Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Treatise On The Psychic Abilities Of The Common House Fly

No, I am not kidding. I was however kidding that when I wrote this post that my very first line would have to be "No, I am not kidding". Well, maybe. LOL. And yes, I am quite sane. At least that's what the last shrink I saw told me. Hehehe. But then, perhaps I have gone quite wonko and that is just what I wanted him to think?

Now before you dismiss me for a crank or a lunar tick, please hear me out. A few years ago the place where I work was inundated by a plague of flies, coming from the nursery next door which had put a new compost heap close to our side of the boundary. There were literally thousands of flies inside our building for weeks while our managers negotiated with the neighbours to remove the compost heap. In the meantime, sales of bug spray and fly swatters boomed and the silence was punctuated with small regular explosions and occasional swearing.

Productivity dropped while personel turned their attentions to eliminating the invaders and the health department threatened to close us down. I am sure you may know how annoying or irritating just one house fly can be - imagine having up to ten buzzing around your office at any one time, regardless of whether your windows are open or closed. Imagine a building with almost a hundred individual rooms, each with the same problem - and imagine that every time you score a lucky shot and kill one, it is replaced almost immediately. I am sure it is no small coincidence that soon after this problem went away, most offices had to be repainted.

During the first few days of this plague, I practiced everything from wild swinging of the fly swatter (however accurately) to applying everything I knew about aerodynamics, thermonuclear devices and anti-aircraft theory to rid myself of these little winged bastards. Going home to fetch my ninemil was a last resort. What I noticed first and foremost - as I am sure you will have - is that as soon as I started my swing, the target would - well, fly - and get away AGAIN. Over a few hours of this, I noticed that when I was thinking destruction and mayhem - effectively "splat" while swinging - the fly would seem to sense this and get away. While if I wasn't thinking about it I would nail the little bugger every time. Hmm. Perhaps the fly was actually picking up my intentions?

I thought about it for a moment. Make that two. I decided to experiment. First, I consciously thought "splat" while trying to make fly shaped marks on the walls and furniture. I missed nine times out of ten. Then I tried clearing my mind - the results were far better - I succeeded eight times out of ten. I have subsequently been using this method whenever engaging a fly anywhere else - and I think I actually have something here. Swatting annoying people on the other hand doesn't have the same effect. No really - try it for yourself first. Then laugh at me. And when you have run away from your annoying friend or colleague, try it on a house fly near you.

While some people have suggested that flies detect sudden movement and this knocks their 'fight or flight' response into gear, they cannot explain the physical difference (if any) in the same motions applied in swinging a fly swatter while thinking either "SPLAT" or " ".

I shared my theory with some of my friends (including my wonderful girlfriend who is, compared to me, a literal genius who eats quantum physics and calculus for breakfast and unscrews the inscrutible before dinner). She even has a t-shirt to prove it (the genius bit). The nicer ones (including her) have called me - well, weird.

But even if they laugh at me, they can't offer a satisfactory explanation to dispell my theory. After all, I am not asserting that a fly can read your thoughts - or even understand them. I am simply saying that it can pick up a feeling of impending "splat" - and make a b - um, fly line for it.

Hey - what are those big handsome men doing at my front door? And why are they wearing those white coats? Hmm. Now, if only swatting some people was as easy. What am I thinking now? " ".

Death, Even Plausibly Denied, Is Still Death

A while back one of the loudest voices on the right wing Facebook groups in SA made a u-turn and denied calling for the death penalty as punishment for gay people. He said, "I deny personally calling for the death penalty".

And yet he is the one who has on several occasions instituted such "discussions" on several of these forums, and actively promoted and defended them. (The transcripts I have made of these discussions bear me out on this.)

"The death penalty was never my idea" he objects. He even shifts the blame for this atrocious lack of morality by claiming "it is not I who says so, but the bible..." - He is too much a coward to even claim the mantle of responsibility for what he desires to be meted out to innocent people - based simply on his own personal intolerance of gay and transgender people.

What a nice example of a "Christian soldier" you are. Persecution, murder, injustice and genocide - all in a days work for you.

This individual advocated the death penalty for homosexuality and has not even had the courage to want to pick up the stones/noose/sword/gun himself, but stated that he would prefer the "Christian government" (whose parties he supports and advocates) to do the dirty work for him. He has also on several occasions in scores of posts on FPI, CDA and ACDP personally reffered to gay people as "gay terrorists" and "gay taliban". Very clever indeed.

But he plucks up a little courage and asserts: "I have not denied calling militant GLBT terrorists or taliban, I stand by that."

I wonder, what would he call the militant bigots such as himself, demanding the death penalty for all and sundry - for deliquent children, rapists, adulterers, and divorcees to name but a few - but specifically on the grounds of inborn sexual orientation and gender identity, demanding special rights for his religion over everyone else? Protecting the immunity of his own religious views against legal action for persecuting citizens of this country with hate speech and hate crime?

People who think like this man does are many, but still a minority - and luckily for us an even smaller minority than the pink community.

