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.


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.


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.

Justify? Science doesn't lie. Religion written in dead languages on the other hand is open to interpretation. How can it not be, without evidence or fact to back it up? Add to the lack of substantiating evidence, the documentary proof that many people, and great leaders, have used religion and religious scripture as a tool to "justify" the evil they have done - and do - in the name of God. Whether or not you are religious yourself, you should be able to see examples of this all around you in daily life.

All around us there are people who warn against gay people, tell lies about transgender people and demonize us as a pink community as though we are a threat to them, and something to be feared.

We are not monsters, we do not "recruit", suck blood or hang upside down from the rafters, and we do not "pray on children". It is truly hurtful to see the lies some people claiming to be good people say about us.

I know in some countries people may view people like me as freaks and outcasts, but here in South Africa it is different. Here I have straight friends and colleagues who treat me with respect and value me for who I am, and for what I can do. I contribute to society, and I make a difference. Take away people like us and you remove our potential from the bigger picture and you make society poorer for it, and set it back. And quite frankly, even if they didn't like me, or want to befriend me, or even to speak to me outside of working hours, I really don't need them to. I will choose my own company. I'm glad they are my friends, but I can live without them if need be. At the end of this I will add: my civil and human rights they WILL respect, especially if they expect me to respect theirs.

Nevertheless, some folks delight in pointing out the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as "confirmation" of how "right" they are about other people's unworthiness to share the world with them.

WRONG - Sodom and Gomorrah were supposedly destroyed for other reasons - and NOT because of gay people - read here and here to find out why.

They angrily demand to know why gay and trans people should be "allowed" to have equality and rights equal to their own. I find this shocking evidence of religious hypocrisy and arrogance, let alone unacceptable from any moral or even "Christian" view point. It disgusts me.

You have rights, don't you? What is so special about you? People are people - and ALL people should have EQUAL rights. Failure to recognize this lessens some people before others - and again, elevates some above others. This is not democracy - but tyranny and despotism.

I notice these folks all seem obsessed with the bible and religion - and yet they seem to practice none of what it preaches - love, tolerance, forgiveness and peace - not murder, injustice, oppression and hatred.

On the Ugandan Facebook hate group which incites hatred and generates support for the passing of the pending Ugandan Genocide Bill. Lies and propaganda abound, such as the lie that gay people "recruit", are after children, conspiring to destroy "heterosexual society" and religion and numerous other accusations too ridiculous to recount. And easily visible in all of this is religious fundamentalism, fear, paranoia and the ever-present ignorance and hatred which drives homophobia.

Have gay people truly done ANYTHING to any of them, that they should hate them so much that they would wish them dead or other harm to come to them? These are their family members, friends and colleagues they are talking about!

Another pet gripe I have about these bigots is that they like to refer to gay people as "homosexuals" - read the documents put out by religious right wings crazies like Focus on the Family, Exodus, NARTH etc. You can almost taste the disdain and disgust when they use it. They simply cannot bring themselves to call us by any name we prefer, BECAUSE we prefer it - and to them it seems to give us "legitimacy" or a modicum of respect, which is unacceptable to them.

On the Ugandan Facebook hate group demanding the death penalty for GLBTIQ people - STILL active and not yet removed by the lax and apparently indifferent Facebook Admins, these bigots demand to know from human rights activists which sexual orientation is "better" than the other - straight or gay?

What is this, a game of "my dog is better than your dog"?

Why do you think that one sexual orientation is supposed to be "better" than the other? Is it because you feel threatened by other people? Do you think there is somehow a "competition" between sexual orientations? Do heterosexuals have something to "prove" against their non-heterosexual relatives? Is your own identity so fragile that you can be threatened by the mere existence of others?

If I were to ask you to choose which is better, black or white, you would probably label me a racist. But it simply clarifies my point, which is that neither gay nor straight is better or worse - just different to each other, but not a threat to each other simply because of that difference. Can you understand this?

Apparently not, because they cry: "If they dont wanna be killed, they should avoid sin. simple."

