Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Know, Therefore I Am

The murder trial of the killers of Eudy Simalane made me realize a few things. One was that the hatred some people feel for gay and transgender people is alive and well - while a fine and upstanding woman like her is dead because of it - and that up until I read a few articles on her death I never knew that SA even had a national female soccer team - or that she was their captain. While searching through this muddle of emotion and drama in the circumstances surrounding this tragedy, I realize why.

The Patriarchy.

No, I am not blaming her death - nor the deaths or "corrective rapes" of Eudy and others like her on men - at least not on all men - but on the pervasive cultural "norm" if you will, that society, politics and religion is based upon the principle of male dominance and "authority". "But this is the 21st century" I hear some people say, "women have jobs, vote and have full authority over their careers and even their own bodies". Really?

Turn on the TV and whenever you see sport, you will see male athletes and sportsMEN. If you see football, it will be the male soccer team, Bafana Bafana - which has become renowned (or rather infamous) for its dismal performance and embarrassing defeats. You never hear of so-and-so being the proud sponsors of the female equivalent - or that their name is Banyana Banyana. You never hear newsreaders proudly proclaiming news of their sporting victories - or even berating them for their defeats. I honestly don't know what their performance is against international sides - because honestly, as far as the SA news industry is concerned, they really don't seem to even exist.

You see, sport - like the world - is male dominated. And like marriage, it's all about what the man wants - and to use a euphemism, who gets to be on top. Too bad if women want to do anything for themselves or to represent their country in sporting achievements - if it's netball or table tennis then it's ok, because that can be considered "girl sports" which men "aren't interested in anyway" - but just let women try to compete for attention by playing rugby or soccer and suddenly we are invading "their" space. And that is the point where you lose their interest and that now famous glass ceiling slides into place.

I have never heard of some good old South African sports fans having a braai with twenty good friends to watch the women's rugby team take on Australia or New Zealand on DSTV over beers, chops and peanuts. I can't even name one member of the SA women's rugby team - can you? I can however name one member of the Banyana Banyana football - and she is dead.

Notice how whenever people speak about males and females - oops, did you notice that? It seems to be an unwritten convention to list "males" before "females". Him or her, he or she, his and hers - Mr and Mrs.

Religious punters in the political arena also despise the right of women to assume control of their own bodies. Let's take abortion for example. It is men who challenge a woman's right to go through with an unwanted pregnancy or not. They want to ban all forms of abortion - and no, not just those demanded by the stereotypical sluts who sleep around without taking appropriate precautions and get caught out - (let alone taking into account that it takes two to tango) but even those women who were forcibly made pregnant by rapists. They wish to take away a woman's rights and her say over her own body and to compound the inhuman assault on her humanity even after the rapist has had his turn.

Arguments of "it's her body" and it's only a bundle of cells and not a "baby" yet fall on deaf ears with them because "the bible says" blah, blah, blah. What it comes down to here is that a bundle of cells implanted by a monster undeserving of even the air in his lungs is more important to them than the dignity and well being of the true victim - committed if you will, by a "man" - or at least a creature with male genitalia. When women lay rape charges they are grilled on the stands and also become the victims of character assassins who drag their entire sexual history into public scrutiny - as if it has any relevance whatsoever - and the perpetrators still claim she said "no" but meant "yes".

If men could fall pregnant - or be legally raped, or understand the subtle differences between "yes" and "no", I am certain you would soon see them change their tune about abortion and the treatment and trivialization of the suffering of rape victims.

Let's look at another area where women are short changed. Salaries. Did you know that even today in South Africa (where women are supposed to be treated equally), men still get paid more than their female counterparts? No equal pay for equal work. Why? Ask this little question and invariably you will be told it is supposedly because women take maternity leave and men do not. Okay, right - so how about women who have either had children already, or are incapable of doing so - or single women, or women who choose not to have annoying little ankle-biters around? Does a man suffering from a medical condition requiring downtime for example get his salary downgraded for all the time taken off for medical treatment? Do they fit into a separate salary notch? No?

What about the famous example of female actors and singers? Since the start of modern show business and the recording industry, women on average get paid noticeably less than their male counterparts. I am sure that you will see at this point how ridiculous the suggestion about "maternity leave" becomes if you try to apply it in such an industry, with superstars such as Madonna, Britney Spears (love or hate her) or Cher.

Take a desk job for example. Apparently women who do the very same job, be it administration or any other job pushing a pen or clicking a mouse, or on the basis of qualifications or work experience or knowledge - get paid less than a man doing that job. Does the man have some special qualification that he gets such an unreasonable privilege? Or does his qualification reside in his underwear?

Once again, the patriarchy. The Old Boys Network - and that painful reminder of ages past - the glass ceiling.

