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 The horrible freak who keeps leaving nasty notes and, possibly, scratching my car had an escalation today.


Beloved came in from poking the mud in the garden with a little cardboard box. Once opened it contained little round crackers.


Which is a little bemusing. Someone is leaving random wafers in our garden? It’s not like we’re going to eat something left in the garden anyway – who knows what someone’s done to it (even beloved wouldn’t eat that). Maybe someone dropped it on the way home from somewhere? But the box had no brand name or anything and I didn’t even recognise them – nor did Beloved and he’s very experienced with biscuits. Though not these nasty looking crackers.


Nagging away at me I kept poking them – they’re plain, they’re white, they have an X carved into the middle…






Never having been to any religious service involving communion it took us a while to recognise that it was a box of the freaking host. Yes, communion wafers, at least I think so. 4 little communion wafers in a box.


Beloved went outside and searched diligently but didn’t find anyway wine. We both agree that if you’re going to use holy communion supplies as a passive aggressive holy bomb on someone’s door step, you shouldn’t stint on the wine. You also shouldn’t pay less than £15 a bottle because that would be disrespectful to your lord and saviour, I’m sure. We might place a note with our order next time the decide to leave random holy edibles about.


The wafers are on the bird table now. They ended up there after I pointed out I wasn’t hovering up the crumbs from F and Beloved’s Holy Hand Grenade fight. This possibly means we now have holy sparrows,  blessed starlings and divine blackbirds.


While faintly amusing I have to say it’s still a level of disturbing – and not just in the way that the notes are, frankly I’m getting kind of inured to the notes, the religious tracts etc. It’s so dull. But holy communion paraphernalia? Isn’t that a little… out there? I have to give it points for originality I suppose. but what does this person expect to happen? Us pick one up and suddenly scream "aaaaaaargh the holiness is burning the gay out of me!". It took us the best part of an hour to figure out what they were.



Where do you even get these things anyway? It’s not like Tesco sells them. I kind of always assumed there was, I don’t know, a central catholic warehouse that shipped out communion stuff every month.

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I was extremely wary about picking up this book. I have yet to read a discrimiflip novel that worked and didn’t end up being really appropriative and offensive. I find it doubtful they can work due to the inherent nature of making minorities the evil perpetrators of the very crimes committed against them. Still, I’m told it is possible, people assured me it was possible, so I picked up this book when it was released to see if it actually managed it.
So we have the story of Chris. A straight boy living in a world where, it seems, just about everyone is gay. Being straight is considered sick and wrong, condemned by both the church and the state (which are closely entwined). He tries to navigate this discrimination, as the son of a minister, and try to find freedom with the woman he loves.
And no, this discrimiflip did not manage it. Not even close. In fact, I’m sorely tempted to put a trigger warning for homophobia simply for having to discuss the contents of this book.
The author has appropriated every aspect of homophobic oppression imaginable. We have child bullying, we have demeaning dehumanisation from the pulpit, we have a horrific description of conversion therapy, we have chemical castration; we even have concentration camps, actual concentration camps.
All of these are extreme examples of oppression that have constantly been used to persecute and destroy gay people and they’re all used in this book – often graphically – but flipped. The victims of this torture and even this genocide are now made the villains. Those who inflicted them are now the victims. It is unbelievably offensive and enraging to see these despicable crimes that were – and continue to be – inflicted on gay people depicted with gay people as the perpetrators and straight people as the innocent victims. Even some of the basic language of anti-gay oppression have been callously appropriated by this straight author: we even have straight people being called “queer”. The book's even called "Out"! There really is no limits to the appropriation in this book and the extent to which gay people are presented as inflicting exactly the same cruel persecutions that, in reality, gay people have endured and died from.
To take the history of gay persecution, to take all of these horrendous things that have been used to victimise gay people and then mangle them to make gay people the villains makes me choke with rage. I have no words to describe how offensive this is. I had to stop reading several times because the book was so painfully offensive to read I couldn't keep going
The actual depiction of someone living with a closeted sexuality is also ridiculously shallow, especially for a young person. Chris finds out he likes a girl (note: A girl. Not girls. Just the one twu luv that follows the endlessly dull love at first sight meme that I’d complain more about if it weren’t such a tiny problem compared to the gross offensiveness of this book), it’s a shocking discovery. Within the hour he seeks out his friend to tell her. No, really.
In this society where being straight is illegal and demonised universally from birth, he couldn’t even keep it a secret for an hour. In fact, he goes home and his sister – in this ultra gay-normative society – already knows he’s straight! She even has some subversive literature for him! Yes, within a day of realising he’s straight, he already has a support net in this overwhelmingly gay world where heterosexuality is constantly demonised from the highest echelons of government. As an extra bonus, he meets Carmen, his love interest and she tells him she is straight in their first ever conversation, in a public café no less. They’re complete strangers, straight people are tortured and killed with the full blessing of the theocratic government but she’s going to spill her secret. I boggle how it can even be called a secret if 5 minutes acquaintance are sufficient for the big reveal.

