Tag Archives: homophobia

Who wants to stick it to the CPS? Hands up!

CPS – Coming to a bedroom near you

We’ve come up with a small campaign idea in the hopes of ensuring that the recent actions and attitudes of the Crown Prosecution Service are not forgotten.

Following the trial of Mr. Simon Walsh and his aquittal by a jury of his peers, it seems clear that something is deeply wrong with both the law, and the way it’s being prosecuted. Not only that, but the attitude displayed by the Crown Prosecution Service has seemed somewhat homophobic at best over the course of both the Porn Trial and the Obscenity Trial earlier this year. We want to send them a message.

One of our graphics people has come up with the image you see on this page, and we’re rather proud of their work to say the least. Even so, we weren’t really sure how to make the best use of it, and so we’re leaving it to you, readers and visitors to this site, to decide.

The text on the bottom seems suitably apt, but being easy to change perhaps you might come up with something better? Would this be the sort of t-shirt you might wear in protest at the actions of the CPS? Perhaps you could make it your mousemat or stick it as a magnet to your fridge door. There are all sorts of possibilities and we simply can’t decide what’s for the best.

It’s for this reason that we’re making the original source PSD for adobe photoshop available to download under a creative commons 3.0 license – download it, change it, derive from it, and work with it freely doing whatever you like with it.  What the CPS has done to our community twice now, and what it has done to an innocent man even more so, is unacceptable and must not be forgotten or allowed to pass.

If you just want the image as displayed here, however, then please feel free to download that and do what you like with it too. just right click and save it to your computer. We’re making it available in a few different sizes for you to choose from;

Editable PSD file (archived – use winrar or 7zip)

Full resolution – 3588×2982

1920×1080

1366×768

1280×1024

1280×800

1024×768

iPhone resolution

Or, if you’re so inclined, we’ve set up a cafepress store with a $1 (US) markup on all items, and so for every item sold, we will donate $1 to the Backlash campaign, which has been instrumental in fighting against sexual iliberty under the law. This pledge/campaign is not in any way associated with or in co-operation with Backlash – they simply strongly deserve the support and were involved with the recent #porntrial. Here’s the link - http://www.cafepress.com/nomorelost1 … it may be as little as $1, or nothing at all if we’re unlucky, but every dollar made WILL be donated… and we’re willing to prove it… we stake our continued existence on it.

Dealing with homophobia from a colleague

So I had a fairly interesting situation at work where one of my new colleagues had a bit of a freak out about the sticker thats on the back of my laptop. Its was just a generic stonewall one saying “Some people are gay. Get over it!”.

He launched into a bit of diatribe about how he didnt agree with gay people, and how it was against nature. I’ve encountered a few homophobic and transphobic people in real life, but this is the first time its been in a situation where this is someone I’m directly involved with at work.

The guy is probably mid 30s, and continued on about children as part of lesbian and gay families. I said a bit about all the studies were there proving that children do just as well in queer familes as heteronormative families, but just as I was about to let “Activist Gemma” out, i bit my tongue.

After I avoided the argument, he seemed to calm down a bit and the subject changed. I don’t know if the topic will come up again in the morning, but I hope this is the last I hear of it.

At the time i was proud of myself that I held back, I thought I was doing the sensible thing, he is nominally my superior and we are both contractors, and what would an argument get us but showing us the door….

However was I just being cowardly and being a good queer? I could really do with some feedback about how you would react, or have reacted.

Anti-Gay Preacher, meets God (sorta)

I know I talk about compassion and enlightening homophobes, but closeted gay people who fuck their boyfriends in a hotel room and then preach about persecuting gay people on sunday, really do commit an almost unforgivable act.

So this little bone from Supernatural made me smile,

“And he who lies in my name, shall choke on his own false tongue, and his poisonous words shall betray him”

Why no matter how hard they try, DADT cannot be brought back

Its been said by many of the Republican candidates for president that one of their first acts will be to re-enact DADT, possibly by executive order. For some its playing to the homophobic republican base, for others its their heartfelt bigotry.

President Obama Signing the Repeal
Repeal for good?