When it comes to protecting itself, the male ego likes to flex its muscles. How dare women enter the workplace and compete with MEN for work? What do men really think when they are taking instructions from a female supervisor, especially when they are on the red carpet in front of a female superior? "Who the hell does she think she is?" And I am sure there will be that baneful description applied to every women by a man at least once in her life - "bitch". Consider also the plenitude of profane adjectives in English which are applicable to the female gender, versus the scarcity of male equivalents. "Bastard" just doesn't quite cut it, does it - and in any case it certainly does not equal "bitch" as true to form, "bastard" applies to illegitimate offspring of either gender. Interesting, don't you think?

Men seem to have arranged things so that they get it all their own way - no wonder they get so upset
when we start rearranging the furniture.

It has been less than 30 years in this country since women ceased being treated like idiot children, 70 years since women were allowed to operate a motor vehicle, 90 or so years since women won the right to vote, 100 or so since women were allowed to own property, inherit or even rule anything other than the family kitchen. It has been at least a century since women ceased being little more than the property of their husbands or fathers. Talking cattle. In the modern world the rise of women to the point where they can almost consider themselves having equality still makes some males of the species choke on their cornflakes. And that is what irks me - the "almost".

In some of the darker corners of South Africa young girls are still sold to husbands picked for them by their fathers - strangers who come in the night to forcefully carry away these screaming and terrified young unwilling brides into the night. men still trade large sums of money - or herds of cattle to buy their wives from their fathers. And just you take it on in a discussion and it will be vigorously defended in the name of "tradition". How very honorable - very biblical. In other parts of Africa young girls are forcefully and needlessly "circumcised" - code word for what it really means - mutilated. In parts of the middle east, where women are far more oppressed than here, forbidden to even show their faces or to speak. They are deprived of education, freedom, equality and the right to choose anything for themselves. Sometimes they are murdered by male relatives for the unspeakable crime of bringing dishonor upon the family by daring to love somebody other than the husbands that have been chosen for them.

The patriarchy longs for the days when men were "men" and women were oppressed, subservient - and they can see no wrong in it. It justifies its former power and lust to hold on to it - and if possible, to regain it by quoting fundamentalist and radical religion and tradition and calling it "love". Some love. How can oppression and power over another person's life ever be "love"?

To show the fragile heart and ego of the Patriarchy, let us look at the concept of rape. According to South African law, only women can be raped. If a man cries "rape" it is written down as "aggravated assault". Why? Because men cannot be raped? No - because they wish to deny it. Because if a "man" can be raped then all men are supposedly shown to be weak and vulnerable - and that simply would never do. The image of the all-powerful god-like male figure is their idol - and this is the illusion they try to protect. And yet men do get raped - and they suffer as badly as female victims of this heinous crime. They are thought of as being gay because of their ordeal - or because of their failure to defend themselves as all "men" are expected to. Their "manhood" is called into question and after all, gay men are considered to be "lesser men" or "not men at all".

The patriarchy feels threatened when people break down this god-like image they idolize, whether it be feminists who seek to topple them from their illegitimate throne, or gay men who in their view take the role of the physically weaker (and therefore in their view, inferior) gender, or gay women who "steal" their "rightful" position in another woman's life - or worse yet, the transgender person who has no pride of his privileged birth gender and discards it like an old rag to adopt the "inferior" gender.

They see any such challenge to their "authority" as an insult. Some of them even get violent - take for example women-beaters and gay bashers and those who murder their girlfriends in a fit of blind rage or hatred when they learn they used to be male. Or those who see justice in the murder and rape of innocent women - or innocent people - for daring to be different to them and defying their idiotic notions that they have any "authority" - or any right - to stand in judgment of them.

Some other things this episode made me realize. The Patriarchy is still alive and well in South Africa. Seeing idiotic mention of its champions such as Angus Buchan being proudly and regularly plastered all over pro-fundamentalist conservative Media24 rags such as 'Die Burger' reminds me of it. Those who do not subscribe to the infantile and obsolete notions of the Patriarchy, be they liberals, feminists, gays or transgender - they have more in common than they realize. They have a common enemy.

You know what that makes us? Partners.

Who do I think I am? I don't think I am, honey - I know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Double Talk Heralds Double Standards

On Tuesday 28 July a letter was published in the EP Herald, a newspaper considered by many, including myself to be a forward-thinking publication which frequently presents unbiased and fair articles touching on the topic of sexual and gender diversity. The letter was titled "Flaunting of gay lifestyles offensive" by a certain Mike Jones of Port Elizabeth. In his letter Mr Jones berrated the popular TV show "Top Billing" for "ramming gays down our throats every week", "as if their lifestyle is something to be proud of, particularly in a programme of this calibre" He also called gay people "deviates", and elaborated further on his personal prejudice by saying that he did not "regard homosexuality as 'cool'" and intimated how gay people whose homes were featured on the show "got up his nose".

