Monday, August 31, 2009

Truth Stranger Than Fiction

On Saturday night I watched District 9 and I am still completely blown away and speechless! What an amazing, action packed, convincing, serious, poignant, funny, relevant movie! It is hard to believe it was low-budget - even harder to believe it comes from here - what can I say? For me it was all those things - and for once, it makes me actually proud to be a Souf Efrikin - TREMENDOUSLY enjoyable!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

If a gay community leader began preaching "reparative therapy" how long would he or she remain a gay community leader? Interesting question.

It seems people choose their leaders because they agree with their own views - or because they feel these leaders have their best interests at heart. Clearly the above example illustrates my point. A gay leader preaching "ex-gay" dogma and "reparative therapy" clearly does not have the best interests of the gay community at heart - but the complete polar opposite. In fact, I would say this person would be ostracized from their community as a traitor - and with good reason.

Likewise, if a woman begins preaching on behalf of the patriarchy - against feminism - for me, all sorts of warning bells and alarms go off.

Hmm. Parrot indeed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

March Hares And April Fools

Since the April 22 Election in which it got its chronometers soundly cleaned, the right wing Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) has been quiet - dare I say "silent as a tomb"? No press statements since April. No more boisterous squawking in nauseating radio ads about gay people being "enemies of Christianity" and a "threat to the family" or rabid press releases aimed at the government for the folly of including human rights of gay people in the Constitution and "dethroning almighty God" in favor of the rule of mere human law. In fact, short of one or two blog posts by one of its fearless leaders, Colin Fibiger - obviously on the inseparable issues of religion and politics, and suggestions on training the youth to "know better” next time, there has been no visible activity on their part. I'm thinking they ran out of a lot more than cash at the end of the elections - they ran out of supporters, interest and credibility as well.

Religion, Deadly Contagion And Other Afflictions

Imagine a pandemic which claims a death toll so high it staggers the mind. Millions upon millions dead, suffering and dying from a plague which knows no cure. Every single human being touched personally by the hand of death, suffering and tragedy. Everyone who survives, perhaps the last remaining member of a large and happy family, standing alone and wondering where to go from here? Far fetched? 

Not really. It already happened once in recorded history. In Medieval times, bubonic plague took nearly half the population of Europe, some scholars postulate up to two thirds. And what could medicine do about it at the time? Nothing. They couldn't even ease the suffering of the victims. The contemporary art reflects the ever present um, presence - of death in the conscious and sub-conscious, particularly in portraits and other art of the day. The fabled Dans Macabre is just one example. At the time, the science of medicine was in its infancy. With hardly any contrast at all, the prognosis for such a massive and virulent outbreak of some new or resilient disease today is not much better.

“It” Is For Objects, Not People!

Recently I engaged in a private debate with representatives of international GLBTIQ advocacy groups online. Actually it started out as a call to action, to launch protests to affirm opposition to transphobia and the pathologicization of transsexuality - then one of them launched into a scathing criticism of trans people who wanted to have transgender classification removed from the coming DSM-V manual.

Presumably she would prefer transsexuals to continue to be classified as mentally ill - as they are deemed currently by world health professional groupings. Presumably she likes the stigma attached to being transgender and the rigmarole involved in getting the goodwill of the "gate-keepers" who hold the keys to their future happiness, assuming of course that they jump through all the hoops and barrels like good little freaks should.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Human Race

The issue of Caster Semenya, the 18 year old female athlete who has won two gold and one silver medal for her country - South Africa - makes me wonder. It makes me wonder how far we have come in the past 15 years post Apartheid, and how far we have come since the inclusion in the Constitution of certain phrases which are supposed to guarantee equality for people on the grounds of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation with everyone else.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stupidity And Self-Inflicted Ignorance

Isn't it strange that having a dick automatically makes you a man, but having a vagina isn't enough to make you a woman?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Death Squads = Genocide

Once upon a time, not very long ago, the world went to war over persecution and genocide of the Jews. A little while later, economic sanctions and political action were taken against a repressive regime over the persecution of people on the grounds of race to bring down the social system known as Apartheid. It will be very interesting to see what gets said and done by the major players about the persecution and genocide of gay people around the world today. Not that I am in favor of war of course, but I am simply drawing a comparison here on the all too apparent variable value of human life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Very Gay Agenda Indeed

Who in the pink community hasn't heard stories of the "homosexual agenda"? I know the first time I heard about it, my first thought was "WTF?" - but seriously now, there are some people and groups of people out there who really think it exists. We all know the type, the maniacal wing-nuts who can't even bring themselves to use the word "gay" and use the insulting alternative "homosexual" instead. The whack-jobs and nut-cases that claim gay people are 'sinners' who could just 'choose' to be straight on a whim and stop sinning, that they are 'anti-god' and after "special rights" and that we "recruit" through pedophilia and so on... because as they say "everybody" knows that the real "gay agenda" is that we are after their children. Who among us hasn't heard all the hateful, nasty and paranoid things they say about us?