Their groups defame us in press releases, media pieces, magazines, speeches, policies - they campaign against the rights of fellow citizens and human beings to freedom, liberty and equality, and demand their persecution in parliament by opposing decriminalization of their nature.

Curious that the majority of Christians in South Africa do not act or speak as this man does - and yet he and his friends claim to be "true Christians" - I wonder what that means?

They oppose hate crimes legislation to oppose such actions and worse yet, violent hate crime, because they claim it will curtail their activities in the expression of hate and somehow "infringe" on their "freedom of religion"?

Does this mean it is their religion to hate? Considering ALL that they have said and done, I think it is.

For years they have been waving away medical and scientific studies which show that people are born gay or transgender as a "sin issue" and trying to poke holes in rock solid evidence using plastic chisels and rubber hammers. This, despite the undeniable facts that they "ex-gay" support for their rhetoric has crumbled beyond hope of recovery with the revelations that the single largest "credible" claims that gay people can change their orientation through "therapy" - a 1979 book by two clinical sexologists in New York - were in fact bogus. Add to that the small detail that expert psychology bodies have expressed warnings of the "ex-gay" "reparitive therap" as dangerous and ineffective and that sexual orientation and gender identity are natural, inborn - and cannot be changed. And yet they see such logic based presentation of the facts as "attacks on their freedom of religion and it's fundamental values" and also "social engineering".

When gay people, especially young gay people are faced with the fear generated by the hatred of such people and their groups, and the threat they pose to them, do they really think it doesn't terrify them? How many people haven't become suicide statistics because of this fear? How many people have been murdered out of hate by people who were incited to it by groups such as these? And yet they have the arrogance and impudence to call US terrorists?

As part of his defence in his denial of debates started and fuelled by him, he also stated: "I also deny that I would take pleasure in the death of any sinner". I disagree - anyone who advocates so enthusiastically for the death penalty for innocent people who have harmed no-one must derive some kind of twisted pleasure from it.

No, you don't want gay people to die - of course not - you just advocate the death penalty for them to be executed. I don't see the difference. I doubt anyone else does either.

You are light years away from plausible deniability.

He still argues in tight, vicious little circles, never once allowing fact to usurp fantasy or to intrude in his cosy little right wing universe - maintaining that gay and trans people should be murdered (by the state of course) for their birthright, while he would be only too happy to campaign for a Christian political party intent on terrorizing the pink community and to help vote it into government.

People - if you are incapable of understanding or accepting scientific and medical facts which stand before your eyes, laughing at your density (after being paraded before you countless times, even in swim-suits or leathers) then do not pass the buck by blaming your own faults on the rest of the human race.

I am actually embarrassed for you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk The Bigots

Some bigots have on several occasions on a known anti-gay hate group site claimed that I am persecuting "true" Christians. Note that they clearly distinguish themselves from the vast majority of Christians which include my straight Christian friends and family - who love and accept gay and trans people for who they are - and who support me in my efforts. Why people who claim to love and serve God cannot live like like they claim to is quite beyond reason - and excuse. "...you are just as bias as the rest of us !!" they rant.

Oh, the pot tries to make me look like a kettle so that it can call me black?

Bias does not have the same meaning as what I think they mean here. Let me help you right - "biased" means being on a particular side of an argument. If by meaning I am resisting the prejudice of people such as them in persecuting innocent people - then I am indeed biased against them. I am however not prejudiced against Christians in general - and while I may biased against their hatred of me and my kind - I AM MOST CERTAINLY NOT A BIGOT - I just frustrate the bigots who masquerade as Christians.

They wonder why I have not targeted Muslim groups in South Africa for discriminating against the pink community. Funny enough, in general the Muslims in this country are not organizing and campaigning to wage war on innocent people and minorities in South Africa - but a small (emphasis on SMALL) minority of fundementalist Christian fanatics are - and they are not even ashamed enough of the fact to do it in secret.

I know and have worked with a few Muslims who have never said one nasty word to me and embraced me as a fellow human being, an equal, while many (not all) so-called "born-again Christians" have badgered me, made death threats and belittled me (along with their God) both publicly and in private.

They continue to refuse to accept concrete evidence and empirical studies which should educate them if they had the will to be educated. Instead they choose ignorance in order to continue hating because they so love to hate us. Stay ignorant then, folks - but whatever you believe, I see no logical reason for you to persecute other people - except of course that you do indeed hate them and all they are.

Christ never commissioned those who love and follow him to hate - or to act in hateful ways against other people (or to take over any country's government in order to do so on a macro scale) - which by definition is very YOU. If you hate or assist in persecuting gay or trans people and also call yourself a "true Christian" you are sadly mistaken.

I would love to understand how they see standing up to persecution as "persecution", but it may require a downgrade in mental ability to accomplish.

And since you have been uttering and inciting hatred against innocent people and campaigning for their persecution - please do not insult our intelligence by trying to play the victim here. You are the aggressors - and you do not even have the courage or sense of honor to own up to your convictions, but try to shift the blame to your victims. What they are effectively saying about their "culture war" on diversity is: "It's not OUR fault we're fighting and oppressing them - it's THEIR fault for being gay".

