Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End 2009

So here we come to the end of another year - and what a year this was! Over this past year a great many things have happened around the world as well as in South Africa.

We have seen the South African General Elections in April - and we have seen, for various reasons, both cause for concern - and hope for the future. Over this past year, with all the threats against our civil rights both in South Africa and around the world, we have seen a renewed interest in the affairs which affect us - namely politics and religion. It goes without saying that apathy is a deadly trap which we must be careful not to fall into. Over the past two years since I first started getting involved in activism I have seen steady increase in awareness and participation, and have been trying very hard to encourage GLBTIQ participation.

"Get involved" I have been telling you, "Get off your ass - before somebody who hates you kicks it." It is very encouraging to me to see that some people finally seem to be getting it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rubber Room With A View


Despite clear and easily understood press releases, explanations and statements released by eminent scientists to explain that diverse sexual orientation and gender identity is perfectly natural, and despite their attempts to simplify the explanations - some people, typically narrow minded religious fundamentalists, refuse to accept that gay people are born gay and transgender people, transgender.

"No, that's not it - it has to be a sin! These perverts like it - they're choose to be gay."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bad Apples



Just a week or so ago, I sent out a request from a pink community related religious organization to the supporters of another pink advocacy group, asking for support in speaking out against the pending Genocide Bill in Uganda. Surprisingly, I got a barrage of outrage from one of the recipients on the mailing list, letting me have both barrels because I dared to associate Christianity with the pink community! Most confusing of all, this was from a gay man!

Sun Stroke


Everybody have a nice Christmas? Ever think about the tradition and where it comes from? I did, and decided to find out. I must say, what I found reinforced my misgivings about organized religion, after all, Christmas is a good time to point out Christian hypocrisy - "peace on Earth and goodwill to all 'men'" soon turns to "take all you can" and "hang 'em high!" and "it's God's will".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Price Freedom?



It seems almost undeniable that every modern religion has to have an enemy or a scapegoat. Without something to fear, clerics would have nothing to warn against, nothing to unite people under them with. No Bogie Man or big bad wolf to keep the flock encircling the camp fire in the dark night of the soul, so to speak. Without some threat, real or imaginary, they would have nothing to point fingers at and say THAT is why WE are God's chosen people and THEY are NOT.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Double Take



South Africa as yet, has remained completely silent on the issue of pink human rights in Africa, specifically Uganda - presumably on the "head-in-the-sand" principle employed by the ostrich - if you ignore it long enough, it will probably go away. Perhaps they are right, but then who am I to criticize? I live in a country which seems increasingly desperate to imitate that other bastion of third-world lunacy, Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kill The Bill


I have great respect for GLBTI pastors and ministers - and straight clerics, who support their faith's central ethos of love, peace and tolerance - surely they have to bite their tongues a lot! I doubt I could manage it, but then as an activist I am not expected to.

Monday, December 14, 2009

From The Squeak To The Tail



Have you seen the Uganda issue is finally making the news in SA? Finally? After more than a month of international protests and campaigning by human rights bodies? A month and a half? A month and a half of a complete mainstream news blackout?

Three whole mentions on 5fm news this past Friday morning, plus an enjoyable and lengthy rant on the topic by DJ Gareth Cliff - in the Mail & Guardian and one tiny paragraph I found buried somewhere in the middle of the Herald. What continues to upset me is the broad lack of interest in SA. No official comment, no acknowledgment of objections or petitions and no protests either. Over in the US and UK groups are calling for protest action - and gathering outside Ugandan embassies. That's right, people actually pitch up when you call a protest over there. I have to wonder how many people would turn up for a protest in SA anyway with all the pervasive apathy? Past experience tends to make me cautious.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Put Up Or Shut Up



December.

