially the same thing.

Few forms of Christianity are tolerant of gender and sexual diversity, and even among those "denominations" which condemn us - there are individual church groups which accept gay people openly. It must be pointed out that there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.

Of all religions, Wicca is probably the most accepting religion for gay people, stating that "if it harm none, do what thou wilt". This unprecedented freedom (rivalled only by atheism and agnosticism) is probably the reason why a Bill was submitted to SA Parliament a number of years ago (by Christian elements naturally) intending to outlaw all forms of "witchcraft". Fortunately this bill did not pass, but if it did, it would not only have limited muti-related crime (which was its claimed intent), but would've made even people gathering as wiccans guilty of a crime. Clearly the intent behind such a bill is more sinister and infringes the constitutional rights to freedom of association, to gather peaceably, and not the least of which, to freedom of religion.

In fact I wouldnt be a bit surprised if it was being pushed by the same people who perpetually oppose the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity into existing constitutional clauses to prevent hate crime and hate speech against gay and trans people - on religious grounds, naturally. It seems they think God wants them to be allowed to freely incite hate, violence and general misery against innocent people. People regularly vent hate against a minority group in the press, media and in letters to the press - attacking them solely on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity - and because this is not covered in the constitution, it just slips on through. Let's see them do the same thing, only substituting "black" or "Muslim" for "gay". Brave, noble folk who accuse us of wanting "special rights" just because we strive to be treated equally. Just last year a lesbian couple was murdered in Soweto after being "correctively raped" in order to punish them for daring to be gay - and a transgender woman was murdered simply because she requested her murderer to not refer to her as the Zulu equivalent of "queer".

In the meantime, bigots have been using this loophole in the constitution to get away with hate crimes - and they will continue to do so until somebody closes it. The bible has been used as a weapon for so long on the principle of "Control the Bible and you control Christianity" that I doubt we will ever get the blood stains and the rank smell of death out of it.

Meanwhile, I have yet to meet any human that could pose a threat to a God powerful enough to speak the universe into being, or a civilization that collapsed because gay people fell in love and got married.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lessons Learned - Or Not

The yearly sexpo in Cape Town once again drew the ire of the fundamentalist Christians in the city, notably one little group calling itself "Christian Action Network" (CAN) whose spokesman Taryn Hodgson, once again laid into the organizers and those supporting the sexpo.

Some may remember this group as the one whose leader (Peter Hammond) along with another member of this group, co-authored a book called 'the Pink Agenda' - which was no more than a piece of hateful anti-gay fabricated junk-science propaganda intended to incite hatred against the pink community in SA. Back in 2001 this made national headlines - but today this group is reduced to taking on other issues vital to the South African fundamentalist, such as abortion and "blasphemy" in the media, people watching (boring) soft porn on late night TV in the privacy of their own homes - and their main grudge that their god has been left out of the Consitutiton and consequently, the government. Boo hoo.

Some rather odd and insubstantial claims were made in the media by this group that the content of the show was detrimental to women and encouraged abusive behavior and rape and so on. Their reason for objecting to this event seems curiously yet unsurprisingly tainted with religious posturing and smoke blowing. Interesting, don't you think? That they focussed on the needs of women only? No mention of the negative aspects of the sex industry which may affect men? Or of the overwhelmingly positive aspects such as many of the products or services featured at the sexpo are aimed at people with healthy sex lives and relationships - and aimed at keeping them so. But then, these folks are generally the type who frown on sex as a hole - um, whole (blush) - other than for purposes of procreation - and it is most certainly not something people should talk about outside the bedroom - 'skuus, dominee.

Seems to me the fundamentalists are keen on crying "wolf" every time some opportunity comes along to pretend their religion is "under attack". "Christians find this offensive." "Christians find that offensive." The sexpo wasn't televised live, nor was anyone forced to go. And yet I am sure these nice folks would be surprised to find many Christians among those attending the sexpo. Well, Christians have sex too, don't they? Otherwise they would all have died out long ago *wink* surely? And yet this tiny group siezes every chance it can to speak for ALL Christians in attacking other people and groups which in fact have nothing to do with them or their narrow view of their own religion at all. And funny enough, despite their vocal campaigning in this one issue, the vast majority of Christians - even the fanatics (to their credit) - ignored them flat.

