Category Archives: Articles

Why I am Pro-Choice, and why I would still choose an abortion

I developed this line of reasoning a few years ago, and while my circumstances have considerably changed, my choice remains the same.

My reality is: I can’t have children, at least not through conventional means. While there are medical advances that might change that, its doubtful they would come to fruition before I’m in my 60s.

If I were to wake up tomorrow and be pregnant, it would be miraculous enough to make anyone a believer.

I do want to be a mother, and there are times I feel that need so hard it hurts. But, my future children deserve to have the best I could possibly give.

Four years ago I was a mess, I was recovering from serious emotional trauma. Financial and emotional stability were things that happened to other people, not me. I would have the odd good week, but then I’d end up crashing back down.

It was shortly before the trauma happened that the wish to be a mother emerged, and this continued throughout the darkest periods. I did wonder about a miraculous pregnancy,  and how I would react if it happened. Even with the state and family help, it wouldn’t be an easy life.

My child would therefore grow up in poverty, with a single mother afflicted by depression, and unable to work. Given that I have a choice, it would be wrong for me to inflict such a reality on an innocent child. So instead of having a child come into existence, and no matter how much I wanted that child, I would choose to have an abortion.

I have gotten a lot better, and it’s taken time, space, and self-analysis. I had to learn that it’s not keeping standing that matters, it’s getting back up each and every time. It is an ongoing process, and every single day of the past 4 years has mattered in my journey.

Some of those days were very hard, especially when I was doing jobs that ate my whole life… but because of those jobs, and experiences I got stronger, and I began to heal. Those were the kind of jobs I couldn’t have had if I was responsible for another human.

I realise I didn’t have a “real” choice to make, but that doesn’t make that decision any less real to me, and had I chosen differently,  I wouldn’t have had that space to recover, in both the emotional and practical sense, not to mention financially.

I am still not in the place where I could, by the standards I set for myself, be a good mother. I am getting closer to that time and place, but I still have a fair way to go. My choice therefore, would remain the same.

I do hope for the day when my personal choice could be different, but I should always have the right to make that choice for myself, based on my personal circumstances.

10 kinds of Marriage, and an exclusionary principle

This is a message to those who think an exclusionary definition of marriage based on your own personal presuppositions is a viable constitutional, legal, or philosophical argument.

You have a premise, that DOMA defines for federal purposes marriage as a man and a woman (this is not a universal definition, it just means that the only marriages it will recognise are monogomous heterosexual ones, it does not, and cannot state that marriage universally must be monogomous heterosexual because it does not have the power to change the universe).

Oh Hai, I can haz rights? KTHNXBAI
I can haz?

However even if there were not 12 states and DC who have an non-exclusive legal definition of monogomous marriage, it would still be viable to challenge DOMA on the grounds that there is still no rational basis for the exclusionary heterosexual requirement, and given that there are 10 common forms of monogomous marriage in the 21st century.

  1. 1 man + 1 woman who are too old to have genetic offspring.
  2. 1 man + 1 woman who are infertile (and always have been).
  3. 1 man + 1 woman who choose not to have children
  4. 1 man + 1 woman who can and do have genetic children.
  5. 1 man + 1 man who cannot have genetic children.
  6. 1 man + 1 man who can, but do not have genetic children.
  7. 1 man + 1 man who can and do have genetic children.
  8. 1 woman + 1 woman who cannot have genetic children.
  9. 1 woman + 1 woman who can, but do not have genetic children.
  10. 1 woman + 1 woman who can, and do have genetic children.

If you want to apply an exclusionary principle, you have to give a rational basis for why the first 4 definitions get the rights, recognition and responsibilities of marriage, when the bottom 6 do not.

If its for reproduction, then the top 3 fail to make the cut, and 7 and 10 do make the cut.

If its for functionality, then what is measurably different between 1, 2 and 3, AND 5, 6, 8 and 9 ?

The only basis you have is your presupposition that may have been consensus in the past, but certainly is far from consensus in anthropology, psychology, philosophy, theology, sociology, and society, and that is not a rational basis argument for exclusion.

DOMA fails because it denies equal protection for all married couples, and is law, not amendment and so must go up against the 14th amendment which eviscerates it.