Yet another festive season filled with things sweet and nice - friendship, family and good memories. A time often laced, for some - with a bitter undertone of loneliness, sorrow and loss. Some people find the "silly season" significant in terms of religious meaning. I find it laced with hypocrisy, shallow commercialism, false piety and genuine arrogance. What am I referring to? I will tell you:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Separate, Less Equal

Despite the passing of marriage laws in South Africa in 2006, true marriage equality is still elusive in South Africa. Yes, gay and transgender people can and do marry, but how many people are aware that marriage for gay people is still codified under a separate act?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sin Tax Error

GAY
=
PORN

As I said last week in an article about a gay pageant in South Africa and the lack of mainstream (straight) media coverage for the event, "gay + controversy = mainstream media coverage". Now it seems somebody else has gone one better to publicly redefine the nature gay people. But then, it is an old accusation, one which has been made many times, and this certainly will not be the last. Just a pity it comes from "one of our own".

A Purpose Driven Genocide



Uganda!

Finally this news breaks on SA media. Well it's about bloody time! And I do mean bloody. Another article also made it into the mainstream media, this time in the Citizen. I still have to gauge the SA public response to it, but I have an idea there will be quite a few comments in favor of the bill coming from the whack-jobs and wing-nuts.

It seems to me that current events in Uganda influenced by the US religious right are in fact no more than a virulent symptom of problems at home - that these things being said and used by proponents of this "Bill" and the genocide it would ignite, in fact have their origins in the backward deep south "bible belt" of the country most people naively think of as the most liberal and democratic place on Earth. Why would I say this? Let's take a look:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Seeing Is Believing



Last weekend we saw the first Mr. Gay South Africa™ pageant - or rather, didn't. 

Those of us who were not fortunate enough to attend the main event, or the semi-final ocean cruise, or the other events which took place around the country, read about it. We saw articles and photos in local pink news services such as Gayspeak and Mambaonline - but that was pretty much the only mention the event received. Did we see any attention given to this event - which the gay community found to be of some import, in any mainstream newspapers or hear radio coverage or see any TV features? I certainly didn't. Apparently the Mr. Gay South Africa™ pageant (I keep writing it out in full because it is a completely different animal to the former "Mr Gay SA" pageant of years ago) did manage to make the News24 front page - online. Twice. It also made The Times once, but that was long ago, and somehow it made Die Volksblad in Bloem - I don't know HOW it got it in. But about the actual final event, only News24 - oh - and although displayed on the front page, the actual article was under "GoTravel" and not anything in the main news section. But otherwise, that was it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

False Witness

I would like to bring up a widely publicized case of a Ugandan man - a gay man, who was paid by the religious right to claim that he had been "cured of homosexuality" was feted across his country, and propelled to fame for his talks on how he had "recruited" children into a "homosexual lifestyle" at schools and otherwise made false claims which confirmed the rhetoric of his homophobic handlers - and helped fuel the fire which threatens to consume those for which he helped vilify.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Crying Wolf

"In a multiple-bias incident [of reported hate crime], two conditions must be met: (a) more than one offense type must occur in the incident and (b) at least two offense types must be motivated by different biases."

Sounds like the definitive intro to an episode of "Law & Order", doesn't it?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

16 Days Of Double Standards

While I may commend the now traditional South African institution of the "16 days of activism against women & child abuse" campaign, I still see plenty of duplicity and ambiguity in it.

16 days of activism? I don't know about you folks, but I'm an activist every single day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lemon Karma

Sometimes life hands us a lemon. This is just one of those things that happens in the run of our daily lives, a truth, an undeniable fact of our existence - a thing which defines our state as mortal, fallible beings, and which clarifies one particular aspect of life - something which humans spend their lives searching for.

Control.

Either you have it, or you don't. And as human beings - we don't. We may have the illusion of it, the temporary illusion where we may have power or influence over others, or a situation - but this passes, as do all things. Eventually the wheel turns, and those on top find themselves lying in the road - asking what happened and what the number of that bus was. Ain't karma a bitch?