The very first thing that popped into my head after a healthy dose of adrenaline and the thought of something a lot more satisfying I could get up Mr Jones's nose, was the question why a supposedly straight and vehemently anti-gay man would be remotely interested in watching that TV show? But, brushing such private generalization and sterotyping aside, I decided to look into it.

I found even more distasteful and shocking comments posted on the Herald website - left by very brave people hiding behind colorful though fitting pseudonyms such as "Madmark". Comments were made by people who supported Mr Jones, in which they called gay people "animals", "bastards" and one particular "Madmark" who criticized the HIV virus for being "defective" in that "Many of these bastards get to live another ten years or more after being infected. Death should occur within 48 hours after infection. These animals would then be unable to infect others along the way."

As far as I see it, a newspaper Editor should be able to use discretion in choosing which letters to publish, taking into account the content and whether or not it will cause offense or amount to hate speech and complicity to it. This instance clearly qualifies in my view. I am certain that a letter of this type directed at people on grounds of race would not have been allowed to see the light of day, yet for some reason nobody in the editorial staff seemed to think that bigotry against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation would be offending to the public - or cared that gay people might find it offensive.

The letter in question was published regardless of the offensive content - and even on the EP Herald's website, comments on the article were permitted to be posted which went even further than the article, where anonymous bigots called gay people "animals", "deviates", "mentally disturbed" and even criticized HIV for being defective because it takes an AIDS victim ten years to die instead of 48 hours. Bigotry and prejudice all in a day's work.

And the sad thing to me is that these people do not even feel ashamed to say these things - although it must be said they were posted anonymously so perhaps they think they are immune to the law and common decency. It is easy to be brave when nobody knows who or where you are. This misogyny was all permitted on the Herald site, despite an empty caution on the page which claimed "All comments are moderated and will be posted only if they are about the subject and are not abusive, vulgar and/or discriminatory". It seems to me that all of the comments made by Mr Jones's compatriots fit the bill - as does his letter. And yet there they are for the whole world to see.

As an individual I find such a lapse in judgement profoundly shocking because it indicates to me that either they are not properly reading the letters they receive - or they feel gay people do not deserve the same consideration they show other population groups on the basis of their own immutable characteristics.

It is also striking that the Herald has made no attempt to address this matter. There have been no emails of apology, no comment or retraction in today's edition - no comments removed from the website - and no acknowledgment at all that it ever happened.

This says to me that the South African Constitution means "equality for all - except for those people over there, because we don't like them." And what amazes me is the apathy of some of the pink community who still think there is no need to worry about our future in South Africa.

They think we have won true equality - well there sits the state of our equality in South Africa today - on page 5 of yesterday's Herald.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mirror Images

I was just thinking the other day about these blatant and militant heterosexuals and their lack of shame or consideration for others, their secret and insidious agenda, and it honestly made me quite mad.

Imagine parading around, shamelessly flaunting their heterosexuality in public - what are we supposed to think, I mean, really - seeing a man and a woman walking around holding hands and kissing? What about the effect on the children, seeing such shameless displays of public affection between two consenting adults? And imagine children growing up in such a home, seeing such shameless perversion! Living in a home with "parents" like that obviously has negative influences on a growing mind. Why, I am sure children from such a home would do badly at school and be underachievers for all their lives! And in the end what would prevent them from becoming heterosexual themselves? Everybody knows it is contagious and you can get it from poor upbringing!

It's our children they are after - they want to make others like them you see - they want to "convert" our children in our schools - to recruit them. These sinful deviants try to twist the Word of God at every turn to justify their sinful lifestyle and to sow doubt and disunity in our great Christian civilization - oh yes, to destroy the God-ordained family unit and to rend asunder the Church itself!

Don't they believe in God? Don't they pray hard enough? Don't they realise how sinful they are and what kind of negative effect they have on people around them? Don't they realize what a threat they are to our good morals and Christianity? Why do they choose such a dangerous, shameful sinful lifestyle which can only be described as "suicidal"? Why not simply choose to be normal like everybody else? Don't they know how wrong they are?

Back when I was young "straight" meant the opposite of "bent" - not a "sexual orientation"! Imagine going into a restroom not knowing who is a pervert and who isn't! I worry so about the innocent women and children out there who may fall victim to these predators in restrooms and public toilets!

