sparkindarkness: (STD)

These are always the more depressing posts, but they‘re very important ones, I think. It’s necessary to see the actual people who are being sacrificed to the hatred. It’s necessary to see the consequences of the hate.

In Kenya 5 men arrested for planning a gay wedding have been released through ‘lack of evidence’ – but have been told to flee the area for their own safety

Which is no surprise since a homophobic mob in Kenya attacks and wants to BURN gay men. The rise of homophobic attacks and mobs is terrifying to behold in its hatred and its extremism. Sadly, but not surprisingly, religion can be found behind it, whipping up the mobs and screaming for gay blood

Malawi and Kenya both are having outbreaks of homophobic mobs trying to attack and kill gay people The rise of homophobia in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and others is frightening – more so when we can see the strong hand of evangelical groups and other religious movements behind it. The global power of religious hate cannot be underestimated

In Northern Ireland Shaun Fitzpatrick could have been murdered for being gay

In Chicago Daniel Hauf was attacked trying to defend a gay youth whho was being homophobically abused. His 3 attackers have been indicted on hate crimes charges – a sliver of good from the very very bad.

Gay men attacked for being part of a gay sports team in Austin.

A lesbian couple in West Virginia are turned down as tenants – for being gay A very real point that the very necessities of life are subject to the whims of homophobia.

These are the victims of hate – and the consequences of hate speech and its promotion

From the utterly foolish: Missouri University  Board Member David Ansley using the word “fag” as a descriptor

To the tragically personal with Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa offering to sit Shiva with a Lesbian’s homophobic parents when that lesbian asked how to deal with her parent’s homophobia.

To the blind, mindless hate of Lauren Ashley, Miss. California hopeful quoting a LEVITICUS verse that advocates death for gays. Oh but she had gay friends (why is it all these homophobes bring out the gay friend excuse? Surely they can see that it’s not even REMOTELY believable!)  When are we going to realise that hate speech revelling in our deaths is NOT acceptable?! Seriously why did no-one call her on this? Why didn’t the pageant drop her so fast she bounced twice? Why didn’t the interviewer react appropriately – by ripping off her arm and beating her to death with the soggy end? Why is comment like this considered legitimate?

And then we go to the utterly vile with the World Net Daily Columnist, Molotov Mitchell adding to the already shocking voices calling for our death  Again, why is this acceptable? Why are any more than the nuttiest of fringiest (good gods spell checker, that’s an actual word?) extremists even thinking this is acceptable to say? Why isn’t this a career killer? Why isn’t this a “drive the man out the room with a hail of fruits and vegetables” moment?

All of these send a message. They send a message that gays are worth less, due less, are less. All of these foolish, hateful acts, laws and speeches justify and cheer for the deaths and the pain. And it is global – our hate mongers travel the globe spreading their hate, their words are quoted in homophobic conferences, their books used as guides and sources around the world. The hateful religious texts and teachings know no borders. The hate is spread around quite liberally – but it’s not just words. There are real bodies and real lives and real victims who will suffer from this poison – and we cannot forget that.

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Now can the media please get over it already? Honestly commentators resorting to “ZOMG GAY!” jokes are pathetic and  unprofessional and really do feed into how gay men are treated and viewed.

We have Australian commentators for Channel 9, who brought us the joy of jokes about the closet. Oh and referring to one skater’s costume as “a bit of Brokeback Mountain.” Tee Hee. Then cracked a few more gay jokes about Johnny Weir (even in the nonpology! Stay classy!). Yes. He is wearing pink. Seriously, anyone would think they’d never seen the colour before!

And then we have Candian commentators for RDS, who brought us some even more joyful commentary.

Apparently Johnny Weir is a bad example. Why? Oh because they’ll think all boys who skate will ‘end up like him‘. What? Extremely talented? Oh – gay. Because being gay is such a bad thing and such a bad example. Oh, and he should pass a gender test. A gender test… Yeah didn’t we learn better than that from the hell we put Semenya through let alone that even the extremely dubious and questionable gender testing used in female sports loses whatever weak and ridiculous justification it had in male sports. Oh and they suggested Johnny Weird should compete in the women’s competition – because gay man = woman never gets old it seems.

“Do you think he lost points because of his costume and body language?” if he did then that is severely wrong and should be condemned unilaterally NOT mocked and made an object of humour!

And then we wonder why homophobia in sports is so endemic – to an extent that when the FA looked for footballers to appear in their anti-homophobia they found that no top footballers would go near the thing - being associated with teh gay, even to the extent of saying homophobia is wrong, is soooo horrible,

Honestly is it too much to ask for a bunch of grown men to act like they’re NOT snickering freaking 10 year olds. Seriously, grow up already.

Edited: Johnny Weir is not out to the media, as such it is not possible to assume he is gay, bi or straight - the way everyone was talking about him I thought he'd at least come out as gay considering how many people were assuming he was gay. Silly me. Which, if anything, enfuriates me more because people are ASSUMING he is gay based purely on his personality and presentation NOT on his identity. You cannot pick out a gay man based on the clothes they wear, damn it!
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The PCC has ruled on Jan Moir’s poison and decided – SURPRISE – that it was all fine and dandy.

What, you expected different? Why, the Chairman of the PCC’s Editor’s Code of Practice Committee is Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail where the article appeared. And, shockingly, he didn’t move to censure his own paper. My, aren’t we surprised? Really, they don’t even try to be legitimate, do they?

Just remember, according to the PCC, a tasteless prank phone call is far far far worse than a prejudiced and hateful screed against a persecuted minority. Or against gays anyway.

Never mind that hate crimes against gays are on the rise. Never mind that our lives and worth are devalued constantly. Never mind that our newly dead are sneered at and libelled before they’re even cold in the grave. It’s not like someone *GASP* made a tasteless phone call.

