Monday, December 12, 2011

Crime & Contemplation



Crime and punishment. 

This concept is also known as criminal justice and deals with how fairness, legality and morality affect law and order. 

The term criminal justice can sometimes refer to the industry that surrounds crime and punishment. Some of the many careers in the field are covered on this criminal justice degree site, along with information on educational requirements for those working in this field. I am more concerned with the idea of criminal justice as a social issue. 

People seem to think that it is socially acceptable that punishment should fit the crime. All too often we find ourselves asking - does it?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

There Is In Prejudice, No Fairness, Nor Equality


We are all losing a little bit of our equality and freedom, a little bit at a time. 

All of us, in every social grouping, whatever the basis for discrimination or differentiation, are affected. We all belong to a race group, a gender, a sexual orientation, a personal expression, and have our own religious beliefs. How long before all of us are equal only in our disenfranchisement, powerlessness and despair?

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Are Big Brother


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - this a Latin proverb meaning "who will guard the guardians?" or "who will watch the watchdogs?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is Democracy In South Africa Dead?



"█████ ██ █ ████everything ███ █████ is█████ ████ ████ fine ████ ███ █ █████ love,█████ ██████ ███ your █████ ████ government #BlackTuesday" - This is a message that has been doing the rounds today on the web, and on Facebook. The topic of conversation? The controversial "Protection Of Information Bill, aka the "POI" Bill. It was today passed, after being railroaded through Parliament.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passing On The Torch



It is very close to the end of another year, and the time has come again for me to reflect on the past, to take stock - and to chart a new course for my future in human rights activism. 

You may recall I started out as an activist for the human rights of the Pink Community, specifically with the SA Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) - an organization I am still serving on - and have since also become more involved with other causes attached to the cause of human rights. 

Among these was a group called ECGLA.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mirror, Mirror



As a non-Christian, I have never understood the need some people have to indoctrinate others, or to try and force their own views on them. 

When this sort of thing takes place during a time of grieving and mourning, such as at a funeral, it just makes it even worse.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Challenges of Life


I believe where it is SAFE to do so, transgender people should be out and proud. And where it isn't safe, they should be proud if not out - and they should still work for equality, dignity and human rights so that they - and the generations that are to come - one day can be out. Nobody cares about people they don't know about, folks. 

When people don't remind folks that they really do exist, the haters, purists and bigots like to believe and pretend that they don't.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dismantling Fear


Many transsexual people I have encountered over time have chosen to introduce themselves to friends or acquaintances as being more than "just" transsexuals. 

Instead of just being honest about having been biologically male or female, and having changed that, they invent stories about having been born intersex - presumably because in their minds, the audience will somehow view them more sympathetically that way than if they were just honest to begin with.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kicking The Crutch


The world around us is filled with people who are selfish, cocky and arrogant about their own religious beliefs. I say not these things because I resent the pride others take in their religion, but because the pride some of them take in their choice of beliefs boils over into a hatred of the religious choices of others who choose differently to them, and into persecution of those who dare to do so.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Will Somebody Please Think Of The Children?


I regularly meet a friend of mine, who is a Christian reverend, for drinks at a local coffee shop. We enjoy casual chats about religion, persecution and human needs and frailties. He mentioned to me that there is no ONE Christianity, but many, and that today there are more than 200 different formally identified "mainstream" denominations - or "churches" around the world. Ironically, each one considers itself to be the ONE TRUE Christianity, or at least, the face of it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Makes Sense, Doesn't It?


If you look at all the weird and wonderful new Bills being tabled in South Africa these days - there is little doubt in my mind that the Constitution and the freedoms contained within it - are clearly under assault. 

And those of us whose civil rights and equality are protected by those very clauses in the Constitution which are under assault, somehow seem unaware that we fill the sights and scopes on the weapons being directed against us by those who would chip away at our equality.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NMB Pride Is Our Heritage Day!


This past Saturday saw a first for my home town. Almost 20 years into our new democracy, Port Elizabeth still had not had a Pride parade or Pride event, in fact it was sometimes a pit-stop for travelers on their way from somewhere else, to Pride events being held - well, somewhere else. All that changed last Saturday, when the very first Nelson Mandela Bay Pride was held - and I was so very proud!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facebook Outted Me


Facebook outed me, not for being being gay or transsexual, but for being associated with Pagan, occult and other alternative communities on Facebook.