To go with all these suddenly revealed straight people (including his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, his sister’s friends – seriously there seems to be more named straight people than gay people in this gay majority world!) Chris deals very quickly with any elements of self-loathing, low self-esteem etc he has from spending his entire life being told he’s diseased, wrong, mentally ill, a plague on society, bringing about the end of civilisation, hated by god and going to hell. Within the first three days we seem to be totally past such questioning and the focus quickly changes to the terrible forces that are keeping him and his beloved apart and the utter cruelty of living without her. There is a brief attempt to have him doubt himself in the very beginning but it takes less than a week for it to fade as a distant memory and him to be sure that the persecution of straight people is wrong. He's actually openly challenging and arguing against persecution of straight people on his first day realising he's straight- and it's used as an excuse to clumsily shoe-horn in many of the arguments the gay rights movement uses in the real world (and I have to say how unpleasant it is to see straight people taking our words and arguments for our survival and putting them in the mouth of a straight boy being attack by the evil evil gay folk).
In fact, it seems far more like a star-crossed lover’s story with extra offensive appropriation than an attempt to build any understanding of what it’s like to be gay in a straight society. If Carmen and Chris had been from foreign countries that were at war, or if she were a princess and he were a peasant, the story wouldn’t be vastly different – only the attacks and dehumanisation they faced would be a lot less offensive.
I find it unbelievable that this was even remotely supposed to try and convey any idea of what the closet is like. And it goes with the general sloppy and shallow way this book has built its "heterophobic" society. (The book's also sloppy in its convoluted info-dumps, but it pales next to the appropriation)
For a start, even in the pulpit the evil gay persecutors call themselves Parallels. Why? If you look at the homophobes in our world they don’t need to refer to themselves as heterosexual – in a world and a belief system where the minority sexuality is overwhelming defined as wrong, sick and deviant, you don’t use a word for “normal” people. They’re “normal.” Or there’s the fact that they refer to Romeo and Juliette. In a world of gay normality and straight suppression, why would this play even have been written, let alone be permitted reading in such a repressive anti-gay society? Especially for 17 year olds? In our world getting "Heather has Two Mommies" on the shelves requires actually going to war - let alone actual school-taught classics! In a world were gay marriage and relationships are the only ones allowed, why would “Mrs.” exist as a reference for married women?
But what about the gay people in the book which is supposed to be empowering? Well, firstly, there’s not actually that many for a society that’s supposed to be overwhelmingly gay, there seem to be a lot more straight characters unless you count faceless antagonists. And they’re unpleasant – whether it’s cowardly and weak like Warren and Andi, or outright evil like David and, well, just about everyone else. Gay people in this book are evil or pathetic, pretty much universally except for faceless and nameless possible supporters (who may or may not be more hidden straight folk).

And not just evil in the persecution of the poor straight folks suffering under the oppressive might of the terrible gay government – but to each other and especially their children as well: this gay society itself seems to be toxic
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So commentary on the Elmo scandal seems to give me 2 choices:

1) Gay men are wicked sex predators with a "tradition" and "culture" of preying on boys and older gay men abusing and exploiting young men and boys is the norm.


 2) Evil gay boys who post pictures of themselves and ZOMG look at them! They are just after his money, they weren't abused they so wanted it etc etc victim blame victim blame. Bonus points if the same person playing this game

Y'know what? There is a thing about gay men being falsely accused of sexual abuse. It happens when hate groups are playing the "won't someone think of the children" game. It happens when fools and bigots decide that one abuser means we're all abusers (see point one). And it happens when violent straight arseholes raise the "gay panic" defence to try and justify how they attacked, beat and murdered us. Those are the contexts where the oh-so-common false accusations happen.

Young men - who are gay themselves -  coming forward saying they were abused and exploited while under age or borderline? That is not the context.