The religious fundamentalist right wing in SA is curiously obsessed with sex, defending the so-called 'traditional family', declaring war on gay people taking over the government - and deciding what other people can or can't do in the privacy of their own homes. Frankly I am surprised I didnt see a poster there proclaiming "Parents - DO your children KNOW you are having SEX?". Shame!

In the end, after all this posturing, taking of doom and gloom, wailing and gnashing of teeth, only 12 "Christian" protesters turned up to demonstrate at the entrance for about half an hour - and all their negative publicity achieved was even more visitors to the sexpo than last year. (15000 on that day!) Hmm. There is a lesson in there somewhere - for those without blinkers on, of course.

"Transformation" = Religious Fascism

I respect others beliefs and the right of others to believe what they choose to believe - which is why I favor a secular state system over any form of religious government. Religion is and should be a private matter for the individual. Trouble is, Christianity doesn't as a whole like to stay private - its supporters - particularly the fundamentalists - seek to "transform" the world around them into little Christian clones of themselves - and many would favor conquest as the means to satisfy that end. (Take the Spanish conquest of South America, or the Crusades as examples.) On the whole, the concept is rather frightening - like the Borg in Star Trek whose slogan seems to be "Resistance is futile" and whose life aim seems to be the assimilation of all other groups, religions and cultures - or their annihilation.

People should be able to live side by side without questioning (or judging) each others beliefs or ways of life - or other intrinsic factors which make every individual unique. How else could there ever be peace?

My personal feelings may differ from all those around me, but I can still work with them or socialize with them - without openly judging or criticizing them or trying to tell them how to live their lives. I work with Christians, Jews, Moslems and even those of traditional African beliefs, and nobody to my knowledge has ever attacked the beliefs of others there! Honestly, in SA in general it is like that - though some people tend to answer the fanatical drive to criticize, attack and make other people - who have done them no harm in any way - feel like lesser human beings, and even as monsters who "threaten" society, the so-called "family unit" and their conveniently "fragile" religion which seemingly will fall apart because gay people suddenly get treated as equals. This I cannot excuse, and as a former Christian, it shames and sickens me to bear witness to such things which they claim are the will of a God who has never been quoted directly as attacking GLBTIQ people, even in a book which is more corrupted, edited and manipulated than any other in history - let alone unprovable and which cannot be authenticated in any way.

The fight for equal rights for GLBTIQ around the world has become mistakenly entangled with religious rhetoric - precisely because it is from the religious quarter where we find our most fanatical resistance to change and acceptance. It has become a religious issue because it is the religious fundamentalists who hate us, persecute us and who would wipe us from the face of the universe if they could. (Don't think they haven't been trying). Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our battle for equality is actually a human rights issue, not truly a matter of religion. In a secular state, no one religion should be allowed to dictate policy to the government - nor to the populace. If the state shows favor to any one religion then it devalues the very principle upon which a secular state is founded. Religion should stay out of politics. And if it keeps sticking its finger in the door, it shouldn't complain when the door gets slammed shut.

60 years ago it was the Jews, 40 years ago black civil rights around the world - but along with all that, it's always been us GLBTIQ as well. We went to the gas chambers too. The hate of some people runs deep, and as long as religious hate speech by bigoted pulpit-pilots is allowed freely in whatever public spaces, we will be the scapegoats and targets for the mad, the vicious and the vile.

It should be made clear that religious freedom DOES NOT include the right to persecute others, nor the right to take away their humanity equal treatment before the law.

Anything less is not equal!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Tough Consititution

The SA Constitution might not mix religion with politics - but it is far more Christ-like than the one many groups claiming to be "Christian" would give us!

Below is a comment posted on a discussion forum by a man who has actively suported religious fundamentalist right wing political parties and their para-religious groups in South Africa who have made a habit of campaigning against the human rights and equality of the gay and trans community.

"I cannot see any other option for South Africa but a Righteous Republic. The term democratic which by implication is mob rule has no place in Christian politics, personally I would prefer a Theocracy, but in as much as man is not perfect a Righteous Republic would suffice. As a Christian who takes the Bible literally, understanding that GOD will curse our nation if it legislates against His Law, yet bless our nation if we obey His commandments I would support a Righteous Republic and especially a Christian Republican Party".