Be warned - Pagans, drag queens, transgender people, gays living in countries where they face violence and murder, non-mainstream religious groups - anyone not using their legal names in order to interact safely online without fear of exposure or persecution - Facebook has appointed itself in charge of moral policing and is gunning for you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Make Hate Great



Tolerance. Equality. Individual freedom. The right to self-expression. These are the things that make democracy great. These are the things that make life worth living.

And yet many people who claim to support these ideals, really do not. While they claim to, they see equality as something they are deserving of, while simultaneously they view anyone they do not personally approve of trying to gain equality with them as an attack on their own superior and privileged social positions. They distort facts and ideologies to serve their elitist and supremacist ideals, and hijack democracy in order to preserve a social order where words like "love" and concepts like "good" and "evil", and even terms like "family" and "marriage" become tools to exclude fellow human beings from equal, decent and humane treatment - and as weapons to destroy them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yes, Wiccan


I drive a Mazda, but I still know what a Mercedes Benz looks like. I have had Beetles, a Kombi, a Renault, a Toyota and a Golf as well. I realize they are all cars, and I at least have an idea of what makes each of them different from the other, and about the thing that makes them go. I also know that cars make traveling from one place easier and better. It doesn't mean I have to hate the other makes, or refuse to drive in whatever car my neighbor drives.

What I'm trying to put across in my own rather quizzical way, is religion. Yes, that. You may wonder what cars have to do with religion - but let me clear it up for you: I have been finding out the hard way how ignorant some people are about religions other than their own. 

Let's take Christianity as a prime example. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bollocks And Bellyaching


Recently I saw an article posted by a transsexual sister activist about the failings of the alliance of the Pink Community. The article was very melodramatic, bordering on the hysterical. In fact, I feel it was nothing short of a load of bollocks and bellyaching.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cardboard Armor & Quicksand


I have little patience for religious fundamentalist bigots who jump up and wave their fingers, condemning me and those like me for who we are - and using flimsy and baseless religious rhetoric as a foundation for their hatred and prejudice. You're running into battle wearing cardboard armor and waving plastic swords! Go back to school and ask for a refund!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

EC Mirror Casts Poor Reflection


Some of you know that my city, Port Elizabeth, will be hosting its first ever Pride event this year - an event which I am proud to say I am involved in, be it in my own small way. ECGLA, an organization I am part of, stands behind the Nelson Mandela Bay Pride - which will take place on the 24th of September - with one or two smaller events on the side during the month leading up to the main event.

I have to say that so far I have been pleasantly surprised to note that there have been no negative encounters, nasty letters in the press, and no hate mail specific to the Pride event. In fact, we were even surprised and excited to learn how positive the public appears to be about Pride. Of course, there always has to be one bad apple in the basket, doesn't there?

Today I was forwarded an email reply to a request sent out to newspapers in our area to publicize an event which forms part of the run-up to Pride.

On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Ec Mirror Admin wrote:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

System Failure



I think any system of government where human or civil rights depends wholly on the public opinion of the moment, is fundamentally flawed.

Where did that come from? Well, it goes back to before we had the present Constitution in South Africa, when as a teenager I was threatened with being labeled a criminal because being gay was illegal in this country then. That's right, I was threatened with jail because I dared to consider that I might not be your average heterosexual cisgender boy. And in those days, even being transgender was a very grey area in legal terms. Being caught in a raid dressed in women's clothing as a biological male was a risky business. It was "fine" to be a cross-dresser or drag queen busted at a gay club during a raid - but you better still have been wearing male underwear - or you would be thrown in jail for "impersonating a female". LOL. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bread And Circuses

Last week I had the pleasure of having to get up really early for work, at around 4 am, when all the respectable birds were still asleep. It was while having breakfast a little later that I heard something faint in the night, a kind of singing chant in the distance that reminded me of a Muslim call to prayer. I really had to strain my hearing to pick it up, as the very light wind at that time of morning affected it, and it faded in and out. It seemed to me that it might very well be that, from one of the mosques in the old part of town somewhere. I began to wonder if I was imagining it, but no, there it was, for a whole 2 or 3 minutes. It brought a smile to my face as I wondered why I had never heard it before.

