One of the biggest tragedies and obstacles facing gay and transgender people today is feeling too insecure or threatened to come out when we are young - and this is the best time to do so. This is one of the things that will change when education bears fruit one day, but for now the fight for acceptance and equality still rages. That is why we must continue the battle for our civil rights, equality and acceptance - so that others who come after us do not have to live a lie in order to survive - or to face the obstacles which we who are walking this path now have faced.
These days, some people may find an anti-gay or anti-trans site on the web and demand that it be removed or blocked. Fair enough, these sites are offensive, but believe it or not, they can actually serve our purpose too. It isn't enough to just block hateful anti-gay or anti-trans websites - such groups need to be disbanded along with the evidence and tools of their hate. Their websites and rhetoric are important to us as well in that they help us to show the public what they are and the hate they stand for.
Instead, I would say that education of the public is more important, so that they will lose more and more support until hopefully they will just feel silly and go home with both tails between their legs. We need to educate people, especially the youth about diversity and tolerance - which is not reaching children in so-called "Christian" schools and home education programs. At least they know they cannot just dump a load of "dr" Paul Cameron's rubbish into schools or in the media because then we will have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even their propaganda doesn't wash in court - because it has been thrown out more than once, including the recent court cases on decriminalization of homosexuality, abortion and marriage equality.
The religious right in this country has its eyes on parliament in the form of the 'Family Policy Institute' (FPI). Legal argument and services come from the interestingly named 'Justice Alliance of SA' (JASA). Medical "evidence" used to 'prove' gay people are 'perverts and pedophiles' and rhetoric to argue against gay rights comes from 'Doctors For Life' (DFL). Propaganda and intimidation of the media comes from the 'Christian Action Network' (CAN), a vast interconnected network of missionary organizations, fundamentalist churches and peripheral groups (including "ex-gay" affiliates) which keeps press releases and media statements handy and is also ready to call a letter writing or email campaign - or a protest consisting of about 18 people concerned about morality, ethics and "protecting the family" at the drop of a bible.
Political embodiment of this rag-tag band comes in the form of the 'African Christian Democratic Party' (ACDP) which at one time seemed to be the "great heterosexist hope", growing gradually with each general election, but which was radically cut down to size in the 2009 election when it lost over 50% of its support. It seems that its fundamentalist Christian flavor turned a bit sour in their supporters mouths when their inherent hatred and rhetoric was made public. Surprisingly most of these groups are based in Cape Town. There are even "ex-gay" factories there, claiming to turn gay people straight although all they do is produce defective merchandise which will revert back to its natural state if given half a chance.
During the run-up to the April elections this year, such radical parties used gay rights as a scapegoat on which they blamed the scourge of "imorality" and economic disaster in South Africa. They used our rights as a bargaining chip and a rallying call for "true" Christians to rise up and band together in order to bring about a "kingdom of heaven" in this country. LOL. As silly as this may sound, this is exactly what such groups want - a theonomy - a church state - and not even a multi-religious church state at that - a Christian fundamentalist church-run government which would seemingly rival the governments of states such as Iran for Orwellian control and dictates of power over the personal lives of its citizens.
For instance, they demand religious freedom (which they already have) and yet consider their faith "persecuted" because there is a move to install anti-hate crimes legislation in SA - because it will prevent people in general from discriminating or acting against people in a hateful manner because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. As has been pointed out before by many people - how is such a law in any way 'persecution' - unless it is your religion to hate others? If it is, then is the fault not with you? Are you not perhaps reading your leather-bound and gilded manuals upside down or under the light of prejudice? But oddly enough, such groups and individuals maintain that they do not hate people for their sexuality or their gender identity - no, they love them - they just hate the so-called "sin" and not the person in which it is embodied and from which it cannot be separated.
To me it seems that they think "equality" to other faiths and religions in the concept of a secular state, means being "persecuted". To them it is all about running the show and calling the shots. It is no wonder they view equality with gay and transgender people in terms of civil rights as "special rights". Abstract, to say the least.
I honestly find it staggering that such groups can state their desires and goals with one face and then claim via another that it wants the polar opposite. Do they think the evidence of their opinion and actions of the past 15 years will magically disappear? That no-one has seen them making such bold statements of hatred and intolerance in the media and from their policies? Do they think nobody pays attention or keeps record? Do they really think people are that stupid? That they can do it with "straight" faces is to their credit, though it doesn't add to their credibility at all - rather to their lacking of it.
Methinks fundamentalist speak with forked tongue. Hmm.
Just a few days ago two ACDP supporters left comments on a previous post of mine in an attempt to convince me that this political fundamantalist grouping does not enforce a policy of hate against innocent people in South Africa.
William Dicks said... "Hi Christina, You should not confuse disagreement with hate. I served in the ACDP up to provincial executive level for several years, and not once did I hear anyone speak ill of homosexuals as people.
Just because somebody hates what you do and your lifestyle can in no way be construed as hate for you as a person.
I have been dealing with CAN as well, and I have read almost all their online articles on the subject of homosexuality, and I have never heard or read an expression of hatred from them concerning homosexuals as people.
I hope you can see the difference.
May God truly have mercy on you, your family and friends."
I made the following reply: "Mr Dicks, perhaps the ACDP made all those statements in the media and press calling gay people 'perverts' and a 'threat to society' and 'the family' by complete accident?
Perhaps it was only joking when it stood up in Parliament at the inception of the new Constitution and vehemently opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality in SA?