I'm really done with both of these. I'm sick of the presentation of all gay men as sex predators. Sick of the idea that we're dangerous and that one arsehole's evil actions are somehow representative of all of us

 And I'm sick of the idea that gay men and gay boys are unrapeable and always want sex, always consent, cannot be abused or exploited and are generally "asking for it." I'm sick of these sentiments coming from people who would scream bloody murder - and rightly so - if anyone engaged in such vile victim blaming in another context.

No, we're not all sex predators. Yes, we can be abused and we can be raped. How damn hard is this to understand? And then people wonder why I only talk about abuse and rape among groups that consist of only gay men.

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Friday evening I had to pick Beloved up (his car is dead, again. I honestly have no idea what he does to his car – beats the engine with hammers I think) where he had decamped to a pub (Beloved doesn’t do waiting – which inevitably means if he’s ever waiting for you he will go do something or go to a pub and then you end up waiting for him). If there’s one thing I dislike more than straight pubs, it’s being in a straight pub when I’m driving so can’t drink. And if there’s one thing I hate more than that it’s being in a crowded straight pub when I’m driving so can’t drink.

 So I was sat there, drinking something caffeinated and dropping not-so-subtle hints that Beloved and his friend J need to finish their drinks so we can leave when one of the loud and not entirely sober group of older men next to us makes a comment about a paedophile who has been in the news lately – his comment including several anti-gay slurs, accompanied with general nodding. The group of not-entirely-sober younger men not far away agreed rather loudly and made many disparaging comments – about gay men not paedophiles (thank you homophobic media for constantly conflating the two).

Then group number three made jokes and more jokes and jokes tinged with violence and then…. Jokes which weren’t even jokes at all but were rather menacing.

 It’s at this point Beloved and I decide we did not want to be there. It was also at this point that J decided she wanted to speak up.

 There followed a brief whispered argument in which we said if we wanted to commit suicide we’d make the choice ourselves, thanks; and we didn’t appreciate her nominating us for Gay Martyr to Hate Crime #7889675764746 and #7889675764747. Counter of needing to speak, to reject this crap while we pointed out we also would like to remain in once piece and I already have enough scars and a trick knee, I don’t really need to add to the collection – and if a pub full of violent homophobes realised we were gay, we were the ones spending the nights in the hospital. And we left, refusing to argue any more, leaving her the choice of speaking up without us in the room, following us, or arguing with our rapidly retreating backs. She followed.


But the car journey that followed was less than pleasant and contained an awful lot of me counting to 10.  But she was in full on lecture mode about the need for visibility, how these opinions need challenging, how gay people should be able to go anywhere and feel safe yadda yadda yadda “I totally need to yell 101 stuff at gay guys who won’t play grand heroic martyr for me” with a side order of how brave X Y Z gay person was who stood up loud and proud at the Westboro Baptist church flamethrower and bible verse convention. And a firm belief that everyone was just talking shit and would totally have backed down if they’d been called on it., they were egging each other on and a reality check would have probably embarrassed them.


I dumped her on the pavement outside her house in ringing silence after Beloved (for once – and thankfully because I don’t like telling his friends when they’re being arseholes) was the one to snap and adamantly refuse to listen to another damn word and turn the radio up high when she tried to continue.

 Needless to say this lead to a rather shitty feeling Saturday. Between logic and guilt – and always that sense that, yes there are some fantastically brave, heroic people out there past and present who have rose above far worse than this; but it’s not failure not to be a damn superhero. There’s no shame in trying to be safe and you don’t make a safe space by spilling lots of blood somewhere until it mystically becomes safe and, even if it does feel shaming or like failure or cowardice, sometimes you have to run. The first rule of any overwhelmed force is picking your battles. I’ve been beaten before, and burned and had bones broken – it doesn’t solve anything. There’s not a mystical amount of pain we can suffer that will suddenly make things better, a number of hospital hours you can clock up to gain an achievement.

 And the police? I can see it now – I’ve seen it before - “your mouthy friend was giving them attitude and they retaliated let’s file it in the big section entitled ‘no-one gives a fuck’”. It’s not like they particularly give a fuck about anti-GBLT violence anyway – especially not when someone gives them a gold plated “they were asking for it” excuse (an excuse that applies to anything from “brushed past him in a crowd” to “held eye contact too long” to “look at what he was wearing!”)