Once burnt, twice shy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mistaken Identity

Last night I came upon a blog which claimed to be feminist. Now I have no problem with feminists, in fact I am also a proud feminist (how can I be a human rights activist otherwise?) - and in the course of my activism for the pink community, I try to get a shot or two in for feminism also. After all, as a trans-woman I am also a woman and sensitive to the sexism and patriarchal attitudes that I face just as any cis-gender woman does. I am sad to say it, but the site in question also turned out to be transphobic in nature.

The owner, "Margaret" - wrote a post called "No Such Thing As A Transsexual" and proceeded to criticize transgender people to the point where I could actually forget it was a woman writing, and not a trans-misogynistic, heterosexist, homophobic bigot of the right wing. The only thing I did not see displayed was the rabid religious fundamentalist tendency to dump a ream of rhetorical religious references to somehow "prove" their point. Instead, scant references were made to the typical right-wing conservative propaganda machine, which has about the same basis in fact as Harry Potter is a world religion. The comments left by a gaggle of her goose-stepping cis-sexist wing men - and herself, simply expounded upon their clear bigotry against trans-women - and transsexual, and even gay people in general.

Let's start with the title:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dutch Courage

Over the past weekend some things drew my attention. Oddly enough, both of these are related to courage and speaking out. Oddly enough, speaking out can be a sign of courage - and the lack of it. Even stranger, not speaking out can be a sign of courage - or the lack of it. As with everything, this depends on the circumstances.

I read some comments on a letter posted by an activist friend of mine. Yes, my activist comrade was writing about gay rights and the unity of the pink community, and yes, the commenter was himself gay, but the tone of the comments were anything but flattering. It seems this critic felt that "self-appointed" activists were "ruining his image as a gay man" by "speaking for all gay people" - and he certainly did not want to be associated with transgender or intersex people.

Wow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thick Skin And Stone Hearts

How can people ever know the mind of God? How can creatures such as us ever hope to understand the thought processes of a God who can create a universe? Who are we to decide what is or isn't acceptable to God? And what I find amazing is the folks who will stand up and claim that they know what God wants, what God says - and go further to claim the authority of God to act out of hatred and intolerance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If The Shoe Fits...

My would-be Facebook friend wrote to me again yesterday. I say "would-be", because were it not for the tiny detail that I am a transsexual woman romantically involved with another transsexual woman, and the minor aside that this would-be friend is a "bible-believing Christian" who thinks I have made a "sinful lifestyle choice", we might actually be friends. At least she seems to think so. I on the other hand, am not a masochist.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cult Of The Poison Tongue

While I am not afraid to take on religion in my articles - it is on issues of persecution, prejudice and bigotry - and especially ignorance and hypocrisy that I usually write. While I am often critical of some religious groups, and evaluate the value and worth of religious doctrine and analyze the potential accuracy and truth and application of religious scriptures - and the conduct of those who claim to live by them - I do not attack ALL people or ALL Christians - just the hypocrites, the liars and the bigots. Prime recent examples of these are the people in Uganda getting ready to commit genocide in the name of religion, or is that the other way round?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Overturning Democracy


More than fifteen years after the New (New, new, new etc) South Africa and the inception of our visionary Constitution, conservative (and invariably religious fundamentalist) groups and political parties who bitterly oppose any civil rights for GLBTIQ people, still complain about the fact that such decisions which have far-reaching consequences for minority groups, were not put to a popular vote. Some of these groups have increasingly made it very clear that they intend to pursue means to overturn these rights.

To their minds, democracy is just a numbers game, and the weight of numbers automatically makes something right just because it has been voted on. Does it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

'Tis A Cold Light That Dawns

Is love a "habit"? Is love not as vital to human beings as the air we breathe?