I'm not at all surprised by this attitude, not even at the personal attack by an old man I call "Grandpa Biogt" whom I quoted below:

"Tell me, Chris, (he calls me 'Chris' because he thinks it was my old male name - isn't that sweet?) how do you maintain your "female" body - do you take hormones and what happens if you stop? If you do, then are you addicted to unnatural drugs? (synthetically created estrogen and other chemicals)"

How do you maintain that pretense of "Christianity", I wonder? - I guess you read that bible of yours cover to cover every day - not actually reading the lines in there - but reading between them, where you see all your demons and monsters and develop your twisted ideology of hatred of innocent people who have done you and those like you no harm whatever.

Then I suppose you do some practice finger-pointing, getting that wave of the finger just right, while matching the curl of your lips to the words "thou shalt not..." and "it is written..."? I suppose you spend a lot of time looking in the mirror getting that disapproving frown just so - while imagining it makes you look pious and sooo dignified.

I suppose you think God is watching you from some other dimension, nodding with keen approval at your actions and words, your thoughts and intentions? Well, I think if he is watching you, he is probably not very happy watching you gleefully pave the way to hell for other people with your false piety and your clear hatred and contempt for those whom he told you to love as yourself.

Tell me, Grandpa Bigot, how do you maintain your body - do you take blood pressure tablets or cholesterol pills or heart pills?

What happens if you stop? (duh)

If you do, then are you addicted to unnatural drugs? (synthetically created chemical compounds and medicines)?

- What a perfectly idiotic line of reasoning.

Personal attacks on me will make no difference, honey - firstly, neither you nor your hate can reach me, secondly - you can't out-bitch me - and lastly, they make you look even smaller than you are already.

Clear Intent

Whenever there are Pride events, there are individuals making claims about the "debauchery" and "immorality" they claim to have seen there. Some have claimed to have witnessed simulated sex acts, full nudity and some enterprising fibbers have even laid claim that while driving past such events that their small children "were traumatized" by the sight of such a parade or festival. They have used such claims to drum up support for their mounting attempts to ban every gay and trans festival in the country.

In the most recent example, the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras was bombarded by a local community church, vocally supported by Erroll "J. Edgar Hoover" Naidoo and his "Family Policy Institute" (FPI) which clearly states its intention to undo all laws which give the pink community any equality and which religious right wing radicals maintain "threatens the sanctity of 'the family'" and "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion" in South Africa.

As one of the posts on the "FPI Parliament Watch" site (http://www.familypolicyinstitute.org/parliament_watch.php ) states:

"Our political leaders seem to ignore the fact that marriage and the family are under unprecedented attack", "Family Policy Institute exists to challenge, refute and reverse these anti-family policies...".

Ok right, so they claim "marriage" is under attack - and this reference is pointed directly at people who get divorced, right? No? Well, who do they mean then? Oh - right, the gay marriage thing. Now, how could people getting married "threaten" marriage? Weird.

They see two gay people getting married as "denigrating" marriage as an institution, whether same gender couples get married legally or ritually. Their statements here are, as with everything else they maintain, not entirely accurate. It isn't "marriage" which is under attack - but HETEROSEXIST marriage - riddled with the concept of heterosexism and the "superiority" of heterosexuality over any diversity. In short, it is heterosexism which is under attack - and they don't like it one little bit, and they founded an organization to DO something about it. You don't think they have a formal office a stone's throw away from Parliament in Cape Town just to watch MP's drive past in flashy cars, drink tea and read the electronic bible on their pc's all day long, do you? You don't think they are supporters of a primarily anti-gay political party that has campaigned vigorously against gay civil rights for the past fifteen years since founding just because they like the logo, do you?

Criticisms were made of the Pink Loerie festival (and other previous events around the country) of last year by right wingers that children were being "exposed" to gay people, as though the pink community is some sort of viral threat - and as though gay people are an inhuman scourge and not ordinary human beings who form part of the very same families which this organization rallies to make war upon.

Of course it occurs to me that the nonsensical arguments they provide against the pink community are simply part of the widespread religious right wing attempt to turn gay and trans people into scapegoats so that they can have an imaginary enemy to unite their flocks against and build up their own political strength. This is exactly what the religious right in the USA has been doing for decades - and exactly what these SA clones did in their election advertising and manifestos this year, by blatantly and clearly calling gay people a threat to Christianity! If that is not incitement to hate and hatemongering then I don't know what is. And yet I find myself unsurprised that these bigots were not taken to task by the authorities for these statements. Disappointed yes, surprised? No.

To get back to Pride events, anti-gay groups love to point out all the bad behavior which they claim takes place at these festivals, but they fail to take a few small but vital things into account. I must point out that if any such event were badly behaved and disorderly to the point where it violated the law, such events would soon be declared unlawful and dealt with by the authorities. Can you name any incidents in recent years where the police had to be called in to break up a Pride event in SA - or where events were banned in future after such "offensive behavior"? No? Why is that, do you think?