However one thing we have to ask, is whether it is practical once repeal has been enacted for DADT to be re-enacted. By re-enacting the law, the bill’s signer, would be kicking out of the military, every single soldier, pilot, and sailor who’s been honest about who they are, so lets look at some numbers to think about what that would mean.

There are currently 1,445,000 active duty service members and 833,616 reserve troops which gives a grand total of 2,278,616 persons who would be affected by this policy. So assuming the conservative figure of 3.5% of the population identifies as LGB, that  would say that there approximately at least 80,000 LGB service members. Lets assume that half that group comes out in the next few days (another conservative figure), so potentially by the stroke of a pen, the Commander in Chief will dismiss 40,000 highly qualified and trained troops at a time when the US military cannot afford to loose anyone.

Republican CNN Tea Party Debate Candidates
Promising repeal of the repeal?

In the time of DADT, there has been horrific outcry by everyone from Queer Rights Activists, to Devout  Defence Hawks have protested the senseless loss of 13,650 service members. Now repealing the repeal, would cause the loss of 3 times that number in 1 day.

While many of these candidates lack any common sense,  when faced with those numbers, alone they would have to realise the catastrophic damage to the US military by the instantaneous loss of 40,000 troops.

They can promise all they want to bring back DADT, but the last day to prevent the repeal of DADT, was yesterday, before the “Great Revelation”.

Who let the religious zealots back into Parliament?

Yes that was meant to be a provocative statement, because I’m actually surprised that religion is being given any credence in 21st century Britain. This is the post-religious age, and while personal faith is wonderful and supportive to so many, it has no place in the House of Commons. Yes I know that there are members of various faith communities within the House of Lords and that will probably continue but thankfully they are mostly harmless.

heaven or hell, its your choice
Keep this out of government

I remember a few years back when Tony Blair after he left parliament formally converted to Roman Catholicism, and half the country looked up and thought that as well as all his other crimes, he’d pulled a fast one and been a religious nut, as well as a megalomaniacal war criminal. We look at parliament and see all the corruption, backstabbing and good governance and don’t react, but a religious zealot making a speech and its scary and wrong.

I know that there are many LGBTQIAPPQA people of various faiths out there, who I’m sure are preparing to leap to defend faith and religion, honestly there’s no need, I’m not talking about purging religion, I just want it kept out of where it does not belong. We currently have MPs defending the right of fundamentalist christians to hate calling for inquiries into whether treating a clear and unreasonable prejudice is okay, provided its cloaked in a religion.

Its not about freedom, its about discrimination just as bad as those in the BNP, just as self-righteous and just as disgusting. I’m categorically not condemnation of all Christianity, because where Christianity is in Britain its so progressive and compassionate, unlike this pre-reformation styled position found in the fanatical fringe.

David Cameron and no-one important
Walk the walk David, Not Just Talk the Talk

You can look back to Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury at the time of the Wolfenden Report, supported the report, saying

“There is a sacred realm of privacy… into which the law, generally speaking, must not intrude. This is a principle of the utmost importance for the preservation of human freedom, self-respect, and responsibility.”

These haters are hypocritically applying levitical law, picking only the laws that they want to hear, ignoring the shellfish, slavery, stoning, and sumptuary laws among others. You don’t get to object to being gay without objecting to slavery being the will of God.

The fact that the EHRC is even considering such a move, let alone Parliament entertaining an inquiry is a sign that the tories still have a problem with homophobia that they claim to have purged. Its time for David Cameron to step up and quash this support for hate.

Bring “Beached” back to Bridlington

Lee Hall
credit journallive.co.uk

You’d think that being the creator of Billy Elliot, one of the most successful musicals of the last 20 years would guarantee you some artist freedom, but Lee Hall had his latest project cancelled over a character being open about being gay.

The community Opera, called “Beached” featured a huge cast that included 300 pupils from a local primary school. However production was halted when both Bay Primary School and the Local Area Authority demanded that Hall remove any lines that referenced the character’s sexuality.

Hall went out of his way to try to fix the problem and even offered to pay for Stonewall’s education team out of his own pocket. His efforts were rebuffed, and the school cancelled its participation a matter of a couple of weeks before opening night, ending the production.

