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 the perfect time to take advantage of Zuma's invitation to 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

The 'Nuclear Family' Goes Super-critical

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 complacency, 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, even though they certainly claim to be.
Without a doubt, they would dispute my statement, but you see, their claim can be proved false simply by analyzing their approach to family life. 
Are groups such as these intent on preserving family life as it is - or are they intent on enforcing an unrealistic 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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How To 'Mng' Hate Mail

Some of the bigots who make the effort to send me hate mail are really irate before they do so, and the more pissed off they get, usually the less sense they make. 
I have previously mentioned that I tend to file my hate mail. Far from being a masochistic tendency, I do this with good reason. I use the amount and veracity of the hate mail I receive as a measurement of how I'm doing in my activism. You see, the more I know those folks hate me, the more I know I am doing the right thing. Apart from that, it is quite entertaining and motivational to occasionally take it all out and read it over a glass or two of good wine. 

Sometimes it is amusing to note the colorfulness of the content, or the rhyme, or even the imagery. The sense of outrage, injustice and paranoia on the part of the writer is often striking and ironic, and if anything the saddest and most surreal part of the whole business. Honestly, though my girlfriend isn't that amused by the things said in there about me, I find it rather amusing. I say it is motivating, because it helps inspire me to work towards a world free of hatred. I also have to admit I keep the compliments I receive too - and it's comforting that there is more than twice as much of that than there is hate mail.

Doing The 'I Told You So' Two-Step

There are people out there, who while being born with the same needs and feelings as everybody else, are not treated the same as everyone else. These are people who always have to fight bigotry and prejudice in order to get ahead and compete with other people on the world stage - just to have the same standing in life as others. There are people out there who want to do what everybody else out there takes for granted - they would like to marry the people they love.

While there are those who are quite happy to take their wedding vows in the dilapidated facilities at the local Home Affairs department, whose tiny wedding chapel (at least in my home town) has only one entrance - which is in the crowded and noisy foyer filled with bored and frustrated people standing in long queues all day (but I have to admit I am not one of them). A wedding is an occasion of personal significance and import, deserving of at least some dignity and respectability. Churches generally ask fees and monies for services rendered, there is no getting away from that - but it seems that no matter how much money you may have available to spend on your wedding - at some churches, if you are gay and want to get married, your money isn't good enough - and it seems, neither are you.

This often causes me to wonder how "Christian", or should I say "Christ-like" some churches really are?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Suffering In The Darkness Of Ignorance

Over the past weekend I received another taste of the hatred and intolerance which people hold against their fellow human beings. That this person sent their hate mail to me via an email address of the organization I represent in my home town, indicates to me that this person must live in the same place - and the timing of this, for various reasons which I will not go into here, even more so. It saddened me that much more, especially at a time while I have already been saddened by the loss of a particularly inspiring mentor and minister, who gave selflessly and worked for the inclusion of all people into the family of God. 

I am also sad to say that I was unsurprised that this hatred came from a person professing Christianity - a faith which holds a loving father-figure God as its tradition and core belief, as well as loving each other selflessly after the pattern set by Christ. This message seems all too rare in modern Christianity, doesn't it? Especially when you face hatred and intimidation such as this on a regular basis.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bypassing Death

Some might claim that like the secret of flying is missing the ground, the secret to immortality is simply not dying.

While this may seem like an over simplistic way of looking at the subject, it also happens to be true.

Censorship And The Demise Of Personal Liberty

For some time now, religious fundamentalist extremist groups in South Africa have been campaigning to ban various things in this country. Unsurprisingly, these include the usual list of things people of this ilk seem to disapprove of, and work to deprive those around them of access to them as well.
A few months ago, a massive crowd - all of 18 actual people - picketed outside the Sexpo in Cape Town, demanding a return to what they called "traditional" and "family values" - oh, and the banning of pornography of course. This transpired, much to the amusement of the 20 odd thousand people drawn to the Sexpo by their very negative press, which unintentionally turned out to be very positive for the event instead. 
Such groups have held numerous protests and mounted email campaigns against "soft-porn" on E-TV, so-called "blasphemy" in student "rag" magazines (which now no longer exist, thanks to these idiots with the over-tight underpants) and of course, marches against abortion. 
And who can forget the actual thousands who gathered in South Africa some years ago to oppose marriage equality for gay people - because of course, gay people falling in love and getting married is just way too bad for "the family", and will cause our fragile civilization to collapse?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beating Ploughshares Into Swords