Ironically, the same person quoted above has on several occasions stated that he wants the death penalty to be re-instituted - and that he, like others, view it as a "Christian duty" for the state to execute gay people for the "crime" of being gay. This is a trend disturbingly on the increase among radical gay-hating people in SA, who are usually fanatical fundamentalists or literalists ascribing to one of many religions.

Their hatred for those who differ from themselves overflows and overrules common sense, logic and compassion for fellow human beings. It is also not a new thing in the world for these people to call for and campaign for the death penalty for gay people 'as punishment' for being gay, although it certainly is a fairly new phenomenon on the political scene in South Africa. We can only attribute its arrival here to the heavy influence of the American religious right groupings who have overrun the US Republican Party and used the gay community as a scapegoat and rallying point to try and institute a theocracy in that country over the past 8 years - and certainly the dangers of mixing religion with politics can be seen in this.

For many years right wing fundamentalist "missionaries" have been coming to SA and assisting these groups under the guise of "church planting". Many groups have sprung up in SA which were inspired by and even named after US groups and who followed their lead in persecuting the pink community. In many cases even the rhetoric they espouse is supplied by the foreign groups. Sadly this ideology and fanaticism seems to have found a home in South Africa in the form of "ex-gay" groups and political parties such as the ACDP and CDA.

Religious based political parties freely mix politics and religion and have brought their own narrow-minded literalist and fundamentalist misinterpretations of a religion which in general teaches love and tolerance - and not mass hatred or persecution of others as they assert - into the political arena. By making politics part of their religion (or vice versa) they threaten to install a theocracy - a religious government - which will supplant any last vestiges of democracy should such a movement ever gain popular support in any future election. in short, their intent is to coax democracy - using democratic means - to fall on its own sword to suit their ends. What would follow such an unmitigated disaster is anyones guess, but I am willing to bet large sums of money that the concept of human rights - and our equality - will be one of the first things to be tossed out the window as "heresy" and "placing man's interests above God's". Persecutions and scores of human rights violations in the name of "the greater good" and "Gods Will" would likely soon follow on an unprecedented scale.

Indeed, while many of these comments are made by supporters on their Facebook groups, they are never censured or berated, but condoned either in silence or mass agreement. Seldom has any of their supporters spoken out against them or their irrational hatred. I find references by these fanatical groups to "homosexual terrorists", "gay taliban" and "militant homosexual fascists" coupled with comparisons of the gay rights movement to the Nazis rather ironic considering it is not the gay rights movement attempting to isolate one small group or minority from the rest of society by using religion to attack them and turn them into "lesser human beings" - or to take away their equality.

Nazis? Over the 10 years or so of Nazi rule in Germany and Austria and with the ardent support of the Christian Church there, the Nazi ideology was over that time very deeply intertwined with Christianity - most expertly done by Josef Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler who mixed in a great deal of Norse and old German mythology with it. And they too had a pressing need for a scapegoat - and they found it in the Jewish population, along with the sizeable portion of the pink community in Europe that died in the concentration camps along with them, and the gypsies and anyone else the Nazis felt superior to. Oh yes, it was quite religious.

Similar practice continues around the world today with local customary religions such as ancestor worship, voo doo, ju-ju magic etc - and of course, the new-fangled use of gay-hate as a prime religious rallying call. They need a scapegoat to rally their flock, and having run out of other victims, now it is our turn to run the gauntlet in the scapegoating game.

The dominionist movement (also known as 'Kingdom Now Theology' and 'reconstructionism' or 'reformationism'), which is at the root of most evangelical churches around the world and which originated in the USA, is founded upon the "great commission" which they have twisted to mean "let's take over the world tonight, Pinky. Narrf!" Part of the doctrine at the root of this movement is the precept that ancient biblical laws predating even Christianity should be raised up as "moral law" in this country and included in every aspect of life including private homes. They also want to replace democracy with a theocracy (church as government). Part of this strange concept is the execution of people whom they deem criminals - including among others, the whole pink community - a prospect which people such as this seem to look forward to with a great deal of excitement. The more religious figures we can get to rally against this narrow and twisted and brutally evil way of thinking, the better for human rights, equality and decency in this country.

I'm not so sure if I find genocide that exciting, but essentially, that is what these people want. In fact they want it so badly that they have in effect hijacked a religion as a vehicle to achieve it.