We would love for the headmistress, Emma Hobbs and the Local Area Authority to reconsider. If they were to help put on a new production of “Beached” free from the homophobic censorship they tried to force in, we’d be very happy.

The critical issue here is that a supposedly tolerant and progressive theatrical group not only refuses to stand up for tolerance, but goes out of its way to defend the homophobic institution and puts the blame on the writer for daring to disagree.

Through their statements, responses and press releases, it is clear, that they feel as though they are blameless, and continue to put all the blame at Lee Hall’s feet.

We would like Opera North to put together a new production at their own expense with a cast including 300 children from local schools and community groups, to give the people of Bridlington the opportunity to see this wonderful opera, and to pledge that in future they will not be apologists for homophobia.

Please sign our petition over at Change.org

Sources: BBC and Guardian
Update:

The play went ahead last saturday

UK Government is homophobic, and it’s time to do something about it!

The Government promised much, and are giving the opposite.

The title is strong, but is no exaggeration. Whether it’s a matter of intentional homophobia on the part of specific persons, or institutionalized homophobia on the part of government structures and organizations, the UK Government is indeed homophobic. If you’ve read my previous article for No More Lost, you’ll note that I don’t use the term lightly: People are dying as a result of this Governments culpable failure to keep its word. This Lib Dem/Conservative coalition government promised so much, but has entirely failed to deliver. We had hoped that the conservatives had changed – they have not. We had hoped that the Liberal Democrats would bring progress and enthusiasm for change – they have not. They brought us promises, and then failed to even as much as seriously attempt to realize them.

With that said, it is clearly not a lack of action that makes a government homophobic, and nor is it the lack of material results from its promises. The mark of a homophobic government is that it threatens the rights and lives of LGB people, is complicit through inaction when it’s legislation is clearly and obviously bent in such a way as to hurt LGB people, or when it actually acts to that effect complicitly. This is the test of a homophobic government, and this is the evidence:

Promise 1: We will look at the possibility of enacting marriage equality.

Well, frankly, as promises go this one is all a bit empty really. It’s not a promise of action, and it’s not a promise of any kind of solid view. It says “We’ll think about it”… so where’s the thought? Where’s the indication of progress being made on this issue by the Government. The Government has done nothing of note on this issue. That, of course, is not the mark of homophobia. The mark of homophobia comes in that the Government is in the mean time trying to promote marriage as being the all important cornerstone of family and society. In so doing, it sets things up so that married people can access perks and benefits. Of course, if LGB people cannot get married, they cannot access them. The message, taken to its logical conclusion, is effectively “Heterosexual marriage should be encouraged and rewarded… but you LGBT people are clearly not as valuable to society and are thus undeserving of the potential for equal reward.”

Promise 2: “This Government will defend the most vulnerable”. “It will defend LGBT rights”.

There is one notable success for the Government here. Until this government, gay men were banned from donating blood, which has been a long standing bone of contention. Under this Government, that’s changed: Gay men are now allowed to donate blood… as long as they haven’t had sex in the last 10 years! Frankly, that’s really no better!

However, as a group, it is well documented that LGBT people are statistically far more likely to be “vulnerable” than the population as a whole – that much is kind of obvious really… and yet government cuts are hitting services important to many LGBT people, and they’re hitting those services hard!

Add to that the fact that an act introduced by the last Government aimed at simplifying a wide variety of laws relating to equality, including LGBT equality, has come under attack from this Government. The Equalities act is being presented to the public as possible red tape to be cut, and the Government are seeking comments on it on that basis. After overwhelming support for the act on the Government’s “Red Tape Challenge” website, the Government opted to re-present the question, leading many to believe that the Government will not be happy until it recieves the answers it wants as justification for weakening or removing these protections.

Promise 3: Those persecuted because of their sexual orientation will be afforded asylum in the UK.

in July 2010, shortly after the Government came into power, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the refusal to grant asylum to those who were persecuted because of their sexuality with the reasoning that “they can just go back and hide it to avoid persecution”, was a violation of human rights law. The Government welcomed this – publicly at least.