Of course, depressingly, not only does this judgement grossly ignore some major homophobia in the media (but we expect that, since when does the media – or just about anyone else – give a damn about homophobia?) but it has severely destroyed the weak protections we do have.

I am particularly concerned by this:
“While many complainants considered that there was an underlying tone of negativity towards Mr Gately and the complainant on account of the fact that they were gay, it was not possible to identify any direct uses of pejorative or prejudicial language in the article,”

So, unless someone resorts to outright slurs, it’s not homophobia? She didn’t say “fag” so it’s not homophobic! She just said that gay men don’t die a natural death, she just said that death is a natural result of our “lifestyle” she just said that this ruins the “myth” of our unions. But no, she‘s not homophobic. Because she didn’t use a slur. Because this doesn’t count as “direct use of pejorative or prejudicial language.”

Is this going to be common across the board? Will sexism or racism or anti-semitism no longer be considered to exist in the media if not outright discriminatory or abusive language is used? If someone decides to publish an article contain lots of lies claiming Jews control the world, would the PCC decide it isn’t anti-Semitic because it doesn’t contain slurs or abusive language?

This isn’t only dangerous, it’s blitheringly stupid. Stonewall has said that they would find it “very difficult to recommend” that anyone from a minority community complain to the Press Complaints Commission. I can’t agree more. The PCC has shown itself incapable of handling the issue, grossly ignorant, corrupt and all too willing to pander to prejudice

Their ruling here is far more damaging and far far worse than anything Jan Moir wrote.

Really, after dismissing homophobia so completely,  the comment “The PCC said Moir’s claim that Gately’s death had not been “natural”, while controversial and speculative, “could not be established as accurate or otherwise.” becomes merely comic – because the coroner did just that. Because, y’know, that’s what coroners DO!

If one good thing can come out of this, hopefully the shit storm will rage and finally get some movement on scrapping the PCC and the whole concept of “self-regulation” (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) and establishing a more appropriate body. I would join the calls from Sir Ken Macdonald for all media with a pretence of legitimacy to withdraw from the ridiculous PCC.

I’d also encourage everyone to go have another word with their MPs to let them know how unimpressed we are with the PCC and suggest an alternative be found.

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Yet again the Tories would like us to know that they’re now all pro-gay. Yes, they keep trying and no, I ain’t buying.

They’ve pulled out gay Tory Nick Herbert (always ready to play gay friend for the homophobes) who, pocketing his 30 pieces of silver on the way, would like to tell us that the Tories have changed. Uh, rapidly.

See, the rapidly is needed because the Tories keep spewing homophobia all the damn time, so we’re not only expected to ignore the Tories’ grossly homophobic past – but their current homophobia as well. because they’ve changed – that was all so 5 minutes.. uh, 3 minutes ago.

I dearly hope most gay people don’t buy it. Tory homophobia is repeated and pervasive. I’ve pointed out before that the Tories have been staunch opponents of us on every front.  But they still try to convince us it didn’t happen. With empty apologies and meaningless speeches. Trying to make the hatred from the Tory party look like historical mistakes – the Tory party has changed, they say! That’s not us, they say.

But it is them. These aren’t the actions of Tories past.  We need to make this clear that these Tories, here, now, in parliament and in the shadow cabinet, were the ones who voted for these polices. THESE Tories were the ones who fought every damn piece of pro-gay legislation they could get their hands on.. Nearly a third of the current Tory Shadow Cabinet has voted against gay rights legislation. They can’t blame the homophobic “history” of the Tory party on Tories of the past – they are still there and still in positions of power. We have to remember that David Cameron himself voted against repealing section 28

From section 28, to gay adoption, to gay marriage (which Cameron still opposes for all his pretty words about equal partnerships he still) to anti-discrimination laws to hate crime laws, to equalising the age of consent – every step of the way the Tories have opposed us – THESE Tories have opposed us. And the difference between them and Labour is dramatic I have a lot of issues with the Labour government, but their record is head and shoulders above the Tories.

And above all let us remember that THEY haven’t changed. Not only is it the same people – they’re holding onto the same hatred. The Tories are still allied to the grossly homophopbic PiS party in their new EU block. Cameron responds to the criticism by telling gay people that they’re not homophobic. Thank you, your hetness, for setting us straight (hah!) on that one! See, we thought someone claiming that 43% of all paedophiles were gay or banning gay rights parades as “sexually obscene” or using the word “faggot” was homophobic – thank you for correcting us! Clearly you know better! They still fight any movement to help or protect us, even out most vulnerable

Remember that it is THESE Tories now who are trying to cripple the hate crime law and who pushed to allow religious bigotry justify homophobic discrimination.

This is the Tory party. They are our enemies, they always have been our enemies. They have fought tooth and nail against every single right we have, from our very right to exist upwards and they continue to battle desperately against every move for us to achieve justice. Every step we’ve taken, every right we’ve won has been achieved in the teeth of nigh unanimous Tory opposition.

Don’t be taken in by the lies and the propaganda. Don’t let two face liars like Nick Herbert play the gay friend to the bigot and throw us all under the bus. If the Tories want to convince us they’ve changed then they need to change – not just make speeches.

Until then – and if it ever happens – every gay person who votes for the Tories is stabbing themselves – and all of us – in the back. And every gay member of the Tory party is hurting us – because they are letting some of our greatest enemies use them for propaganda victories.

And I’d be extremely leery about considering any straight Tory voter to be anything close to a gay ally.

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Ok, look, this thing so many homophobes have with anal sex? It has to stop, it’s not healthy.  Look, if you want to try it I’m sure there are lots of guides and help books out there that can help you on the way (because, really, this whole tunnel visioned desperate obsession seems more and more like a desperate wish to try it) – but this obsession over it is getting so ridiculous to the point of comedy.