Perhaps it didn't mean what it has said about removing gay civil rights from the SA Constitution and recriminalizing people for how they are born?
I fail to see how somebody can hate me for "what I do" and what I am without actually hating me as a person. That makes about as much sense as throwing the baby out with the bathwater - or the gay man out the church door with his homosexuality.
CAN's [Christian Action Network] main target happens to be the pink community, with Muslims ranking at number two on their 'hit list'. If you have read almost all of "Dr" Peter Hammonds' newsletters on the topic (and Dorothea Scarborough - or Charl van Wyk) - and cannot see the latent hate in them - I feel compelled to ask why.
Perhaps you do not see the use of words such as "perverts", "mentally ill", "sick", twisted", "pedophiles", "christophobes" (LOL), "evil", "sinful", "threats to Christianity", "threats to 'the family'" or "threats to civilization" - or the campaigning by them to oppose every single gain in civil rights equality by them as "hatred" - but perhaps that is also because you are not gay or transgender and these terms and the hatred behind them are not directed specifically at you.
How about "lifestyle" or "lifestyle choice"? Of course, if you are ignorant and naive enough to believe that gay people actually "choose" to be gay then such hate speech makes perfect sense.
How about that lovely example of the CAN (and ACDP's) 'Christian love' for gay and transgender people which CAN unleashed on an unsuspecting public back in 2001 - "the Pink Agenda"? No of course not, that's not hate at all *wink*.
How about the use of falsified "medical studies" by sources used in that very book - and who are the source for the vast majority of "facts" such groups use as weapons against gay people? Does the name 'Paul Cameron' mean anything to you?
No, of course the ACDP would never admit to hating gay people - they only want to strip them of civil rights, equality, make laws against them, call them all sort of lovely stinging insults and allow people (whom they have incited against them) to commit acts of hatred against them unhindered by legal obstacles such as human rights law or anti-hate crimes legislation which the ACDP firmly opposes. But as you say, that is not hate.
I am sure that will be of great comfort to the people who have lost their jobs, been evicted from their homes, excommunicated from their churches, been physically and verbally abused in the media and public places - or lost their lives because of this intolerance which organizations such as CAN, ACDP, CDA and FPI and others with such an ignorant and hostile mindset in SA perpetuate and fuel.
"May God truly have mercy on you, your family and friends." - he does, Mr Dicks - which is why your party performed as dismally as it did in the April 22 election. May they all continue to do so."
I would also like to point out that the ACDP has for years shown support to such anti-gay hate groups such as CAN by sending delegates to attend its conferences on the topic of homosexuality and even as guest speakers and as a political body echoing its prejudice, intolerance, hateful sentiments and rhetoric - none of it supported by fact or science - but solely from a small groups own interpretations of religious scriptures and own personal bias.
To me a slap in the face is still a slap in the face and hurts as much, regardless of the motive or intentions. Yes, Mr Dicks - I can clearly see the difference.
Back to the comments on my previous post. Linda Yates said: "Hi Christina, God created all of us and Jesus died for all of us, but He did this because we are all sinners. Christians - including those in the ACDP - love sinners but hate their sin, whatever it may be. You sound very angry and unhappy. God created you for so much more - I pray you find the peace you need! God bless, Linda Yates"
"Linda, I am a happy person who is at peace with herself. I am angered by prejudice, bigotry, lies and hypocrisy. Fascism is right up there too.
Christ loves all people. God loves all people. Strange that those who claim to live in their path claim to as well - but in general make themselves (and God) liars by their actions - especially when it comes to the pink community.
You should be angry as well. It is in your name - and in the name of your God - that such hatred is committed and given form. Blood spilled as a result of their intolerance and hostility will stain your hands as well as theirs.
What could possibly mean more to me than being a voice for those whom others would seek to unjustly silence and revile?"
William Dicks then responded to my reply: "I suppose nothing I say will convince you, for your mind is made up.
May you one day still meet Jesus Christ in all His glory, and may it not be too late. May it be the glorious love of Christ that you face and not His wrath.
Your choices today have eternal impact on your life.
With the love of Christ,
"I wonder how you can assume that because I am gay or transgender and do not agree with your political party or its sinister agenda or religious views on sexuality that I do not already know he whom you claim to serve?
Mr Dicks - our choices do indeed have eternal impact upon our own lives - as well as upon the lives of others.
While I sleep peacefully at night knowing I have done my best and done what is right and honorable, I will not trouble myself by wondering how people who support such groups can do the same."
Fundamentalists seem to get the idea that people not buying into their radical stance are for some reason their enemies and that they should make life as miserable as possible for them and to give people little alternative but to capitulate and to follow their lead - and to make all out war on them if they do not. This, despite the evidence that the election definitely did not go the way they were hoping. In fact, they even asked the question 'what is wrong with Christians in SA that they did not vote for us?'
They should in fact be asking 'what is wrong with US that Christians in SA saw fit to cast their votes elsewhere?' What, I wonder, could they be doing wrong? There are none so blind as those who will not see.
I am sure that a great many people who did not vote for them are Christians - and to me that shows that they are far closer to Christ than those whom these ohers claim to serve. They seem to totally disregard the revelation that their God made religion and faith a personal choice (two words being the operative here - personal and choice) - and that consequently this gave rise to the concept of "free will". Clearly neither this, nor the command 'love thy neighbor as thyself' can they conceive nor process.
I close with the following question:
What kind of person claims the right to force others to believe exactly what they believe, make any alternatives as near impossible as they can - and then have the nerve to call it "free will"?