Some people call the links to articles I provide in arguments against bigotry and against the use of religion as a tool to oppress people and as an agent of hypocrisy, "trying to justify" my views on human sexuality and gender and even religion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Situation Normal

I think it is telling that those supporting the Ugandan Genocide Bill make references to sources those of us in the activism game for some time easily recognize and can dismiss as either "cranks" and wildly inaccurate, or "hostile" and overtly malicious. 

On the two now internationally infamous Facebook hate groups where people are openly supporting their country's "leadership" of the international community in the surprisingly related fields of gay and human rights, they try to discredit something their sources cannot disprove by just quoting people and studies which cannot verify anything at all - "studies" performed by people who just want to create the impression that being GLBTI is not natural so they can claim that it is somehow a "choice". 

This of course - if left unchallenged, gives them a visible advantage over those who oppose this travesty of justice called the Ugandan Genocide Bill - and that is the purpose behind this confrontation - to challenge them, their Bill, their hatred, and their ignorance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Frog Soup

I must admit I find it disturbing that a man who dodged going to trial to face 180 charges of corruption to become president of SA - and because of the violent behavior, rioting and threats of his supporters, and who opposes gay rights - has been chosen as "best President in Africa", despite only being in the post for 6 months and impressing everyone with his charms, despite having no formal education and having not actually achieved anything since election day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Conversation With Death

For a few days now, debates have been raging on groups on Facebook which support the genocide bill of Uganda. There is much to-ing and fro-ing, with each side presenting its arguments, and each in general criticizing the other.


The administrator of one of these groups came onto the scene to suggest that this support for the Gay Genocide Bill - I call it that because that's is in effect exactly what it is - is because of the "culture" the Ugandan people "believe in" and "you cant fault them because you too have a culture". He also suggested that it is always better for people "to talk" than not to talk. I agree with this second part, because when people stop talking, well - that's when wars happen.

I can fault them, actually - for institutionalized mass murder is not a "culture", it is an affront to civilization - and arguably, God as well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Waiter, There's A Bigot In My Soup



Setting the scene:

Two new groups have been created on Facebook. Just days old, their numbers have swelled to in the thousands. The topic? The newly proposed anti-gay bill that has been submitted in Uganda. Far from being populated with outraged citizens criticizing this slap in the face to human rights, they are filled with it's supporters, small-minded near-illiterates crying for blood and if anything, by their obtuse rhetoric, confirming the claims that the US religious right have been influencing Uganda for over a decade. And has Facebook removed these hate groups? Nope. Still there - but at least the hate-mongers are getting plastered and the people they oppress are getting some value for their money for a long needed change. Watch them squirm. But even so...

Uganda is on the verge of a state-sponsored genocide on GLBTI people - and Facebook allows such groups to exist?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Diamonds And Glass

At this stage the new Ugandan Bill condemning GLBTI people to death has not been passed yet. I say GLBTI because the very same bill makes it very clear that there will be no distinguishing between any "attempts to legitimize homosexuality" by using the different terms in our collective community. Thus, as far as the Ugandan Bill is concerned, we are all "homosexual" - giving chilling affirmation to my plea for all GLBTI to stop their bickering and in-fighting, and to seek unity as one group, one community - because that is how our enemies see us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Missing The Mark


Somebody asked me the other day, as a transsexual woman - what does having my gender reflected correctly in identity documents and birth certificate mean to me? In South Africa we are very fortunate in that transsexual people can change not only their names and gender, but also their gender description in the population register.

So? What does this mean to us? I know what it means to me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Implausible Deniability

Kenya, a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence and gay people are called "un-African" and "a disease imported from the West" is about to launch a census of gay people in the country. Is this really to fight HIV, or are there more sinister forces at work?

Supposedly this initiative is intended to curb the rampant HIV infections, made much worse by illogical and un-scientific religion-based "abstinence only" education policies which only serve to keep rural people ignorant and also to force sexual activity underground, regardless of sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is categorized as a crime carrying a penalty of 14 years imprisonment in Kenya. Sounds to me like a good way to purge gay folks from society - hold a census so you know where to find them and then cart them off somewhere to a gulag. I'm surprised the nice folks in Uganda didn't think of that yet, but hey, they are neighbors, so perhaps they are talking about these things?