Let’s get this clear.

Not all gays (and lesbians most certainly for that matter) practice anal sex (some of us are so good we don’t need to practice. Yes, I had to say it, it was too tempting) not by a long shot. Nor is anal sex exclusive to gay men. Hey, some heterosexual men like it when a woman anally penetrates them with a dildo (go google “pegging” for evidence of this) and I’m sure that shocks and appals the moralists.

Being gay is not about a sex act, any more than being straight is. So, while we’re on the topic, can you also stop trawling the internet for the most graphic incidents of gay porn you can find as a way to demonise us? I can guarantee you I can find straight porn that matches the gay porn in every incidence. Do you expect to be judged by the straight porn out there? No? Then why should we be on the gay porn?

Frankly the whole tactic is demonising, misleading, anti-sex and just plain stupid and it’s past tired. Get over it alread.

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The world is very much not a safe place for GBLT people. And while there is good news with some countries moving forwards, like Albania has enacted a non-discrimination law protecting gay people – but stopped short at marriage equality and Nepal making incredible strides to be inclusive in a way I never imagined.

But sadly, there are many tragic stories of the most brutal kind of homophobic oppression imaginable.

In Malawi a gay couple was arrested for holding an engagement ceremony.

As if that wasn’t bad enough they were mocked and humiliated in a gross paraody of any kind of justice before trial.  The government is will not bend or relax their stance despite international pressure.  I despair of the inhumanity, when one of the couple collapsed in court they were ridiculed. Has all pretence of humanity left this farce?!

When Peter Sawahli campaigned against this cruelty - he was arrested.  With his arrest the police are hunting activists who were campaigning with him and calling for anonymous activists to reveal themselves (how about…umm… NO?)

In Dubai, police waste resources going undercover in gay chat rooms looking for men trying to hook up and  and 2 young men have been arrested. They could face 15 years in prison

In Malaysia the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, a former Deputy Prime Minister in Malaysia, is on trial for ‘sodomy’.  He could face 20 years in prison.

While many reacted to the gross Ugandan law with horror – South Africa looked at a new Ugandan diplomat.  And chose a homophobe

Looking on Uganda we see many are still dealing with this in a grossly unacceptable manner. While the Archbishop of Canterbury is using non-pologies to try and make up lost ground, the Anglican Church of Uganda are still very gung ho about killing us I’m curious – since the church was apparently so shocked to its core about a gay bishop that they considered a schism – I wonder if the massacring of a marginalised group would be on par?

These are sobering reminders that the world is often very unsafe for us. There are many nations out there that outright have laws that would criminalise us – many that would execute us or imprison us for life for who we love – for the crime of existing. There were 85 nations that made homosexual sex illegal in 2007.  85. Even where outright law doesn’t kill us there are many more nations where our lives are worth so very little, where attacks and persecutions are the norm and being uncloseted is an act of heroism or foolhardiness.

We need to remember this. We need to remember that our work isn’t done on our own shores alone. We need to remember that people are still dying and we have a hell of a lot to do. We need to remember that it won’t be other until it’s over everywhere – especially since homophobia crosses borders. We have huge organisations and churches pushing for homophobia across the globe – and supporting homophobia to avoid “offending” the most virulent hate mongers amongst them. We have homophobic advocates crossing borders and spreading their hate freely. Homophobia doesn’t stay isolated – not in today’s world.

And we also have to remember, we’re not safe.

We’re not, not really. We have seen rights taken away as well as given. We can see people who are still vehemently pressing for homophobia. In the US we can see some of the more extreme examples from the religious right trying to overturn the hate crimes law to a surprising number openly advocating a reinstatment of sodomy laws: Bryan Fischer and Gary Glenn of the American Family Association. Which, as Pam says, puts the AFA in the same league as the Family Research Council

And it’s by no means limited to the US. In the UK religious groups backed by the Tories still fight viciously against our hate crime law. The Arcbishop of Canterbury ran in silence from the Ugandan law, pretending it wasn’t happening for as long as physically possible and some Anglicans even supported the vile law

We need to remember this. There are countries where our lives can literally be taken LEGALLY. There are countries where we can be thrown in prison for years for who we love and who we are. And we need to remember that these same laws were in place in our own nation WITHIN LIVING MEMORY. And there are still a horrendous number of people who WANT TO GO BACK TO THAT.

We are not safe. The rights CAN be taken back. Our ground CAN be lost.  We have to remember that – because the cost of forgetting is too high – and we owe too much to our brothers and sisters around the world who need help so very badly

sparkindarkness: (STD)

See, this is something that makes the righteous homophobes so blatantly obvious in their hate. If they’re right, if they truly and honestly believe in their hate as a righteous thing, if they think they are doing the work of their deity and truly working to do a good thing while persecuting us then….

…why do they have to lie so? Why would they have to resort to dishonest tricks, ridiculous claims and blatant smears?

I mean, really, if they’re good and pure and honest and honourable and righteous and holy – why would they have to be manipulative and deceitful? Could it be that being right and good is not nearly as important as their hatred? SURELY NOT! *gasp*

In New Hampshire, Rep. Alfred Baldasaro called gay couples adopting kids as the state SELLING children to gays for $10,000 a time add in some gross comparisons to incest and… gah. Really? How can anyone remotely take such statements seriously?

Ugandan Pastor, Martin Ssempa, one of the forces and cheerleaders for Uganda’s kill gays bill has decided to gain support for the bill by showing an audience graphic gay porn, including scatalogical porn. Porn. Seriously? You want to persecute gays based on gay pornography? Have you even SEEN the straight pornography out there? 2 seconds with google is all it would take to show heterosexual porn every bit as extreme as the worst of homosexual porn. It’s grossly dishonest to believe and present this pornography as limited to gays. Using this was a manipulative attempt to encourage disgust and revulsion – certainly not any attempt to be honest or righteous.