The truth is that such events fall within the legal code provided - and permits have to be applied for - if they made a habit of breaking laws, I am sure municipal officials would refuse such permits - which makes them perfectly legal. Now how about that?

Who witnessed this "offensive behavior"? Who reported it? Is it hearsay? Are these bigots flocking to watch the Pride events or are people venting their frustrations and prejudice from their pc's or chat rooms out of intolerance and fantasy and simply reporting what they THINK goes on at such events? These are the questions that should be asked whenever groups of people band together to try and silence other groups. I don't know about you folks, but I find the preoccupation of some people who hate gay and transgender people with the sex lives and culture of their victims quite disturbing. I fail to see why anyone would want to attend gay pride events if they are homophobes and intolerant of gay people. I mean, if I don't like old fashioned cars then why would I want to watch a classic car rally, or - if I'm not a Christian, why would I enjoy listening to a bunch of fundamentalists standing on a public street corner singing hymns while their front man bellows on a bullhorn intimidating passers by? If I cant handle talk shows or bible thumping soap box channels on TV then why would I specifically watch one? If a radio station favors drum 'n base music, why would I listen to it? I would have to say that nobody forces me to do so. It then follows that I would seem like something of a pratt if I then started lodging complaints about things nobody forces me to watch or to participate in - least of all something which takes place one day a year in any one place.

It seems that even if the participants of a gay pride event were instead all dressed up in cassocks and attending a church procession singing the hallelujah chorus, it is most likely they would still have something derogatory to say about it. And yet they go there specifically to watch these events. is it just to find something to complain (and exaggerate) about later?

The simple truth of the matter is that people who complain about a peaceful parade which lasts at best one hour in a particular place - once in a whole year - do so out of hatred and intolerance. It isn't just the parade, it is seeing gay and trans people in public - and gay and trans people BEING gay and trans in public. And that is the root of the problem - they hate gay and trans people. Let's see you convince me otherwise?

It is this unrealistic approach to society that makes such groups look small and ridiculous. People are not all the same. We are a diverse society and species. Imagine how dull and boring it would be if everyone dressed the same, looked the same, spoke the same language, liked the same food, or were all the same gender or sexual orientation?

Variety is the spice of life - and yet diversity terrifies them.

When will those folks realize that the majority of people (even of Christians) are not interested in fascist enforcement of the "Christian values" of a zealous fanatic super-minority? People want to get on with their lives in peace and harmony - not continually be at war with everyone around them because of the zealotry and bigotry of others. People who continually invent new enemies that somehow "threaten" their religion (how quaint, passe' and ridiculous) and the so-called "family unit" (largely a fallacy in itself) risk boring their audiences or losing them altogether - or making a laughing stock of their faith.

There are enough real enemies and threat out there in the world without having to invent imaginary ones.

Judging by their recent record in terms of both politics and public protest, I would say they have already achieved both of these milestones. Sexpo protest? You remember the tiny protest in Cape Town attended in May by a whole 18 people for what, fifteen whole minutes? Yes, I would feel embarrassed and sneak off home too if I attended a protest like that. The best part is that after all that negative press by Christian Action Network, their campaign back-fired completely - because instead of protesters, it brought far more people to support the event than ever before. I have to admit I had a good chuckle at their expense when the organizers thanked these groups for the free publicity.

18 protesters? After all that noise and smoke, THAT was the best they could do? Perhaps if the Sexpo were a gay event featuring a few prancing drag queens they might have managed at least 50.

Coming back to the Pride events, none of those I have attended fit the descriptions the right wing provide. Every one was well behaved and orderly - and participants were quite clearly welcomed by the crowds gathered to watch. Also, at least while Pride events are places where the pink community express their freedom from tyranny and attempts at oppression, they are generally celebrations of identity and love - and never more so than when they are in danger of being snuffed out by hatred and intolerance.

In contrast, the only marches I have ever witnessed under a banner of so-called "christianity" have been to enforce oppression and incite hatred and intolerance for gay people - and to deprive them of their equal civil rights. Try as I might, I can find no love in such events.

I wonder what that means?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Hardware Store And Other Stories

Okay folks, this article might a little more graphic than my regular posts, but I feel it is a subject that just has to be addressed - and the arguments provided reveal the kind of mindset we face when dealing with fundamentalist bigots.

Some people presented me with an interesting argument a few days ago, using the apparent design and function of human sexual organs as a reason to "justify" heterosexual sex for procreation only and to question "the legitimacy" of homosexuality and same gender relationships. They focused on the "design" of the penis and vagina and the apparent purpose of these organs as reproductive items - and the anus as solely for disposing of bodily waste. Predictibly, they portrayed heterosexual sex as "dignified" while demeaning any other forms of intimacy in (hetro as well as) same gender couples as "deviant", "perverted" and "disgusting".