The Home Office told the UK Border Agency was that the new rules should be applied “with immediate effect” and that relevant cases should be “flagged and recorded”… but more than 7 months later, such cases are still not being counted and so there is no way of telling how the new rules are being applied…

… well, no accurate way, but there’s certainly a way to gauge it to some extent. We have had various highly publicised cases of people who have been refused asylum on grounds of persecution because of their sexuality:

There’s Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan Lesbian who was initially refused entry following a ruling that she was not really a lesbian, on ground that since being in the UK  she had “taken no interest in forms of media by magazines, books or other information relating to her sexual orientation.” -ignoring of course, the less-than-subsistence benefits she was surviving on while making her claim- and citing no evidence of her living a lesbian “lifestyle”. This, of course, irrespective of the fact that the publicity surrounding her case alone would surely have put her at risk if refused asylum.

More recently, we have the case of Betty Tibakawa, a Ugandan whom despite being branded with a hot iron twice on her inner thighs for being lesbian, and outed in the Ugandan magazine ‘Red Pepper’, has been refused asylum on grounds that she, again, is not genuinely gay, and faces no persecution in Uganda.

We have the case of Edson “Eddy” Cosmas, a gay man from Tanzania who was denied asylum at the first hurdle. The letter rejecting his claim, “attempts to paint the existence of bars where gay men are known to be found and other gay meeting places and gay organisations as indicating that it is possible to be gay, albeit ‘discretely’. Also, a lack of prosecutions is mentioned, presumably to suggest a lack of formal state repression and that it is ‘safe’ to return a gay man.”

LGBT Asylum News reports: “According to In interview, minor discrepancies in Eddy’s statements are taken as totally undermining his credibility. Many relate to his sexual history.”

These are just a selection of the higher profile requests for asylum – these are just some of those that have made headlines. With headlines like these, how common do you suppose this kind of thing is, especially among those who have not yet spent any time in the UK, or who don’t have the support of a network of friends and family here: those who don’t really have a voice to speak out about it?

Ironically, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, not very long ago claimed success in his pledge that “those facing persecution would no longer be deported” … yet people applying  for asylum on grounds of persecution because of their sexual orientation or trans identity are being put through the “detained fast track process”, which is almost purpose made for those who’s claims are uncomplicated and have very no real basis for the granting of asylum – in spite of the fact that LGBT claims are often notoriously complex.

This is a Government that really reached out for the “pink vote”, no doubt in part because the Conservatives wished tho shed the public perception of them as ‘the Nasty Party’. To the credit of the Lib Dems, at least on a party level they are the first to commit to Marriage Equality – though it should be noted the Nick Clegg is a Lib Dem too!

What will it take for this government to change course, stick to its word, and support LGBT people as it promised rather than hurt LGBT people? Perhaps it needs embarrasing into action? We can but try…

The Home Office, which in particular is the Government department responsible for the UK Border Agency which decides upon asylum claims. The Home Office won an award from major UK LGB campaigning organization Stonewall, topping it’s list of gay friendly employers. Does the Home office sound Gay friendly to you? It may generally treat it’s employees well, but it’s certainly not doing a lot for those LGBT people it’s supposed to be helping, and shows no inclination to enforce its own orders to do so either. Shouldn’t a Gay friendly employer not only be friendly to those LGBT people in its employment, but also be an LGBT friendly organization that happens to employ people?

Perhaps Stonewall ought to consider rescinding the award, in light of the Home Office’s treatment of LGBT asylum seekers, many of whom may well have been sent to their deaths, in the full and complicit knowledge of the UK Home Office. Perhaps they should be encouraged to rescind it: It’s certainly a start. Sign the petition.

‘Rejecting the narrative’ and ‘fundamental respect’

Consider, for a moment, the following story:

“But how did you know?”: Oh that age old question asked just one more time, and never for the last.

They sighed. A sigh so softly expressed so many times. A sigh so soft and understated that only a person accustomed to such moments would understand it. Barely visible to the casual observer, those in the know would recognise their hearts sinking as they prepared to answer the inevitable and recurring question. At least they weren’t being asked about the configuration of their genitals or their sexual preferences though. They’d been spared that indignity on this occasion. It was at least a tolerable question, and once more they found their selves giving out the very personal details of their personal childhoods.