Again in Uganda the Ugandan clergy use children to picket for the kill-gays bill. As well as telling the children to “denounce homosexuality and also to report any child they find getting involved in homosexuality activities.” (Ye gods!)

Of course, such dramatics are hardly limited to one nation how many times do we see homosexuality linked to bestiality? is there a reason they can’t argue against homosexuality (if it is so just and right to do?) that they constantly have to resort to animal sex for a counter argument? You’d almost think their arguments don’t stand up on their own!

And adding to the meme of gay = predator we have Tony Perkins, upon hearing that Obama plans to eliminate DADT, declared that it will lead to increased sexual tension and SEXUAL ASSAULT! that’s right – bring down DADT and the poor straight soldiers are going to be assaulted by the  predatory gays who have been lurking invisible until this moment! Seriously – does anyone remotely believe that? Is that even close to logical? I mean, it’s not like the gay soldiers aren’t already there!

And to finish off we have this truly disgusting piece of deception from the paragons of honesty on the religious right. See there has been a recent judicial ruling in  Florida allowing a Lesbian couple to adopt.

The religious right, naturally, has spat its dummy out and thrown all its toys out of the pram and responded with this. The picture on the right? Is the actual lesbian couple adopting the boy. The picture on the left? A random picture picked off the internet to represent lesbians

Additional fail? I see absolutely nothing in the picture on the left to even remotely imply that they wouldn’t be wonderful, perfect parents.

But the religious right is apparently happy to bring in some sweeping stereotyping, lies and both demonising and judging a couple whose picture they have just appropriated for their hate.

See, looking at all this I can’t help but think – y’know, if you were RIGHT and if you BELIEVED you were right then why why why why WHY do you have to resort to such tactics? More to the point, why would you, especially considering you are claiming the moral high ground and presuming to judge someone on their morality. Why should we trust such malicious, deceptive, manipulative people as being even remotely moral?

And, perhaps more to the point, why the hell do people fall for it?

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I have recently said how vulnerable GBLT youth is. Without a strong, understanding support network, our kids grow up often very much alone and with very few connections to the GBLT community, its allies or anyone else who would support them.

Worse, they are surrounded by a world that demonises in a near constant bombardment. This is not only harmful - it’s soul destroying. Yet time and again people fight tooth and nail against even the slightest movement to try and stem to the tide, to try and save so much pain.

In Tennesee there are two bills currently being considered to ban any mention in schools of “alternate” sexualities thankfully they seem to be in for an uncertain future - but they are dangerous things. Like Section 28, these laws prevent GBLT youth seeing anything like themselves in school, prevent them seeing anything POSITIVE about people like them.

A bill was introduced in South Carolina by Rep Janet Brady to protect teens from violence on dates. It looked very sensible - and then Rep Greg Delleny decided to spill bigotry all over it and specify that it only apply to HETEROSEUXAL dates - because gods forbid they mention homosexuality in schools!

A dailykos/research 2000 poll on Republican attitudes found a staggering 73% said gay people shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers I dearly hope that statistic is wrong.

A child in Ohio was humiliated and bullied by his teachers for having long hair. So rigidly are gender roles enforced that any child steeping outside of them can face this level of harassment from their teacher!

Rep Jared Polis in the US congress has introduced The Student Non-Discrimination Act that will protect LGBT youth from discrimination in schools. It’s shocking that this doesn’t exist already and terrible that it is needed - but LGBLT youth are frequently not only the target of vicious bullying, exacerbated by the closet - but can also face homophobic and unsympathetic teachers who not only won’t protect them - but will add to the persecution.

An ex-gay group is passing out fliers in schools in DC and the teachers claim they can’t stop it. Hateful propaganda is being passed to these kids - to allow hate groups to proselytise in schools is ridiculous - to allow ignorant, disproven , damaging fools to pass out their “knowledge” in schools is antithetical to all that school stands for

A school Tulsa, Oklahoma has resisted demands that they ban a gay friendly book that contained a *gasp* same-sex couple that parents tried to have banned. Is mere depiction of our couples really that dangerous? Is it so important that children be raised in ignorance of relationships that actually exist? Why should any school support ignorance? But worse than that - actions like these work to ensure that GBLT children will never ever see people like themselves, lives they can live

Students at John Carrol university are resorting to demonstrations after GBLT anti-discrimination clauses were denied. Why? Why do we have to ask for this for our young people? Why do our youth have to fight and demand to be treated equally? Why isn’t it a given?

At another university - Notre Dame, infamous already for that awful cartoon - they decided to throw out any claims of academia and invite and ex-gay proponent as a speaker. Extra fun? She’s going to be part of a panel on what makes an “authentic man or woman”. Oh yeah - this is going to be REALLY healthy for the GBLT kids on campus, don’t you think? And, just in case it needs to be said, Notre Dame has no policy against discriminating against GBLT folks either.

We need education. We need kids to understand that we exist and we deserve to exist. We need our kids to understand that they have value - they have worth, they have a place in this world and they have every right to that place with safety, security and dignity.

One step forwards is the new DVD being produced by Stonewall to combat anti-GBLT bullying. The statistics are frightening - 41% of gay students beaten up last year. 90% of teachers hearing anti-gay taunts. 75% of young gays in faith schools have faced homophobic abuse. Teachers have little training in homophobia - but hopefully this DVD (and a new government scheme requiring bullying incidents to be recorded) may help stop turning school into a destructive torture for our youth.

One unfortunate solution in LA is to open a school/hone study programme for GBLT youth has it come to this that our children cannot even go to school because of the fear? But when the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network reports that a horrific 86% of GBLT students reported harassment and 3 fifths of GBLT students had skipped school because they felt unsafe... something has to be done.

