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.

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.

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.

‘Curing’ LGBT people? There’s an app for that.

Apple have in the past supported LGBT rights. In fact they donated to the Prop 8 cause in favour of equality. However, all may not be as it seems just from that one act.

Following the removal of an application by the Manhattan Declaration a few months ago which said quite clearly that same sex couples are ‘sexually immoral’, originally given a 4+ rating by Apple implying it to be entirely family friendly with no objectionable content… an app that was only removed following a campaign and petition against it… Apple have done it again.

Yes, our ‘good friends’ at Exodus International have introduced an application to an app store near you, intended to deliver a dangerous message to tech savvy young adults: ‘You can be “freed from homosexuality” and have your sexual orientation “cured” if you’re LGBT.’ Yes, this is the same Exodus International that promotes the universally condemned snake oil of “ex-gay therapy”, which has been described as causing catastrophic damage to the mental health of it’s victims by the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association.

Worse yet, Apple have, again, given this app a 4+ rating, once more branding the app as entirely inoffensive and harmless, even though the group tells gay kids that their sexual orientation is “immoral,” “satanic”, and in need of a cure, which we all know to be the very kind of insulting and frankly degrading and oppressive bigotry that  contributes to depression, anxiety, isolation, and even suicide.

There is a petition to remove the app from Apple’s app store, though at this point, we have to consider motives here. Yes, they donated against Prop 8, but while a significant amount of money, $100,000 dollars is really a drop in the ocean to Apple – hell, they’re getting good PR just because I’m mentioning it now. On the other hand, not only do Apple make a big deal of banning any app from their store that could possibly be objectionable to anyone in the majority of their userbase, they seem to not only have allowed these bigoted anti-gay applications, but also rated them as being entirely inoffensive, and only removed the last one due to the petition and widespread outcry over it. This one looks likely to follow suit (unless of course Apple really wants to be seen to be anti-LGBT). The fact is, Apple is a company founded on it’s image… it’s why it has the rules it has. Someone at Apple clearly feels that declaring these apps as inoffensive and even allowing them in the first place is not only acceptable, but perfectly OK with the company image.

The choice between Android, Research In Motion and Apple just got political. No… further than that, it just got moral. This, from Apple, is not acceptable, and if LGBT people do not show them how such actions will hurt, in the app store sales, the phone store sales, the music store sales… etc … who will?

Please sign the petition, and please consider sending your own message to Apple… but please don’t ignore what you’re paying to support in buying into it at the moment.

“Be Happy Not Gay”

In a school where it would be unacceptable to wear a “jews are evil” or “women belong in the kitchen” its apparently okay to wear something equally offensive, “Be Happy Not Gay”. The rules of schoolyard behavior is a special subsection of first amendment space, you cannot bully someone based on race, gender, or in theory on sexuality. However apparently making spurious claims that being gay is a choice and that God hates gay people is perfectly acceptable to the 7th circuit court of appeals.

Not only was this at school, but it was on the “Day of Silence” a day of remembrance and support for LGBTQIA youth. We need to make it clear that hate speech is not welcome in schools. This is what the school tried to do, and the 7th circuit struck them down.

Rush Limbaugh calls on Gay/Progressive republicans to get back in the closet….

Here’s Rush Limbaugh’s two cents, about keeping conservative morality, and ignoring conservatives who might be interested gay equality, and other libertarian causes such as drug legalization.

Its decidedly hypocritical from a man who was addicted to Oxycodone, a highly restricted opiate, and currently on his 4th wife to talk about morality.

Referring to the base, its strange to say him claiming that the Democratic party never sacrifices its base to win broader appeal. At first I couldn’t take him seriously given the routine slamming the White House gives real progressive groups. I sometimes wonder who hates the Daily Kos more, the White House, or the right wing blogosphere. Its a story for another day but there are numerous examples of where the White-house has hit out at its base with a vehemence that the republicans have never seen…

I don’t expect sanity or logic from Rush, or his audience, but I do call on his sponsors to realize that as well as supporting all the other bile, this is nothing but a full blown fully rounded bigot and we recognize that by sponsoring him, that his sponsors are supporting homophobia and should be boycotted.

Video found by our friends at NOM we thank them for their invaluable work giving us insight into their bigotry and hatred.

Secret Enemy Number 1 – The Disney Corporation

I’m going for a big and dangerous target today, and I’m sure that many people would think that Disney is a friend of LGBTQA causes, but in fact they are one of the biggest criminals in preventing LGBTQA acceptance in our society today.
Candy Corn Acres Minnie celebrates Gay Days

LGBTQA Characters

This doesn’t really need much introduction, because I know no matter where you look in Disney, there is not a single openly LGBTQA character in the entire Disney Library, from Steamboat Willie, through to Phineas and Ferb, every single character portrays straight as an arrow relationship behavior.