The other day I heard of a Mc Ronalds or some other company actually giving marriage benefits to heterosexual employees and their so-called "spouses"! They even include pension and medical benefits! I hope the public boycotts them for that, I for one don't want to be seen in a resturaunt that caters for perverts - and whose adverts show heterosexual deviants kissing or consorting on public TV! The whole world seems to be signing on to the Heterosexual Agenda these days and I want no part of it!

Can't they see that the bible calls their lifestyle choice an abomination and that they deserve to be punished and will go to hell for it? So why do they claim they are "born heterosexual" when science clearly shows the opposite? It is a choice, no more, no less! Oh, there will always be scientists who will agree with them and try to prove their point, but they are misguided and sinful people who do not know God. They deny the truth!

There have been so many credible studies done to show the errors of their ways, the pitfalls of their sinful lifestyle, that they are unhealthy, mentally ill, unhygienic, more likely to suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, infections and depression than their counterparts; that they are prone to suicide and destructive behavior and that this all comes down to choice. How can people of opposite sexes really "love" each other? What nonsense! It's all about sex you see, and depravity - they are addicted to it.

Fortunately there are ministries all over the world that exist to help these poor victims of sin - to help them turn from their empty meaningless lives of sin and depravity and choose to not be heterosexual anymore.

But instead of accepting this generous offer of help, they turn on us and demand that we recognize this immoral and illegitimate lifestyle choice of theirs and call us names - such as "bigots" and "heterophobes" which makes no sense at all - I'm not afraid of heterosexuals, their lifestyle simply disgusts me!

Many of them claim to be Christians too - but how can anyone live in sin while being a true Christian? I don't believe that any heterosexual could ever be a true Christian or enter the gates of heaven!

We don't hate them of course, not as people - we simply hate the sin and not the sinner - but how can we possibly allow them in without admitting their sin as well? They would infect us! Imagine "catching straight"! That is why we don't allow them in our churches and encourage good people and true Christians everywhere to prevent them from infiltrating our schools and the workplace and corrupting our good morality using so-called "human rights" as the vehicle to do it! This is not a human rights issue - but an issue of sin!

Why, they would simply try to take over and make us believe that God made them that way - that God is somehow imperfect, because how could a perfect God create such imperfection? Saying such things is no less than blasphemy! How can this be when there are so many passages in the bible which specifically condemn the sin of heterosexuality - and even call for heterosexuals to be condemned to death!

And now they want to pass laws that will protect them from what they call "hate crime"! What arrogance, when they already have laws to do that, just like everybody else has - it's a ploy to conceal the fact that they really want special rights! They want to prevent us from proclaiming the Word of God at them in the streets, in our churches and in the media! They want to hamper Christian soldiers from trying to persuade them to turn away from their sin, calling it "straight bashing"! They want to stop God-fearing Christians from drumming the truth into them, from showing them the truth and the error of their ways!

They want to persecute and silence the Church! They even want to actually marry each other - two people of opposite genders - how about that? Actually using the God-ordained word "marriage" and to destroy the family! And they want to go as far as to legally adopt children! Such depravity - civilization would collapse! The next thing you know they will try to legalize porn or bestiality or a man will try to marry a goat, or perhaps even a whole herd of goats!

What next? Equality for heterosexuals? If that were to happen, nothing would surprise me anymore - after all, these fascist reprobates seem to want absolutely everything we already have for themselves!

At the coming of the Lamb, these depraved heterosexual sinners will fall to their dirty little knees and confess that Jesus is Lord!

Amen to that!

Satan's Package

A Facebook friend left the following comment on my wall the other day:

"My girlfriend is an 'ex-miracle'. Her step family used to parade her around to their circle of churches and proclaimed to anyone that would listen that she was "HEALED" of being a lesbian. I have since been called (by these same family members) "SATANS PACKAGE". I have to wonder at their arrogance - they proclaim an all powerful God, and yet dont trust him enough to create people as He sees fit. They feel that they need to spend their lives trying to 'fix' what He created so that we all fit into perfect Christian-shaped blocks to make THEM feel acceptable. If God wanted robots he would have created robots... a whole world full of happy-clappy, heterosexual, hymn singing, judgemental pharisees."

Very true, very fitting and very well said.

The topic was the fallacious and facetious "ex-gay" movement which is spreading its own brand of lies and deceit around the world - and recently in South Africa as well - and it seems to me that this alone is deserving of the label "Satan's Package". They - the perpetrators and the willing and duped victims - of this deceitful scheme who claim that gay people can be made straight through no more than prayer, despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary - including the testimony of the entire psychological fraternity and the masses of people who have tried this "pray-away-the-gay" nonsense and fallen out along the side of the road and spent years trying to piece their shattered lives back together again - or become suicide statistics because of it.