“I always got on better with boys,” he said, “and then when puberty hit it was a nightmare. I just knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what”.

“Oh, it was a bit like that for me to,” she interjected, “except I got on better with the girls. I used to like playing with dolls but my parents would take them from me when they caught me. My mum caught me using her makeup once. I guess I was just born this way.”

Why? Why, oh why, oh why must we go through this standard narrative again, and again and again?  Yes, I’m as guilty as anyone of this, but surely this is the sort of thing we should be telling our nearest and dearest -should there be a cause or desire for them to know- and not random strangers or acquaintances? If you actually like answering these questions and the ‘standard narrative’ applies to you, then sure, why not… but for the rest of us: Why?

Really speaking, this pretty much applies to LGB people as much as it does to trans people. We collectively feel the need to justify our existence by offering narratives, terminology and ideas that can be readily digested by the rest of society. We explain our histories and our existences according to the frameworks provided for us, which are inevitably designed to fit in with the pre-ordained rules of a hetero-normative society. We often seem to instinctively try to avoid standing out, and instead try to shape ourselves to fit the mold at the expense of our own unique individualities.  Not even cissexual people their selves are immune to this effect, from the schoolyard bullies, to the neighborhood yobs and interest groups hitting out at and questioning anything that poses the smallest challenge to the normative status quo, marking it as somehow different and inferior by its mere existence. For LGBT people though, there’s a difference – we tend to accept it, consciously or not, as being part and parcel of being LGBT, and it runs right the way through society.

While anti-abortionists claim that a woman’s right to do as she likes with her body is superseded by the rights of the unborn child in a similarly vitriolic battle over what choice women should have over their bodies, the argument against LGBT people is predicated differently. It is based on the idea that we, in ourselves, are disgusting and morally wrong simply for our very existences… and I ask – why? Why must we be special cases having to explain our origins? Why should we be subject to attempts to cure us? Why should we be considered as worth anything less than anybody else because of who we are in spite of the fact that we do nothing wrong, and nothing to harm anybody else? Ironically, there is even a section of the feminist community that believes in a person’s choice over their own body, and yet would deny trans people that choice – one feminist famously wanted to “mandate trans people out of existence”.  The anti-choice argument at least contains some kernel of reason (whether you agree with it or not), whereas the argument against LGBT equality does not. Such a lack of reason was seen recently in the UK, where a popular soap opera showed two men cuddling in bed and provoked outrage from some quarters, while hetero-centric casual sex, violence, threats and even rape have been deemed unworthy of complaint by the same people.

This argument that we are some kind of scourge on society, and that we’re somehow exotic or explicit material that should be kept out of the eyes of children spurs us on to justify ourselves with a whole host of purported medical, evolutionary, sociological, genetic, or psychological reasons. In doing so, we are the ones that create our own oppression. Instead of standing up to such questions, and instead of requesting the civil courtesy of the respect afforded to everyone else, we give in. In giving in and answering their questions with narratives that fit their views, we perpetuate a cycle where they feel they have the right to ask. They feel they have a right to know. A right to pry. A right that wouldn’t exist anywhere else, and thus lends itself to a sense of the normal vs the abnormal, which of course transforms itself into issues of right or wrong, above and below, inferiority and superiority. We hand them power. We give them privilege over us, and all by trying to fit into their world, rather than staking our place and our claim on our already being a part of their world, and one that’s worthy of equality and respect. I’m not going to seriously use terms like kyriarchy or patriarchy to describe top down systems of oppression. Power is seen to work like that, but only because that is the way we have organised it. If every fighter put down their weapon, we’d see an end to war – it’s unlikely to happen, but it’s true. Similarly, can you imagine a situation where every LGBT person responded with “That’s a personal question”, or “My body, my choice. I’m not hurting anybody else, so what’s the problem?” Admittedly, for some trans people it’s a choice between surgery or death – but that’s still a real choice, if an obvious decision to make (clue – death isn’t the obvious and logical solution to such a problem.)

