Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So Who Is Erroll Naidoo?


Over a number of days recently, I was engaged in an email debate with Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute based in Cape Town. The reason for the debate? Mr Naidoo is leading an attack on Cape Town Tourism over its support for the Mother City Queer Project, and the use of a catch-phrase advertising Cape Town as "the Gay Capital of South Africa". Some of us wanted to inform him that he was being an ass and making human rights abusers out of himself and all those who support his call to target entities which he frequently accuses of "promoting the homosexual agenda".

In the course of this debate, Mr Naidoo played the card which has become expected of him - that is, he pretends to be nothing more than a "concerned citizen", a "pastor" and "faithful Christian" who is nobly "standing" for "Christian biblical values" while "doing the Lord's work". He says he doesn't hate gay people, in fact he says he has a good relationship with one gay man who has been his barber for 30 years, and whom he invites to family celebrations. Right.

At the same time, he has been using his own religious views to fight against the equality and civil rights of our community since the early 1990's, and is probably the most outspoken and visceral opponent of our human and civil rights in South Africa. Well, aside from that other guy on Facebook last year who claimed to be calling for the return of the death penalty because he was a Christian and believed gay people should die for their "sin". Wow, seri-haas. Not exactly good PR material, that one.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“The homosexuals are coming! The homosexuals are coming!”


Yesterday I received an incredibly long-winded and frantic response from Errol Naidoo - it seems the email campaign to demonstrate our objection to his attack on Cape Town Tourism for supporting the city as a gay and gay-friendly tourist destination must have struck a nerve somewhere. For one thing, in the space of just two A4 pages, he used the word "homosexual" no less than 22 times!

In the same note, he used the word “family” a whole 6 times, most often with the word "anti-" preceding it, or "friendly" following. A pattern emerges, indicating that Mr. Naidoo seems to be obsessed with gay people and "families" – and for some unfathomable reason, views them as opponents on a chess board. Which piece he plays, is anybody’s guess - but since he seems to be such an adept drama queen, your guess is as good as mine.

He might as well have called his letter “The homosexuals are coming! The homosexuals are coming!” Perhaps he imagines he is the Paul Revere of his right wing religious extremist tribe of Leviticans? Perhaps, like Paul Revere, someone will name a brand of drugs after him? Who knows? But, speaking of advertising, the advertising slant calling Cape Town the gay capital of South Africa, or even of Africa - which he is waxing hysterical about, is by far nothing new. In fact, it has been called such for the better part of the last decade. It is quite strange that our friend Naidoo has suddenly got his knickers in a knot over old news – but that is hardly out of character I think.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reading Between The Lines

Apparently South Africa has gained a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council - for the second time. Considering their track record of betraying the principles of the SA Constitution so far, I can only imagine the kind of mayhem they could wreak if they ever got a permanent seat. 

As a South African of mixed sexual orientation and gender identity, it makes me shudder. No, really. I love my home, and I love my country - but lately I cannot help but to be ashamed of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SA Government Betrays Human Rights Principles Set In The SA Constitution - Again


South Africa's government has once again shamed our nation before the free world by adding its vote to the voices of member nations of the UN who are oppressors of the human rights of the global Pink Community, in order to deny UN protection of the human rights of GLBTI individuals from hate crime specifically directed at LGBTI people!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Driving While Blind


It is ironic in the extreme that there are people out there who are very vocal about their feelings or so-called "moral convictions" on what you or I do in our private lives, who we love, how we choose to express ourselves, about what makes us happy or how we differ from them in any way, shape or form - regardless of whether or not we cause any harm to anyone else or not.

The irony of course lies in the detail that the same folks can't stand the heat when others apply the same heat to them in the same kitchen.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yes, He Can


The last few days has given me some things to think about. The recent cabinet reshuffle in SA seems, so far at least, to be something to be glad about. Lulu was reposted somewhere else, away from arts and culture, presumably where she won't be able to criticize and condemn works of art as "pornography" and "anti-family", and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba was also "redeployed", hopefully where either of them could cause further trouble by pushing their xenophobic religious fundamentalist agendas.

Monday, October 25, 2010

City Of Apples, Land Of Penguins


Where do I live?