I realise I haven’t talked about more complex relationship forms, I wanted to focus just on the issue at hand, of equality for monogamous couples…which isn’t exactly my issue, but still something I consider vitally important.

A letter to religious people on the eternal struggle of good vs evil.

The battle is eternal, you are right about that, but its not the battle you think, you are not the protagonist in the most important cause in human history, you are just a lowly soldier marching to the beat of fear, of ignorance and hate.

Sometimes the darkness wins some battles, when everything good we’ve achieved is brought to ash, stories of that are woven through our mythology, the Flood, Babel, Atlantis, the Fall, Ragnarok, even Sodom and Gomorrah. Your storytellers have always tried to make it out that they are stories of punishment, of victory of good vs evil, but they can’t hide what they really mean.

The stories are not about destruction and punishment, they are about change, death and rebirth, which is a very human concept.

When the first city fell, if your ideas had their way, we would have never thought about learning or progress again, but within a hundred years of each other Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilisations blossomed into life. Even when you destroyed Rome, less than 2000 years later, using a shoestring calculator and hydrogen/oxygen deathtrap this little fallen species visited another world.

There will always be the ignorant, the fearful, and sometimes they might find ways to bring us down. But for the next 1000 generations, anyone who can build a telescope and look up into the sky, will see a flag flying there, left by a people who took the forbidden fruit and went to the stars with it.

The Secretary General steps up.

There are days in this world that will be remembered, yesterday was the day that Thatcher died, leaving us at the mercy of her bastard stepchildren, but today I hope will have significance, because the Secretary General of the United Nations has made it clear that no country can justify homophobia or transphobia, even if their culture demands it.

Yes for the most part he’s the head of a minarchist government of squabbling childish nations, but his voice does have weight, it does have power, and when you have Iran, Egypt and Russia all trying to block basic human protections for their queer citizens, its telling that he refused to take the middle road.

What Maggie did to Me

040611-F-5906P-281I grew up lucky, there’s no other way to describe my circumstances, I got all the advantages of being the child of two long term middle class families (with a touch of aristocracy thrown into the mix). There’s no-one in my family I can think of who suffered unduly financially because of Thatcher’s policies, and I’m fairly certain that we probably benefited in many ways from her ruthless policies.

So unlike many of the people in my life today, I grew up being told of all the good work that Thatcher did, how it was the socialists who were the boogeyman threatening to drag us back into the dark and fear. So as one of those who grew into adulthood in a post-thatcher world, what do I as an individual (no caring for our fellow britons after all) have to complain about…

Well actually Thatcher was not “mostly harmless” to me and my family…. because she was a homophobic bigot of the order that Christian Institute members have hot sweaty “sinful incidents” about.

Today we think of the current queer rights movement as scarily young, and most of us wish we could have started out at schools like those that exist in 2013, not those that existed 1986 as I did. I grew up in terror, in fear that people would work out I was different, and not just in the obvious socially awkward introverted ways that were all people saw of me.

I didn’t get the chance to be who I was at school, I never got to explore being what a teenager was, I didn’t even get the chance to explore at university, because everything that mattered about me, was strangled, gutted, and buried under a concrete slab of self loathing and fear. It wasn’t just the legal framework, it was the social climate that she reflected, embraced, and promoted, one in which I had no right to exist.

There’s a lie I told above, that the queer rights movement is “scarily young”, it actually became something important and world changing more than a decade before I was born, when young queer people braver than I am said they were not going to be trodden on any more. The first move for marriage equality in the US was submitted to the supreme court 2 years after Loving vs Virginia was handed down, In politics Harvey Milk and a few others overcame huge hurdles and fought off the homophobic backlash levelled at them. When the British Gov’t had determined finally that decriminalising homosexuality was right, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time (in the 1950s no less) said it was immoral to prosecute people for their inbuilt nature, so our generation did not need to be one that lived under the shadow of institutional homophobia.

Then came HIV, a new kind of virus, never documented before, slow, silent, invisible, deadly, and transmitted only by the most personal and intimate of connections… it ravaged communities who thought that the era of disease was over, and into this age of paranoia and misinformation stepped two cowards, named Reagan and Thatcher. What was needed was for these supposedly iron backbone politicians was to be leaders, to tell the truth, and to remove the fear and ignorance, but of course they both fed it.

