Monday, September 21, 2009

Storm Clouds Gather

One of my main arguments over the past few years has been that the pink community should involve itself in government, politics, religion etc so that those who act against our equality and human rights cannot make a move without it getting past us first. Few groups could embody or give form to my fears for South Africa than the ubiquitous ACDP.

Another strange (yet unrelated) thing I have noticed is the number of representatives of certain bigot religious groups who seem to want to "meet me for coffee" lately. I suppose they have figured out that threatening letters and hate mail don't work on me.
Nevertheless, public spaces are always, always a must - and so is being among people - and letting others know who I will be meeting, and where I will be meeting them. Be that as it may, back to the ACDC - I mean, P.

On September 21, Cheryllyn Dudley, on behalf of the ACDP applauded Lithuania "for courage in passing child-protection law condemned by European Parliament" in a press release.

By its own admission, the ACDP views "Lithuania’s new law on the protection of minors which prohibits promotion of homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations among children under 18" as "protecting families and children".

Earlier this year, Lithuania, a European Union member state - banned the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools. According to Amnesty International, the new laws which have just survived an attempt by the EU Parliament to have them repealed, are likely to go further than this - possibly criminalising any mention of homosexuality in public places. It has been suggested that Lithuanian authorities would also establish severe penalties for transgressors.

The law inexplicably includes homosexuality on a list of harmful items such as the portrayal of physical
or psychological violence, displaying dead or mutilated bodies, or with information that arouses fear or horror or that encourages self abuse or suicide.

Gay rights campaigners around the world have agreed that this law will lead to increased homophobic bullying and discrimination against gay people, particularly the gay youth. Concerns have been raised that LGBT young people would not have sufficient access to information they need in order to be adequately informed about themselves and each other and may also result in an increase in HIV infections as is typically the case in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

This law imposes a ban on any mention of homosexuality in schools or in media accessible by young people. This could be interpreted as a blanket ban on homosexuality and in effect reinforces the misconception that there is something "wrong" or "dangerous" with being gay, even though scientific studies have shown that gay people are born gay - and ties directly into the ignorant homophobic belief that gay people "recruit" in schools. This misconception is rife even in South Africa - and is clearly evident in African countries such as Uganda, where rampant homophobia has resulted in mass persecution and paranoia.

In international press, Lithuanian LGBT advocacy group Tolerant Youth Association (TJA) has been quoted as saying: "Neither agitation nor family values are defined in the newly approved law proposal, therefore it would allow to put a ban on basically any non-negative information on homosexuality." "It would be possible not only to ban websites and films (e.g. Brokeback Mountain) positively presenting homosexual relations, but also discos, exhibitions, demonstrations and other public events related to homosexuality if these could be accessed by minors."

Ironically, while referring to the efforts of activists rallying to defend the cause of human rights, Dudley also says: "Minority, radical views are increasingly phrased to appear like commands and are used by sympathetic officials and activists to pressure governments to change laws and policies against the wishes of the majority."

In the ACDP press release, Dudley also referred to human rights advocates in the EU who
oppose this law as "extremists".

Is a reference to "minority radical views" when referring to people fighting for the right of certain groups of people to be treated equal and without prejudice, not indicative of the ACDP's attitude towards equality, human rights and the pink community and anyone who is not of the same opinion as themselves? I would also like to point out that, like the pink community, radical religious fundamentalist groups such as the ACDP are also a minority.

As a member state of the EU, Lithuania has signed various international humanitarian declarations which regulate the application of human rights laws throughout the European Union, but it is now defying them. Lithuania seems to want the rights and benefits of EU and UN membership, but not the responsibilities that go with that privilege. In the light of this, I find Dudley's comment that "The increasing interference by world and continental bodies, the United Nations and this time, by the European Parliament, in the domestic affairs of the nations of the world" at the very least misinformed and to a degree, hypocritical.

This media statement by the ACDP, in conjunction with its track record of previous press statements against the decriminalization of homosexuality and marriage equality, reveals the ambition and malice with which it views the laws and Constitution of South Africa, which grant the pink community a measure of equality and human rights, despite its own best efforts to oppose and undo this since its founding in 1994.

The ACDP rejects evidence which shows that homosexuality is a natural occurrence which also features in the animal kingdom, and propagates the false belief that gay people are a "threat" to children and "the family".