I live in South Africa, a country which has one of the most advanced Constitutions on the planet, in terms of human rights and equality for people like me. It's a country full of contradictions, as a careful analysis will show. For me, as a transgender woman who doesn't care much about the gender of my prospective partners, it's my home, but also a place that occasionally makes me feel unwelcome enough to want to leave.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?


I sat down this morning wondering what our community is all about. I'm thinking about the Pink Community of course. Pink, because of the confusing array of acronyms we apply to describe ourselves, that almost always put some sub-groups before others, and invariably leave someone out. Pink, because of our association with the feminine, with the notion that we break the boundaries set for us by society, and because it flies in the face of some beliefs that pink represents weakness and inferiority - an idea some are growing to realize is not the case at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Holding Hands


Last night I attended the inaugural meeting of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays), a new group in Port Elizabeth. It's an initiative I developed through a group I'm involved with, called ECGLA (Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association) and the PE branch of Lifeline. This initiative is the culmination of the past year's co-operation between Lifeline PE and ECGLA on developing a community-focused counseling service for the Pink Community in Port Elizabeth - and I have to admit, it's a heart-warming experience when you start to see and feel the fruit of your labors!

Based on the American concept, PFLAG is a support group for the straight parents and friends (and colleagues) of the Pink Community, intended to provide information, counselling and education on the issues surrounding the pink people in their lives, and to break down the social stigma faced by pink folks and their relatives and friends. It's also heart-warming when people who are, for all intents and purposes, outside our community, reach out a welcoming hand and work to make things better.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Choice - A Matter Of Perspective


I was a little caught by surprise this weekend when I saw an article about conscription in the Old South Africa, in which the author claimed that "conscription was a choice", and basically placed the blame for conscripts who served their year or two years, on them. The author claimed that they could well have made use of the loopholes to avoid national service if they so desired, as he did.

There are some flaws in this theory of his, however, as I can attest. I am one of those white "men" who went to the army in January 1992, the very last compulsory intake. In fact, it was our intake that very nearly rioted when we heard after arriving at our training base that those who hadn't reported for duty no longer had to - and that we who had, had to finish our year.


I was an 18 year old child, straight out of school, confused about my my sexuality, my gender and about who I was - lost in a world of political turmoil and threatening violence, possible military coups and potential civil war, living under the authority of the state, enforced by both parents and society.

Where was my choice?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shades Of 2012

I enjoy history, in fact I often make mention of the proverb "those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it". Faced with certain revelations of late, and a certain amount of introspection, I am loathe to add "that depends on your history". This of course, is not simply because history is written by the victors, but because of the increasingly apparent detail that while we might know some of what has passed before, we don't know it all. There is clearly a significant amount of earlier history that is unknown, lost.

Fortunately it seems that we can still find fragments of it in the deep, dark places of the world. The only question is whether or not we will be open to accepting what our digging into the past brings to light?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Polly Wanna Cracker


It seems that some people just know how to make a lasting impression. I suppose you could say they might have been reading a dog-eared copy of "How to make friends and influence people", or might have, if it was available in their local religious book store, with suitable recommendations. In fact, some people will read or believe any old thing, as long as it is sold from such places, preferably with strong recommendations from folks like James Dobson or Erroll Naidoo, and assurances that it won't "corrupt" their minds, faith or threaten their families by actually causing them to think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grow A Pair


Sadly most trans people like being in the closet too much to get involved in educating the public on trans issues. I know of some others here in my city, and every one of them is flatly uninterested in exposing themselves to public view - leaving trans-activism to non trans people - and broadly speaking, giving them the opportunity to blame a lack of progress on others.