But leave them be... let them make their false claims, for even the most ardent "ex-gays" know the truth - that they are still and always will be gay. That their claims to be "cured" of their sexual orientation and identity is a lie and that the only reason they claim to be "cured" is because they believe that being gay is somehow "wrong" and that they have simply capitulated before religious intolerance and fundamentalism. And that they too will one day fall out of that closet once again, this time never to return. And then they shall look back at the work their misguided hands have wrought - and the misery they have helped to bring unneccessarily to others like them. And with great sadness, they will look at their hands and see the blood that stains them.

And no, I'm not sure I will pity them on that day either.

As I have said many times before - the only true "ex-gay" is a dead gay. And the only true motive such a movement holds for "turning gay people straight" is religious intolerance. And the only "help" it offers gay people is to help itself by ridding the world of gay people by turning them into shattered wrecks and to neutralize them by either self-denial or suicide.

Last night my girlfriend pointed out another similar concept she found on the web to me - on a religious self-help website:
"Stop mastubation addiction using the bible."

Huh?

How? Do you strap it on to your nether regions?

Some folks use this cro- I mean, crutch to control their gambling or drug addictions, others to control their porn problems - and so to them it seems to make perfect sense in their all too limited knowledge and obvious ignorance that being gay is therefore no more than an addiction as well, which should obviously (duh) be treated as a controlable urge. I suppose these same folks would say that being left handed is also wrong and an "urge" that can be cured by prayer. It's a good thing I don't have a masturbation, gambling or porn addiction. Or a bible lol. Because if some idiot were to say such ignorant things to my face I doubt holding a bible would restrain my urge to thump them with it.

What does a person's sexuality have to do with them anyway? What harm does it do to anybody, and specifically to the gay or transgender person - or to anyone else? Aside from cryptic and idiotic claims about gay people being "pedophiles" or a so-called "threat to 'the family'" or "civilization" they cannot produce even one tiny shred of fact or evidence to back up such utter nonsense.

Personally, I would urge such people to "pray away the fundamentalism" or the "bigotry", or the "heterosexism", or even the "hypocrisy" - because such things truly are harmful - to everyone.

Which brings me to another thought provoking question - I'm an agnostic, but if I were also dyslexic - would I lie awake at night wondering if there is a dog?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stirring The Pot

Many feel it is their duty to meddle in others lives. To them it is "helping others right", "doing good" and doing "the Lord's work". They're called missionaries, whether by themselves or their churches or by their comrades. They see others violating what they themselves consider to be the values and ethos of civilization - most typically their personal concept of what is euphemistically called "Christian civilization" (WTF is that, anyway?) - and cannot resist sticking their pointy little noses into the lives and affairs of others. Whether or not the activities of these other people actually affect them directly - or even indirectly - is of course the entire point of this perpetual debate on morality.

I suppose the very first question that pops into my head at this point is "WTF has my morality got to do with you?".

I could also ask these self-appointed crusaders WTF my sexuality, sex-life, choice of a partner, their gender, and who I choose to marry and what I do with them in the privacy of my bedroom has to do with them?

They meddle in the affairs of others, spreading news nobody needs to hear or cares about - and then act all "persecuted" and offended when their noses get knocked out of joint by the all too predictable slamming of a door.

What makes these self appointed guardians of their own narrow-minded morality think that other people NEED to be told how wrong THEY think they are? Who the hell do these people think they are anyway?

Since when is an individual's freedom of choice and free will ever other people's business - no matter how religious, perfect or self-righteous they are?

Because they read something written in a book, written millennia ago by some other equally misguided individual who was just as much mortal and fallible as themselves - they feel justified in acting out of intolerance (and even hatred) for the ways and nature of other people - who really do them no harm of any kind.

If you do not like the idea of marriage equality for gay people, then nobody is forcing you to have a gay marriage - or to attend your gay relative or friends wedding if you don't feel like going. Does it take away anything at all from your own marriage if others marry? If you answer "yes", then wow - you must have a pretty fragile relationship anyway and if it ends in tears it won't be because of gay marriage!

If you don't like abortion and would prefer to raise your rapist's child, nobody is forcing you to discard a few unwelcome cells if you don't want to.

If you don't like the idea of prostitution, nobody is forcing you to make use of their services.

Likewise, if you don't like violence or sex on TV, nobody is forcing you to - so stick to so-called "family" stations and just don't watch it.

And if you find the echo in your empty church disquieting then don't place the blame on other people for your failure to fill it (or as an excuse to fill it) - start by asking "what is chasing people away?" Here is a tip: Start looking at your attitude and whether you are being inclusive or exclusive of people, and I am pretty sure you will find the answer.

Nobody likes having fingers pointed at them - especially for things they cannot help being born - but it has to be said that not everybody seems to enjoy pointing fingers.

