Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cause For Concern

In a country where in a poll taken earlier this year, 1 in 4 men admitted to raping a woman, an international study showing that women are becoming "increasingly violent" is somehow cause for concern? Excuse me? So it is perfectly fine for men to be violent - especially towards women - but just let women exhibit the same behavior as men - and even towards men - and it is suddenly "cause for concern".

I would say the typical patriarchal mindset is cause for concern. It should have been for centuries, but this simple point shows me the hypocritical, selfish and self-centered nature of the beast itself. Do you see it?

In a country where there is a phenomenon which is not so rare that there is actually a term to describe it - and an outcry that it is under reported, so-called "corrective" rapes and murders of Black lesbians, and the assaults and murders of gay men in the townships provokes images evoking the depths of the hatred of the patriarchal mindset towards gay people and those who by their very existence challenge it.

In a country where the government fails the community, conservative elements in society, politics and religion conspire together to pass laws which restrict the civil rights, freedoms and liberties of the victims of crime and prejudice, instead of taking action to curb criminal activities and uphold human rights.

What can you do? Well, you could apply your outrage to activism. Get involved. Do something.

People need to speak out against bigotry, to watch the media and government policy for signs of hate speech and prejudice and to act on it. People with legal experience need to challenge prejudice and discrimination in the courts on behalf of the community. People need to get involved in political parties to guard our civil and human rights, to be a voice of reason in the midst of madness. People need to get involved in religious bodies to change the heart of the body from the inside. The pink community needs voices to educate the masses about the community and to defeat the lies people spread.

All it takes is commitment and dedication. Find a GLBTIQ human rights advocacy group, or a friendly political party or church or temple that supports us and support it back as hard as you can.

What is YOUR talent?

Being passionate about something helps to discover things about yourself you never knew you could do. Even if it is just giving of your time and energy and helping where you can, opening your mouth instead of letting a bigoted remark pass unchallenged, telling your friends or colleagues the facts about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or intersex, that is at least contributing something to the fight for our rights. Even just being aware of the threats we face as a community, even just here in South Africa, is a start. Whatever you choose to do or to contribute, do it out of love for the community. This is not about personal fame or fortune, it is about our survival.

Some people cannot resist making crude or derogatory remarks about our community, they will think twice if they know you are a part of that community. When people don't know who you are, tell them. For every one of us they know, they will know the pink community is one person bigger than they thought. For every one of us they know, being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or intersex will be less of a mystery and something less to fear and more to understand.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi

"All that is required for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing" - Martin Luther King Jr

To be an activist for change is to stand up and try to be the change you want to see in the world. Yes, it also means to present a clear target for those who oppose you and your cause. To be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex today, is to be a target. By our very nature, today we are a targets for those who oppose our liberties and freedoms under law and Constitution, our civil rights to co-exist peacefully alongside them, to pursue the universal human needs for life, love, dignity and happiness, the human right to be free of oppression and persecution - and even the very right to exist. In many places around the world, the pink community is a hunted group, where our brothers and sisters are suffering a genocidal wave of terror which nobody in the outside world seems to care about.

Logic tells me that if you're a target anyway, you might as well be an activist, in whatever way, and at least do some good. At least by my actions and by speaking out, I might make a difference - at the very least I will give them something else to shoot at.

What is your talent? What are your interests? What resources do you have at your disposal? What can you do? What would you like to do?

I have a day job, deadlines, a relationship, an elderly parent to care for, friends and family demanding social time, financial commitments, and the occasional need for a break and some "me" time - just like everybody else. What's your excuse?

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