It is quite ironic that those calling the loudest for "morality" in SA are the most immoral of all.

Find somebody else to point fingers at, folks. Christians are tired of having their religion hijacked by whacko fanatics - and the rest of us are tired of the apathy of those who let them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bang! - The Sound Of One Less Mosquito!

Like mosquitoes swarming around an exposed body part, bigots seem to make complete cliché’s of themselves in their crusade of the uneducatedthe quest of the ignorant. One could also draw stark comparisons between bigots and their fellow bloodsuckers. I thought I would include a few insights into the arguments used against us GLBTI advocates in the last while, just for your entertainment (and mine) - and to provide answers to these, while swatting a few bugs.

Let's start with some party politicking:

"Civil Society activism is also not about suggesting to your members who to vote for"

- When your civil rights clearly rest on who is elected, yes it is.

"Separating religion and state has nothing to do with not electing a Reverend to office."

- Yes, it does.

"Many rulers in the past have misused Christianity to fight war, whereas the actual reasons were of pride; promoting themselves."

- you mean like the ANC, ACDP and CDA have been doing by using GLBTI people as scapegoats to gain power?

"A (true) Christian leader has his security in God and his riches mainly in heaven, which comes from helping people."

- Then why do so many "Christian leaders" have private jets at their disposal, syndication deals with TV and radio networks, and business empires valued at billions of dollars resulting from their so-called "ministries"? Curiously, none of them really preaches Christian love, but seem to be curiously intertwined with the conservative right wing groups? And funny enough, not much of that money reaches the poor... Riches, it seems, are its own reward.

"A true Christian leader listens to scientists"

- really? (Let's not get started on this one.) Why then do these "Christian leaders" continually reject scientific evidence to show sexuality is by birth - or to even consider it? The evidence is there - it exists, it was not thumb-sucked. It is as certain as dropping a hammer to see if gravity is real or just a rumor. Perhaps this denial is to cling to the scapegoat they so desperately need to point fingers at in order to inspire unity in their congregations? Interesting thought.

Isn't this what their parties and groups call "a culture war" - more directly referred to as "the war on homosexuality" or even "the WAR for marriage"? It is amazing how keen they are to declare war on people who are clearly in a minority when they seem to think their intended victims have no hope of turning the tables of them or fighting back. It is interesting to note that up until Obama was elected to the US presidency, the right wings war on gay equality had resulted in states overturning recognition of same gender marriage until just one remained – and just a few days ago Maine became the fifth American state to recognize marriage equality for gay people. In South Africa these fundamentalist parties lost so much support in the April Elections, they are all but wiped out. War?

Who’s sorry now?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The End Is Nigh!

Sunday morning I enjoyed a quiet relaxing walk hand-in-hand along the beach front with my girlfriend. On the way back we enjoyed looking at the stalls and were quite surprised to find one peddling religious fundamentalism as if it were a brand new bicycle. Signs pinned to the tent displayed the words "The End Is Nigh" and "It is closer than you think!" along with various other forms of nauseating rhetoric and "Christian nationalist" propaganda. Strangely enough there were a few people actually chatting to the stall owners, enthusiastically grinning from ear to ear, presumably getting finer details of this impending and certain doom, probably with exact time and date and instructions on what to do if "left behind". It was hard for me to resist strolling over and asking what date and time I should put in Google Calendar to mark this event, presumably with a 15 minute reminder just in case I miss it.

I could already see the headlines if this little secret ever got to the press: "World to end Wednesday at 11am - details at 12'. Doomsday cults always remind me of the Ice Age movie - you know the scary bit with those crazy dodo's? (Especialy the tai-kwan-dodo's!!) "Doom on you! Doom on you! Doom on you! Doom - ..." Nevermind. Um.

Now up until this point I had been having a nice day and was quite relaxed, but I have to admit this discovery disturbed me. Having just had a lot to do with the violently anti-gay religious political parties who campaigned vigorously against gay civil rights and equality for the election, it was still all rather fresh in my mind. In fact, I felt like approaching them to ask sarcastically if they had a paper bag to put over my head for when the world ends - preferably one with a hole in it in the appropriate position so that I can kiss my ass goodbye.