Funny, I thought the design of a penis was to give pleasure as well as function - and it works rather well in terms of whatever hole you put it into (including among others, the anal cavity) and even using the services of Mrs palm and her five daughters. And before you even start ranting about procreation being the be-all and end-all of existence and 'sexistence', remember that not all married heterosexual couples can procreate - and that even animals (and even gay animals) have sex for pleasure and for reasons of intimacy - and not just to hear the sound of little feet pattering in the hall.

Following this, the "handyman" as I decided to call this anonymous challenger for reasons which will still become apparent, reluctantly conceded that sex was not solely "intended" for procreation, but also works rather well for physical pleasure.

To further address the blatant bias of their line of thought, consider the location of the male g-spot - the prostate gland - accessible only via the anal cavity. Shows what they know. "Oh", says the "handyman", "I am familiar with the prostrate and its characteristics. Yes it might be the g-spot, but it still does not mean we were supposed to get to it for pleasure purposes via the anus." - Says who, Jack? You got a bible verse to say "thou shalt not stimulate thine partner's prostate gland"?

Makes me wonder why these bigots think their version of God made the male body with a prostate gland that also co-incidentally "just happened" to be a g-spot. No really, have any of you ever stopped to think about that before?

The "handyman" made extensive use of euphimisms using pliers, nails and hammers to illustrate his mechanical - and quite frankly disturbing understanding of human sexuality. Regardless of his attempts, his point - and theirs - is moot. Gay people are born, not made, they exist, they have always existed - and no matter what they try to do about it, they always will exist. And people in loving and intimate relationships will invariably engage in intimacy and sexual acts regardless of whether they have hammers, nails or a few good - um, screws in their tool box.

They have in fact stated no more than the obvious - that functions of sexual organs are for both procreation and intimate pleasure, regardless of how they are used, or by whom.

Which leaves them in a position I am entirely happy to see them in -


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

There are many Christians who love and support gay and transgender people. What boggles the mind is that a minority group also calling themselves Christians attacks both gay people and the Christians who love and support them. These are usually the kind of people who claim that gay and trans people cannot be "true" Christians - and the same for the Christians who oppose them.

Which brings to mind a simple question: Does hating gay people make one a "true" Christian? It is astonishing to note that many people feel that it does - even though they often lack the courage to put it in those exact words. In fact, they even claim to act out of "love" for us.

Whatever - in the end that's what it comes down to.

Acting against somebody - whatever the motive - in such a way that results in discrimination, incitement of hatred, and acts of violence (whether physical or spiritual) that either threatens or achieves their destruction - has the same result. I am hard pressed to accept that any such motives can possibly resembe anything akin to actual "love".

While there are people on FB that are religious and who support the equality and humanity of gay people, I am sure they are quite bright enough to tell the difference between themselves and people I clearly describe as "bigots" and "gay-haters" (I hope that these good people do not take offense when reading my blog). The two are obviously not always the same thing - and certainly not in the majority - otherwise the events taking place in Iraq today would be commonplace the world over, with gay people being executed by death squads and even publicly tortured to death in unspeakable ways.

Christianity is in danger of being hijacked by people out of hatred and intolerance - by people who will not even listen to the cries of their victims, let alone own up to their guilt.

These groupings regularly incite hatred and derogate our dignity by making statements in the media against the pink community, calling us "perverts', "deviants", "threats to civilization", "threats to 'the family'" - and to "THEIR" religion. They then compound this insult by blaming their unprovoked and vicious campaigning against our equality on US as well by claiming that they are "defending against" our "attack on freedom of religion" and "THEIR" faith simply by being gay or transgender - presumably just to defy them!

I think Facebook is exactly the right medium to show up bigots and their hate for what they are. After all, they use it to express hate that reaches around the world - and we use it to show the world their hate and its effects for what they are. It seems to me that such people are very far indeed from the God and the Christ they claim to serve who commanded them to "love one another as I have loved you". In short, they are false prophets seeking their own glory through our destruction.

IMHO if this God supported them in this, they would have triumphed long ago - instead they are reduced to conspiring in dark corners after a sound defeat in the recent elections both here and in the USA.

They ask where they went wrong - and it is here:

"If God be for us, who can stand against us?" and "How can you claim to love god whom you haven't seen, yet hate your brother whom you have seen?"

Obviously God does not side with liars, hypocrites, bigots and those who would bring about our end through genocide if they could manage it.

Clearly they need to look at their own lives and relations with God before pointing fingers at anyone else. I doubt they will very much like what they will find. Which to my mind is exactly why they invent reasons to look outward instead of inward - at their own flaws - why they choose to believe it is because we are still here, facing up to them. Some clearly feel that they have not hated or persecuted us hard enough in order to triumph over us.

It seems at the moment the pink community is enjoying a lull in the "culture war" because all the bigot groups in SA are focussing on the government intitative to legalize prostitution - and the bigots perpetual obsession with abortion. I suppose we should enjoy this while it lasts because once that is dealt with, one way or the other, they will turn their attention back to us again.

They see no wrong in attacking other people and making all-out war on them just because they happen to live outside their own narrow view of life and won't see things their way. They abuse the face of a loving God to inflict harm on us, and to justify what is essentially becoming a slow global genocide.