 Shouldn’t be that way? Yeah – “shoulds” are all very well and good, but “is” is what we live with.

 The weekend has been brought to you by lots of booze, lots of cake and lots of angry baking and curtains that haven’t been opened for several days, because sometimes the world needs to stay out there.



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It seems a new site has been started called Stop the GR Bullies, aimed at book reviewers at Goodreads. It seems to be author driven in response to the many many trainwrecks we have see all too often; you know the kind, an author sees a less-than-shining review and unwisely decides to responds - frequently leading to cringeworthy temper tantrums and shocking behaviour.

There is a lesson these authors seem to be sorely missing. They are producing a product and they are producing a work of art. The first means that people will review and critique the product they bought (as is their right), the second means that, given the subjective nature of artwork, some people will not like it - in fact some will loathe it and they will say so. They will never please everyone all of the time and it is no-one’s duty to lavish praise when it is not deserves. The book is not their baby, it is not something precious and special that needs to be treated gently - it is a product that is being sold and, like any other product we buy, if it’s awful - be that new furniture or a takeaway pizza - then we will say so, quite possibly in intemperate and scathing terms. Books are not a special category that makes them somehow untouchable.

That is not bullying. This is critiquing. This is reviewing. This has been going on not just with artwork, but with every and all products since the beginning of time. It is actually insulting and offensive to call this bullying, especially at a time when we are seeing so much more attention to the growing bullying rates among schools and the horrendous rate of teen suicide it causes. To try and invoke this imagery because people are criticising your book? No, really, that’s not on.

On to the drama reports - which is one of the things they’ve accused Cuddlebuggery of. Now, I actually read Cuddlebuggery, partly because it’s amusing, partly to keep my eye out for decent books and, yes, partly because I want to have a heads up if an author is going to explode into chunks of messy outrage should I review one of their books and find it less than utterly perfect. And, yes, I will be avoiding that author, why would I seek them out? And I will say that, yes, they’re snarky, yes they can be (justly) harsh but they are never anything but honest - and every single one of those drama posts they’ve written have been a direct, honest report of actual poor author behaviour (which is considerably more honest than the highly skewed and dubious accounts Stop the GR Bullies has written, to be honest) and they include links back for you to see the authors in all their failing glory.

You are not being bullied if someone honestly reports your actions. If you show your arse to the world and people point out that your butt cheeks are on display, it’s not their fault that everyone is commenting on it, criticising it and disapprove of your arse bare to the winds. You are facing the consequences of your actions and your utter lack of professionalism; not being bullied.

Also, let us add that you’re not being “driven off goodreads” by these mean critics. If someone criticises your book, even harshly, that is not driving you off. If you respond to a negative review (which is already foolish) and people continue to criticise and, yes, even mock, that is not driving you off. If your dubious, unprofessional and unacceptable behaviour is reported and people mock you for it, that is not driving you off. If you leave in these conditions you are not being driven off - you are flouncing.

But, you know what? Even if these reviewers were tearing up your precious, even if they said some truly hurtful, mean and even personal things. Even then this site would still be beyond the pale. At Stop the Goodread Bulllies, they go to extreme lengths to attack their critics. I actually would run out of space trying to list their terrible behaviour - and I am in two minds of linking to their site because of what they’ve written there:

They post the real name (and if they don’t have it, they keep looking), home city and, if they can find one, photograph (again, if they can’t find one, they keep looking) of the people they’re attacking. This is already frightening and, frankly, dangerous; but they then compound that by listing their place of work, they even go so far as to list the bars and cafes they visit, the walks they take - and their schedule.

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Ok this is complex. But in the not too distant past, Disapproving Homophobic Aunt (one of the many members of Disapproving Homophobic Family) had and *ahem* moment with the law. And, like anyone in my family with legal issues, she called me and I done Sorted it Out for Her, Discreetly. And even implied to inquiring family that it was providing a valuable and generous service to one of the various self-involved alleged-charities she likes to flutter around.

I wish she hadn’t, she certainly has money enough to hire a lawyer rather than expect familial freebies. I’m particularly annoyed because I am not going near that branch of the family because they are homophobic arseholes who treat me like shit – but come crawling when they want something. I’m also annoyed with myself for not telling her to take a long walk off a short pier. Damn overdeveloped sense of family duty.

I also think that, sometimes, you need a lawyer that you aren’t related to – and there’s some secrets that your kin really does not want to know. Really does not want to know. Really really really.