Missionaries are hailed as heroes by Christian churches and groups, but what did they actually do that was so wonderful? What did missionaries achieve? For "taking the Word of God to the heathens"? For fulfilling "the Great Commission"? Really? I often wonder if the commission you get as a missionary is that great, but I suppose that is a matter for another day. The monsters who exterminated the Maya and the Inca cultures and civilizations in South America called themselves "missionaries", supposedly doing "God's work". I suppose if genocide can be considered "God's work" then this could be true. They forcefully wiped out all remnants of non-Christian society and culture wherever they went - in much the same way as the 'Ori' in the 'Stargate' series. They attempted to do this in the East during the Crusades and if the Muslim world had no significant military force to match theirs, they would doubtlessly have succeeded in this as well.

One needn't really have to point out that the origin of the "K" word in SA owes it's origins to Christian "missionaries" as well - meaning a non-Christian or "heathen" - and we know what that word ended up meaning. Ironically in less civilized parts of the world (where missionaries themselves ironically became something of a local delicacy - and endangered species) the locals coined a new word to describe them - "long pig".

In South America they destroyed centuries of ancient knowledge and wisdom in a purge that scientists and historians - and global diversity - still lament today. In North America they drove the Red man into reserves and deprived them of their spiritual nature. They tried - and are still trying today to do the same to the indigenous peoples all over the world. They punished them for their beliefs and forced them to believe in a God of printed paper and ink, they taught them that their own ways were inferior and wrong - and took away from them far more than they could ever give in return.

As for my opinion of missionaries, I think they look so much better in the stereotypically large clay pot over a lovely fire in a village. Imagine for dramatic effect, a few large slices of vegetable floating on top. If you can picture this - and adding a few well placed loops of rope here and there brings a smile to your face, then we are on the same frequency. I can easily imagine a gag or two as well - and possibly one or two heathen "savages" mincing around the pot doing a fairly passable impression of "the naked chef", one of whom is holding an egg timer and the other a large wooden spoon. (I suppose I had better stop dwelling on this pleasant fiction before some rather dim missionary folk (who mistook a 1987 parody called "the Homosexual Agenda" for real life) start accusing us pink folk of being cannibals as well as "sodomites", "sinners" and "deviants" and a "threat to Christianity and the rain forest".)

If your family or circle of friends - or anyone you thought was close to you cannot accept you for who you are, or cannot leave you be and continue getting in your face or trying to "convert" you - just ignore them and their zealotry, maybe they will go away - or perhaps if they are a little slow (most bigots are) in taking a hint, you could get a really big clay pot and put it on a really nice big heap of kindling...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Summary Of Straight Privilege In Daily Life

The other day I found online a list of observations made by a class of heterosexual university students in the USA, asked to think about advantages held by heterosexual students over their non-heterosexual counterparts. I think they made a very good effort, and I think doing such an exercise helps to broaden the mind.

It certainly helps to show others how fortunate they are - and highlights the clear advantages straight people have over us - and thereby reveals the inequalities in society we face today. Hopefully this will show people why it is we fight for equal rights - and that we really have a few good reasons to gripe after all.

I thought about it and worked through the original posting, making some additions of my own - and this is what I came up with:

As a heterosexual person...
  • I am not asked to think about why I am straight.
  • I can go for months without being called "straight".
  • People don't ask why I made my "choice" of sexual orientation.
  • People don't ask why I made my "choice" to be public about my sexual orientation.
  • People don't ask me why I "have to be so 'obviously straight'".
  • I am not accused of "flaunting my lifestyle".
  • I am not accused of being "mentally ill" because of my sexuality.
  • I'm not grouped because of my sexual orientation.
  • I have no need to qualify my straight identity.
  • I am not identified by my sexual orientation.
  • I don't have to defend my heterosexuality.
  • when I tell people I am heterosexual by birth they believe me and see no reason to argue.
  • I never felt a need to hide my sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • My sexual orientation was never associated with a closet.
  • Nobody calls me straight out of malice.
  • When people use the word "straight", it is not used to mean "stupid".
  • People of my gender do not try to convince me to change my sexual orientation.
  • My masculinity/femininity is not challenged because of my sexual orientation.
  • I do not need to worry that people will harass me because of my sexual orientation.
  • I can be open about my sexual orientation without worrying about my job.
  • If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has sexual orientation overtones.
  • My individual behavior does not reflect on all other people who also identity as heterosexual.
  • I am never asked to speak for everyone who is heterosexual.
  • I am not thought of as "weak" or "perverted" because of my sexuality or the gender of the person I love.
  • I can be pretty sure that my roommates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
  • If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented and without negative bias.
  • Whether I go to a theater, or take a video rental I can be sure I will not have trouble finding my sexual orientation represented.
  • I will not see articles in the paper or on TV attacking all people with my sexual orientation with malicious propaganda and rhetoric founded on obvious ignorance.
  • I can walk in public with my partner and not have people double-take or stare or experience intimidation.
  • I can kiss a person of the opposite gender without being stared at.
  • I am guaranteed to find sex education literature for couples with my sexual orientation.
  • People do not assume I am experienced in sex (or that I even have it!) merely because of my sexual orientation.
  • People do not accuse me of being a pedophile or of bestiality just because of my sexual orientation.
  • I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
  • As a heterosexual person I will not be targeted by my church or religion because of who I am, or have my membership terminated because of who I love.
  • As a heterosexual person I am not asked why I want to marry my partner.
  • I can easily find a religious community that will not exclude me for being heterosexual.
  • I will not be targeted by my church or religion because of who I am, or have my membership terminated because of who I love.
  • I can count on finding a therapist or doctor willing and able to talk about my sexuality.
  • I am guaranteed to receive equal treatment at clinics and hospitals where medical staff will not refuse to treat me on the grounds of my sexuality or their religious persuasions.
  • I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my sexual orientation will not work against me.
  • When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
  • I did not grow up with games that attack my own sexual orientation (IE fag tag or smear the queer).
  • I am guaranteed to find people of my sexual orientation represented in the curriculum, faculty, and administration of my university or place of learning.
  • I do not have to worry about telling my roommate about my sexuality. It is assumed I am a heterosexual.
  • I can go home from most meetings, classes, and conversations without feeling excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared because of my sexual orientation.
  • I can be sure that my classes will require curricular materials that testify to the existence of people with my sexual orientation.
  • I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.
  • In everyday conversation, the language my friends and I use generally assumes my sexual orientation. For example, "sex" inappropriately referring to only heterosexual sex or "family" meaning only heterosexual partners with kids.
  • People can use terms that describe my sexual orientation and mean positive things (IE "straight as an arrow", "standing up straight" or "straightened out") instead of demeaning terms (IE "ewww, that's gay" or being "queer").
  • People do not look down on me and all those like me simply because of my sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • I can choose to not think politically about my sexual orientation.
  • I do not need to worry about losing all my civil rights in the next general election.
  • I am not treated like or called a "criminal" because of my sexuality.
  • I can walk around in clothes that I am comfortable in without that being used as a dumb excuse later that I "provoked a violent response" (as in the case of transgender people in transition).
  • I can be sure that I will not run the risk of being the statistic one person murdered worldwide every three days just for my gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • I can be sure I will not be one of 35 people murdered or "correctively raped" yearly in South Africa because of my sexual orientation.
  • I am unlikely to get targeted in violent crime specifically because of my sexuality or gender identity.
  • If I am murdered because of my sexuality or gender identity my family will receive the sympathy of the public and not be told that I deserved to die as punishment for who I am.
If you are straight, I hope this list shows you what we as gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex and bisexual people face today. That this is how it is for us and why we campaign for equality. Not to have more rights than you, but to have the same rights as you - and to be treated as human beings equal to you and not as second class citizens.

It is one thing to argue that we are "already protected under law" - and as far as you are concerned we are "already equal" - and that what we are after is "special rights", but I think if you consider the truth in the list above you will see something looking straight back at you, something we see and experience every single day of our lives.

Inequality.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Minding Other People's Business

I always thought religion was something personal and one's own choice. Even the tenets of the Christian faith are based upon freedom of choice and free will. In order to be a Christian, apparently, you need to choose to follow Christ.

It is interesting indeed that some people think they are right to force others into believing what they believe.

Equally, it is just as frustrating to me when dealing with heterosexual people who believe that simply because they are heterosexual, everybody else is or should be too - and who take it upon themselves to force other people who identify as something else to conform to their beliefs - and to comply just because they say so.

Is this not supreme arrogance?

What in their wildest fantasies could possibly convince such people that they have any right at all to do so?

Take for example the tendency of some religious fundamentalist parents to over-react when their sons or daughters happen to tumble out of that closet. Do they welcome them, assure them of their continued love and support? Or do they reject them and bombard them with rhetoric and anti-gay religious propaganda - and then pack them off to the nearest "ex-gay" bootcamp they can find? Do they try to "pray away the gay"? And when they eventually figure out that it doesn't work, do they relent and accept their children? Or do they threaten them some more and tell them to "just pray harder like you mean it"?

