Monthly Archives: March 2011

Schoolboy, 15, dies following gay rumours

Every now and again we’re reminded at No More Lost of why we are here; as it says in our tag line, “To stop any more LGBT deaths because of bigotry, and remember those we have lost”. It’s a monumental aim, but the sentiment is the same regardless of how near or far we could ever possibly be to achieving it.

Today’s sad news comes from Gloucestershire, UK, where a 15 year old boy has died following rumours that he kissed another boy during a game of dare, days after returning from a school field trip. Tributes to the young man have poured out on a facebook group dedicated to his memory, which currently stands at 1,288 members.

Dominic Crouch fell to his death from the top of a 6 story building on May 18 last year, within days of returning from that school trip. His family have stated that he was not gay, but never the less he was deeply opposed to all forms of discrimination and hatred. An inquest into his death recorded a verdict of suicide.

The inquest found that “There is no evidence that Dominic was a desperate young man.”

The deputy coroner went on to add: “There is a suggestion that a game of spin-the-bottle was played. It is a game played by numerous young people across the country, especially when they go away on trips like these. It may have concluded in Dominic kissing a boy. But there wasn’t any evidence that it affected Dominic to the extent that he took his own life.”

In a press release, Dominic’s parents have made the following statement: “Dom was clearly upset by rumours he believed were being spread about him and we need to recognise that what may seem like a laugh to one young person can be deeply upsetting to another. We feel that schools need to be much more watchful to the spreading of rumours or gossip about their pupils and teachers need to intervene when pupils seem upset or distracted. Schools also need to know where their pupils are at all times when they are in their care. Dom was missing from school for nearly two hours before he died. And when an absence is noted it needs to be acted upon immediately. We heard at the inquest that the school protocol was not followed.”

Dominic’s death was not that of a gloomy and reclusive person. Dominic was in fact “a happy generally carefree boy who clearly felt deeply upset by rumours he believed were being spread about him.”, as expressed by his parents.

They continued: “On the evening of Tuesday 17 May he was laughing and joking as we watched his favourite TV programme. By the evening of 18 May he was dead from a combination of horrific injuries. Dom may well have acted impulsively but a combination of things that were done or not done helped lead to his final irrevocable decision.”

“Finally, can we repeat what we said at Dom’s funeral to young people – if you ever find yourselves in a similar position then talk to someone before you make a mistake from which you, your family and friends will never recover.”

As if the tragedy in itself were not enough, Dominic’s parents have also reported that “The single most upsetting thing to come from the inquest was to learn that our beloved son had texted 999 some 20 minutes before he died, but as the system was designed and intended only for registered deaf users, no emergency service was alerted.”

Dominic’s parents now have the uneviable task of rebuilding their shattered lives. Dominic’s family are fund raising for a childrens hospital in South Africa, and would appreciate people taking a look at the Just Giving page set up in his memory, which has so far raised over £3,000.

You can’t help but to take a moment’s pause here. This is a tragedy for so many reasons, and as we see so tragically demonstrated, heterosexual people can be victims of homophobic abuse too. The main issue of homophobic abuse is not especially that it’s homophobic, as clearly important as that is; it’s the fact that it’s a kind of abuse fuelled by fear, intolerance and hatred; abuse that any of us can fall victim to, whether deserved or not. Homophobia is not only damaging to gay people, but is damaging to straight people, families, communities and even the world at large.

We keep posting here at No More lost. We post information on current events, we deconstruct actions and statements fuelled by hatred, fear or bigotry to show them for just what they are, we post good news stories, and we try to inform people on how they can make a difference while also posting articles that aim to inform of how and what difference is currently being made even now as we sit here. Every time someone comments positively on an article here, that too is making a difference and showing those young and/or vulnerable people who make their way to this page that things are improving, that things can be different and that sometimes things really are different to the way they may sometimes seem. On this occasion, as happens from time to time, we find ourselves sadly reporting on and remembering one we have lost. ‘We’ aren’t just LGBT people. ‘We’re’ anybody that stands against the bigotry, hatred and intolerance that so many people face, straight or gay, as a result of the fear and intolerance of LGBT people… We seek to see to it that there are no more lost. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we have another shining light in this world, now extinguished, to be remembered.

The loss of a person deeply opposed to all forms of hatred and intolerance is the loss of one of the very kind of people this world needs: It’s a loss to the world.

We pass our sympathies and condolences to this young man’s friends and family, and note with sadness this should not have happened in this day and age for a variety of reasons. We hope that you will join us in offering your condolences too.

ACLU Continues the fight against School Filtering and Censorship

We reported last month about Schools filtering LGBTQIA sites.