Anyway, that was then.

Since then it has become apparent that said Aunt (who, as you may recall, I want nothing to do with) has, for whatever reason, decided that the gap between me and vast amounts of our very close family is too wide and I need to “return to the family fold” (perhaps she’s been reminded how useful having a lawyer in the family is. Maybe it’s some kind of misguided sense of gratitude, who knows?). This involves lots of people who I have taken pains to remove from my life now going out of their way to insert themselves back into it and drag me back into theirs.

Buuuuut none of them have actually changed. Including her! It’s all “oh we drifted apart, tut tut how unfortunate; let us rebuild these bridges, come back” without acknowledging why that gap is there and, more importantly , continuing to be the same homophobes they always have been. So it’s treating me like I’m single, talking about future female partners, disrespecting my relationship, ignoring/shunning Beloved and more exhortations to “sort yourself out” in various passive aggressive ways. That seems to be the phrase of the day “oh X is visiting, you’ll like her, if you can sort yourself out” or “you’d fit right in there, if you could sort yourself out” and “it’s great to know B, so long as you sort yourself out.” Of course no-one (well, except for about 4 or 5 of them) is going to overtly say what “sort yourself out” actually MEAAAANS but the context screams (and he does as well).

So everyone wants me back in the family at the urgings of influential and misguided aunt (who is still a homophobe) but the reasons why I’m not IN the family are still there. And, worse, members of the family who I find tolerable are all urging me to go for this because they have “extended the olive branch” (since when?) or are “trying” (very trying indeed), or they want to “rebuild bridges” (and if I’m happy with them in ruins?) or even “look they’ve forgiven you” (excuse me?). The main one is “look they’ve made the first move” which is apparently some vast concession on their part – which means I’m supposed to make an equal concession. I.e. be dragged into all these family circles again and ignore all their damn homophobia. “Do I have to make an issue of it, they did make the first move?” “Just let it go, they did make the first move.” “Yes it’s annoying, but they made the first move to bring you back.” With lots of bonus exhortations to “meet them halfway” (whatever that means) and “you could at least make the effort” and similar tones.

Which means I’m now on the path for lots of nuisance with kin I thought I’d finally rid myself of with an extra side-bonus of opening rifts with yet more family because I refuse to let the homophobes beat me with their olive branch.

I need more booze.
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It seems that, yesterday, someone (I’m assuming annoying, homophobic note-leaving freak who is sorely in need of a hobby) left a paper-back Bible by our front doorstep.

Unfortunately, yesterday and this morning we were busy with things other than checking if this fool had left more nonsense on our door.

It has rained a lot since then. It has been windy. It is also possible paper shredding cats have had fun. So now the front of our house is liberally decorated with mushed up soggy paper, with the odd legible Bible verse.

I am not pleased by the extremely-religious-soggy-confetti look. And it’s frankly miserable to clear up all this wet, muddy gloopy gunk and we’re probably going to be fining scraps for weeks.

If you’re going to leave your passive-aggressive little holy book on my doorstep at least spring for a water-proof cover, damn it.
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There. Are. No. Women. Here. No Wives. No women.

I'm almost getting used to these snide little notes and religious pamphlets, they're all going into a nice little box, dated, but it's amazing what you can get used to if it gets repeated. CCTV hasn't done much because outside out house is a path tha's technically ours but is a short cut for half the street, charity bag deliverers, postmen, flier deliveries etc and since we've never made a thing about keeping people off our path (it's not a right of way but, really, it's no skin off our nose whether people use it or not and it is a pretty huge short cut) but it means finding who posts these notes, sticks them on the door, on cars, etc annoying.

Someone has keyed my new car though - could be a passing accident but hmmmmmm. Not Impressed.

But what bewilders me about these notes is the number of "think of your wives" "do these women deserve this?" "You are betraying these women" etc etc yada yada

What wives? The other hateful foolishness I get - but what's all this lamenting over fictional women?

I suppose expecting sense from this person is a bit ridiculous in and of itself

The Cost

May. 9th, 2012 11:27 am
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When I first saw this video on Monday it took me several tries to watch it through - and it/I wasn't pretty by the time it finished. On Tuesday I tweeted it but couldn't really do much more. I still don't really have words for this, the horror of it, the pain of it.