Then, of course, there’s the other problem with the standard narratives for trans people especially – they hurt other trans people. In some ways, the formation of the narrative has been clinician led… but it’s our internalisation of the narrative that’s perpetuated it. As more and more people repeat their stories, it becomes the accepted basis on which medical services are allowed. Nobody knows what causes transsexualism any more than what results in the existence of neutrois or other gender variant people that don’t fit the narrative… but it is the narrative that grants access to medical treatment. If you don’t fit it, you don’t get it. If you’re not transsexual, then you must surely have some sort of body dysmorphia that needs talking therapy or psychiatric drugs – it’s not right, and it’s not fair. Change isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s likewise going to be even longer coming for as long as the ‘One True Narrative’ prevails. Is it right to leave other people out in the cold like this?

For bisexual people – if same sex attraction is not a choice, and “homosexuality is OK as long as you don’t act on it” is not a reasonable view, where exactly does that leave bisexual people? While “Being gay is not a choice” is great for defending gay and lesbian people, it leaves bisexual people open to the accusation that they really do have a choice, and should choose only to sleep with members of the opposite sex.

We need to stop clinging to the standard narrative – and many of us are unknowingly guilty of that, as we tend as a species to frame things in the language we are surrounded with. We need to stop giving away our power and subverting ourselves. We need to stop internalizing the narratives, and instead to proudly state the truth of our own individual existences. To live that truth. To love that truth, and to be that truth. We need to stop policing others for questioning the standard narrative and expressing opinions which stand against it. We need to stop crying “transphobia”, “homophobia”, “hetero-centricism” and “cissexism” at the slightest opportunity, stop tarring and we need to start living by example. Sure – there is transphobia, homophobia, hetero-centricism and cissexism in the world and it’s wrong, but overuse of the terms devalues them, and just makes us look irrationally angry and combative… all the while, of course, focussing our attention on why certain people think we are wrong rather than on why we are just as worthy and awesome as anybody else. It’s perhaps telling that I myself am wondering if I’m going to lose friends and contacts over this article – I don’t profess it to be gospel truth, but I do feel it raises a few interesting points and questions.

I’m going to tell you that truth now. It’s actually a very simple one, as most truths are – we are people of diverse backgrounds and experiences just as all human beings are, but in one thing you are just the same as anybody else…

… You are beautiful, and your existence is no less valid or rightful than anybody elses. You have a right to be yourself. You don’t need a cure. You don’t need a reason. You don’t need to explain yourself to all and sundry. You don’t need to justify your basic existence. Why you are the way you are doesn’t matter. What matters, is that you are who you are, and you exist – and you are beautiful for it. At the end of the day, we’re all just people, and we should be people. Live.

No moral authority? That makes two of you, Miss Phelps!

westboro Arlington protestWestboro Baptist Church protests are rarely covered these days, except for in exceptional comedic effect found in the myriad of ways in which they are counter-protested. This ‘church’, perhaps best known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers with the message “God Hates Fags”, essentially seeks publicity for their actions, and so it’s a good thing that publicity for their insensitive, hateful, and abhorrent antics appears to have largely dried up, starving them of the oxygen that spurs them on. Their outlandish behavior, which is offensive to many, is now largely accepted as simply being what they do, and has ceased to be newsworthy, except in specific circumstances such as at one of their recent ‘protests’.

At Arlington National Cemetery yesterday (Monday), hours before President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in leading the nation’s Memorial Day observances, a Westboro Baptist Church demonstration was counter-protested – by a group including 10 members of the Ku Klux Klan, who were separate from the main counter protest. A spokesman for this branch of the clan, describing his self as an ‘Imperial Wizard’, explained that they were there to object to the Westboro Baptist Church’s anti-troop message.

“It’s the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right to free speech,” said Dennis LaBonte, of the Virginian group ‘Knights of the Southern Cross’.

Westboro Baptist Church’s response? Miss Phelps, daughter of the founder of the ‘church’ Fred Phelps, retorted with “That’s fine, they have no moral authority on anything.”

It’s true – given the history of the KKK, and given the fact that the organization has actually killed people, they have precious little moral authority to stand on. Even so, the message from Miss Phelps carried more than just this fact. It also holds the implication that by a matter of contrast, the Westboro Baptist Church does have moral authority. It doesn’t. The Westboro Baptist Church has tried to use this event to discredit those that oppose them. The subtle message of Miss Phelps’s comment can be easily described as “How  can you claim your cause is righteous when you have people like that on your side?”