Our kids need to learn - and society will already teach them hate. We need to counter that. For the sake of our children.
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The Independent published an expose into the highly bizarre and truly silly world of the ex-gay movement by sending in someone undercover. The article is long but repeatedly left me wondering why ex-gay mental health professionals were still accredited as mental health professionals? It strikes me as rather like having a homeopathic doctor - the use of the former prevents you from being the latter. Especially since some of the patients describe the treatment as “torture.”

But then, re-reading prompted by [profile] snakeyjack and re-reading the article I saw... these people are funded by the NHS

It’s one of those announcements you have to go back and re-read

The NHS is paying for ex-gay therapy. I am paying for some misguided quack homophobe who insults the letters after his name to force my fellows who are wallowing in the vile poison of self-hate back into the deeply repressed closet. Despite EVERY reputable psychiatric and psychological body saying that ex-gay therapy does not work and causes HARM.

And I thought the report that 17% of mental health practioners had tried to “cure” homosexuality using, among other treatments, ELECTRO-SHOCK THERAPY was pretty bloody awful.

This is wrong. This is evil. To prey on our vulnerabilities and fears that stain us from the hatred society has thrown at us is beyond wrong. These so-called doctors are excerising their prejudice to brutally harm their patients physically - if the electroshock and ‘torture’ allegations are anything to go on and mentally and emotionally. They are teaching self-hate, self-repression. They are forcing self-loathing on people. They are forcing empty, pain filled lives on people. This isn’t medicine. This goes contrary to all the science - all the science that SAYS this is harmful, that this is damaging.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is very clear on this point:

It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by genetic factors (Mustanski et al, 2005) and/or the early uterine environment (Blanchard et al. 2006). Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice, though sexual behaviour clearly is.”

“A small minority of therapists will even go so far as to attempt to change their client’s sexual orientation (Bartlett et al, 2001). This can be deeply damaging. Although there is now a number of therapists and organisation in the USA and in the UK that claim that therapy can help homosexuals to become heterosexual, there is no evidence that such change is possible. “

“The best evidence for efficacy of any treatment comes from randomised clinical trials and no such trial has been carried out in this field. There are however at least two studies that have followed up LGB people who have undergone therapy with the aim of becoming heterosexual. Neither attempted to assess the patients before receiving therapy and both relied on the subjective accounts of people, who were asked to volunteer by the therapy organisations themselves (Spitzer, 2003) or who were recruited via the Internet (Shidlow and Schroeder, 2002).

The first study claimed that change was possible for a small minority (13%) of LGB people, most of who could be regarded as bisexual at the outset of therapy (Spitzer, 2003). The second showed little effect as well as considerable harm (Shidlow and Schroeder, 2002). Meanwhile, we know from historical evidence that treatments to change sexual orientation that were common in the 1960s and 1970s were very damaging to those patients who underwent them and affected no change in their sexual orientation (King, M. and Bartlett, A., 1999).”

In conclusion the evidence would suggest that there is no scientific or rational reason for treating LGB people any differently to their heterosexual counterparts.

These people are not doctors, they have broken the fundamental oath of medicine. They should be struck off - let alone funded with OUR money.

There is a Petition here

And if you’re in the UK please contact your MP either through this site or direct here or through their email list here.

And Peter Tatchell is surprised that 36% of people in the UK think homosexuality is “always” or “mostly” wrong? Really?! I’m surprised it’s so LOW not that it’s so high - given the amount of homophobia that is still grossly prevalent
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To give a summary of the event if you haven’t been following it (as far as I understand it).

Basically, LJ, in it’s rather less than infinite wisdom, decided to look at compelling new users to choose a gender for their profile. In fact they’d get a ticky box - Male or Female. Removing the unspecified

Which kind of sucks to several kinds of suckness if your gender doesn’t neatly fit into that binary.

So, in the wake of criticism, they added the option “Unspecified” (or returned the option) which, well, also kind of failed. because people who don’t fit the gender binary may very well be able to specify their gender - it’s just that LJ isn’t giving them the option. Still it’s something many can grit their teeth and deal with albeit not happily.

So, now we change again to “personal.” Which is rather worse, methinks. Since we go from “I can‘t answer this question so am going to have to tick unspecified and suggest I am witholding information because I am somehow ashamed or embarrassed” to “I can’t answer that question, it’s embarrassing and private” which, y’know goes from implying a non-binary gender is a shameful thing to all but declaring it to be.

If you check your user info now “Male,” “female” and “personal” are the current options. It’s not made public and LJ says they have no intentions of making it public. Which rather leads me to question why they’d do it at all? Better directed advertising, perhaps? I don’t know - women who see advertising on LJ, do the adverts seem directed at women? (Which usually means “Barbie pink and sparkly” in the world of advertising). I’m also leery of “never will be made public” turning into being quietly made public in the future and hoping no-one notices (it IS LJ after all).

How to do it right?
Well, how to do it better would be what Dreamwidth does: Male, Female, Other, Unspecified. My my, 4 options. ‘Other’ is a wide term, naturally, but people do use a wide range of terms to describe their gender.

Or maybe an empty text box that allows the user to fill in what they want?

Or maybe accept that there is absolutely no particular reason to demand gender information anyway and scrap the whole thing?