This one person, called Monicah, simply took the cake and gorged herself on it. Oddly enough she has just spent some time elaborating on her "Christian faith" and how "sinful" gay people are!

So if the bible equates all sins equally, what gives YOU the right as a fellow sinner to demand the deaths of other people who are no more guilty of sin than yourself? Are YOU sinless? Are YOU perfect?

The use of religion as a weapon, whether in Uganda or South Africa or the USA, indicates to me a case of "convenient Christianity" - no more than a convenient excuse to try to justify the unjustifiable... A power play run by the intelligentsia - and once sparked by their words, supported on a wave of blind, blisteringly ignorant plebs eager to find a solution to their problems so clearly pointed out by their leaders. A Final Solution.

On the same group on Facebook, the group Admin posted Ugandan news of a 58 year old man caught for molesting a 3 year old boy, implying that it was evidence of homosexual malice and the "threat to the family" posed by the existence of GLBTIQ people in Uganda. Of course, he denied that is why he posted this, but why make such a post if it has no perceived relevance? In any case, even if he didn't vocalize the implied accusations, his cronies on the group soon did, whipping the online mob into a fury of anti-gay slurs and incitement to commit state-sanctioned genocide just as soon as the Bill passes. Of course, these comments were not deleted, last time I looked.

So what has pedophilia got to do with homosexuality? Would you still have posted the news if it was a man molesting a 3 yr old girl? Why not? Because it is pedophilia? But miraculously because it is a man who molested a boy, it somehow becomes homosexuality?

Pedophilia is NOT homosexuality - here are some obviously urgently needed facts about homosexuality and child molestation. Isn't it interesting that pedophilia occurs most frequently in heterosexual males, followed secondly by heterosexual females? Where are all the gay pedophiles then? Why, right at the bottom of the list... now how about that? Up in smoke... "poof", so to speak (Sorry about the pun).

And then of course we saw signs of frustration on the part of the group Admin and creator, who realized his forces were getting creamed - whipped into a frothy frenzy, but creamed, none the less. The typical last resort of the losing side of a despotic argument - deleting posts.

Deleting posts simply because you do not approve of the points being made, indicates an inability to participate in a rational debate. When you delete one side of a debate it stops being a debate and becomes a monologue, a dictation of one viewpoint, disjointed and meaningless - save for the fact that dialog, as praised by the very same Administrator a day before, is pointless.

Deleting the truth won't make it a lie - or make it go away - or make the lies told in that forum - or any other, true.

Another dude on the same forum made the classic bigoted statement that they don't hate gay people, they just hate homosexuality.

Oh great, that clears things up, definitely. You don't hate gay people, but you just hate everything gay about them? Interesting. Ever heard of a paradox? It's something like "Peace Force" or "Military Intelligence" - and basically what you have just said, in a nut shell.

Another went on about the facts presented to show homosexuality is natural because it is known to exist in animals, in such a way that he accused gay people of "behaving like animals" and equating us with them. Indeed, if love is an animal characteristic, then I am happy to agree - however, how many animals can such as he point out that actually hate? All human beings are animals. Well, we're not plants are we? That is, except maybe for those of us who are "vegetables".

To close, one among them - Monicah again, said they have "seen the light" - referring to the sinful nature of gay people versus the "salvation" offered them by prayer and "Christianity" which would "change" them and "make them heterosexual" - the standard load of "ex-gay", "reparitive therapy" crap that flies in the face of common sense, logic and hundreds of official and authoritative dismissals and condemnations.

So Monicah, what you are saying is that you have "seen the light"? I find that an interesting statement considering the hateful things I have seen you add to this forum against gay people. Are you saying that hating is "Christian"? Is hatred "seeing the light"? Hate is acid in the blood. It eats you alive from the inside out, like a cancer.

Sooner or later, it will consume these people, and they will be a spent force left with nothing.

You have seen the light?

Close the fridge, Monicah - it's cold enough.

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.