Yes of course, it's not easy exposing yourself to the world as a trans person - it's hard enough trying to convince ignorant family members that you don't get a thrill out of wearing women's underwear, or like playing with little boys like some of those pedophile Catholic priests do - and as usual, we are SO ashamed to be trans we could never accept the idea of actually being PROUD of who we are or for our achievements as trans people. In fact, we set out to spend the rest of our lives denying that we ever left the factory with slightly different equipment before having an "upgrade" - or even that any such "upgrade" ever took place.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reja-vu


POI is getting a white-wash from government, and from figures who think it is a good idea to censor the free Press. Some say it will redress the wrongs under the still existing (yet hardly enforced) Apartheid-era secrecy law. (Of course they are hoping that by using the "A-word" the lemmings will decide in favor of the POI without bothering to think further than - "oh it must be better then".) Instead of just scrapping it, or using the original draft replacement law from three years ago, which was in line with democratic values - they want to replace it with an "upgrade", a V2.0 - no doubt soon to be followed by an "Apartheid v2.0". The working title for this little exercise in retribution could be something on the lines of "the Formerly Oppressed Strike Back", and we all have a pretty good idea of who the main characters will be, and how it will play out. After all, we've seen it all before - just across the border in what used to be a fairly prosperous neighboring country.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just Keep Swimming


These days I find myself referring to the little blue fish in that adorable movie "Finding Nemo", the one that kept on saying "just keep swimming". And no matter what, no matter how bad things got in the movie, that was her philosophy, and she stuck to it - "just keep swimming". I can't help but draw comparisons between circumstances and the wisdom and stoicism of that little fish - or the writer for that matter. No matter what happens next, no matter how much people surprise - or shock, or disappoint me.

Since when did we Pink folks in South Africa start looking down on and judging other people by their inborn characteristics? When did we decide we were too good to socialize with or compete with others? Where did this smarmy superior attitude and this mentality of "if we can't win, then it must be rigged" come from? When did we decide that gay people are equal to straight people, but some gay people are more equal than others?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blah, Blah, Click, Click


I don't think laws in South Africa are formulated by the SA people anymore - these days laws just break the news when they are about to be passed by parliament - like the POI and Media Tribunal - and as they clearly demonstrate, these are one-sided and extremely partisan, working against democracy. This is not transparency, this is not "due process". We need more "Glasnost" in South Africa!

Everywhere, I hear people complaining about politicians and politics, people whining that "The elected should remember how they got elected - and every decision they take should be given the litmus test "Is this good for the people?". When they remember that being elected is an expression of trust by the people and not a ticket to entitlement we might get somewhere."

Of course, as this person (a good friend of mine from High School days) says - "If anyone looks up the dictionary definition of democracy they might be in for a shock."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Take A Stand


Many people are talking about leaving South Africa for greener pastures. Who can really blame them? With a government seemingly doing its best to ruin the country after the brilliant success of the Soccer World Cup a few short months ago, who isn't left with a sense of shock and uncertainty? With a multi-pronged attack on democracy and the underpinnings of the Constitution coming from various government departments, the future for South Africans seems bleak indeed. But never so bleak as when there is a realistic chance of standing up to the hijackers of democracy - and those who should be taking a stand are doing so in the emigrations queue at the airport.

There are days when I feel the same way - for example, when I see apathy all around me. Two weeks ago I was at a petition signing against the "Protection of Information" Bill and Media Tribunal. So many people just shrugged and said "it won't help" or they "don't do politics". Of course it won't help - if people think as they do. They have given up, surrendered without a fight. They're impotent, defeated. Others are so STUPID they don't even know what "freedom of the press" even means. And yes, of course - they went to school. What they did there though, is anybody's guess. It is so frustrating.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Equality 101


Recently I read a few articles that covered the Marriage Equality victory in California, and felt I had to comment on the issue. Marriage is still a bone of serious contention for our community internationally. We here in South Africa still have hate-groups intent on challenging the legality of marriage equality - once they have finished lynching freedom of the press and ripping the guts out of the Constitution, of course.

Reading the comments by the presiding judge in this case was one of those "yes!" air-punching moments for me, in which the airy-fairy bullshit arguments and junk-science of the Religious Right, in use virtually unchanged since the 1970's, was blown clear out of the water by the admission of common sense and reason - which for some strange reason seems to have been made to sit out on the bench until now.

After all, how can you put human rights to a popular vote and call it democracy? How many times do you need to redefine or haggle about the meaning of the word EQUALITY?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Are Militant Homosexual Activists An Extinct Species?