Still, I calmed down and walked on, taking in the other sights - you know, the normal people's stalls - the ones not specifically designed to provoke the ire of others - the colors, the sounds, the absence of church bells ringing and so on. And in that context my thoughts turned to my own mortality. People always seem to fear endings - and for some reason they see "the end of the world" and physical death as some sort of end - a dead stop, if you forgive the pun - and nothing after that. As an agnostic I honestly cannot say if this is the case, but if it is, what good would come of me fearing the inevitible?

I look at it this way - everything dies in the end. Everything. I dont mind dying - in fact I look forward to it because then at least everything will be over. Perhaps I may even get a few interesting answers to the questions that will have bothered me all my life, such as "what was it all about", "what was the meaning of life" (and it bloody better not be "42") and if there is a god - and if so, which group of nutters had all the points on their manifestos 100% right and who gets to wear the dunce cap for the next millenium or two. This flippant look at mortality and my indifference towards death doesn't mean I actually want to die - I may be disillusioned about many things, such as religion for example - yet the thought of dying really doesnt worry me. In the meantime I try to make the best of things - and as a GLBTI advocate I do so for others so they do not have to put up with the unnecessary crap I had to on my journey, if you get my meaning. It may sound like a cliche - but I want to see how it all turns out. To see what happens next. And that's all it is, curiosity and a drive to make a diference.

Some say that it is likely nothing happens when you die, that it is just like when a machine stops working, and that's how part of me feels. There's really no reason to think otherwise, though another part of me would like to hope there is some kind of afterlife and some kind of loving god untouched by the hand of human bigotry or one not given by them a face with a hateful snarl or blood-soaked hands. So I just go on walking the path to my destiny, doing the best I can - to me that is what being mortal means.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pink Elephants, Red Herrings And Gay Rights Activists

It confuses and disappoints the heck out of me when people standing in the shoes of gay activists start to argue that gay activists should be concentrating on other issues like racism or xenophobia instead of protecting or advancing gay rights. "Hello, it's the plumber - I've come to fix your TV."

I always thought that we as gay rights activists (supposedly) stand against heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Yet some prominent (presumedly) gay rights advocates in SA have criticized gay rights activists who pay attention to gay rights issues instead of tackling issues like racism and xenophobia.

Right.

So exactly where does racism and xenophobia fit into this fight we as GLBTI activists are fighting? If people are attacking gay rights then how does it suddenly become an issue of racism or xenophobia? It's not as if for example the White folk are attacking gay Black people for their sexuality or vice versa - or to say that the victims of xenophobc attacks were targeted because they all happened to be gay, is it?

I could understand if Black and White drag queens started having cat-fights enmasse specifically on the grounds of race, or gay men from the US started attacking gay men from Holland - but really!

The same kind of pointless argument is used by nut job right wing bodies who dismiss gay people's needs for human rights equality as "perversion" and classify gay rights merely an issue of "sin" and try to make it out as a "religious issue" when in fact it is a human rights issue on a most basic level.

It is frightening how some people are clouding the issue of gay rights with red herrings.

These same people assert that I am a hypocrit if I acccept racism and sexism and "religionism" within my own community. I concur. Do I accept racism, sexism or "religion-ism"? No, I don't. Do I find it offensive and speak out in a personal capacity when I see it? Of course. If I feel it is wrong for the media to make fun of gay people then I should also feel it is wrong for a GLBTI advocacy group to make fun of Colored people. If it wrong for the Sunday Sun to publish homophobic cartoons then it is wrong for the GLBTI press to publish racist cartoons. But as part of a GLBTI advocacy group, who do I campaign for and why?

My mom always used to say "charity begins at home".

Some GLBTI activists also express fears that direct GLBTI activism in addressing issues which affect GLBTI people will somehow result in stronger hatred and hostility towards the pink community. In fact they seem content with rolling GLBTI rights up in the broad bundle of "human rights" and then tackling issues of racism, xenophobia, throw in some animal rights here, issues of the environment there - and seldom even address GLBTI issues anymore. In fact one hardly even hears much from them at all and sometimes need to send them an email just to see if they still exist.