They need to see the error of their ways.

There has to be something - um, fundamentally wrong with people who do not respond to love, or who demonstrate an inability to accept logic or common sense or scientific evidence which counters their rhetoric. Nor do they respond to appeals for tolerance, compassion or mercy from the pink community. I think they should see that their actions have consequences and that we will not lie down for them to continue kicking us while lying at their feet as they have done for ages past.

While I have several loving family members and friends and colleagues who are Christians and who refuse to judge other people, I stand against any religion - or people - or groups that claim to be loving and of a loving god - and then dips their hands in innocent blood and use its holy books and the name of that god to justify it.

I really find it astonishing how so many people claim to know what God hates, what makes God happy - and what makes God vomit. Apparently, according to vocal supporters of CAN, the FPI, CDA and ACDP that is us - the pink community.

Perhaps we should donate them a bucket?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friendly Fire!

Since homsoexuality and transgender rights are a social and human rights issue, as an advocate for the human rights of the pink community, I would like nothing better than to leave religion out of things altogether. Oh, if only it were so simple!

Do folks think we don't get tired of upsetting the good natured people who show their support for gay and transgender rights just because the happen to also be religious, when we take on religious fundamentalist attacks on the pink community? Do they really think I am obsessed with religion? Get real, people - I get so sick of it I don't even like to think about it anymore! I suppose though, it is easy to see why some may think we include them with the people who cause us offense!

There are many Christians in the pink community, just as there are Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths or beliefs.

The reason for mentioning religion - and particularly groups which identify themselves as "Christian" so often - is because our main resistance comes from religious groupings and mostly from the groups known as Christian fundamentalists - who often are proud to call themselves that too by the way - and they use religion as a weapon against gay and transgender rights, regardless of whether gay or trans people are of the same faith or not. In fact, they have turned a human rights issue into nothing less than "an issue of sinfulness" - and made it quite impossible to address their attacks upon our human rights without engaging in religious technicalities and argument.

While I may sometimes come across in argument as anti-religion, this is in fact untrue - I stand for the right and freedom for all people to believe whatever they will - and to follow whatever faith they like - I simply stand against the misuse of such faiths as weapons with which to oppress and persecute others, regardless of whether it is in terms of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, language or culture. One cannot campaign for human rights while turning a blind eye to the rest of society as a whole. Neither can one warn the people about the dangers of the groups aligning themselves against freedom and democracy without pointing out details, especially when they are clearly and unashamedly motivated out of religious fervor.

I must also point out that should open minded people of faith (gay or straight) who support fairness, equality and human rights and oppose bigotry, grow tired of having their religion dragged into arguments over human rights issues by both leaders and followers of their faith - they should also take this matter up with the religious bodies or leaders in question claiming to speak for all "true Christians/Muslims/etc" whenever they attack our human rights and dignity or campaign against us as "threats" to whatever is their flavor of the week.

The simple fact of the matter is, religion - notably Christianity - is being used against the pink community with the support of many Christians in general and it is impossible to take this on without getting ones hands dirty and causing some offense in the process.I agree that sometimes it may seem that they have drawn us down to their level in terms of fighting this fight, but we must engage our opponents wherever they present themselves. Science and medicine have shot down all their arguments against our human rights and sexuality - and so the only field in which they seem comfortable now is on religious ground. However I must point out that in all such arguments the bigots intent to persecute, derogate and oppress the pink community (using religion) is clear - while our arguments are to prevent this from happening.

Certain groups in South Africa (such as the ACDP, CDA, Family policy Institute, Focus on the Family, Christian Action Network, PE Church Net, Transformation Christian Network, Christian View Network) seem to have blanket support in terms of the silence of their communities - or vocal support - when it comes to using religion as a blunt instrument against the pink community. Certain denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Church follows strictly discriminatory policies and their head - the Pope - regularly indulges in making homophobic comments and policies.

I have great respect and admiration for people who show support and friendship to the pink community - GLBTI or straight - and especially so if they happen to belong to churches or religions which seem to adopt an anti-diversity stance, as they very often take flak from their friends and family for doing so - we really do not want to make them victims of "friendly fire" also.

I feel I should also point out that wherever possible in terms of debate and also in articles which address sensitive issues, I try to differentiate as clearly as possible between the bigots who attack and oppose our humanity and equality - and the loving decent Christians and people of faith (regardless of which faith) who support us and support freedom, equality and civil rights.

Sometimes, I am sure you may agree, it is quite difficult to express in every case, but as the old saying goes, one cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. I will of course continue to try my utmost to differentiate between "bigots" and "non-bigot Christians".

So if you are pro-equality and for gay and trans rights and feel offended, please accept my apologies - but if you are a bigot, tough - and until you cease and desist hijacking religion, you can expect more of the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Pancakes Aren't

According to my girlfriend, who is from Finland - the Suomi (Finnish) equivalent for 'pancake' is Pannukakku. Now like me, you might think that means your standard winter evening delicacy with cinamon sugar or syrup and maybe a dash of lemon. Wrong.