The sites being blocked have included Gay Straight Alliances, GLSEN, support sites, and even blocking news items related to LGBTQIA issues. This affects all students, who are blocked from vital information, but especially the vulnerable LGBTQIA youth that are the inspiration for this site’s being.

Students from around the USA have been checking up on their schools filtering policies and reporting in. The ACLU has been collating all this information and has now starting acting against the offending school districts.

The initial round of legal action has resulted in letters sent to school districts in Michigan, Kansas and Western Missouri demanding they stop their censorship, and Freedom of Information requests to school districts throughout the rest of the USA on their filtering policies.

Its sad to see that schools have been doing this filtering, often hurting their most needy students, but hopefully the ACLU can start the momentum coming from the legal direction.

However its only part of the story, we need to contact our representatives, our board members and Principles to demand that censorship will not be tolerated.

I’ve started a new petition to be sent to the House, Senate and the Whitehouse demanding they take action against such unconstitutional, discriminatory and potentially life threatening censorship.

Please sign the petition to make your voice heard.

Found via Pink News

Privilege, the Entertainment Industry, and What it all Means

There have been many responses to the recent BioWare story, and many of them absolutely wonderful. In fact, a great many of them have come from straight men and women wishing to point out that the “Straight Male Gamer” whom complained so vehemently to BioWare in no way represents them. What hasn’t been addressed much, is the issue of privilege itself and what it means, apart from in the excellent response from BioWare themselves. We recently stumbled across a YouTube video that addresses just that thing, which in our opinion is almost as awesome as the very story that inspired it. It turns out that the video itself was inspired by the story! [ed note: *blush*]

Privilege, sadly,  is a huge issue, though often a contraversial one. The word can often be overused, and the concept can even be used as a bitter slur by those who find their selves less privileged than another. Even so, that doesn’t negate the fact of it’s existence or the impact it has.

The video comes from Warren; a 25 year old gay, transgender, married American immigrant, currently studying Biology at grad school. In it, he gives us not just an idea of what privilege is, but also an explanation of what privilege does and what it means to the people affected by it. It could easily serve as a perfect reply to Mr. Straight Male Gamer, but could likewise be applied to just about any situation. What we found especially brilliant about this video is that he also offers a suggestion as to how the absence of privilege and a sense of automatic entitlement can actually, in some ways, lead to a richer life. He also reminds us of the many groups whom are affected by it, including the little discussed negative affect it can sometimes have on those that hold it their selves.

Put simply, privilege is the power we don’t know we have. It’s the choices and options that we take for granted while others cannot. It’s the mastery of our own freedoms and destinies that we assume as normal, often without ever realising that others simply don’t have the same rights or abilities by the simple circumstances of their existence.

As ever, and as Warren even requests, please feel free to leave your thoughts.

Update – “Straight Male Gamer” digs a bit deeper

The “Straight Male Gamer” of recent notoriety appears to have responded to the support for BioWare’s excellent answer to his complaint by updating his original post at the thread on the forum. In that update, the hole gets deeper with claims of how many other people who  “find it [homosexuality] to be disgusting” are afraid to speak and are being silenced “for fear of being called homophobic by what can only be called a mob”

Over a good few hours of consideration, we’ve been wondering whether or not to publish this story. We could intentionally make a big deal out of it through responding ourselves, so advertising it and by doing so find ourselves promoting privileged nonsense. On the other hand, rather than answering it, we’ve decided simply to say that it exists, and potentially let people themselves show their own opinions on it.

No More Lost was a fairly small blog with a small core following until recently, and the fact that our article on this story went viral as it did took even us quite by surprise! We’ve posted articles on all sorts of issues, events and concerns – some of them big, some of them small, and some of them intended merely to bring hope and show positive change in the world away from hatred and bigotry for those that may be on the receiving end of it. Perhaps we’re still a small blog, or perhaps we now have more eyes on us than we realise. Even so, far be it from us to contribute to the silencing of this poor oppressed self-professed representation of the Straight Male Gamer demographic, we’re going to post this update of his here. While we won’t issue a response at this time, we are more than happy for our readers to offer a brief response if they wish. We don’t approve of a mob mentality, but we feel that there are enough clear and obvious holes in his argument to tear it to pieces with the simplest application of mere cold hard reason. The views of the many, apparently, outweigh the views of the few according to the complainant, and so perhaps by this logic it is best to demonstrate what the views of the many are, if they so choose to offer them.