Let's look at what they say the "homosexual agenda" is:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mad As A Hater

I know it isn't a fair comparison - and I must apologize to Linux fans for this unintentional sleight - but whenever I see anything that reminds me of Angus Buchan, I immediately think of Red Hat and its Fedora distro. Why? It's because of the hat. That hat has become synonymous to me with that man. In fact, one of these days I think some avid Angus fan may even release - or unleash - a new linux distro on an unsuspecting world and call it "Angus Fedora" Linux or something appropriately lame. Don't get me wrong, I like Linux - and I love that cute penguin - at least a good deal more than I like Angus - or his silly hat. Fortunately most Angus aficionados are clearly not bright enough to be Linux developers - or they would be bright enough to know a scam artist, baloney merchant or snake-oil salesman when they see one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flexible Morality

Ever notice how often human rights come under the attack of groups like Christian Action Network and Family Policy Institute lately? They have a unique name for human rights, these fundamentalist radicals - they call it "secular humanism" and they call it a religion - just as they claim that atheism is also a religion - although how an absence of apples still counts as apples is unclear to me. By their contributions to the storehouse of radical fundamentalist literary material, you will see they are certainly not overly fond of the concept.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indecent Exposure

It is quite cute how some people can glory in being ignorant. Have you ever noticed how they seize upon junk-science they find on the Internet, put there by their equally ignorant compatriots - and claim "I win!" when it is as fake as their faith and their claim to worship and follow a loving God who is supposed to have created - and to therefore love - all of us?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Change Of Heart

Christianity - the lifestyle choice that elevates one to a position from where you can look down on everyone else, and point out their mistakes - and everyone who disagrees is automatically "evil", "anti-God" and a "heretic", a "deviant" - or a threat to "the family", and somehow less of a human being for it.

This is how a friend of mine put it: "Very true - even of "good" Christians who claim to hate the sin but love the "sinner". "No, you're not evil, but your acts are evil." Evil. Good. Evil. Good. When will people just be able to accept reality as it truly is?"

When people stop fearing the dark as some representation of evil and see it as a shadow, an absence of light, and also a consequence of it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Going Mental

I know this guy, see? He's a local, claims he's a Christian - belongs to all the "right" clubs and parties - supports the CDA, ACDP, CP, UCDP - in fact any political party in South Africa with a "c" in it - okay, except possibly for THAT one. This bloke hates gay people and loves to point out all the usual verses in his holy book that support his misogyny. On his more lucid days he claims he doesn't, though you can see it right through the beatific smile on his face. On his worst days he admits to his hate and promotes the death penalty for gay people and then shifts the blame by claiming "it's not my fault - the bible tells me so". This man is proud of - and even brags about - being a Christian fundamentalist.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cameronian Pscience Abounds

Yesterday I found a Facebook group addressing the matter of a pending legal motion to change the legal age of consent for the youth in South Africa. The group creator doesn't stop at just attacking the suggested move to lower the age of consent for heterosexual children, but differentiates between heterosexual and gay children and then launches into insulting references to fictional anti-gay pseudo-science and propaganda aimed at gay people. In fact it seems to me this person and her group are obsessed entirely with gay male sex - as only a small portion of the lengthy rant on its information section concerns heterosexual children.

Aside from her online diatribe trying to drum up opposition to this supposed new law, I can find no official reference to any such motion currently in SA Parliament. If this is so, then why the group? Is it an excuse to just drum up more anti-gay hatred? I honestly cannot see any other motive.

In the past months I have had debates with bigots claiming that gay people are generally pedophiles and that the motive for lowering the legal age of consent is "to get at our children". Nor only is this the most hateful and paranoid load of tripe I have heard in quite some time, but it is so far from wrong it is beyond a joke.

Bigotry is everywhere - and what follows closely in its wake is the sickening use of untruths, half-truths, "junk-science" and propaganda to try and demonstrate an obviously religious fundamentalist and conservative argument against homosexuality - and the insinuation that gay people are somehow any less capable of deciding for themselves at the same age as heterosexual people.