I heard it the next morning too, while having breakfast, confirming to me that I had not imagined it. At the end of the week, I received an email notice that some people in my area (Richmond Hill) were angry about the "disturbance" coming from North End so early in the morning and were drawing up a petition about it. I was stunned. Could people really be so small and anal about such things? 

Apparently so.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Say Never


Anyone notice how closely the govt's new demand on the mining companies to hand out shares to local communities in their areas (and failure to comply will lead to asset seizures), resembles nationalization?

Business is business. At least, I always thought it was. The mining companies lease or own the land, and they keep to government prescriptions on how to mine safely etc etc. Being told to just hand over part ownership of their operation to "the people" is neither fair, nor part of a free-market system, nor a democracy. Nor is just issuing an ultimatum to comply "or else". This is more in line with communist-fascist or socialist ideology.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Out And About


Outing.

How do you feel about it?

I'm referring to the willful public exposure of individuals against their will, and without regard for their health or well-being. Quite often this is an intentional act of spite - sabotage - intended to ruin the life of the victim. An act of malice, to injure them, sometimes an act of revenge.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Place In The Sun


No matter what I am or what I have done, I am also just as human and just as flawed and vulnerable as anyone who thinks they are perfect, or stronger, or better than me. Nevertheless, it seems there are always people who think that because I am not straight like them, and not living the gender I was born in, that I am anti-social, have a persecution complex, a huge chip on my shoulder, and am either less intelligent than they are, or that I am just plain stupid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Blood Feud Continues...


I keep hearing the SA blood "service" whining about another blood shortage - but at the same time they continue to refuse to accept blood from people who are gay. They won't accept the perfectly good blood that the Pink Community willingly offers - so as far as I'm concerned, they can just whine and whine till they run dry.

They have no reason to not accept our blood. 

None. 

Only the terminally stupid or ignorant believes that blanket discrimination is the best way to protect people from receiving HIV infected blood. The problem here is their clear refusal to screen for HIV infected blood - but they clearly have no problem with discriminating against people. And surprisingly, they are allowed by SA's government to continue blatantly thumbing their bigoted little noses at the non-discrimination clauses in our Constitution. What gives?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Woke Up This Morning


I woke up this morning, alone. 

The space beside me, cold and empty. You should have been there, but you weren't. Your pride was too strong and you were too good for me, remember? 

Well, I do. 

How could I ever forget?

You said you could handle my past, you said you could face the future by my side. But somehow both issues became just too steep for you to climb over. What I am and what I was before was just too much for you to accept or deal with, your misplaced faith that I could be anything else just too much for me to give in to, or capitulate.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christo-fascism Anti-fun Police At Work In SA


In recent times I began pondering more deeply about religious matters. Having come from a Christian background, I am more familiar with the way things work in what Pagans tend to describe as a "book religion" - by this is meant - a religion which is defined by a set of rules in a book, and a dogma which is taught and enforced in its temples, homes and wherever its adherents go.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bed-knobs And Broomsticks


If people today think of anyone who is sexual, or who enjoys sex, as "immoral", "deviant" or "undesirable" today - it is because of religious indoctrination. If we think of people who abstain from all sexual activity, and those who remain virginal through their lives, living by a code that sex is for procreation and not enjoyment, it is because of the puritan hangover left us by folks who were too afraid to see themselves naked lest it cause them to think sinful thoughts - and with an obsession about the afterlife and where they would spend it - instead of enjoying and celebrating the life they had.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blasphemous Rumors



I know I have been quiet lately, but it's just because I've taken the weekend off. Honest. Rumors of my being "raptured" are greatly exaggerated - in fact, I am still here, and so is my underwear drawer, which still needs tidying. 

Damn.