Back in the day, opponents of equality and human rights for us Pink folks used to call anyone who dared speak out against them or shoot down their ridiculous arguments "militant homosexual activists". Typically, they used to show their blatant ignorance by calling transgender activists the very same thing as well. But regardless of the details, today I have to wonder where all those "militant activists" have gone?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Home Truths


I think everyone should experience what its like to lose their rights, even just for an hour or two, so they know how it hurts when you think how it might be to go through life being made to feel like a second-class citizen - a pariah, based solely on something you ARE, something you can't change or help being - something those in power see as wrong or undesirable, particularly for no good reason other than they feel like it, or their old favorite excuse - "cos we say so".

I imagine it would do people like Errol Naidoo, the South African Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Gigaba), The Minister of Arts and Culture (Lulu Xingwana), Pastor "God-Squad" Ray McCauley and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (to say nothing of our own Kiddie Amin) a world of good. Dr. James Dobson too - even though he has been put out to pasture recently, he has left a legacy of hatred and prejudice (and a trail of misguided parents a mile wide) that can be called his hallmark - the so-called "Culture War" we still feel the effects of today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ignorance As A World-view


South Africa is a beautiful country with all sorts of worthwhile natural resources and stunning, sweeping vistas and other interesting stuff that usually makes it onto the back cover of some tourism magazine you might flip through while sitting on the bog - or, as introductions on websites or Facebook groups for conservative political parties which try to sound interesting and aspire to make other people's business, theirs.

Unlike those people, who seem overly concerned about whether other people's kids are taught facts about evolution in schools instead of fantasy and philosophy involving their invisible friends - I don't care to write about how pretty the landscape is, or whether or not the skyline looks like sunset after a bomb went off.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

X Spots The Mark


On Saturday I was at a canvassing table in my voting district, asking people to sign a petition against the governments proposed new legislation which will gag the media. Surprisingly, a broad base of people of every language, race and political affiliation, signed the petition and commented freely about how bad this law would be for everyone. This was encouraging, but what still shocked me though, was the number of people who just waved me off - or laughed, as if there was something actually funny in asking people to exercise their democratic right and sign a petition against something which would strip them of their freedom to access information.

"I don't do politics" one smart looking dude told me. "But politics will do you!" I replied, while he and his girlfriend stared at me as though I were from another planet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Is Happening To Our Democracy?


I doodled about the matter surrounding the government's current assault on South Africa's democracy on my white board last night, and found what I'd come up with rather thought provoking, so I thought I would build it into a Powerpoint slide and share it with you.

Gender Stereotypes And Diversity


The following is a speech I made at a university in Port Elizabeth today, where I was asked to speak on stereotypes and the trans community as part of their Diversity Week. A special note of thanks to Busisiwe Deyi of the Eloquor Society.

My name is Christina Engela and I'm here to talk to you about transgender and transsexual stereotypes.

If someone just said the word "transsexual" or "transgender", what sort of image would pop up in your heads? What is the stereotype?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Word


Freedom is a funny thing. You probably take it for granted, until you wake up one morning and you haven't got it anymore. When Big Brother starts looking over your shoulder to tell you you can't watch certain kinds of characters in your favorite soapies anymore (because that is contrary to "nation-building"), or read about government's latest corruption scandal (because that would influence your vote come next election, duh), or walk down the street holding your partner's hand (because that promotes an "unhealthy lifestyle choice" and "threatens Christian family values") - then you will know the bite of censorship and miss it.

It's quite funny to note over the past week or so, that with all the petitions and civil organizations and personalities now speaking out against the "Protection of Information" Bill which would reintroduce censorship of the media in South Africa - all the right wing and fundamentalist Christian (aka Levitican) groups are deafeningly silent. Why, I wonder?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Right Man Speak With Forked Tongue


The way some pastors and religious figures speak so enthusiastically and even gleefully of others they disapprove of going to hell, one could probably picture them picking up a phone (a red one, of course) and calling the hot-line to make reservations for 70 billion or so people, give or take one or two last minute changes. In the far corner, right near the flaming inferno and the tar-pits. Smoking or non-smoking?