While taking on the mantle of a broader human rights activist is a noble thing (and there are some who have done this successfuly in the past), it places us as GLBTI activists on dangerous ground. There are many "human rights" activists out there who do not see GLBTI people as human, let alone GLBTI rights as "human" rights at all. In the process there is the danger that our rights may fall on the ground while these pink human rights activists fumble the ball trying to please everyone - which we know by now is impossible. In the end, we as GLBTI and as a rights movement as a whole run the risk of just disappearing quietly while our champions are off fighting the all too real dangers of racism and xenophobia and the hole in the ozone layer - and not paying enough attention what should be their main focus - us. Charity begins at home - and in this case I cannot agree more.

You do not see IT companies doing house calls to fix plumbing. Or hair stylists spray-painting cars. I am not saying that we do or should condone racism or xenophobia - we do not - but these very worthy causes all have their own specialist activists and advocacy groups to address them. All I am saying is that gay rights activism groups should focus on gay rights.

(I have strongly resisted the urge to add the word "duh" at the end, but to no avail. Whoops.)

While larger and perhaps heavily funded groups can afford the salaries and other resources to keep a watchful eye on everybody else's rights issues - and the time and effort to address them - as well as those they were originaly intended to defend, many others cannot. How many advocacy groups are one or two man operations - and yet incidentally they are the loudest voices in our community and echo around the world? One could almost be forgiven for thinking that some of the groups watching our issues while spending more time and effort watching everybody else's are strangely silent or even absent from the stage.

We are gay and trans rights groups - our org names spell it out for the world. For another thing, the pink or rainbow logos should be a dead giveaway. The first thing people will ask is 'you're a gay rights group - why are you campaigning against nuclear power'? Next they will expect the pizza delivery guy to arrive, brake chute billowing and tires screeching, to nab their burglars.

These rocket scientists are of the opinion that any organisation that campaigns for the rights of one group whilst remaining silent on others "has no credibility".

And yet the foundation of gay rights activism rests on the fact that gay people do not have the same rights as everyone else - and the rights we do have are constantly under threat. This is what we exist to rectify.

OOPS.

While I certainly agree with them on the issues of misogyny - I simply cannot seem to get to grips with the fact that they seem to be saying gay rights advocates should not be seen to be defending gay rights??

If that is the case then I may as well quit and take up knitting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Copping Out

Recently it has come to my attention that some of our SA girls are still having difficulties with transphobia. Yes, I know - it isnt exactly a new thing. Like homophobic hate crimes, transphobia (fear or loathing of transgender people) still exists and inspires hate crimes of its own. However, it seems people exposed to transphobia are either keeping quiet about it or the authorities are refusing to do something about it.

Yesterday a girl, let's call her Sheila, told me that last saturday some bloke in the street accosted her and gruffly asked if she was a man or a woman. Apparently he was standing at the door of a pub she was passing and drinking cooldrink out of a tin. When she couldn't give him an answer he liked, the conversation turned ugly and as she left, he threw the tin at her. It struck her on her back.

When asked if she reported the incident, she asked me who would take it seriously - the cops refused to open a docket the last time such a thing happened to her. Now this seems to be a common occurence in SA, one of the reasons why there are no hate crime statistics for GLBTI focused crimes. People are too afraid that the cops will ignore their trauma - or even turn to abusing the victims further.

Next time this brave "man" may decide to use a brick or a knife because, hey - he got away with it last time, didn't he - and 'who cares, it's only a tranny and nobody takes a tranny seriously'?

This is simply unacceptable.

Today I came across the following news article: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-12292.html

This enterprising transwoman has taken it upon herself to assist her local police department by educating them in trans matters, including transphobia. Granted, that is in the considerably more civilized UK, but the principle is the same.

She says "“Do you know how many transgender crimes and incidents were recorded by Dyfed Powys Police in 2006/ 07? None. That’s because there is no box to tick, people don’t necessarily want to say they are trans and it’s a very sensitive issue. Statistics say a third of trans people attempt suicide one or more times – if I can stop one person committing suicide then that’s worth it.”

Now the question I am asking is, why has nobody else thought of doing something like this here in SA yet?

Another question I am asking is, now that we have seen this bold and impressive example, who among us will take the iniative to approach their local police departments and offer their services to provide education to police officers on matters relating to transphobia and homophobia?

Surely the gains won by such an initiative would by far outweigh the losses to the individual in terms of anonymity and time sacrificed?