I am typing this article on the morning of Sunday May 22, 2011. I am still here, and so is the house I live in - and the cars parked outside tell me the businesses across the road are doing their usual booming breakfasting business. The city around me is not on fire and there haven't been any tsunamis during the night. My mother woke up this morning, as usual, and shuffled past my door - so I knew she was still here. All is right with the world then.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Come To The Dark Side - We Have Cookies Too


Christians - you just can't seem to win with them. 

If you're gay, you're evil. If you're not religious, you're evil. If you're an atheist, you're a "willing pawn of the devil". If you believe in another god or gods, or even call their god by another name, you're "evil" or "lost". If you are tolerant of other faiths, or of homosexuals - then you're "misled", "backsliding" or yep, "evil".

If you're gay and a Christian (horror of horrors), they want to cut up your membership card and deny that you are part of their club (or ever were), and when you abandon their faith or even go so far as to change religions and want nothing more to do with them, they still persecute you because you have somehow "proved them right" - and then they see you as an even bigger "threat" to their paranoiac little "worldview".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SA - Not So Liberal After All


Not interested in politics? Not interested in how the government spends its time - and your money? Really? Think we live in a nice, quiet, safe country where all is right with the world? The government is benevolent and doing its best to deliver all the things it claims to? Think it lives up to our Constitution? Think it cares about all the people who live in South Africa? Think there is no reason to be concerned with anything to do with politics?

Who is still naive enough to think we aren't already living in a police state? Come on, don't be shy - put your hands up.

Think about it for a moment. No, really.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Seeing Is Believing


Ever hear a child put his hands over his ears, or sometimes closing her eyes too, and chanting loudly, "I can't hear you - lalalalala"?

Aside from the old adage that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", there are different names for this concept, such as "selective ignorance" and "self-imposed ignorance". I often use another term, because I think "willful ignorance" fits better due to the fact that it takes a conscious decision to decide to stay ignorant about an issue on purpose - especially when there is so much information available. We are surrounded by it, and so as far as I'm concerned, to remain ignorant about some things must take a supreme effort of will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spit Or Swallow?


Belief is subjective, you don't have to like somebody else's beliefs any more than somebody else might agree with folks standing in church waving their hands in the air. Some folks see religion as chicken soup for the soul - well, some folks like their soup with croutons, others with noodles. Some like tomato, others butter-nut. It would be a boring old world if we all just stuck to "hearty beef" now wouldn't it?

When I posted that on Facebook as a status, an old friend of mine replied, extending the metaphor: "Some people are vegetarian, others just hate soup, others say soup is for sick people, and some just eat soup cos they are too poor to eat steak."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Living In Interesting Times


A few thousand years ago the Chinese developed a saying that went "May you live in interesting times". This is, believe it or not, intended as a curse, not a blessing. By "interesting times" of course, they meant that by looking at history, it is the eras of peace which are most dull and uneventful - and the chapters of violence, war and chaos, the more interesting to read.

With natural disasters and the collapse of tyrannical rulers and their regimes progressing in a kind of tsunami in the Middle East, the changes in Egypt, the civil war in Libya, the other threatening revolutions in various exotic places and the disaster in Japan, our times appear to be most interesting indeed, and looking to be more so each week.

Wow what an interesting few weeks this has been in South Africa.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why I Do Not Celebrate Human Rights Day In South Africa


Did you see Mr Gay South Africa™ win Mr Gay World in the news last week? No? Neither did I.

Many South Africans will be celebrating Human Rights Day in South Africa on Monday 21 March, but I won't be one of them. Why? Because despite our Constitutional provisions of equality and democracy and human rights, I am still part of a minority group which is discriminated against, and whose concerns are sidelined by the lack of interest of others who like to look down on myself and those like me - and who view our existence and achievements as an embarrassment, or at best, uninteresting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are Good Christians "Too Forgiving"?


Are good Christians "too forgiving"?

That's quite an interesting question, especially if you look at the "inerrant' scriptures which set the precedent for "turning the other cheek". Why do I think "good" Christians might be too forgiving? For that matter, why do I think there might be Christians who are not good, but bad? Why indeed?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Parliamentary Drowning Pool


Last weekend, Mr Gay South Africa won the Mr Gay World contest - the second time a South African title holder has walked away with the top honors of this prestigious event - and also incidentally, the second year of the Mr Gay SA event. To crown this achievement, South Africa has also been selected to host next year's Mr Gay World event in Johannesburg. This is no doubt a remarkable achievement, and something to be proud of, well, at least one would think so.