I've been asked a rather personal question recently by some friends, and I say it is a personal one on principle, more than actual fact. After all, most Christians I know, whether or not they feel they don't judge anyone - quite happily wear their religion on their baseball caps, t-shirts, on jewelry around their necks, bumper stickers, singing about it in the streets, and promoting it in every other sentence as if it is the "right thing" to do. I know I know, it's a religion, not a franchise - but do they know that? Not that I care what they wear or do in their spare time, but let someone wear a GLBT oriented item of jewelry, or a pro human-rights slogan on an item of clothing - or even hold hands with their partner in public, or wear a symbol of any other religion, faith or belief system around their necks - or do the unthinkable (complain about all the religious programming on TV or on the streets) and immediately they are guilty of "flaunting their immoral lifestyle" and "persecuting the church". The question I was asked was the following:

Why am I not a Christian anymore?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plausible Inability


I was being chastised the other day, as sometimes happens - for criticizing the fundamentalist attack on democracy in one of my earlier articles - and one guy thought that by proving to me that Christians "invented" the concept of democracy, he would rubbish my argument.

I'm sorry, what?

"The concept of democracy was founded by christians, embraced by christians and is still widely supported by christians." He said.

Right. So what about all those poor Greeks who thought they invented it around 4000 years ago? Boy don't they feel stupid now? Reminds me of that old BA ad - "We didn't invent flying - we perfected it", only in my mind it goes: "We didn't invent religion - we just hijacked it".

Last but not least, we have all those Levitican leaders who are doing their level best to get global democracy to fall on its sword for the sake of their puritan sense of morality and delusions of dominion and "right to rule" and doing a fair imitation of "Pinky and the Brain".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You, The People


One thing I learned from history is that when you want to isolate and persecute any community, country or group - the first thing you do is to remove the thinkers, leaders and strong-willed from that group. Without them, the rest of the sheep will swallow just about anything the government spoons into the funnel called the media. Stalin did it, Hitler did it, Mugabe has done it - and if the ANC has its way, history will simply have repeated itself.

The proposed new law to control the media and introduce censorship and restrictions by the government has been described as a significant step backwards for South Africa on the downward spiral to becoming like its corrupt and impoverished neighbor, Zimbabwe.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blind Eyes, Deaf Ears


Sometimes I get despondent because it feels like my efforts are wasted, my warnings go unheard, my words fall on deaf ears like seeds falling on hard, dry earth.

It was just three short years ago when I first started my "career" in human rights advocacy and fighting for equality of the Pink Community. I can still remember those days, when trying to warn of the very events unfolding now, I was labeled an "upstart" and "irrational" and "alarmist" by some prominent community figures. And yet ironically, today we see the very things I warned against three years ago unfolding. Uganda is today on the verge of instituting the death penalty for homosexuality, and South Africa's government is acting increasingly under the influence of religious extremists. With the "protection of information" and "pornography censorship" bills on the table today, and with Media24 challenging Act no 4 of 2000 (The Promulgation of Equality Act) in the Constitutional Court, they would be hard pressed to convincingly wipe the egg off their faces.

Of course, these two bills amount effectively to censorship of the SA media - and at least as far as one of them is concerned, it is very cleverly constructed - because if you stand up to oppose it, it makes you look like you're in favor of pornography.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Imaginary Enemies


Imagination is the subject of today's article.

Ironically, people with the least imagination are also usually the most narrow-minded religious fundamentalists you could find - something which one would expect to require... imagination.

They can't imagine what it must be like to be a man attracted to another man, or what it must be like to be a man trapped in a woman's body. And what's even worse is that mostly, they won't even try.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

D.W.B. - Driving With Blinkers


We tend to think that things are better today than they were long ago. After all, we have mobile phones, HDTV, Satellite communication and the internet, among many other things. Of course, not too long ago, we still used to have a more relaxed pace of life, lower stress levels and cleaner air and water - and also a certain level of respect for each other as people.

When we read about the DADT policy of discrimination which has many variants in military forces around the world, I think we are reminded that things were not always this way. Fifty years ago, being different was not always viewed as critically and with such a high level of paranoia and fear as some people see it today. From this we can infer that even today, despite DADT being in force, there are still many gay, lesbian and trans people in military service - even while closeted - they have always been there, and probably even more so.