Apparently 'pannukakku' is actually something different. It is a cake, yes - but completely different. It is also called an "oven pancake" because yes - you bake it inside an oven, has different ingredients and turns out thicker and puffier, almost like what we would call flapjacks.

The type more familiar to us Earthlings is the one you do in a pan on the stove, occasionally flipping them while hoping they don't land in the dog.

No, the equivalent to what we would call a "pancake" is actually called "lätty" (pronounced laatoo) - which actually means something like "splat".

On the subject of 'splat' (which left me rolling accross the floor btw) - I often wonder that if people who speak foreign languages pronounce something 'laatoo' why don't they actually spell it that way? I mean if a 'y' isn't pronounced like a 'y' - then why use it? No really, is it so that they can get together and laugh at idiot foreigners like me? Isn't that sort of like asking somebody looking for directions to the local sports stadium if they know the 711 on 5th avenue and when they say 'yes', tell them 'well, it's nowhere near there'?

I am trying very hard to get to grips with Suomi. Trouble is, it keeps getting a grip on me instead, giving me a terrible crick in the neck from all the choke holds. It is unlike any other language I have ever encountered before. I speak fluent Afrikaans, which is a sort of bastardized evolution of Dutch and therefore a Germanic language of the same family as German, Swedish, Flemish and Icelandic. I have learned some German and if my girlfriend speaks a little Swedish I often get it - and when something Afrikaans comes along (spoken or written) she often gets that as well. But Finnish - eish! Like other languages, it has all sorts of dots and things that alter their pronunciation, but there the similarity ends. They don't use the Nordic 'O' that has been crossed out and looks like this: ø, for example. This is exactly what I am talking about - why put an 'O' there if you are going to cross it out??

Finnish is another animal altogether. It is an ancient language all on its own. Its closest living relative is an old aunt called Estonian and I suppose their relationship could be compared to Dos and Unix. They use similar sounding words, but on closer inspection they mean something completely different. My other half tells me that even Finns think it would be easier to learn traditional Chinese than Suomi! No wonder scandinavians have such a reputation for drinking!

Alternate spellings aside, in their defence - I think that it could be something kind of like in English where you could spell the word 'fish' as 'ghoti' - or "Flemmish" as "Phlegmiti" - and then get called a chop by your mates for your efforts.

Nevertheless I will be trying very hard to at least have a basic conversation with my future inlaws in their own language when I meet them eventually (At this rate I will never get to Finland).

So on the next cold snappy winter evening I will look at my wonderful if somewhat goofy girlfriend and say to her: "Looks like a perfect evening for some 'splat', don't you think, honey?"

Ok folks, quit whining - I'm Finnished.

He Who Wounds Me Deepest Is Closest To Me

It is the people that are supposed to love us that hurt us the most when they cannot or will not accept us for who we are. Gay and trans people need to be very strong as people to be able to cope with the rejection they often experience from family.

Every trans person knows that if you are young then it is really the best time to start transitioning because the results are so much better. The body simply is more receptive to hormonal treatments if you start off when you are in your teens or early twenties. There is simply so much less cross-gender damage to undo. The downside of this of course, is that when you are young and still living with your parents, you cannot suport yourself - and your wellfare is in someone elses hands. If parents are loving and understanding enough to accept the truth about their children, and to help them instead of standing in their way - or worse, rejecting them and subjecting them to emotional abuse and blackmail, then these are very lucky people indeed.

Not every family is financially blessed enough to fund the cost of the entire transition, but at the very least they can provide an atmosphere of love, tolerance and acceptance - what they need most - far more than the medication and medical treatments and procedures that will follow. If parents embarrass, isolate, threaten, abuse and intimidate gay or trans children, they are for all intents and purposes priming a tragedy waiting to happen.

This is what makes our youth so vulnerable, and why in some places there are so many transgender and gay youth forced to turn to prostitution to support themselves - or suicide - after being deserted by their "moral" families.

Man, I surely do love irony in that!

There are groups out there, even here in quiet, boring little South Africa claiming "give us your gay and trans - and we will bend them straight again". They are a part of what is called the "ex-gay" movement, started originally in the USA by a group called "Exodus International". They use disproven and heavilly criticized ideas and techniques which every respected medical associasion around the world (including South Africa's Psychiatric Association) has warned against. "reparitive therapy" as it is called, causes feelings of shame and guilt so profound that it very often leads to depression, suicide and other self-destructiove behavior in its victims. In short, these groups have no authority, no credibility - and no conscience.

Recently a cornerstone of the ex-gay movement crumbled when it was uncovered that the "studies" conducted and used in a book "proving" that two sexologists in the US successfully used therapy to make gay people straight was a fraud. Approximately 300 case studies used in the book, in fact never took place and stats and figures used in the book were in fact fabricated. In fact, even one of the authors of this book published in 1979 further admitted that "the book should never have been published in the first place". So much for the "feasibility" of ex-gay therapy. Now the charlatans are right back to claiming "faith healing" and snake charms.