Well, Miss Phelps, not to discount the possibility of a less than palatable group using an event or a cause to try to gain legitimacy and further its own agenda, which Westboro Baptists will surely be all too familiar with, there is the alternate and far more sensible way of looking at it…

When even the Ku Klux Klan feel the need to meet you with a counter protest, you’ve surely got to know that what you’re doing is really screwed up!

What Do We Want? – The Gay Agenda, a Manifesto of Sorts

gay agendaIf ever there were a term to be reclaimed, this is it: the gay agenda. When you blog on a LGBT website, you end up trawling through the websites of all the usual news sites, anti-gay campaigns and hate groups – NOM, right wing Christian news, republican/social conservative blogs and news, gay news sites, etc… …and so it goes on. One thing you simply cannot avoid is the term “gay agenda” used as a stick to beat us with. There’s never a definition to what this agenda is exactly, but the undertones are always sinister; and you know what? I’m sick of it. So, let’s say this now…

“Yes, I support the Gay Agenda, and I support it wholeheartedly without shame or reservation.”

… no? Are you having trouble saying that? Is it just me that supports the gay agenda? OK, then let’s take a look at what it is we’re so often accused of supporting.

The term ‘Gay Agenda’ is a bit of an invention. It supposedly refers to an organised, concerted (or in the minds of those that accuse us of it, conceited) political and social effort to earn ourselves special rights and privileges, over and above those held by the rest of society. Frankly, we simply don’t have the level of power and privilege as a group and that in itself makes the concept more than a little surreal. It’s surreal because the concept is couched in the language of good and evil. The idea comes from the drawing of battle lines. It comes from a group of people so utterly convinced that homosexuality is abhorrent or sinful, unnatural or immoral that any effort towards anything that leads to acceptance of the fact that there are gay people in society and their mere existence should not be grounds for criticism, harassment, or worse, must therefor be an effort with sinister, corrupt, and morally repugnant intentions. Of course, understanding the origins of this ludicrous idea fails to address that ‘special treatment’ accusation… so let’s address that further – while we have neither the power nor the privilege for such a lofty goal, and even if such a goal were somewhere within our wildest dreams, isn’t it normal for interest groups, marginalised or otherwise, to seek an advantage in their own lives? It might not be morally sound, but it happens everywhere. Christians do it, politicians and political parties do it, advocates for various causes do it, corporations, capitalists, sole traders, small businesses and banks do it. It may not be right, but in our society – a society so often espoused as righteous in these traits by the self same people who complain of the gay agenda – it’s normal.

So, are you ready to say it yet? – “Yes, I support the Gay Agenda, and I support it wholeheartedly without shame or reservation.”… No?

Well, perhaps it’s because the Gay Agenda is an invented term, used to promote a ludicrous idea of good and evil, which is in turn used to beat us over the heads with, and further an anti-gay agenda. Even so, we do have an agenda. An agenda that covers lesbian, gay, bisexual. trans, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, and questioning people; and you know, much of this applies to straight women too. It could, for simplicity and for a short and snappy name, be referred to as a gay agenda, even though it covers all of these people. Yes, people. Perhaps if it’s spelled out clearly, you too can say “Yes, I support the Gay Agenda, and I support it wholeheartedly without shame or reservation”. Perhaps if it’s spelled out clearly, you can provide a simple answer or a link next time you see or hear someone accusing us of supporting our sinister little agenda for the destruction of community, society and all goodness in the world – so here’s that agenda, clearly on display for all to see.

the gay agenda

1) We are human beings first and foremost just like everybody else, and as a body of people, we would generally like to be considered as normal people, just like everybody else. There are exceptions to the rule (those that like to stand out and be different), but that’s the case for any group of people in society, and no reason to treat us as being in some way different in the context of our day to day lives. We need to eat, sleep, pay our bills, be with our loved ones (especially in moments of need!) and generally live out our lives just as everybody else does.

2) We want to live in peace, seek happiness, and make something of our lives, just as anybody else does.