It would seem to me that diversity is strength, and by having diverse people in your armed forces, we would have made your armies that much stronger. But oh well, your loss.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Agents Of Change

What are we in this world? Agents of change? Do we make things better, or worse? Or do we sit back and moan all day, doing nothing constructive and even worse, leaving the world unchanged and no better for our passing? We could go even lower by referring to our friend IdiOT Amin's "bloody agent", but I'm sure we can do better than that. So could he.

In South Africa we don't seem to have GLB groups leaving the T and I out - or discriminating, or abandoning us like in the USA and ENDA matter. The UK has "Stonewall UK" - a group that does a good job fighting for gay and lesbian rights - but that has solidly turned its back on the transgender and intersex communities, and occasionally even helped to attack them. Luckily we haven't seen this deplorable behavior here. Transphobia from the straight bigots in our society, yes. There is still plenty of that, but then, isn't there everywhere?

GLBTI is an acronym. Some use LGBT - and some sit on the sidelines and pick at the way people use these acronyms. It's so hard to please everyone and to keep everybody happy. People get annoyed by the order of the letters, people get pissed off because their letters are left out, or some other letter they don't like gets added in. If you're thinking how childish this sounds, you're not alone.

Should the gays get upset about who gets listed first? Should the Intersex be pissed off every time they don't get listed? Should we start using something like LGGBQPTA2XYZ etc? When kids come out they can say: "Mom, Dad, I'm alphabet soup"? Why should we care about the sequence if we are all supposed to be equal - or do the nit-pickers really want their letter to be more equal than the rest? Why do you think I prefer to use 'Pink Community'? No list, no acronym - no favorites - and it includes everyone. Some people have even accused me of abandoning transgender rights in favor of the gay community - I have even been accused of being a "traitor" LOL. By now I have learned to take it from whom it comes.

Once again why I prefer using "Pink Community", because it includes EVERYONE not hetero or cis-gender and is a hell of a lot easier to remember, pronounce and type or write than LGBTIQQ2AP etc, etc. Acronyms like that, while useful in extremely technical cases are otherwise a royal pain in the arse for activists and people who actually have use them every other sentence - which is probably why so many of them settle for using "gay" when they mean everyone in the PINK COMMUNITY. I challenge you to think of a better term that includes everyone, without it being some bloody ridiculous and annoying acronym that inevitably leaves SOMEONE out.

Yes, there are groups out there - and activists too - who only worry about their own little sub groups and letters within the acronym. But not me. Some groups completely ignore trans and intersex issues and the communities that go with them - despite the great big hugely obvious mountain of common sense staring them in the eye that shows how many of our trans or intersex (or any of the other letters tacked on) rights can be included and addressed within the scope of the work they do to fight for their own rights. Aside from the compassion and solidarity this would represent, think of how many more voices this would add to the cause of our human rights globally. More voices, more votes, more say. Need I elaborate? And while it may sometimes seem to my trans family that I am only fighting for gay rights, I fight for trans rights too - through my fight for gay rights - and I fight as hard for all our rights as if they were all for me.

So there are groups out there that leave us out. That's a challenge, and a disgrace. And an exercise in irony and hypocrisy for times to come. But how will things ever change if we just sit there in despair and hopelessness and say "they don't want to play ball with us"? Funny, how as a transwoman I am heavily involved in two SA pink community groups (and even president of one and on the executive of the other) - and also involved with several foreign GLBTI groups...

So wherever you are, there may be groups that aren't inclusive of everyone, inclusive of your group? So what do you intend doing about it? Yes, you.

Stop being an armchair critic and talk to your friends in the other groups - you do have friends in the other groups, don't you? Get involved with an advocacy group and be a trans voice within it. Educate them about who we are and how similar our needs are to theirs. Mostly these groups will realize their mistake and open up to you, but if they won't hear you, shout louder - or start your own group - and include everybody. Don't play tit-for-tat and repeat their mistakes and return their hostility in kind. Stop drawing battle lines between us and our allies.

Because outside this alphabet-soup minority group of ours, there are loads of people who will happily call us all "gay" and hate us regardless of however we see ourselves or how we feel about each other. And fighting in a burning house makes about as much sense as a caucus race and a white rabbit being late for anything.