This group was supposedly set up by a teenage girl. IMHO, any child capable of expressing such bigotry, hatred and doing so clearly and concisely while making abundant use of the mysogynistic material supplied by a group such as "Doctors For Life" and purveyors of right wing propaganda such as Paul Cameron should be legally allowed to make her own choices regarding the legal age of consent, because she is clearly mature enough to do so. In fact, I am sure she has a bright future ahead of her in the ranks of the right wing conservative groups in this country. Christian Action Network or Family Policy Institute will probably snap her right up the moment she finishes high school, completely ignoring the irony in their own allegations that homosexuals are "recruiting in our schools" to get at "our children".

That being said, I could give a hoot about her conservatism or her maturity (or the lack of it). I may even agree with the concept of protecting kids to a certain degree from each other and from child predators - but I cannot agree on differing ages of legal consent between males, females and heterosexual and gay people! That is just plain unfair discrimination and prejudice! It is clearly tantamount to legalizing prejudice and institutionalizing it by saying in law firstly that there is something wrong and dangerous with being gay, and secondly that gay youths are incapable of knowing what they are doing or choosing to engage in sexual acts at the same age as heterosexual youths. A most narrow-minded view indeed!

Please could somebody explain to me, using credible scientific evidence, genuine medical FACTS and actual studies, exactly how gay people differ in any way in mental ability from heterosexuals? You can't? Well, all righty then.

The extensive use of material quoted from pseudo-scientific groups such as "Doctors For Life", "Exodus International" and "Focus on the Family" who try to conceal their true fundamentalist nature by sugar-coating their misogyny with pscientific terminology and assumed authenticity and their false claim that gay sex has any additional risks over heterosexual intimacy is both inaccurate, ignorant and hateful. A few months ago a book released in 1979 that helped found the "ex-gay" industry, claiming to be based on "studies" done at the time was unmasked as bogus when one of its authors admitted the "studies" never took place and the stats presented as "evidence" were bogus. So much for the credibility of these arguments.

Doctors For Life make acerbic claims such as these: "homosexual acts have increased risks of tissue injury, organ malfunction, and infectious diseases. These and other factors result in a significantly shortened life expectancy. Among those involved in homosexual acts, there is an increased incidence of drug/or alcohol dependency, compulsive sexual behaviour, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Psychologically, most people hope for a permanent relationship. Life long relationships offer most people a higher level of self-esteem, emotional security, health, and happiness. However, studies [WHERE?] have shown that only 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women had relationships lasting more than 3 years." and "Homosexual love is the attempt to fulfill a deficit in wholeness of one's original gender. [Substantiated by what facts?] Unlike heterosexual love, both partners have the same deficit. There is valid evidence [WHERE?] that gay coupling almost never evolves into a mature love that is defined by quiet consistency, trust, mutual dependency and sexual fidelity. Socially, men who commit homosexual acts have a high incidence of promiscuity, child molestation, and sexually transmitted diseases. [This has been disproved - read here and here] Homosexual behaviours burden society with increased medical costs, increased disability, and productivity loss. [HOW?] Legalizing or blessing same sex marriage or civil unions is harmful to the stability of society, the raising of children, and the institution of marriage. If the only criterion for marriage were mutual consent or commitment, there are no grounds to prohibit bestial, pedophilic, sodomous or incestuous unions." - This sort of hogwash insults the reader's intelligence and makes me long for some long overdue anger management classes! I think the last two sentences of this diatribe on their website clearly indicate where this sort of nonsensical rubbish comes from - and I think any kind of medical "doctor" who associates with misogyny and hate speech such as this should be declared unfit to practice medicine on even a dead horse.

This is clear use of the "Bullshit Baffles Brains" (BBB) concept - ordinary people will believe whatever is said by people claiming to be experts, because they themselves do not know any better in the first place - and after all, it is DOCTORS who are saying these things, so it MUST be true.

It is pretty clear how somebody who reads this sort of thing and doesn't know any better will come away from it thinking nasty and anti-gay thoughts of their own. This is how hate speech and lies incite more hatred - and how hatred perpetuates itself.