They call it a "census" - which will result in a list of all GLBTI people in Kenya - and they seem dependent on people "reporting their friends" - in a country where simply being gay can result in a 14 year jail term. Yes, I would call it sinister.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All You Need

Two thousand years ago a man came to Earth who was called the "Messiah", and who sought to reconcile God and Humanity. The religious called him the "Son of God" and the "Son of Man" and also the "New Covenant", by which the sins of all were wiped clean with his blood. Oddly enough, there are those today who call themselves his followers and him "King Jesus" while "evangelizing" to transform the world into perfect little sinless utopias - and who, by stark contrast also reject completely that which he stood for.

I have often found it strange, if not a little gory that blood is such a recurring theme in the Christian faith - and even more disappointing that it is being supplemented by fresh blood in modern times.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Death Becomes Us



It is often said that human civilization can be summed up by how people treat animals under their care.

If this is the case, there are people who love animals as companions, and those who like them deep-fried and crispy.

It is for the latter reason that I have been feeling very pressed of late to turn vegetarian.

Today I want to focus on something not that closely related to gay rights - but yet, also not wholly unrelated. You see, how people treat animals tends to reflect on what kind of people they are. It tends to shine through in how they treat other people as well, and in particular refers to their attitude towards people and groups of people whom they don't like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doing Unto Others

Reports of a large billboard on the side of a busy public highway in a big city with the words "SOUTH AFRICA: TURN TO GOD" and some vague bible reference beneath it, makes me think deep thoughts.

Wow.

Isn't this illegal? If it isn't, it should be.

I can already hear the hackles raising on the necks of folks who would like very much to burn me at the stake for saying something like that, but wait - put down those matches, bro - and hear me out first.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Logic Bomb

There are a few things that have stood out to me in my campaign for equality for the pink community. Of these, one that stands out the most is the liturgy used by people who fight against gay rights - who call equal civil rights for GLBTI people "special rights". This is of course a horrific lie - made all the more so by the underlying hatred and malice concealed by the simplistic and exclusionary reasoning they employ.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blood Feud

I disagree with the University of the Free State for letting those four racist students off the hook - it is repulsive what they did, urinating in food and tricking people into eating it - and then posting videos of it all over the web. There is no excusing it, and they should be punished for it.

However, I disagree that this case gets so much urgent high profile attention while other preceding cases of heterosexism and homophobia are still on the back-burner after more than a year. After all, these "students" still have not apologized to the victims, just complained about the misfortunes they have suffered as a result of their offensive actions. What they did was a personal assault on their victim's bodies and their dignity as people, based entirely on race. It was an act which was unprovoked, inexcusable and unjustifiable.

Are the civil rights of the pink community less worthy than those of Black people? Is racism more of a public or moral outrage than homophobia or transphobia? What is good for one is good for all. That is equality. At least, to my understanding of the word.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sleeper, Awake!

I have been asked by someone living abroad if homophobia in SA is as bad as I seem to be saying it is. They have friends,they say, even gay friends living in SA who tell them they have noticed nothing. Perhaps I am an alarmist? Perhaps I am exaggerating?

I would say the answer to these questions, as with everything, depends on who you ask.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Headlines & Deadlines

I often marvel at news headlines like the examples I have listed below:

"Controversial Daily Mail journalist addresses gay event
Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips spoke last night about the danger of “criminalising religious beliefs” at an event debating the conflict between LGBT equality and freedom of speech."

Naturally, GLBTI people having equality is dangerous, especially if it is your religious beliefs to oppress them. Of course, we all know religious beliefs that destroy the lives of innocent people we just happen to dislike are far more important than the human rights of those people. That is, we all know religion needs to pin something on somebody and it might as well be those darn GLBTI folks, who are always objecting to being stepped on and made scapegoats of, don't they know their place? I mean, they should just accept that OUR God hates them and get on with life and quit wriggling when we put them on the hook.