The depressing thing about this is the “why don’t you just include “other” and “unspecified” has been suggested since 2001 (hence why Dreamwidth has done it) and it’s such a very simple thing...
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Of all the slurs the haters throw at GBLT people in general and me, as a gay man, in particular perhaps the vilest of all is the idea that we are a threat to children. It's hard to think of a more repellent insult - or a lie that is more likely to encourage anti-GBLT violence

It's a pervasive lie. I'm surprised how often it has been brought up. We expect it from the usual sources - we expect it from the haters. We expect it from the Catholic church trying to cover up their own paedophile scandal with gross homophobia. We expect it from the bigots in the Ugandan church and government using it as an excuse to persecute us. We even expect it from grossly evil political campaigns created by the usual suspects. And, y'know, that's pretty awful - that we expect this. That we KNOW these hateful organisations - even mainstream organisations - are going to resort to this vileness. It's awful that the media will repeat their lies and accept adverts like this. I can't imagine a media outlet willingly showing an advert that depicts racial or religious minorities as paedophiles (actually I can, because my faith in humanity is pretty damn low right now) but when it comes to discussing us it's part of the mainstream conversation!

It's pervasive. Not only is it a major motivator to the violence that brings down so many of us (I think, of all my gay friends, only 2 have not suffered a violent attack. 2 out of dozens) but it the assumption is so prevalent it even creeps into our lives. I've had people not leave their children alone with me. I had someone express concerns about me looking after my goddaughter. This man's OWN DAUGHTER won't let him be alone with his grandchildren because of the assumption that gay = paedophile.

This needs to end. This demonisation is literally killing us and ruining lives - and it's based purely and simply on hateful lies

Which, in my mind, makes this video from Waking up Now essential viewing

Because the bigots spreading lies about us are not only killing us - they're helping the child abusers
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Sometimes I think bigotry just rises up someone’s brain and stops every other part of it thinking - so they just get a litany of “hate hate hate hate”

I can think of no other reason for the ridiculous things the haters say.

Of course the pope is a star at the grossly over the top demonisation of gay people game on many many occasions -

But he has heavy competition. The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov calls us SATANIC. Satanic? That’s some old school demonising right there. It’s not actually his first time - but then he IS fighting a war against immortality. (A war against immorality? Ye gods)

And a Belgian Catholic Archbiship compares homosexuality to anorexia. Yes, homosexual sex is to normal sex what anorexia is to a normal appetite. He quickly added to correct his insensitivity and assured us he would never call anorexia patients abnormal.

A Tory councillor decided to make an -oh-so-funny joke about promoting gay rights and help for domestic violence victims: The "scream team will be conversing with the queen team". No. Just No. Seriously.

Supervisor Eugene Delagaudio, In Virginia’s Loudon county, responded to a proposal by Supervisor Stephen Miller to include GBLT people in the government’s non-discrimination policy with a 20 minute homophobic and transphobic screed including referring to trans people as “it” and referring to GBLT people as “bizarre,” “freaky,” and “fruity.” He later apologised for the “it.” (Seriously - these partial apologies? Really pointless. Really.)

Peter La Barbera, always known for his incredible hatefulness about homosexuals is lashing out at “so-called-Christrians” who aren’t all gung ho about killing homosexuals. I wonder sometimes if anyone listens to this guy - then i realise people do and I get rather depressed.

Sometimes I underestimate the level of hate out there - but the reminders keep coming. IStill - better to remember and fight than forget and let the hate go unnoticed
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I wasn’t going to comment on this in general because I’m very much an outsider but seeing it storm up and down the net there is one refrain that just bugs me so much watching American politics:

“NOOOOO the health care bill and all future legislation is doooooooooooooom!!”

Yes, you expect some gloom and doom... but why are the Democrats so damn WET? They’ve had a super majority for a year now but they always seem to be wrestling with the Republicans. Why? You think the Republicans would be compromising and meeting you half way if it were the other way around? I just really don’t get this and I’m curious how things work in the US that this has happened?

George W Bush didn’t have a supermajority - yet still managed some to push through some of the worst hair-whitening legislation you could have the displeasure to see defiling paper. The Dems certainly stopped some of the vileness, but they let a lot of unpleasantness pass. So why, even with the majority, did the Dems seem to struggle and fight?

I once assumed that American politics just had more of a culture of bipartisanship than UK politic. It seems committees et al regularly contain members from both parties even when one is solidly in power (would never happen over here. You win an election decisively? You do things your war). But, if there is a culture of reaching across the aisle, well, maybe someone should tell the Republicans? Because they don’t seem to realise. And I don’t think a system based on compromise and meeting each other in the middle when one side isn’t shifting an inch.

I’ve heard the republicans declared to be the party of “no.” And it’s a great summation. But when did the Democrats become the party of whining, cowering in the corner and folding?

What did I miss? What am I missing?

And, for the record, my outsider’s view on why it was lost (because I have to stick my oar in I just do)

Read more... )
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I’m surer we’ve all seen Pat Robertson’s truly vile comments about the tragic Haiti disaster by now.

Let’s add to that by a wonderful faith group that’s going to send aid to Haiti. And by aid, they mean Bibles. Yes, Bibles. Solar powered talking Bibles, in fact.

And you have to boggle. I mean, what kind of twisted, callous sod do you have to be to look at the suffering and horror of Haiti and decide that this is a GREAT time to promote your agenda? How can you see the bodies and hear the cries and instantly turn round and think about yourself and your goals? There’s something seriously twisted about that. All I can say is, when your devotion to deity outweighs your respect for other people a reality check is needed - seriously.

And while we’re handing out reality checks, can we throw any other to the people at Trijicon, supplier of high powered rifle sites to US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who thought it would be a good idea to inscribe coded Bible verses on these weapons. Because, y’know, Christian verses on “Jesus rifles” used to, predominantly, shoot at Muslims is REALLY a good idea. REALLY. *headdesk*

(And when did the Americans steal Martin Bashir, damn it?)

Reality check time. Because there's a limit to how much religion justifies blithering stupidity
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An apology is a relatively simple thing. And it's also a relatively short thing

I find, with an apology, the shorter the better.

"I'm sorry I did that, it was wrong and unthinkable of me. I will do my level best never to repeat that action and I sincerely regret hurting the people I hurt and offer them my deepest and most sincere apology for it."

Done. Simple.