3) Many of us would like to have our long term, committed, stable relationships recognised in law. Of course, in that regard, Separate but equal is not equal, as demonstrated by the fact that anybody could desire to separate us from the rest of society in the first place… and so yes, many of us would like to get married. Some of us have children. Some of us will never have children – just like infertile or otherwise childless heterosexual couples – we don’t see anybody arguing against those marriages, so why us?

4) Some of us are not gay, but instead we speak for our children who so often are needlesly abused in school. Why? Why is this allowed to continue? Nobody wants homosexuality ‘promoted’ in school, but it’s not promotion to teach that we’re people just the same as anybody else, and should be accorded the same respect and fair and just treatment as anybody else. It’s rather sad that there are a bunch of hateful and bigoted adults teaching children to behave in these ways, resulting in a need for this education in basic human respect and decency. It’s simply called equality.

5) We’d like an end to the lies, mis-truths, deceptions, unsupported and ill founded assumptions, and hysterical propaganda distributed about us. We’d very much appreciate it if people stopped making us the target and the object of their hatred and allowed us to get on with our lives in peace.

6) While we’re on the subject of getting on with our lives in peace, it would be nice if we didn’t have to live in fear that we’ll be discriminated against or our sexual orientation regardless of the fact that it almost never has any serious (if any!) affect on anybody else, and is almost always irrelevant to the subject of that discrimination. It’d also be very nice if we could be sure that our politicians, community leaders, and rich & powerful view our execution -wherever it is- on grounds of our sexual orientation as an abhorrent idea, and not have to live with the sure knowledge that there are some that would support it. It would be nice if, when we get attacked, we could be sure that it’ll be taken seriously… that we could be sure that it won’t get brushed under the carpet… that we can be sure that we won’t be told it’s our own fault simply for the fact of our existence.

7) All this tends to add up to a degree of disempowerement, and we’d like our power back please. We’d like the same power over our own lives and destinies that everybody else has. No more, and no less.

8) Whether we’re gay, trans, or whatever, we’d like not to be deliberately (and often maliciously) mis-gendered. It’s a form of abuse.

9) Many of us make absolutely fantastic parents. Homosexuality is not passed on like a contagion or through teaching, and there’s a great many kids out there who’d be better off with parents than without. In fact, there are studies that show that we tend to make excellent parents that bring up well rounded children, and none to the contrary. The ONLY accusation with any foundation from those that would abuse and denigrate us is that our children suffer an increased risk of abuse and denigration… largely as a result of the policies, attitudes and actions of those that would abuse and denigrate us. Not all of us want children – that’s pretty much the same as the rest of the world. Some of us do want children, and we’d like the same rights to medical technology, adoption, the legal recognition of our families and various federal benefits (including immigration where relevant, with or without children) that everybody else has.

10) Will you please stop trying to cure us? Yes, there’s ‘ex-gay therapy’ or ‘reparative therapy’ for those of us who are having trouble dealing with who we are and the shame, guilt, hate and discrimination that some in society are determined to impose upon us; that is, if we’re willing to risk the psychological damage and increased risk of suicide that comes from suppressing who we are. It should be available for those who openly seek it out – but it’s not a solution, and in fact only a tiny minority are healthy and happy people after it. It doesn’t need promoting, because we don’t need curing. We’re simply not ill, thank you very much, apart from those of us who have developed depression, anxiety and fatigue as a direct result of the acts of abuse, denigration and dehumanisation that have, and continue to be, committed against us.

As individuals, not all of us have experienced all of the above issues – some of us are lucker than others, whether that’s by life circumstances or simply the place of our birth. All of us have been affected by some of the above though, with the group as a whole subject to it all and it really has to stop. THIS is the gay agenda. It is the one and only gay agenda in town. It’s not sinister, it’s not evil, it’s not destructive and it’s most certainly not a corrupting influence on society. It’s equality, pure and simple. I’ll say that word again, in case anybody missed it the first time… it’s equality.

One final time, I state here and now, “Yes, I support the Gay Agenda, and I support it wholeheartedly without shame or reservation.”

Are you with me? Whether gay, straight, trans, queer; whatever or whoever you are, will you join me in this statement?