In public debates held on online forums, in dicsussions surrounding the rights of gay people to equality in South Africa, representatives of the party have rejected presentation of supporting scientific and medical evidence out of hand, and resorted to block quotes of vague and completely obscure religious scripture.


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The previous press release by the ACDP in which the party criticised handling of the Caster Semenya issue - "ACDP says Chuene\'s desperation to win a medal made him uncaring of athlete\'s interests & he must resign; lies are unacceptable." indicates the nature of the ACDP's concern - lies, not the human rights of the person suffering at the hands of prejudice. Is the message it gives here not that it is fine to act out of prejudice and loathing, as long as you don't lie while doing so? Very "Christian" indeed. Rev Meshoe, head of the ACDP went on to say that the "ASA President desperately wanted this girl to win a medal he did not care about her" by allowing her to compete. Shouldn't intersex people be allowed to compete? Should they be stuck out of sight somewhere where they will not be able to bring their existence - and their plight into public knowledge?

Is being intersex an unfair disadvantage everywhere but on the sports field? Yet ironically, there it becomes an unfair ADvantage. I surely love irony in that. I surely do.

Isn't it strange that gender and sexuality are always an issue with the people who, were it not for the fact that they had children, would disavow the very existence of sex? I am surprised these people are not afraid to see themselves naked, for fear that it may cause them to think "sinful" thoughts! I would say this attempt to make positive statements on the Semenya case are an indication that this minority party is simply trying to identify with the majority of this country, in order to win support for its fascist and anti-human rights policies under false pretenses.

Does the ACDP's resounding praise of the institution of oppressive homophobic laws in Lithuania echo its own rampant and hysterical homophobia? We cannot help but wonder what kind of laws this anti-human rights party would be passing in South Africa if it had not been so soundly defeated at the polls in April.

I think the pink community getting involved with politics is a great idea, because it will make those who oppose our humanity and our human rights less effective and their swords blunt and brittle - and I have no doubts that were there more gay people represented in Jamaica's government, police, religious and political bodies, then the country would not currently bear the infamous title of "the most homophobic place on Earth". Ordinary people wouldn't have to fear for their lives simply because of their sexual orientation - or perceived sexual orientation. People wouldn't have to fear for their safety simply because they attend the funeral of a loved one who happened to be gay. People wouldn't be dying because of the irrational hatred of mobs fuelled by ignorance and religious intolerance.

When are the countries who claim to support human rights and the so-called "sanctity of human life" going to put their money where their mouths are and impose sanctions and other penalties on this vile little nest of hatred?

Some have said that doing so will "make things worse" for the pink community in Jamaica - but I don't see how - they are already in the middle of a genocide. How much worse than that can it really get?

Genocide?

By the definition of the US State Department's Stanton Report, "The 8 Stages of Genocide" on the stages and development of genocide, the armed militias flocking to attack gay people in Jamaica (and in Iraq) already define just that - genocide. The UN should be looking into this. Are they? And if not, why?

Genocide doesn't become 'common assault' or "isolated incidents" just because it is taking place one victim at a time.

When last has anything been said about the Iraqi and Jamaican pink genocide in the mainstream media? Why is nothing appearing in the straight press? Why are the world's governments not outraged by this senseless and vicious slaughter? Is it not worth bothering to report simply because it is "only" gay people who are the victims? Is the definition of genocide not deemed applicable to the pink community simply because we are made up of all religions, and all race groups? Is the post Holocaust plea "Never again" not inclusive of us? Rather it seems "Again and again" is more applicable today. Will there have to be a global pink holocaust first? Will it make a difference?

Are we not already in the beginning stages of a global pink genocide? To me, it certainly looks that way. The warning signs are there.

Back to South Africa - supporters of right wing religious parties such as the ACDP and CDA have in the past, and most recently in the run-up to the April 22 elections, declared hopes that a religious government would impose harsh laws on the pink community - instituting even the death penalty. In their electioneering adverts this year, the CDA tried to rally voter support by demonizing gay people, blaming a wealth of social problems on the existence of the pink community and creating the misconception that "true" Christians would support their homophobic party against this "threat" to civilization.

My, my - quite the wolf in sheep's clothing, the ACDP.

Current events in South Africa surrounding the ACDP, Rhema, Zuma and the NILC make me feel the storm clouds are gathering in SA, as they seem to be across the world. I fear for our community and our civil rights and what will happen should these fanatic elements have their way.

Shouldn't we all?

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