Yesterday the news broke on Twitter and Facebook that the DA (Democratic Alliance), the official Opposition party in Parliament, was to make a motion to congratulate Mr Gay SA and the organizers on this fine achievement. It was alleged that Upon hearing of this motion, the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) immediately declared that it would oppose this motion.

Many folks, myself included, felt that the ACDP stood a snowball's chance in hell of blocking this motion with its puny three seats in over 400 in Parliament, but it seems we were in for a surprise.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Founder's Day


On Friday I attended a Founder's Day ceremony at my old high school. It was quite something to be there again. The school was celebrating its 85th year in existence, and I will be attending my 20 years reunion in May.

I'm a bit of a sentimental fool sometimes, and even though I was not very happy during high school, I still have fond memories of my time there. Many of my old friends of those days vowed never to return, and as far as I know, have kept to it. I was so looking forward to my 10 year reunion back in 2001, but it never happened. This year it will be different.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sleeper Awake!

Sometimes it feels like you are the only one who sees the world for what it is, while it seems that all those around you are blissfully unaware - not knowing and not caring to know things that could make a difference in solving problems or bringing about changes necessary to improve things. One of the catch phrases I remember from the original Dune movie in 1984 was "sleeper awake!" and it describes exactly how I feel today.

Why?

Despite appearances presented to the outside world, South Africa - and Africa - is a human rights mess, and especially so on the front of Pink rights.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Viva Secularism, Viva!

Many people today have moved beyond the confusion caused by mixing religion and affairs of the real world. Unfortunately there are still many people who cannot tell the two apart. To them there is no difference between politics, civil affairs, daily life and their own personal religious views. And for some unfathomable reason, whenever it is pointed out to them that they are being unfair for using their personal religious opinions to detract from the civil rights or equalities of others, they start whining childishly that it is they who are being picked on, and not their victims.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Joys Of Being Trans In SA




I went to renew my driver's license today. Oh, you have no idea. It was an adventure. Funny, you would think that once you were found competent enough to drive a car or own a gun, and not having any serious misdemeanors logged against your name - that you wouldn't need to keep reapplying for various permits? It is an interesting innovation in South Africa, figuring a way to make people pay for the same damn thing over and over again - and paying more each time. What fun.

So off to the merry traffic department I went.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Free Hate Kills


You believe in freedom of speech, don't you? How about freedom of religion? You believe in that? I know I do. But every so often there are people who come along demanding that some forms of freedom of speech or expression of their religious beliefs are actually "hate speech" - like those nasty deviants and trolls, the homosexuals. Know what I mean? 

No?

Well let me tell you. A few years ago Uganda (yes - that Uganda, the little country in central Africa that most people in the Western world need to look for on a map to see that it is an actual place and not some fictional setting in a novel or a suburb somewhere in Soweto) started cleaning house and tidying up all the loose ends. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Broad-Spectrum Anti-Idiotics

"Before Carol was a Carol they were a David, strange but true. Make some hard cash and any transexual can become a woman."

This is broadly speaking the comment someone made about somebody else in a discussion I was part of recently. They had it in for somebody whom they didn't agree with on some or other matter, and went around posting articles and comments venting their dislike for them - and in each case pointing out the detail that they were "transsexual", only to later have it pointed out to them that they had it completely wrong - "Carol" as it were, is intersex, not transsexual.

Personal differences aside, it made me wonder why some people find it necessary to pick out a particular characteristic of somebody they don't get on with - and then use that as an insult and a judgment - at the same time insulting and judging all other people who have that feature in common too.

That is like saying "Joe Soap, who is an Aquarius, is an incredibly bad cook - and therefore all other Aquariuses are too". Make sense?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New Year


When I sat down to write today's article, I started off thinking about last year and all the things I felt good about. It's my first article for the new year... and then I thought about last year, and the year before that, and all the things that p'd me off during that time - and about how many of them are still applicable and have been carried over like remainder in some obscene parody of Sub - A maths.