A few very interesting things have grabbed my attention in the international news this week and I thought I would mention them here.
Right at the top of the list, possibly because I am transgender myself, I want to mention that "France has become the first country in the world to declassify transgenderism as a mental illness. A health minister signalled the change would be made last May and this was confirmed last week by a government decree." And about bloody time too! I can't wait to see which countries will follow this sterling example.
"South African man wins Mr Gay World 2010 A South African man has scooped the title of Mr Gay World 2010. Charl Van den Berg, a 28-year-old restaurateur from Cape Town, was named the winner at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, yesterday." Fantastic! This is one of the first good reasons I have had to feel proud of this country in ages!
"The European Parliament has confirmed that upholding LGBT rights is a condition for nations to join the European Union"- this is fantastic, and means that if any other country in Europe wishes to join the EU they WILL have to respect and uphold the civil rights and equality of the pink community within their borders." I only hope this will also apply retroactively to all countries ALREADY members of the EU, on pain of expulsion or other penalties should they go back on this principle.
"GAY COUPLES AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL PARENTS A new study has concluded that children do just as well with parents of the same gender compared to children with a mother and father." Duh - what we have been telling the wing-nuts for how long now?
"Americans more supportive of 'gay men and lesbians' than 'homosexuals' A survey has found that the wording used when asking the public about their views on gay rights makes a substantial difference to the answers. Americans were far less likely to support gays in the military when the question mentioned 'homosexuals'." Aside from this pointing out the fact that those who use the term "homosexual" usually do so not in propriety, but intend it as a derogatory term. At the same time, DADT is still in force and has not yet been scrapped - although President Obama has made this promise repeatedly, and even as recently as 2 weeks ago. Despite this, "Petty Officer Second Class Lewis Breland is waiting to be discharged from the US military after an investigation into his sexuality forced him to come out last year. He confessed his sexual orientation to civilian investigators after rumours began flying around his unit about an alleged sexual partner." Go figure.
On the negative side, in Africa "Another man has been arrested on homosexuality charges in Malawi. Police spokesman Dave Chingwalu said a 60-year-old man was arrested on Monday and charged with sodomy." A 60 year old man? Is that the best those cowards can do? Shame on them. And let's not forget the sponsor of the bill that will institute a gay genocide in Uganda, who has now also openly and shamelessly advocated the murder of gay and trans children in the Ungandan boyscout movement. One of course has to wonder why Mr Bahati has such a say in the boy scout movement in the first place. The world is a crazy place, and these days it seems, the crazier the better.
These are the kind of things that should be disseminated as far as we can in our communities - straight and pink, to raise awareness - trans people are NOT mentally ill, GLBTI rights are human rights - disrespecting these rights carries real consequences, gay couples make just as good parents as mixed gender couples, and South Africans are a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.
On the other hand, it also has to be noted that on the world stage, more than just our rights are threatened - our worth as human beings is called into question and our lives are at risk.
All this highlights a stark contrast in the world today - in some places there is progress and advancement and common sense and logic and reason prevail - while in others there is a clear descent into anarchy, violence, chaos, cruelty and disorder.
I take very seriously the threat posed by anyone who thinks that by killing another person he or she is somehow acting in a heroic fashion and doing good - when all they are doing is killing people and destroying lives to flatter their own cruel, over-inflated vanities and satisfying their own twisted moralities.