Is religious fundamentalism fascist in nature? 
Are religious fundamentalists prone to fascist behavior? I have heard them being called fascists and agreed with it simply because of the general perception - and my own personal experience - that fascists aren’t very nice people either. 
I have often drawn comparisons between them myself, in articles, thoughts and conversations - and I find it surprising that I never realized how much they seem to genuinely have in common with our totalitarian friends who like to march under flags sporting propeller-like symbols – and marginalizing and attacking sections of society they don't like very much - whom they delight in pointing out how much "better than" they think they are.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Cult Of Mud And Dirt

I have often wondered at the clear division between people who see the world as it is, and those who see it from inside a book written by other people.

Last week a person who described herself as a "metaphysical consultant" and I engaged in a stimulating short exchange of personal views. I have to say I liked the views she expressed and the discussion because my blogs and articles always tend to drift towards the religious and esoteric side of things - though "metaphysical consultant" sounds awfully impressive, if not a little intimidating!

The writer referred to Mary Douglas, a renowned anthropologist and her suggestion that "dirt is matter or place." "In other words," the writer explains, "Mud is fine in the garden, but called dirt when the dogs tramp it into the lounge. In other words, human beings consider what is out of place in any particular context dirty or impure."
Is that not perfectly in line with the religious trope of Puritanism? Is it not then also ironic that Puritanism is what lies at the root of Western conservatism today?

There is a school of thought that says fundamentalists are "best left to their folly until such times as they see the light or the shift of consciousness leaves them in the same position as the dinosaurs."

Were it not for all the other people around them who they affect negatively through their folly, I would agree with that completely. Also, the comparison of mud being "mud" outside the home and "dirt" inside it, can itself be compared to gay and straight people both being sinners and children of God at the same time - and not necessarily only inside a church - but everywhere all the time.

I suppose you could say it would be an eye-opening experience indeed, to see the carpet or the lounge from the viewpoint of the mud/dirt - or the dog.

Identity Crisis

I read in the papers last Friday that an advocate - Zahir Omar - had publicly criticized a Judge solely on the basis of her sexuality. The title of the article was particularly amusing - "Lesbian judge lashed". This sounds very kinky. Can I join in?

Less amusing however, was the evident antagonism displayed by Omar, who seems to think a Judge unworthy of holding the position in the Constitutional Court simply because of who she loves. Omar is reported to have told the JSC: "Learned Judge Satchwell's unconventional lifestyle is not something that the majority of South Africans can relate to. The majority of South Africans are God-fearing and follow some or other religion. There is no religion that condones homosexuality. Therefore the major portion of the South African people will not be able to identify with the learned judge."

I wonder, who exactly is left in the world today that these "God-fearing South Africans" Mr Omar talks about can identify with?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Caster-gation Of The Rainbow Nation

For those who don't know me, my name is Christina Engela and I am a transwoman - or if you will, a transsexual woman. What does that mean exactly? Now that we have the support-group greeting out of the way, let me explain.

Once upon a time there was a little boy who always felt that - somehow, inside, he was actually a little girl... 

To the world I was a little boy, who liked dolls and girly things and who was awfully confused by the way girls were treated differently to boys - and who clearly did not want to be included with the boys. I learned very early on that little boys who were soft and effeminate were frowned upon - and were given a very hard time. The world didn't understand who I was, and quite honestly, for some time, neither did I. And that is the really sad part - because the subject of gender and transgender is so taboo in conservative society that the only way to find out who you are as a transgender person is to figure it out for yourself. I was 26 before I even really fully understood who and what I was. And when I learned the truth, I grabbed onto it with all that was in me.