Again, the complainant;

Seeing as how this post has been linked by a few sites, I thought it’d be proper for me to write a response to Gaider’s reply:

I don’t see how Gaider’s reply was in anyway blasting my arguments. In fact, what Gaider basically said was that “You’re right. Dragon Age 2 was not made specifically for “straight male gamer” in mind. It was made to be all-inclusive.” And that was exactly the accusation I was making. I’m not here to debate the moralities of homosexuality, I personally find it to be digusting but others will feel different, that isn’t the point of this thread.

The whole point of the argument relies on the central point that straight male gamers make up a overwhelming majority of players. As I said before, I estimate that the number is around 80% (this includes straight males gamers who plays a females). Now if my numbers are at all wrong (that in reality the split is 60-40-10 (male, female, gay), then consider this post to be null and void, I’ve wasted your time (No doubt some of you already feel that way).

“And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.”

The idea of privilege is ridiculous. The “privilege” always lies with the majority because if your goal is to make a game that will be liked by as many fans possible, then it makes sense to focus on that largest group. Why should one fan’s enjoyment be more important than five others? It’d more accurate to call “privilege” the idea that some minority group gets special preference for political points. If you really want to be all-inclusive, then I don’t see why homosexuals should get special preference while leaving other minority groups out.

This isn’t a complaint about how I didn’t get everything I wanted. This is a complaint about how this is the first BioWare game I’ve played that I did not enjoy. I’ve seen many complaints about weak characters and weak story. That is also my complaint and I believe stems entirely from trying to be “all-inclusive”. By trying to appeal to so broad of audience, you’ve left a game in which many people are disappointed. You’ll win praises and 10/10′s from gay activists and feminists for your great strides in promoting “equality” and eliminating “straight male privilege”, but you’ll have loss fans like me.

In a perfect world with unlimited resources and time, you might have been able to pull it off, a game in which everyone would love. But this is not a perfect world and you have said many times that your resources are limited, and I believe you could have used them more wisely.

I always like to bring The Witcher up as an example. This is an amazing game and more amazing so that it was developed by a small Polish company. One would think that the game being developed by Polish producers would not be able to connect with a English speak audience, but that is not the case at all. This is game which was inarguably made for straight male gamer. Because the designers only had to worry about that demographic, they were able to create a strong memorable protagonist and strong memorable support characters. They could give us many choices and not worry about having to produce voice-overs for so many different characters. I can only imagine how amazing the game would be if they had the budget that Dragon Age 2 had and its pains me to think about how great Dragon Age 2 could have been.

If your goal is not to make as many fans as possible happy but to enact some form of social crusade then please, market and advertise the game as such. If you  believe there are a substantial number of players who would appreciate those features, then advertise it and create trailers for it, don’t lead me to believe that this game was crafted for the straight male. If you truly believe that the straight male gamers are not important enough that you should focus on them, then I would like to see your marketing reflect that.

As a side note, I’d like to say that I’m not at all surprised by all the pro-homosexuality comments and that I expected even more. 1% of a million is still 10000. No doubt you’d have a many of them trying to protect their “privilege” in Dragon Age 2.

Those who agree with me will likely do so silently for fear of being called homophobic by what can only be called a mob as even Gaider pointed out or just won’t bother out of feeling of pointlessness like I once did. But to those people, I encourage you to post as well and not let your concerns be silenced as some would like.

We won’t follow up on the posts and concerns of this user after this update on the story (unless something especially spectacular happens), though any views we are able to seek from games developers and writers following this may prove interesting in their own right.

NOM retreads KKK methods, while we Unite against Hate

I’m honestly not pimping out Matt’s Stop 8 videos but he keeps hitting the mark.

This is a familiar meme thats been spread around by NOM and its minons since Proposition 8 passed in California, claiming that African Americans came out in large numbers to vote for Proposition 8. The story they told was that African Americans voted against marriage equality because of their conservative values, which is just a huge stalking horse to hide what’s really going on. Prop 8 passed with a slim majority, of 2%. Polling suggests that after the dust fell and the implications were realized, the general population were so horrified that if an anti-Prop 8 were to hit the ballot in California today, it would pass with a landslide majority.

What happened was a textbook Hate group hatchet job, straight out of the annuls of those opposed to the equal rights movements at the turn of the 19th century, and not only are the tactics the same, one of the groups being targeted were one of the groups who were targeted back then. In the 1890s there was a strong union between the suffragettes and the african american rights communities, and was motivated to the point at which the civil rights era could have predated the first world war.

However those who opposed the efforts managed to turn the white women and african american men against each other, playing on the racial fear mongering of african american equality against the women, and the proto-feminist fears of the african american men, creating a split that took generations to heal.