By Their Fruits Shall You Know Them

The draft "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was tabled in Uganda's parliament on 14 October 2009, and has been slated world-wide by human rights groups concerned for the well-being of gay and transgender people in Uganda. If passed, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will violate the internationally recognized human right to non-discrimination, to be free from violence and harassment, the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fear & Loathing In Uganda

On Friday, news came to me that I didn’t like to see. What was it, you may wonder? It seems that a year after Uganda passed a new law to make criminals out of gay people, they are debating an upgrade to this law that will give them far greater power over the private lives of their own people, including the authority to murder people simply for who they are.


The Anti Homosexuality Bill ensures virtual complete authority of the Ugandan government over what people are, think, say, feel or do, where or why they do it, or who they do it with - or who knows about it and doesn't tell. It goes further to make people who do not act against gay people in a hostile fashion, criminals as well. It in effect makes being born gay, or not thinking the same way bigots do, a very, very dangerous fate indeed.

This obscene and outrageously inhuman law gives flesh to the bones of the meaning behind the saying: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments – governments should be afraid of their people.” Reading the wording of the proposed Bill, I cannot stress the irony behind this strongly enough.

Let’s take a look inside this monstrous device:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Transgender Is Not A Myth

Over the past week I was happy to report a few great news items from the UK and USA affecting the pink community there. Top of the list was that former "Terminator" actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California (who is a Republican, by the way) signed a bill into law that inaugurated "Harvey Milk Day", in memorial to the now world-famous gay rights campaigner immortalized in the movie "Milk".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quack Attack!

Quack Attack! Sounds like an old arcade game, doesn't it? Perhaps one of those old ones you used to play at the shop while waiting for your school bus in the mornings? You know the type, the multi-level adventure with stunningly lifelike cartoon characters and annoyingly simple sound effects, presented in the latest hi-tech 2-d format of the time. Yes, it sure does conjure up memories.

But no, I am not talking about arcade games, but the games people - specifically medical professionals, are playing with the lives of other people - their patients. There are a few of these in this spectrum, from the shrinks out there referring gay people to the fallacious "ex-gay" movement which falsely claims to turn gay people straight, to the quack surgeons who perform long-outdated gender reassignment surgery using bits of the victim's colon to form a vagina instead of the modern penile inversion technique - to the quacks sitting at the head of the DSM-V revision committee and doing their level best to screw it all up for everybody depending on it.

The keystone of this gripe for me is the revision to the classification of transsexuals from transsexuals to "HBS" - or "Harry Benjamin Syndrome".

Friends For Life

Friends?

A few times in my life I have had to pack bags of assorted crap with unpleasant sentimental value which I cleared out of my home - and send them to charities or give them away in order to get rid of them and have peace of mind.

These days I only choose friends who don't need anything from me - people who have no reason to want me around other than for my company, people who I cannot see any ulterior motives in, other than friendship and mutual interest and even compassion. It is sad that I have to penalize new friends - and even lovers - for the conduct of the ones who went before, who unwittingly made me a much wiser person. And I must add that having a dodgy memory can be a blessing in disguise. At least the things that formed me as a person, particularly the unpleasant ones, are no longer as clear as they once were, their edges less sharp and dulled by the passage of time.

In a more complicated sense, the similarities between interpersonal dependencies called "friendships" and the relations between political parties and the electorate are not as dissimilar as you may at first think.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In The Arms Of Morpheus

Who can remember the first "Matrix" movie? For me it was the best of the whole trilogy, which I felt was rather disappointing as a whole. I am particularly fond of the part in the first movie where Neo is offered a choice between taking the red pill and the blue pill. Blue, you go to sleep, everything goes back to the way it was. Red, you go down the rabbit hole, see where it leads. Either way, regardless of your choice, there is no going back.