What does this say, that in the happy and wonderful World of Disney, LGBTQA youth have no role models, no one to identify with, and being left with an aftertaste that if the accepting world of Disney has no place for them, then surely there must be something wrong with them.

People will probably scream to high heaven about “won’t someone please think of the children” (who are straight, fundamentalist, and bigoted) when the first children’s show has an open LGBTQA character. Look at all the fuss that the possibility that Tinky Winky might have shown some possibility of being gay.

However it takes courage and idealism to stand up to the forces of hatred on this issue, which Disney seemingly lacks. I know that Dreamworks, and Nickelodeon are just as guilty, but Disney is the leader, the ones who are universally thought of as synonymous with children’s entertainment.

King and King?

For those of you who don’t know, King and King was a hot button issue a few years ago because, it showed primary school children, that not every King wants to marry a queen, and thats okay.

It was a simple enough children’s book, akin to Heather has Two Mummies, and other books designed to show that issues of equality can be presented to all ages and that acceptance is normal.

Of course King and King is not really enough content to stretch to a full Disney Epic, but looking at all those Disney movies about finding a place where they belong (Hercules), about finding one’s family (Lilo and Stitch), being true to who you are on the inside (Lion King), Seeing something from another’s perspective (Brother Bear), risking everything for a child (Finding Nemo), and even challenging the stereotypical attitudes of the day (Mulan). Maybe Disney should think about a story about a girl who grows up and falls in love with a princess….

Stereotypical Villains

It seems to me that while Disney does have its share of macho villains, such as Captain Gantoo (Lilo and Stitch), Shan Yu (Mulan), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), their villains often show very negative stereotypes of another group.

Looking at many of their villains, such as Jafar(Aladdin), Scar(Lion King), Chi-Fu (Mulan), and Hades (Hercules), they represent intellect, and display stereotypically gay characteristics in speech, mannerisms and behavior. I’m not saying that this identifies them as gay but when so many villainous characters display such characteristics, it seems like an almost intentional effort to identify intelligent gay men as villains.

What does this add up to

I think its clear that Disney, while supporting publically LGBTQA rights issues, their actual record of behavior even up to today, is filled with areas they need to move forward on helping LGBTQA acceptance.

We need to see positive examples of LGBTQA characters, followed by LGBTQA protagonists, not to mention a stopping of the stereotyping of Disney villains.

Its a two-fold problem, firstly those LGBTQA youth who need the role models are let down by a company who claims they pride themselves on acceptance. Secondly all the other youth out there, need to see LGBTQA people, not as villains or non-entities, but as normal people.

Disney, the ball is in your court, step up, or stop wearing those rainbow colors as if you deserve them!

Disney's View on Gay Acceptance

Disney's View on Gay Acceptance

Secret Enemies, So Called Friends

I have been wanting to do this for a while, although perhaps ‘wanting’ is the wrong word. In an ideal world, those who claim to support equality would actually be supporters of equality in all their actions, however that’s not the case and I’m going to speak my mind on that subject.

I’m sure many of the people in this category would be shocked that i’m calling them enemies, because they probably think in their self conceited way, that they are friends and supporters of equality.

Of course it would be conceited of me to think that these articles will be read by those I am calling out, but I think it needs to be said. Maybe some people who think positively of these people and organizations will wake up to their unsupportive ways.

Watch this space folks, as articles on this subject will follow soon. 🙂

Fifth Horseman of the Homophobic RNC apocalypse rears her head…

Following up on the interviews of three of the contenders for the RNC chair, and theinterview of the current RNC chair Michael Steele, we now have the fifth and final serious contender for the position being interviewed again by NOM.

You’d hope that at least one candidate would stand up for civil rights but we have another candidate who seems to be virulently opposed to LGBTQA equality, who wants to pander to the worst elements of their party, rather than bring the republican party into the 21st century.

Maybe its too much to hope that the republicans would at least nominate one candidate who wasn’t opposed to gay rights.

However the republican party is showing is colors as an unrepentantly homophobic party, and despite the efforts of groups like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans the RNC seems gearing up for 2012 to be a campaign with anti-gay values at its core.

Maybe this will drive the moderates back to the democrats again and there will be a 2012 landslide back towards the more socially progressive party. While that makes things somewhat better it doesn’t solve the undeniable bigotry in American politics.

If you are a moderate, stand up for sanity and justice, but if you are committed to the republican party, then you need to save your party. No longer can you support people who peddle hatred and bigotry. Yes for over 50 years the party of Lincoln has suffered the consequences of the dixiecrats and the southern strategy, and has identified itself with intolerance and bigotry.

Republicans, it is time for you to save your party.