There are lots of ways and idioms to describe this, such as "two wrongs don't make a right", but my all time favorite is a quote by Gandhi, who said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

So what are you in this world?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wolves In The Fold


It's pretty hard to deny that a lot of the world's problems have roots in the activities of organized book-religions like Christianity, which are less matters of personal faith and more systems of control.

Yes, there are many loving, open-minded followers of this religion, and many Christians out there who follow its core beliefs of loving selflessly and accepting unconditionally. Unfortunately it is the intolerant minority which is shouting the loudest at present - the minority which claims it is Christian, but is far more Levitican in its belief system, which rejects Christian teaching and clings instead to old testament ritual in a frighteningly fundamentalist manner.

Despite making it clear the other day that I am not targeting loving, tolerant Christians for attacking the human rights and dignity of GLBTI people, or the Pink Community as we call ourselves here (which I have done by referring to "Leviticans") some folks - even gay Christians - still seem to get their wires crossed and accuse me of targeting them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

South African Roulette


Today the world has been rocked by the good news that South African scientists have developed a gel, which if applied inside the vagina or anus of the female, will prevent HIV infections up to 39% of the time. While this sounds like an astonishing achievement, and a positive move in the fight against the pandemic sweeping Africa, this raises a few interesting points and questions for me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Leviticans Blow It - The Vuvuzela, Twilight and Star Wars Fiasco


Is the vuvuzela an instrument of the anti-christ? Wait...what?

Many people might think so, but most probably just at around 4am during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Some however seem intent on taking this pet hate beyond a joke and dragging the idea down a few levels - folks like these, who even compiled a study on the issue. 

Yes, an actual study.

They actually went into a detailed analysis of the various kinds of animal horns from biblical times and proceeded to defame the harmless looking plastic sports fan accessory (rapidly becoming the infamous new "cultural weapon" of South Africans - and even human rights activists and protesters overseas). SA Rugby bosses (and even New Zealand) have already banned it (but probably not on religious grounds). Pretty soon, the Pentagon will probably label the vuvuzela a "weapon of mass destruction" and set about formulating plans to invade South Africa to destroy this terrorist threat to world peace. LOL, as they say in web-speak.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Leviticans - The True Face Of The Christian Radical Right


The other day, I found an entertaining description of the outlooks of various religions (or non-religions as it were) regarding the popular topic of fate, luck, providence, rather profoundly summed up under the eternal example of surfer-wisdom - "shit happens":

Atheism: I don't believe this shit!
Agnosticism: What shit is this?
Taoism: Shit happens
Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn't really shit
Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah
Judaism: Why does this shit always happen to us?
Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.

I hope my atheist friends have their sense of humor plugged in for this one, and don't crucify me for listing a non-religion among several religions! (Yes, I know, while atheism is not a religion, it is a belief system.)

Add to the list my old favorite, radical or extremist Christian fundamentalism, which seems to say: "Believe this shit - or you will go to Hell!" They also sometimes like to add: "...and we'll help send you there." Sometimes they will scratch their heads and wonder: "How can you possibly not believe this?" and treat others like they are the ones with the malfunctioning GPS. Weird.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A World Without Fear


Xenophobia?

What's that?

Recently there were some widely publicized outbreaks of violence in South Africa which were directed at foreigners living in the country, particularly illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Somalia. The term xenophobia was applied to these acts of violence, and many have taken it to mean only this sort of attack on foreign nationals living among the local population - attacks fueled by differences of nationality only. Sorry to burst this little nationalistic bubble - but that's not all there is to xenophobia.

Some very biased and obviously prejudiced people who represent South Africa at the UN and also in other offices of government have recently asserted that racism and xenophobia are far more "important" issues to address than homophobia. Comparing homophobia to racism, they say, is an insult to the victims of racism. Hmm. This appears to be one group having been marginalized and persecuted, recently liberated, and now looking for somebody else to be "better" than and to explore its new-found "superiority" over.

Are you hated? Are you marginalized or persecuted for something which you cannot help being, or for something that is as natural to you as breathing? Congratulations - that makes you another equal victim of xenophobia!