Quite a fascinating concept, actually. And quite a fascinating movie! There are many analogies and hidden meanings referring to deeper philosophical concepts in its convoluted plot, but for me one thing stands out - the polar opposites of knowledge and ignorance. Discovering the truth leads to knowledge. Knowing of course, being the harder path. Being ignorant is easy - all you need to do is go with the flow, toe the party line and be a "yes" man - an echo.

Start thinking for yourself, ask "why?" and even venture to say "why should I?" and pretty soon you will have half the world at your throat for being a "trouble maker".

Thursday, October 8, 2009

White Noise

I saw an article yesterday about our friend Julius Malema - yes, him - the same genius who as President of the ANC Youth League, made the statement that because there is no such equivalent word in Sepedi, hermaphrodites do not exist and that the "concept" is being forced on African culture by "imperialists".

The originator of this gem of idiocy has just found out the cost of rushing into making ignorant statements like a bull in a china shop - adding fuel to an already roaring fire.

The Rapport newspaper yesterday ran an article which featured enlightening comments from some learned individuals who would dare to dispute this all-knowing oracle. According to one, who is a senior lecturer at the Wits School of Languages in Johannesburg - Ms. Thelma Tshebane, told The Star that the Sepedi word for hermaphrodite is - “setabane”.

Apparently this word is considered insulting or offensive and is "kept away from children".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bigoted By Birthright

Yesterday I came across a blog detailing much of the same prejudiced and skewed thinking as resides in the pages of James Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys", in which the writer laid out different ways to prevent her children from being "turned gay" by exposure to "gay TV programming" - which she referred to, most originally - as "furthering the homosexual agenda".

She clearly hates gay people and her hate simmers quite clearly on her blog. Well, she can say and think what she likes - after all, it is her blog. I wouldn't stop her from making herself look stupid, it's her right to do so and she does deserve it.

This woman proudly listed some items of questionable authenticity and even relevance in her lead article such as the following:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Human Soup

"DEMAND same rights and same opportunities as the heterosexual community. After all, Female, Black, Asian, Homosexual, Male, Jew, Muslim, Christian, we are all part of the soup that makes up HUMANITY. Our differences make us the same. We need to stop the atrocities than man puts on man."

This quote I found on a website is a comment on a very provocative concept today - human rights - and who is or isn't "human enough" to qualify. As always, it raises more questions for me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Careful What You Wish For...

We all know the things said about parents who don't care about their children or what happens to them. After all, parents are supposed to care about their children. When parents learn that their children are gay or transgender, they are quite right to be concerned and even worried - but how should parents react to being told by their teenage child that they are gay or transgender?

International groups like Focus on the Family advise parents to not give affirmation to these children, to not let them think for a moment that it is in any way "okay to be gay". They are in effect giving clear instructions on how to alienate parent and child, and how to destroy the self-esteem of their children.

This alone should indicate the level of Focus on the Family's concern for the actual well-being of "the family".

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Hermaphrodites Are An Imperialist Concept" - Julius Malema

Yesterday in an interview, the ANC Youth League president - a 28 year-old man called Julius Malema, often ribbed about his clearly ignorant and nonsensical statements, once again opened his mouth to let out a glorious clanger.

Julius Malema claimed "hermaphradites" do not exist because there is no word in Sepedi to describe the intersex condition. He also claimed the concept of hermaphroditism was an "imperialist" plot being "forced" onto South Africans.

Hehehe.

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?