Something as tragic and frightening as this is said to happen in the USA every week - and even here in South Africa, though such things are not recorded as human rights violations or abuses - why? Because these parents often convince these unwilling victims to become "willing victims" of their own narrowminded upbringing - or they give them no choice at all. One such case became public in the USA last week - where a young medical student came out to his family and was threatened by his parents with financial blackmail in respect of the withdrawal of his study funding, allowance and confiscation of his car and phone and being thrown "out on the street". He was bundled off to an unnamed "ex-gay" institution soon after, where his boyfriend could not reach him.

Aside from the dire threat such deceitful misleading groups pose to vulnerable gay and transgender people, they also insult the intelligence of every person out there with more than a few brain cells. They clothe themselves with the respectibility and authority of doctors of medicine and psychology and the "love" of religion - and yet they possess nor embody neither.

Their entire industry is founded upon lies and deceit. It carries the label of quacks and snake-oil merchants and of fundamentalism and relgious intolerance in the extreme. Despite existing proof that sexual orientation and gender identity are immutable and cannot be changed by any kind of therapy at all, they continue to claim that it can. Despite the fact that they have no medical or psychological motivation to do such things - only religious intolerance and bigotry. Depsite the fact that countless victims of their therapy who have survived and - are still gay or transgender and who vocalize the dangers such treatment poses to the victims, they persist - and receive the full support of fundamentalist as well as mainstream religious bodies.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-13270.html "According to his friends, Bryce Faulkner, 23, was preparing to come out to deeply religious family when his mother discovered emails to his boyfriend, who lives in Wisconsin. He was then given an ultimatum of being kicked out on the street or going into ex-gay therapy, a controversial "cure" for homosexuality through prayer." "his boyfriend Travis Swanson, 24, said he was "very worried".

Swanson said: "Bryce was taken to this place on June 15th. The last time I spoke with him was on that day around 4:30am. He called me and was crying uncontrollably saying, 'You should have heard the mean and hateful things they said about me. They made me read out loud passages from the Bible'.

"One of the last things he said to me before falling asleep was, 'Promise me you will be strong for me and for us'."

Swanson believes Faulkner may be at an Exodus International ministry in Florida."

That such abuse can be allowed is disgusting and an affront to human rights laws and civilized societies everywhere. That parents who are supposed to love their children can act as their enemies out of hatred and intolerance is shocking. This is what "ex-gay" therapy - and religious fundamentalism hides - a heart full of broken dreams and shards of glass. This must end!

How can we ever have true equality while such vile insititutions are allowed to exist? You do not see insituitions set up to change people who are Black into White - or atheists or people of other faiths into Christians - oh hang on - they're called 'mission churches' - but somehow it is perfectly acceptable to screw up perfectly healthy and happy gay people and turn them into depressed and isolated, even suicidal closet cases.

The simple truth is that the only real "ex-gay" person is a dead gay person - and even then I am not too sure about the validity of that statement.

People are looking for Bryce Faulkner, people who really care about him. I hope they find him and get him out of there. Find him - and get him out of the clutches of those pretenders and liars who call themselves his parents and falsely claim to love him. Show him the love of the real God who made us as we are and loves us as he made us.

Resources:

http://www.truthwinsout.org/pressreleases/exclusive-truth-wins-out-interview-with-thomas-maier/ Masters & Johnson’s Notorious ‘Ex-Gay’ Study Debunked after 30 years of hell for victims.
http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=210 PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians And Gays)
http://respectmyresearch.org/ - Anti-gay activists and their organizations have distorted, cherry picked or misquoted research from esteemed academic scholars across the world.

Religious argument against GLBT persecution on grounds of religion:

http://www.godmademegay.com/ A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality
http://www.gaychurch.co.za / www.qchurch.za.org die Reformerende Kerk Gay Afrikaans church in Pretoria.
http://www.stjohnsmc.org.za/ St Johns Methodist Church in Port Elizabeth SA - GLBT friendly church
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_10cl.htm Possible origin of the 10 commandments (ancient Egyptian book of the dead)
http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/history/king_james_gay.html King James (of the KJV) was gay! Yes indeedy!
http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-science (VERY GOOD SITE WITH A FREE PDF BOOK DOWNLOAD DEFENDING GLBT AGAINST RELIGIOUS HATE USING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN ARGUMENT)

Other:

http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/050511_transfrm.htm Preliminary work, genetic link found in transexuality
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7456588.stm BBC NEWS Health Scans see 'gay brain differences'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals How can being gay not be natural if there are gay animals?
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation
http://www.robincmiller.com/gayles4.htm Playing the Pedophillia Card

Spread the truth about the "ex-gay" industry - that it is a lie and founded on religious fundamentalist hatred and intolerance and not on love or a desire to "help" at all. Stamp it out forever by spreading the truth as far as it will go.

The truth shall set us free.