The longer we make an apology the worse it gets - the more we start to deflect, draw (often inaccurate) comparisons and try to excuse, defend or justify ourselves. And once that starts, we may as well have not bothered in the first place. Because that's a good sign that the apology is not about trying to make amends, it's about getting our feet out of the fire.

So we come to the apology made by the editors responsible for this

Now I was all about to tear into this apology but Waymonhudson at Pam's House Blend already did a rather sterling job

But let me add some of my own comments:

Bringing up Harry Reid's gaffe is problematic - not just because it deflects attention and tries to make us all look over there and not just because it spreads blame (the "everyone is doing it" excuse or justification) but because it shows a terrifying lack of perspective. To compare Senator Reid's comments to this cartoon that advocated the most brutal violence shows a blindness that is horrifying

Then the idea that they're reminding us that such viewpoints exist. What? By ADDING to them? This wasn't a highlighting of hate - it was ADDING to hate, it was joining in the chorus

And that brings me to another major problem with this apology. The excuses and "explanations" are, well, of dubious credibility. They're so beyond ridiculous that I'm having real trouble believing them. Which is a problem in an apology - if you're lying, along with the deflection, distraction and blame dodging ("holes in the editing process?" Come on.), then you're not sincerely apologising, you're arse covering.

And if you're arse covering rather than sincerely apologising, that means you don't realise what you've done is really wrong, you just want it to shut up and go away. It means they don't realise how damaging and how severe what they did was. It makes the apology not just pretty worthless - but also an indication of the mindset behind it almost as much as the comic itself.
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There are many laws out there that asset that GBLT people are less than a full person. Some of them are obvious and repellent like the laws criminalising homosexuality in many nations, including horrendous penalties like life imprisonment and execution or criminalising trans people or refusing to acknowledge them or treating them as mentally ill.. Some of them are much milder but still pernicious - denying GBLT people full rights and positions, creating lesser rights and lower status for gay and trans people.

We can see the obvious damage these laws do. We can see the lives ended in executions and life imprisonment. We can see the GBLT people locked away. We can see the rights denied and the consequences of those rights being stripped away. We can see lives ruined and people forced into hiding. We can see the harm not having those rights can have. We can see the harm caused by GBLT people fleeing official persecution, hiding from the authorities that would ruin their lives. It’s obvious, it’s blatant and it’s disgusting.

But it is not the whole story. The legal and “official” effects, even at their most abhorrent and damaging, do not come close to covering the full damage these laws impose.

I’ve spoken before and again and again and again about the damage that the message of homophobia and transphobia can give - about how hatred happens because we tolerate and encourage it. Box Turtle Bulletin also has a great post on the damage the message of hate from Evangelicals causes (personally I’m less inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. The “Love the sinner hate the sin” crap is an attempt to try and make their hate seem palatable, not in any way sincere). If homophobia and transphobia in the media, in preaching and in general hate speech adds to the climate of hatred in which our lives are devalued, how much more so does the message of hate coming from the government itself?

When the government and law of the land is enshrining homophobic execution is it any surprise that you get “vigilantes” attacking and hurting gay people?

On a less horrific but still awful note - when you endlessly present gay as being a bad thing worthy of any number of legal denials and discriminations, is it any wonder that the accusation of being gay is used as a weapon? Is it any wonder that people use both the fact and accusation of being gay as a slurs, and insult and one of the most destructive forms of sabotage you can use against someone's career - when it is used in political campaigns against actual gay people and rumoured gay people as some kind of way to discredit them?

And that’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Constantly using “gay” as a weapon - treating this as legitimate and effective (and it BEING effective) feeds more and more into the idea of gay being a negative thing - into people believing gay is negative and treating us like shit. This is what feeds the idea that we can be attacked with impunity - that it’s not just acceptable to attack us - but even laudable.

Whether it’s DC gaol guards beating a gay inmate, a man in Chicago being badly beaten or a man in Blackburn attacking gay teens, from gay bashings to gay murders it happens because of the endless, unrelenting message that our lives are not worthy. That being GBLT is a bad thing. That being GBLT is deserving of this treatment. This is why gay and trans people are victimised - because our culture encourages it, tolerates it and continually cheer leads for it. And one of the loudest, most powerful, most official voices behind this message is government and law itself.

Our very existence is considered shameful in so many ways. From bloggers who are unhappy that Martha Stewart dared to include a gay couple in her marriage mag, to Virgin mobile adverts with couples kissing in Canada - gay is unacceptable, straight is fine to the whole Adam Lambert double standard to David Letterman’s disgusting transphobic “joke” to a college newspaper treating the most serious kind of anti-gay violence as a JOKE - we’re told that we should hide. That we are unacceptable in public. That we’re dirty or shameful and belong in the closet

This is why even today it is a considerable act of courage for people to come out of the closet. That being open and public subjects you to utterly vile bigotry just for existing and doing a job well!

It is an act of heroism to dare to exist publicly. And how horrific is that?

This is the message sent by every homophobic slur and biased screed in the world. But it is reinforced, invigorated and made ever louder and stronger by every prejudiced law, every right denied, every piece of discrimination written into the law books and the constitutions and allowed to pass in the courts.

And worse, because of the hatred out there, at the highest level, so many of us don’t seek help. We fear to be outed when we report abuse. We fear to be shamed in the media or even lose our jobs if we complain. We fear the prejudiced police force won’t care or won’t help and the courts will be indifferent.

I don’t want to be a hero. I don’t want to be brave. I don’t want to rise above the odds. I really do wish there was no need to be an activist for GBLT issues. But until society stops treating us as less, merely existing and demanding basic humanity is activism. Until our governments recognise that we are citizens - people - too, we have to be. We don’t want much, but we still have to fight for it.
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Pat Robertson saw the horrendous earthquake in Haiti

And decided they asked for it for making a pact with the devil which also explains why they live in dire poverty.