Now a new battle for equality is looming, and the natural allies of the LGBTQIA population are the African American population who knows all about the hatred and intolerance of right wing christianity. So once again the forces of intolerance once called the Citizens Councils, and the Klu Klux Klan, now their face is groups like NOM and other right wing christian groups. Its the same message, repackaged with Television adverts, threats of million dollar campaigns against politicians and judges who dare rule against them.

So yes the hatermongers are back, with new tricks, lies and technologies, peddling the same old hate on TV, radio, the internet and even attempting to get it onto the iPhone.

But as the fearmongers have evolved, so have we, our lost brother Alan Turing gave the world the computer, and out of that we are united against hatred from corner to corner of this planet. Today we had 33 visitors from alaska, 28 visitors from hawaii, 968 visitors from Texas, 68 visitors from Brazil, 3 visits from Saudi Arabia, 11 visits from Israel, 8 visits from South Africa, 44 visitors from Japan and 149 visitors from New Zealand.

These tactics have been used before, and yes a few generations back they held back equality, but in this generation, in this time, they just seem past their sell by date.

The Kiss Seen Round the World

There was an event that happened this month that was in the world of entertainment earth-shattering, and beautiful. One of the most extraordinary and rich characters on TV today, Kurt on Glee had a scene seen around the world.

While it was somewhat expected, and hardly the first gay kiss on TV, but I really am moved to tears with how beautiful it is, and to see such progressive values on a show targeted at teens. Disney could learn a lot from the writers of Glee.

Maybe this is the start of sea change for shows targeted at teens and if that’s the case I’m really excited and hopeful.

I did come across one response from right wing media by Victoria Jackson, a rather sad character who I will avoid linking to because for once I really hope you don’t search for her hate, this moment is too important and far too beautiful to worry about hate.

Matt Bauer of Stop8.org takes on the latest NOM anti-equality advert

His analysis of the horrific advert put out by NOM attacking marriage is as ever excellent, thoughtful and to the point.

Here is the original video if you want to find out what lies NOM are spreading.

Here’s Matt’s analysis of the different cases involving DOMA and how the DOJ decision affects those different cases.

“Straight Male Gamer” told to ‘get over it’ by BioWare

BioWare adopted a (sadly) very special and very principled stance in designing one of their recent games, Dragon Age 2. Their stance was simple: relationships are for everybody, whether gay, straight, or anything else in between. You can also have have more than one romance at a time with the game’s characters. In this game, everybody is equal. Too equal, it seems, for one particular straight male gamer who was upset to be on the receiving end of a little  flirting from another male character in the game. The reaction of this Straight Male Gamer? – To post a new thread on Bioware’s forums to complain…

To quote the complainant;

To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.

I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forgo the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy.

Now immediately I’m sure that some male gamers are going to be like “YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!”, but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.

Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, …”

The irony of the complaint is clearly astounding. For those that do not play Dragon Age 2, there is yet a further irony in that the Straight Male Gamer clearly has a huge problem with LGBT people being catered to as well rather than a focus based entirely in Straight Male Gamers (and a little on women too, of course, just as an afterthought). but clearly has no problem with the game allowing inter-species romances between the human player controlled character and an Elf! You couldn’t make it up!

The response from BioWare’s David Gaider was exactly fit for purpose. In fact, BioWare delivered a sharp lesson to this gamer on the subject of Straight Male  privilege! Kudos to BioWare for that! In fact, BioWare’s response is quoted here  precisely because of how word perfect it truly is! Elements have been emboldened for emphasis.

The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.

More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.

Would I do it again? I don’t know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone “unrealistically” bisexual, however, or they can’t handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC… I don’t see that as a big concern, to be honest. Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.

And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

BioWare, David Gaider,… That, was AWESOME.

It is true that the gaming world is sadly dominated by Straight Male Gamers. Why? Well, perhaps it’s precisely because the industry has failed to cater to the rest of society so often. So many of us are geeks, and so many of us are gamers, including women and/or LGBT people… and there is absolutely no reason to exclude them. BioWare, it seems, has realised this, and the least the LGBTQIA community can do in return is to acknowledge this fact – and preferably in a way that makes BioWare aware of how welcome and refreshing this attitude is, and how likely it is to pay dividends for them – literally and metaphorically. With that done, hopefully the other big games developers will do likewise.

Thank you, BioWare, for not giving in to the majority. Thank you for letting us in and recognising our equal ‘right’ to play games that we can engage and relate with too!

Do you agree? I hope you do… and if you do, please consider sharing this article to spread the word and give BioWare their reward in reputation and kudos for this, frankly, astoundingly awesome move on their part.

(Update: This story has since been updated here.)

(Follow-up: We were fortunate enough to land an interview with Ernest Adams, who talked to us about equality in gaming.)