False Profits

Yesterday I received a newsletter sent out the previous day by Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute (FPI), a US religious-right-inspired right wing group based in Cape Town, which is trying very hard to impose religious law on the state. In it, he was careful to mention the dangers of having liberal laws which are "clearly" responsible for "moral corruption" in the country - and which also threaten his religion and of course, "the family" as if gay people and women are not a part of it. He also made the suggestion that this is perfect time to take advantage of Zuma's invitation to the religious conservatives to "work with government", whatever that means. I think you know.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reja Vu - A Hair Of The Dog That's Going To Bite You

The newly elected president of the UN General Assembly has called homosexuality "unacceptable" for his own personal religious reasons. How could such a man with such a negative anti-human rights bias be elected to such a post with such hefty human rights responsibilities? What does this bode for the future of human rights regarding the UN? How will this effect the many rights battles in the UN for women and the pink community around the world - especially in areas directly affected by human rights abuses specifically directed against the pink community?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's Good For The Goose, Is Good For The Goose


I notice many cis-feminists out there attacking trans-women and berating them as "male pretenders." It makes me mad. After all, what does it take to be a woman? How much must a trans-woman cut off before she isn't considered "male" by these hypocrites? Some are truly hateful in their argument, leading me to believe that they hate anything which is - or was - in any way, shape or form masculine - even in terms of origin, even if no trace at all of that remains.

As one who supports democracy and freedom of conscience, it is my firm belief that cis-feminists are entitled to their erroneous opinion that trans-women are "men" - even if it proves that they are insensitive, blithering idiots.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Nuclear Family" Goes Super-citical

It is scary to notice the ignorance and apathy out there, especially in the pink youth. Notice that I said "notice" and not "see"? After all, everybody sees it - but it has to be said that not many actually "notice".

A flamboyant young gay friend of mine - only 18, is a case in point. I try to make him aware of the dangers out there and the effects of apathy and compacency, but always get the response "oh, you're always so serious!" I have had the same experience with others his age whom I have engaged with socially. They seem utterly uninterested in and detached from current events.

Perhaps I am serious a lot of the time, but I have to say that these are serious times we are living in today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reconstruction Time Again

Having seen signs of a worldwide religious fundamentalist web spanning the globe, it is quite easy to start jumping to conclusions and formulating conspiracy theories. It is surprisingly quite easy to do, check a right-wing religious fundie group's website and see whose material they are using or propagating, which groups do they provide links to on their contacts page, who are their leaders and guest speakers and which other groups do they belong to? Who are they affiliated to? Go beyond that and research the ideologies they follow - such us "reconstructionism", "dominionism", "transformation" and see who is active in working for it. Start joining them up and I can promise you, after trying to draw a diagram of this sort, you will run out of space pretty fast!

I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but I am reminded by some in whom I have confided, that these are simply "religious groups co-operating with each other" and acting on the basis of similar beliefs - although to me, in my own limited lay-man sensibility, that forms a kind of network, doesn't it?

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.

Beyond The Irony

Is God male?

Does God really belong to a single gender?

Men (the patriarchy) like to claim God as their own and also use “Him” as a tool to demand obedience and submission to them. If God has a sex, should it matter to his followers what that sex is? It’s a bit odd though that some people find the act of wondering if God is a “She” or even if God is without gender, or representing all genders, insulting and blasphemous.

Insulting and blasphemous? Insulting? What does this say about the male perception of women? Perhaps this is more revealing about the insecurity of God’s followers than the nature of God itself?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does Equality Of One = Oppression Of Another?

Groups such as Focus on the Family are not "family" organizations. They certainly claim to be, and they would dispute my statement beyond a doubt, but their claim can be proved false simply by analyzing their approach to family life. Are they intent on preserving family life as it is - or are they intent on enforcing an ideal which happens to suit their personal religious "world view"? Were their claim true, would they not be nurturing the families that happen to exist out there, supporting them, instead of cracking down on family types they happen to dislike, refuse to recognize as families, and drive wedges between family members?

Interesting Times

What an insane little world we live in. Just this past week a few things have popped up in the media that make me think the world is losing touch with reality. Indonesia has passed harsh laws - apparently adulterers can be stoned to death, and gay people face stiff jail sentences. Hmm. I'm surprised those "humanitarians" didn't get it the other way around.