"Doctors For Life". Doctors? Would you be justified in entrusting your life to a bigot in a white coat and stethoscope knowing he ascribed to such unscientific and diabolical beliefs? If the measure of a doctor is compassion and impartiality then they are not worthy of the title. They are biased, politicized and prejudiced and quite clearly in violation of their Hippocratic oaths - and as for the "life" part this is a clear reference to the anti-abortionist movement - in which this group is a major player in South Africa. What has the personal lives of people who do not concern them have to do with their trade? Why do they clearly mix medicine with their clear religious fundamentalism and try to legitimize it with medical terminology and respectability? If they are anti-abortion then fine, but what has people's sexuality to do with abortion? If religious fundamentalism is their focus then they should leave real medicine to the professionals, mind their own business and stick to saving fetuses from the Great White Bucket instead.

This sort of misinformation - or "disinformation" as the intelligence fundi's call it - is commonplace in the right wing fundamentalist anti-gay movement and "ex-gay" industry. In fact, should they stop using it, in effect stop lying - it would simply collapse.

We all know why such people hate gay and trans people - not because there is any fact or scientific reason to excuse it or to justify it - but because of their own personal prejudice, dislikes and intolerance - mixed in with a good portion of religous bias and bigotry. They hate gay people because other people have told them to, in some form or another - and they agree with it because it takes too much effort to think for themselves or because they like to hate somebody - and it may as well be us.

Yet for every radical fundamentalist group out there - and its clear anti-diversity bias, in almost every single press release, policy document or media statement they make, they are careful to include references to fallacial "medical studies" here, fictional "research material" and bogus "evidence" there which has been thumb-sucked by their own propaganda factories. Why? Because they are aware that they have nothing real to back them up - and just saying "because I said so" makes them feel exposed, and rightly so - to dismissal, ridicule and criticism.

A bigot is a bigot, and as near as I can figure it, bigotry is synonymous with cowardice. If you want to persecute gay people for being gay because of your own bigotry then just say so, don't try to justify it by making up bogus scientific studies.

They like to have the look of authority and authenticity and justice - or people will recognize them for the silly twits they really are.

Pseudo-science is frustrating and infuriating because it is used by gay-haters to try and lend an appearance of fact and actuality to the thumb-sucked rubbish they want people to believe in order to win their support. In fact it leads me to coin a new term for it - "pscience" - and the depravity of this rubbish, originating from its most infamous source (being disgraced former psychologist Paul Cameron) - can only be called "Cameronian".

As always it is actual science and fact versus "pscience".

And the "facts" disseminated by people who staff "Doctors For Life" who supposedly qualified as (intelligent and competent) medical doctors - "Cameronian pscience" indeed.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Love Versus Hate

When one looks at hate crimes such as the Tel Aviv Massacre Saturday night in which fifteen gay people were wounded and three young people killed by a masked and cowardly gunman dressed in black who entered a gay center filled with gay kids and began spraying it with automatic weapons fire and then fled - it is quite easy to reciprocate the feelings of hate.

When one reads articles about innocent people being discriminated against and murdered simply because of their sexuality or gender, it can be enough to make you hard inside, and angry and bitter. I know, when I read about the cold-blooded murders of Angie Zapata, Tina Brandon, Eudy Simalane and Matthew Sheppard, it is enough to make me want to hate them right back for what they do to us.

While this is understandable given the circumstances, hate begets hate. If we show hatred to our enemies, we give them ammunition or an excuse to "justify" their hate for us. And it is much easier to simply go on hating people who hate you, isn't it? It provides them with a pretext - "Well, they hate us, don't they?" It almost excuses and justifies it. After all, gay people are already being depicted by their propaganda campaigns as "less human" than they are, "dangerous", "unpredictable" and "threats" to this or that. For a long time gay activists have been portrayed as "militant" - which conjures up images of masked protesters hurling Molotov cocktails at police barricades, doesn't it? Such images seem to me to be little different from the masked "crusader" in Tel Aviv. Hatred is being built up against the pink community in the name of conservatism and religious fundamentalism and various other "isms" using little more substantial than wishful thinking and fairy tales. The ignorant and prejudiced lap it up and thus, hatred is incited and perpetuated.

While our anger is righteous, and our frustration clear when we protest or even riot, or take on hate speech in the media, and hate crime in society - it can be easy for our enemies to twist this to show how "full of hate" and "militant" they want us to look. It is striking though that at counter-marches at Pride events, bigots and fundamentalists carrying signs which proclaim "God Hates Fags" are not being hateful at all - oh no, they are simply trying to show how much they "love" us by pointing out how wrong and lost we are - but seeing people marching at a Pride event, defending their humanity, now that's just downright awful, isn't it? How dare they love each other when they should be standing beside them, holding hateful placards and protesting against love!