To characterise any people's fight to free themselves from slavery and colonialism as a deal with the devil is beyond vile to begin with - but to do so in this context? While the dead aren't even bloody cold?

I don't know why I'm surprised by it. They did it during the Tsunami. They did it during Katrina. They did it for 9/11. These moral 'christian' leaders see a disaster and are already using the dead to push their agenda before the dust is settled and the dead are found - let alone buried.


The British Red Cross is running an Appeal

Other appeals where we can help:
Médecins sans frontières
International Red Cross/Crescent

Pat Robertson, you are a disgusting excuse for a human being. Stop spitting on these poor people's graves before they're even dug and stop twisting the knife of grief even deeper into the hearts of the suffering. I don't care what your dogma says or what your beliefs say - you need to learn some bloody common human decency
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You need to apologise for this crap

Do you know how hard it is for transpeople to get a job? Do you know how many transpeople live below the poverty line because of prejudice? Do you realise the courage and strength and dedication and hard work it took for Amanda Simpson to reach this level? Do you realise what an achievement this is in such a prejudiced world?

And worse, the format of the joke only makes it more sickening. The straight guy running in horror because “zomg this girl used to be a dude” gods do you know how awful that is? Aside from the ignorance of misgendering someone pre-transition, this runs smack bang into the trans panic defence.

Do you have ANY idea how many people attack trans people and use reactions like this oh-so-funny skit as an excuse for it? Do you have any idea how many times someone screaming “she used to be a dude!!!” is used as an ignorant preface or justification for violence and murder.

Trans people’s blood is spilled with those words. This joke makes light of a legacy of violence you cannot even begin to imagine, Mr. Letterman. That is not acceptable from anyone - and it’s doubly unacceptable to be presented as a mainstream, FUNNY reaction to a trainperson. You are legitimising hate with this. You are legitimising persecution with this. You are justifying the “trans panic” defence with this.

Thankfully several groups have already come out condemning this foolishness. We cannot be silent in the face of such representations. Silence is consent, silence tells people we’re ok with this. Silence tells us this kind of ‘comedy’ is acceptable. Silence ignores the pain and the violence behind such a representation.
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The New York Times has finally blinked and realised that Uganda has this little kill-gays bill being planned. It even blinked twice and realised *gasp* American religious conservatives are some of the primary instigators of this genocidal bill while those of us tracking Christian love towards homosexuals are less than surprised.

Of course those religious bigots are shocked - SHOCKED - that their innocent words be used to justify the massacre of homosexuals. They are stunned that it could ever come to this! WHO COULD POSSIBLY HAVE KNOWN?!

Who could have known that accusing gays of recruiting children could lead to this?

Who could have known that accusing gays of preying on teenagers could lead to this?

Who could have known that calling the gay rights movement an evil institution could lead to this?

As Box turtle bulletin very clearly states (and his reporting on the Ugandan bill has been by far and away the best I've found anywhere) this is beyond bullshit. They knew, they were warned and there was no way in hell that anyone with half a brain could not have seen the damage they were doing.

These men have blood on their hands and are morally guilty of the deaths that will come of this law. They are due nothing but disgust and revulsion - and if there were truly sorry or horrified by the pain and deaths they are causing they would travel to Uganda now and try to fix the evil they have caused.

But they have not - and until then the lies these evil men spout are worth nothing
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I have spoken before about how much the AIDS pandemic enrages me because I don't think there has been a global tragedy like this that has been so exacerbated by human ignorance and prejudice

How many bloody times does it have to be said?

AIDS can be spread through sharing bodily fluids. The most common methods are through the sharing of infected needles (which also goes on record as being as safe as sky diving onto concrete with a lead parachute ANYWAY) and unprotected sex. NOT just anal sex - vaginal sex as well. In fact, oral sex as well (albeit at a much lower risk).


But AIDS is trotted out over and over again as a reason to persecute homosexuals and homosexuals are blamed over and over

In Uganda, one of the main defences of their proposed kill-gays law is that it is needed to stop AIDS. Yet a look at the stats? shows us that there are more WOMEN with AIDS in Uganda than men

In Malawi where brital anti-gay laws exist, where a gay couple are facing 14 years in prison and to prove it they may be forced to undergo medical examination to try and prove they've had sex. And what do we see in the article? A reference to AIDS - because, y'know, AIDS totally justifies persecuting gay people. NEver mind that again we see the vast majority of infections are caused by heterosexual sex, and more women with HIV than men again, gay men are not the prime cause of this disease's spread in Malawi.

I've even seen it in the West - when confronted by the spiralling HIV infection rates among black women in the US, what do we hear? "Oh, it's closeted black men having gay sex on the down low." Women being infected by HIV? Gotta be the gays! Where there's AIDS it HAS to be a homo's fault, right? Oh the same commentors will cover it in sugar and say that it's homophobia that forces these men to go on the down-low, they will acknowlege the evil of the closet and repression

Let's hammer this through 50% of people with HIV in the world are women. You cannot reasonably claim that this is due to gay men - you cannot sensibly or even remotely logicly claim that this huge infection rate is due to gay men!

Worldwide men who have sex with men are estimated to lead to 5-10% of HIV infectionms 5-10%. That means 90-95% of HIV infections have NOTHING TO DO WITH GAY SEX!

We need to wake up. Not just for the sake of homosexuals who are constantly scapegoated and attacked under this ridiculous excuse for hateful persecution - but because more and more ignorant heterosexuals will continue to do bloody stupid, suicidal things because they think that AIDS will never be their problem, because they think that AIDS is a gay disease.

This ignorance has to stop. This hatred has to stop. It's not just us gays who suffer from this bigoted assumptions - straights are killing their own with this one.


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