With Reagan, while courting the evangelical hate, he purposefully ignored the situation. He refused to address or act on what was known while thousands died and hundreds of thousands more got infected. What Thatcher did, was far far worse. She attacked every single queer person in Britain for daring to exist, then she heaped on more bile and rhetoric before her coup de grace, section 28. This was a bill that made “don’t say gay” in Tennessee or Henepin County’s “neutrality” policy look like positively queer friendly policies, and I and so many like me still feel the scars because of it.

Now I’ve seen some people attempt to defend her, by claiming she had no choice, or she didn’t know better, but these fly in the face of two undeniable facts about her.

Throughout her prime ministerial career she never did things for political expediency, she never changed her course because it was inconvenient or hard, and this is something that people laud about her, so either she was a hate filled bigot acting on principle, or on gay rights she abandoned her backbone and kowtowed to the homophobes in her party.

Secondly one thing you could never accuse Thatcher of being was ignorance, she was stone cold brilliant, she was a grocers daughter who went to Oxford in 1943, which was hardly a bastion of feminism or egalitarianism at the time. You are left with trying to explain how someone who should and could have known better gave into her inner homophobia and unleashed it on a vulnerable population.

me

Now maybe even in a world in which Thatcher wasn’t an ignorant bigot on queer issues, I wouldn’t have had an easy ride being open as me at school in the 90s, but maybe I would have been strong enough to walk along a hard road, rather than the impossible road she turned it into.

So this is why, even if I were one of Thatcher’s bastard stepchildren, embracing the self serving vicious Randian policies she implemented, I would still loathe her for the harm she did not need to do to people like me.

But its not the 1980s any more, and I’m here, I’m really me, I have a good job, I have someone in my life who makes me very happy and I’m surrounded by amazing queer people who flourished in-spite of her. My future is bright, and full of hope, and Thatcher and her hate filled social policies are dead, and soon to be buried.

Greta Christina on sexuality and atheism

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Day of Dialogue, an effort by the Focus on the Family group to fight back against the Day of Silence.

I was talking about what could be said back to those christian school children who are parotting hate and bile towards people, but I finished off with this paragraphy about what the queer movement had to offer those who are bigotted on sexual issues.

Its not just about us, its about freeing them from the artificial constraints that they are forced into. The sheer madness of the situation is actually thrown into sharp relief with the legal prostitution that occurs in Iran, where a helpful iman grants marriages between client and sex worker, who after “sharing the marital bed” divorce using the “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you” method, and leave. Sex is meant to be between consenting adults, and freedom from religious views on sex is something of what we offer. … and holding it back because of some strange ideas about criminalizing intimacy only being allowed during marriage, is lunacy.

Here’s Greta Christina’s talk on atheism and sexuality, which I thought was rather applicable to those ideas I was trying to express.

Be the person you would be travelling with a madman in a box.

So I was musing about the “No Atheists in a Bolt Hole” fallacy, and I realised that I might still be a devout agnostic in a bolt hole, I know which fictional deity I would hope might spring into reality.

Then I thought about what said deity might say on the subject of a decalogue, and here is what I thought he might say.

1. Bow Ties are Cool.
2. Fez’s are Cooler.
3. Stay out of trouble.
4. Time is not the boss of you.
5. When you know, you know.
6. Put down that gun.
7. You’re brilliant.
8. Live each day as though it could be the day.
9. Never stop asking.
10. Be the person you would be travelling with a madman in a box.

That is all.

Sometimes we have to lay things out

I was getting fed up of being told of the “love” for me and mine homophobic christians have for us.

This was my response.

This new claimed view of gay people is very young, but we remember the doors being broken down, we remember the prisons, we remember the noose, the stake, we remember the purges, the lost loves, the children stolen from our homes.

Uganda is the true face of christian hate for us, behind the nice suits, the polished slick lies of love and compassion, we know we risk our deaths if we ever let down our guards.

Maybe I could have been a little bit cooler headed, but sometimes we have to say what we know to be true.