Despite having no credibility and no proven success rate (unless you count the suicide statistics they love to refer to as proof of their claims that homosexuality is "a suicidal lifestyle"), and no reason to "make people stright" other than their own abundantly clear religious fundamentalist bigotry - they are nevertheless going ahead anyway. Some churches and even some schools will even refer fresh meat to these grinders, all to satisfy religious bigotry. They claim that parents and the "afflicted" children can "pray away the gay".

The hands of anti-GLBTI groups are drenched in the blood of innocent people. Just because they do not squeeze a trigger or swing an axe does not make them innocent of the deaths resulting from the persecution they commit or incite others to commit. They are as bad as racists, and they are no better than the Nazi butchers of old.

This is the kind of lie that costs lives.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hate Speech Kills

Homosexuality is legal in Iraq but is condemned by religious leaders. Recently, two gay men were murdered in March and four more were found dead in the Baghdad Shiite slum of Sadr City in April. Both incidents closely followed condemnations of homosexuality by leading local clerics. In Iraq, despite the legal status of homosexuality, Amnesty International reports that twenty five boys and men were killed in Baghdad between March and April because they were, or were perceived to be, gay.

This sort of tragedy happens around the world on a regular basis and often goes unreported as a hate crime. And the sweet part is that hate speech fuels this sort of hate crime. And hate speech is intentional, especially when people realize in advance what effects it would have. Unbelievably some people rejoice over such acts in the name of whatever God they worship, saying it was just punishment for their "crimes" and then they pass around the collection plate. Hate speech kills, what more proof does the world's religious leaders need of this? How much longer will this continue?

This deathtoll - which mounts daily in the battlefields for equality around the world are just more casualties in the so-called "culture war" - a completely unnecessary war that has cost so many innocent lives, and caused so many needless tragedies already. In Jamaica gay people flee for their lives, pursued by mobs who would tear them limb from limb, unfettered by law. Pictures of the execution of two teenage boys being publicly hanged in Iran circulate the world - their only crime? Being gay. In America a young trans woman is bludgeoned to death by a man who later claims "I killed IT." Fortunately he will have many years behind bars to ponder the inhumanity and cruelty reflected in his deed - and his words. In Russia and former Soviet nations, fledgling Pride events come under violent attack and threat of death - and even the police are reluctant to intervene.

Around the world, the pink community fights for recognition, equality and civil rights, against oppression, discrimination and annihilation. War? I would call it that.

Horrific tales of the barbarism evident in the Iraqi murders unfold with descriptions of abductions, victims having their anuses glued shut with surgical tissue adhesive and being forced to ingest a powerful laxative. The victims die writhing in terrible agony as their insides rupture. Such unimaginable cruelty, and all because of ignorance, hatred and intolerance - propagated by hate speech.

The irony and added insult is that these monsters probably think they are nice ordinary guys - good guys. Things like this challenge any remaining hint of belief in me that there is a God - and if there is, that he is a loving god. If anything, I have certainly lost all faith in humanity a long time ago.

Things like this sadden me beyond words. Horrors like this make me wish I was better at violence than words - and I am pretty damn good at words. Such people hate us - belittle us as "not being human" and "being evil" - and yet being capable of such unspeakable acts they still see themselves as "better" than us?

Not by a long shot. They deserve whatever harm comes to them - and may it come to them on swift wings.

It seems it is not unusual these days for clerics in Iraq to mix in a good portion of anti-gay rhetoric in their prayers and sermons. The same can be said for many Christian churches these days. Is it any surprise that devout believers take these messages to heart and put actions to them?

All propaganda and personal issues aside, regardless of whether you are straight or gay, if you believe in a loving God - you will resist all attempts by groups and individuals to spread unfounded lies and incite hatred against people simply because they happen to be different to you. Hate speech causes things like this.

A few in our community may call for the return of the death penalty. If only it were so simple. I would like nothing better than to reward the monsters responsible for such horrors and cruelty with a dose of their own medicine - but how does one justify death? It undoes nothing, it makes nothing right again, does not restore any balance. It just begets more death, more sorrow.

In the end, what is done is done.

And people cannot learn from their mistakes - or be utterly miserable because of them - if they are dead.

The death penalty may reward the killers for their acts of hatred, but it will not help the victims - nor will it prevent hate crimes like this from happening. Regretfully, imposing the death penalty on the instruments of these crimes of hate will not dissuade the people inciting the hate behind the scenes from continuing to do so in future.

Some countries still have the death penalty - and they still have hate crimes like this. Some countries USE the death penalty as an excuse and a tool to DO things like this.

It is hate speech that fuels crimes like this - hate speech that influences people and generates hatred for those they see as different to them and therefore "evil" in their view and deserving of "punishment".

The solution isn't the death penalty - the solution is to stop the hate.

What can stop these acts of inhuman cruelty and barbarism? What can stop the lies? What can stop the hate? The answer to that is far simpler than any of us realize.

Education in truth and fact.

Tolerance of diversity.