At an art exhibition a bible is placed open on display, where people who feel they have been "written out of it" are invited to "write themselves back in" by writing their names or messages in it, fundamentalists picket and object claiming "blasphemy" and an "attack" on their faith.

How can faith be contained in a physical object? How can one object embody an entire religion? Why are people being so touchy? Is their faith so fragile that it can be shattered by such a humanitarian gesture obviously intended to provoke introspective thought? Is God so thin-skinned that he could be offended or harmed by mere human acts?

It is a BOOK, for crying out loud.

A bundle of paper, ink and cardboard. Nothing more. Not for nothing is paper made of wood - being useful to bash people over the head with. Ironic that it is far too good to be sullied with the names of the dirty gay people - but not too good to be stained with their blood.

If they want to be art critics they should rather take on the whack-job "artiste" that destroyed a beautiful piano with a large catapult in the name of art - now THAT was sacrilege.

The last thing we need to do is compound their hatred and the persecution of the pink community with reports of gangs of gay people going around "straight-bashing" and saying hateful things about straight people - at least indiscriminately. After all, the majority of straight people support gay equality and human rights - or at worst are ignorant and even indifferent.

When angry about hate crime we need to be specific where we direct this anger and not just lash out at everybody who isn't part of our community. Many straight people care about us too - and are just as offended by the hate directed against us as we are. Many of them get attacked along with us because they support us. As a matter of interest it was mentioned to me that one of the Tel Aviv victims was straight, being at the meeting to support a gay friend when she was slain because it was obviously assumed she was gay. We need to differentiate between the bigots and other straight people - in exactly the same way as we need to differentiate between the Christian fundamentalists who hate and wage war on us - and the rest of Christians who show us love and support. By simply labeling all Christians or all straight people "the enemy" are we not turning our allies against us as well?

Perhaps just being "angry at their unjust hatred of us" - and highlighting the injustice and blatant evil of their assaults on our humanity is a better way to approach this untie-able knot?

Some do not find this to be enough. They say we have been "just angry" for centuries and letting these bigots get away with pretty much anything committed against us. Some think "it's about time" we stand together and give them hatred in return for hate. That it's time we do something other than just be diplomatic. While I may disagree on the hate - I do agree on one thing - it is time we stand together, against hate.

Hate is the fuel of violence - and violence leads to more needless tragedy and death - and dead bigots have not learned anything - not even how wrong they are. Only the living can learn from their mistakes.

"Diplomacy" includes lots of things, such as protest action, lobbying - and what irritates them most of all - been shown up as wrong and not being taken seriously, made fun of and to look foolish - and their worst fear - us winning the information and education battle - because when people are educated in truth and fact, they lose all their support. Why else do you think they want to silence the civil rights movement? Why else do they want to prevent children from receiving factual education about sexual and gender diversity in schools? They don't need protection from education - they need education to protect them from ignorance and institutionalized bigotry!

I understand how you feel. I felt it too once. But hatred will destroy us as well. It is acid in the blood, which eats you alive from the inside and which would destroy us as well as them. Who should we hate? Straight people? Or just the straight people who hate us? How will others be able to tell the difference? How will we?

Just as they don't realize that we are a part of their families, we need to realize that they are a part of our families too. That in the end we will always be a part of each other's lives - it is a fact of our existence.

In terms of the "War on homosexuality", in case you haven't noticed... we actually seem to be winning. Slowly but surely. Inch by inch, foot by foot. Even with the many tragedies and casualties along the way. I am not suggesting that the pink community should not stand up to hate and homophobia or heterosexism - by all means, fight back -fight them tooth and nail if we have to - be angry when it is appropriate - but hate is something we don't want - why? Because it makes us think and act like them. If we hate them back, they win - we give them their victory - because we will make them right. They hate us - so let them. It's what defines them. Is it what defines us? I don't think so. It doesn't define me.

We need to remember that we are better than that. We need to remember that this "culture war" they forced upon us is all about love versus hate - their hatred of who we are and our inalienable human right to love and the freedom to do so in the face of their hate - and its power and might.

Love has a power of its own - but power loves only itself.

Let love be our strength, not hate.

Broken Logic

Over the last week an "ex-gay" champion engaged me in an email debate over my "leading gay people to destruction" by taking them "further away from the light of God" and "into the ways of the world".


I brushed aside images of being a transgender "Moses" (or "Moselina") leading the downtrodden masses across a candy-floss desert in my bright pink cape, imagining various forms of burning bush and grinning annoyingly from behind my false beard. Achoo.