I did email it to my parents though, under the subject "Don't".
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Often in the writing blogosphere we see various forms of Blog Hops and blog tours and similar promotions to draw attention to authors, their books and let readers connect with authors who may interest them.

One upcoming blog hop is Hop against Homophobia

This is a blog hop of authors of the M/M genre. It allows writers in the m/m genre to gain attention to their M/M books and offer M/M prizes. The site itself explains its purpose:

the purpose is to get readers to a) see your name b) see your books and c) have the option to follow your blog to get to know you as an author and to be kept up to date about your future work.

And to start it off they’re going to set things rolling on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

So, what is The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia? Well, it’s pretty much exactly what it says. It is a day where we fight against the damage these bigotries do. It is a day when we look at the damage these bigotries do.

And let us never underestimate the power of this bigotry. There are still a horrendous number of countries out there where being GBLT is a crime. In some of them you will be tortured or executed. Others will imprison you for years and, of course, should you serve your sentence you face being returned to prison since, of course, people don’t stop being GBLT.

People are killed for being GBLT. People lose their jobs for being GBLT (often without any recourse in law). People lose their homes for being GBLT. People are denied any legal partnership rights for being GBLT, people are denied medical care for being GBLT, people are vilified and attacked and destroyed for being GBLT. People turn to drugs and alcohol because of anti-GBLT bigotry and countless GBLT people are driven to suicide every year by anti-GBLT bigotry.

In short, homophobia and transphobia are devastating forces out there and any campaign to battle them (Including this day) is vital and precious and very very important (though we can have debates about the effectiveness of individual days, that is a different discussion).

And these authors have decided to use this day to shill their books. They’re using this day about bigotry against GBLT people for marketing. Worse, not only are they appropriating this day for marketing, the actual purpose of the day they are using does not even remotely have to be involved

From the site itself:
- Talk about the International Day Against Homophobia in your May 17th blog entry (as little as just a mention – your choice).
--- Add the colorful Hop Against Homophobia image to your blog/website with a link to the official hop site:

There, you don’t have to actually do anything about homophobia or transphobia or talk about the day or what it actually aims for – don’t let silly things like that put you off. Don’t let the actual purpose of the day get in the way of your marketing. No, so long as you mention the name (all the better to appropriate it properly) and then you’ll get a giant anti-homophobia rainbow banner as well! Sure you don’t actually have to do anything about homophobia or transphobia, but you get the banner. I wonder if it comes with cookies?

Let me repeat this so we can be abundantly clear – no part of this blog hop requires acting or speaking against homophobia or transphobia, nor does it require being a GBLT member or ally (and no, being part of the M/M genre is not synonymous with allydom. Using us does not make you an ally, writing these books does not grant automatic status as a supporter - far from it). It is not about GBLT rights –it is about advertising, marketing and giving away free M/M stuff to attract more readers and followers

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I am getting sick of this

So we have some very well publicised gross bigotry fails and their little apology PR stunts. And it just keeps on coming

New post on the blog click click
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In relation to the last post it seems that while, indeed the big card designers don’t give a damn about GBLT people there is one card designer that is after the gay market

With… this.

Yeah, y’know nothing says romance like an anti-gay slur. And such a “witty” play on words. “Hey, let us celebrate our love with a witty little word game about the bigoted things people say about us while discussing hurting and killing us. Awww, how sweet.” And it’s not like this same word game hasn’t already been done a thousand times

Forgive me if I don’t rush out to buy this to send to Beloved. He’d probably book me in for more therapy sessions

Oh yes, and it was designed by a heterosexual.

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Sometimes I think I’m innured to homophobia, I expect it, I’m used to it and when I read of it – well I have read of and seen it at its worst, I can no longer be shocked… and then…

Then we have the case of David Kato. He was a gay Ugandan man and an incredibly brave and dedicated advocate and activist for gay rights in a nation that won’t even grant GBLT people the right to live freely.

And he has been murdered. Beaten to death

Beaten death after he had to sue a newspaper, the Rolling Stone, for outing him and many other gays with captions like “hang them” attached

The paper printed an article outing him and calling for his death and now he has been murdered. The paper has no regrets

Already horrific beyond words and it’s amazing that the hatred can go further. But it can. The pastor at his funeral launched an anti-gay tirade at his funeral while he was being mourned, while those who loved him tried to bury him.

The villagers then refused to bury him. His friends, largely gay, had to take up the coffin so his funeral could be completed

I have no words for this. It’s evil,. It’s sick and it’s beyond enraging.