Corrective rape must stop!

Rape is a heinous crime. Next to the taking of a life, the ruinous violation of a person by the most intimate and powerful of means is arguably an act of equally sinister proportions. However, there’s a whole other level to this violation. There is a form of rape with an added and more sinister dimension. That crime, is corrective rape.

In some ways, it’s a terrible title for such a crime. The word “corrective” is generally a word with a positive feel about it, implying some sort of benefit to an action. There is no benefit when this word precedes rape. There can be no benefit to rape. In fact, the word “corrective”, in this context, is quite the opposite. It does worse than to add insult to injury, but actually introduces a second deep and soul destroying violative dimension to the already heinous act of rape.

LGBT, Queer, Intersex and Asexual people with already understand, generally, the nature of this violation, so lets look at it from the perspective of a straight person who’s never before had to consider things from the other side. Let’s also frame this from the perspective of a patriarchal culture, as is very prevalent in many parts of the world, including those nations where this issue is most prevalent.

You’re a heterosexual man… a manly man… happily going about your business. At the end of a day you catch a taxi, or a bus, or a train to make your way back to your home or hotel. A predatory and very strong woman capable of overpowering you has been watching you, and you are assaulted. You are taken aside and out of sight where you are raped – forcibly, and violently. You are violated… the person who raped you may even have infected you with HIV/AIDS.

How does it feel? Pretty awful, by most accounts. You have been violated, treated like a piece of meat, abused, assaulted, made to feel powerless, made to feel guilty, made to feel ashamed… etc. It’s not good is it? There are reasons we have laws against that. There’s a reason it’s called rape and not just “having sex”.

Well, suppose that wasn’t a woman. Suppose you, Mr Heterosexual Male, had just been raped by another man. Now how does it feel? Does it feel worse? You bet it does! If you happen to be a homophobe, it’ll be because you feel an extra sense of shame about what had just happened to you simply because you were taken by a gay man, and you’ll feel terrible for having been part of an act that you find distasteful – if so, you’re ‘lucky’, because that’s no more a sense of violation than the rape itself. On the other hand, if you’re a reasonably and decent human being, it’ll be all the worse because as well as the violation of your physical and emotional form, your identity, your sexual orientation, your very sense of who you are will also have been raped… and yet you STILL don’t have the full understanding of how creative rape feels from this exercise!

For someone who has been victim to a corrective rape, there are other issues too.  There’s the prejudice they experience as LGBT people for a start… already victims of ignorance and bigotry, they are made victims of the same in a whole other way… on a deeper and more personal level. They are made victims simply because they are victims in the first place. Then of course, there’s the fact that such rapes are performed under either the excuse or genuine belief that such acts will “make the victim straight”… NO rape helps, and no, the victim will not be made straight – that is an offense to the victim yet again. Are you starting to get a vague understanding of the damage that corrective rape does?.. to women especially, being the most frequent victims of this evil crime.

We spend a lot of time speaking here at No More Lost about the UK and the USA, and while this post stands against corrective rape wherever it occurs, it refers especially to the situation in South Africa. That wonderful state where we celebrate the freedoms and achievements of Mr Nelson Mandela, where Apartheid was ended and the nation supposedly freed from bigotry and hatred. This nation that’s supposedly one of the shining stars of Africa. The nation that brought us the vuvuzela and annoyed us with them throughout the FIFA World Cup just last year.

South Africa’s Constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was the first in Africa to legalise same sex marriage. It was the only republic to give non-heterosexual people exact equal rights until it was joined by Argentina in 2010 (Note to America – please catch up!)… and yet, the practice of corrective rape is commonplace in South Africa and has been for some time. Some reports even say that it’s often ignored! This is really not acceptable, not only because this is a discriminatory crime against gay women in violation not just of the women but of the nation’s constitution too, but also because it is rape. Yes, pure and simple, at the very minimum description of this situation, it is rape, and it needs to stop!

There is a petition (found here) on the web (in fact a few of them here and there), asking the South African Government to stop turning a blind eye to this heinous practice and indeed, their own constitution with regard to LGBT people. Please sign this petition, and please spread the word about this terrible crime against humanity.

New York Politicians for Marriage Equality

Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both stand up for Full Marriage Equality in New York State

This is all part of the Human Rights Campaign’s New Yorkers for Marriage campaign and is a really great campaign irrespective of how I feel about the HRC’s limited vision.

Mayor Bloomberg also comes in as well hitting hard for marriage equality.

Finally summing up the question of equality, Robert F Kennedy Jr talking about Jim Crow and his father’s battle against those laws being the same battle we fight today.