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?