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Today is World AIDS day. Now normally I don’t have much truck with special days for various reasons (which I will get into another time), but like in many things I am driven to talk about this because of anger.

To me, AIDS is very much a thing of anger. It’s a thing to be utterly enraged about beyond all reason.
AIDS is a story of human failing. It’s a story of human prejudice and bigotry and callousness and ignorance and dogma and cruelty. It is a story of how humanity failed.
When AIDS first arrived it appeared in marginalised areas. It spread in Africa which has never managed to hold the west’s attention for any great lengthy of time, it was written off as one trouble among many troubles, not worth any special attention.
And in the west it arose among drug users and gay men. People who, let’s be brutally frank, the powers that be were merrily happy were dying in droves.

And as the infections spread and the death count mounted the powers that be didn’t care. Because they didn’t care about who was dying. Because they were happy they were dying. Because it was something to celebrate, because it was a social cleansing. Because it made the world better that these people were dying. And the ignorance and the fear and the loss continued and the powers that be, in their prejudice – didn’t care.

And, of course, it raged beyond what anyone could have imagined. Encouraged by ignorance, unrestrained by any kind of real intervention, suddenly we had an epidemic, a pandemic, an oh-shit-what-is-this-emic.

But it was too late. We’ve let bigotry and ignorance reign for too long. Now any attempt to combat AIDS was seen as a “gay issue” and was fought by the usual suspects – people who found hatred and prejudice more important than saving lives or stopping an ever increasing plague. It is clear we’re still very stuck on the idea of AIDS as a gay disease. Various blood banks around the world still refuse blood from gay men – regardless of their circumstances, because gay = AIDS while straight = safe. We still have such luminaries as the head of the Catholic church in Belgium calling AIDS “justice”.

The rhetoric of AIDS = gay is so ingrained in our discourse that it’s impossible to see a straight person with AIDS without looking for a gay man to blame – even when we talk about souring HIV infection rates among black women we’re looking for a gay man who is causing this! Because it’s easier to believe that isn’t it? Easier to blame someone, easier to pretend you’re safe because you’re straight, easier to make it a gay issue and part of the “special rights” easier to shuffle it under the rug

Of course, fighting HIV/AIDS in the gay community is repeatedly hampered by the undying homophobia that is still happening – so long as people feel the need to hide, so long as people feel the need to lead double lives, so long as people are afraid to go to clinics or to doctors for fear of being outed or for fear of people learning, so long as people are driven into the shadows and the corners of the world and so long as people are repeatedly told that their lives have no value, can there ever be any cure?

And around the rest of the world, dogma and ignorance and cruelty still rules. The Catholic church has the blood of untold millions on their hands for their stance on condoms – a stance they are only now, grudgingly, weakly stepping away from (now becoming the poster child for “too little too late”). Again, ignorance and prejudice abounds, in countries with genocidal policies where being gay carries a prison sentence or worse, you inevitably end up with an under-society that is ideal for spreading disease, with no support or education or help. Scam artists are marketing everything from vitamin C as a cure for AIDS, to sex with a virgin (gods there are still no words for how awful that is). The plague has reached such proportions and such panic that there is even actual denial of the causes and realities of it, doubts that it’s linked to HIV, the peddling of fake cures, anything to stick the head in the sand a little longer and pretend this isn’t happening.

How much of this would have been dispelled if, when the disease first became apparent, there had been a very real effort to examine and educate it? How much of this ignorance and foolishness would have lasted if our prejudice and arrogance hadn’t caused us to ignore it?

Just what kind of golden opportunity did we shit all over in the past?

And further, people living with HIV/AIDS have to deal with the fallout – not just of health, but of attitude.

It enrages me that still today HIV/AIDS is seen more as a failing than as a disease. It enrages me that the language of talking about HIV/AIDS is still the language of blame and stigma. It makes me wonder that if the disease in the west have broke out among a privileged group – or, let’s be frank, if it had been straight western people who were seen dying in such numbers – we would be saddled with this language of blame and shame and shunning?

People living with HIV/AIDS are treated like modern day lepers, despite their having every chance of lead long, fulfilled and wonderful lives. The stigma has lead to treating them like walking bombs, weapons just waiting to go off, a threat to everyone around them

I can’t talk about HIV/AIDS in anything like a calm, rational manner, it is just a subject of so much rage. It is one of the grandest stories we have of human failure in the world today

sparkindarkness: (STD)

I can’t watch most “It Gets Better” videos because they put me in a bad bad place. But I like them, I like that they exist – ye gods I love that they exist. Mainly, beyond any kind of logic or thought, I like them because I think back the to 10, 14, 16… gods any age before 18-year old me and know how much this would have meant to me. Just how incredibly wonderful and treasured just one of those videos would have been and what it would have meant for little messed up me.

Of course, those same issues have kept me around the fringes, being unable to make a video or tell my own story or to watch many of those that have been posted without going into a big storm of Do-Not-Wantness. But still I’ve been following from the fringes and seeing some of what was posted.

Politicians making them? Hmmm less impressed. It feels like bandwagon jumping. It feels like election campaigning. It feels like gesture politics – you know the kind “We’re not actually going to do anything substantial to give you equal rights – but here, have a pretty speech. And I’ll walk in the pride parade and, yay, make an It Gets Better Video. But I’m not actually going to do shit.”

If you’re a politician, especially from parties that are in power, why are you making a vid telling us it gets better? YOU should be making it better, NOW.

Which then brings me to an ultimate “oh you did not” and even a “fuck this I’m done!” moment.

Because David Cameron and Theresa freaking May have made It Gets Better videos.

I am not impressed. And not just because both videos contain so much “this government” and “we have done” that they may as well decked it in blue and called it a campaign vid. It was sickening to watch them milk this as much as they could for votes and attention, for rainbow-washing and gesture politics. I was literally hurting I was so furious to see something like this project being used this way.

But, no this is even sicker than that.

If you’re not GBLTQ and British you may not know what “section 28” means. If you are both those things I can almost guarantee you do and that you probably started swearing

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was a Tory law that FORBADE Local Authorities AND schools from saying positive things about homosexuality. You couldn’t even say it was acceptable and certainly not that it was a familial relationship. It was illegal to mention homosexuality in a positive light when I was in school. If I had gone to my teachers about the crap I was going through. Gay Straight Alliances? Hell no, none of that, there was a freaking LAW!

It was repealed in 2003. After numerous attempts – NUMEROUS attempts – to push it through by the Labour government that the Tories fought tooth and nail against.

In 2000 David Cameron said “”fringe agenda… including deeply unpopular moves like repealing Section 28 and allowing the promotion of homosexuality in schools”.

In 2003 David Cameron himself tried to protect the law via amendment of the repeal bill. He was absent for the actual vote to repeal it.

And as for Theresa May – our Equalities minister (HAH!) her voting record is among the worst of all MPs

Like Cameron, she was carefully absent in 2003 when the repeal was passed. She was present and voted AGAINST repeal in 2000.
Here is a quote from her on section 28 before the 2003 repeal

What we’re looking for fundamentally is protection of children and certainly obviously we’re reviewing all our policies and we will look at the issue of section 28. And what we’ll be looking to ensure is that if repeal were proposed what would be put in its place because what we want to ensure at all times is protection of children

She’s concerned about the protection of children – not our bullied children, but no, what will happen to children if repeal the law and allow the gayness into the classroom. She goes on to say that she thinks the law was NECESSARY. Really this picture sums it up

And that’s just these 2 – let alone the cabinet they are working with and Cameron is happy with – with arch-homophobes like Baroness Warsi and Ian Duncan Smith and William Hague (the last two party leaders – which says so much about the bigoted Tories).
And now they post “It Gets Better Videos.”

That is obscene.

THEY are the reason it isn’t better now. They have done so much outright evil shit over the years – not just their party, them PERSONALLY – and now they make It Gets Better videos and try to campaign to us?! Now they use this – a project that tries to repair some of the damage they CHEERED FOR and supported – for propaganda, for rainbow-washing, to whitewash the past?

Cameron and May, you’re beyond out of line. The pair of you physically disgust me.

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Rather completely from twitter, email and LJ et al. Put this down to Point 6 on the Sparky self-destruction cycle. Not exactly surprisingly, Spirit Day, while wonderful and heartening, wasn’t something I could deal with and after turning my twit-pic purple and taking one look at my twitter feed my brain went *schlup* and I stepped away from the computer. I stepped back, schlupped again and crawled away and into a big friendly bottle (mental note: Alcohol response to Triggers? BAD bad bad habit, must be stopping that. That’s certainly borrowing problems for the future)

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