anti-gay hate

Christina Engela's picture

Death Squads = Genocide

Once upon a time, not very long ago, the world went to war over persecution and genocide of the Jews. A little while later, economic sanctions and political action were taken against a repressive regime over the persecution of people on the grounds of race to bring down the social system known as Apartheid. It will be very interesting to see what gets said and done by the major players about the persecution and genocide of gay people around the world today. Not that I am in favor of war of course, but I am simply drawing a comparison here on the all too apparent variable value of human life.

Today if you ask anyone too young to remember, which is probably the majority of the world's population, what they think the reason for WW2 was, or what stands out most about it to them - it will usually be the Holocaust and the annihilation of six million people through a thoroughly mechanized and organized premeditated means. This is no doubt a text book response, as many would like to believe that the modern world, advanced and forward thinking and liberal, was outraged at the rise of fascism and the catastrophic loss of life at their hands. Of course, many people knew about the persecution of the Jews and other minorities by the Nazis before the war, and many went off to war because of this, but that is not why the war happened, nor why it was fought.

Unfortunately WW2 like most other wars started over greed, power, ambition, territory and nationalism. Propaganda though made it all seem very moral, didn't it? I find it sad that the League of Nations didn't do something decisive about the persecution of minorities (including gay and trans people) from the rise of the Nazi party from before the war until some time mid-way through the war. Yet the racism and heterosexism in nazi Germany was well known through the West even before the violence of Kristallnacht in 1938, and still it went unchallenged.

Christina Engela's picture

Suffering In The Darkness Of Ignorance

Over the past weekend I received another taste of the hatred and intolerance which people hold against their fellow human beings. That this person sent their hate mail to me via an email address of the organization I represent in my home town, indicates to me that this person must live in the same place - and the timing of this, for various reasons which I will not go into here, even more so. It saddened me that much more, especially at a time while I have already been saddened by the loss of a particularly inspiring mentor and minister, who gave selflessly and worked for the inclusion of all people into the family of God. I am also sad to say that I was unsurprised that this hatred came from a person professing Christianity - a faith which holds a loving father-figure God as its tradition and core belief, as well as loving each other selflessly after the pattern set by Christ. This message seems all too rare in modern Christianity, doesn't it? Especially when you face hatred and intimidation such as this on a regular basis.

"Fear God and desist from sodomy and lesbianism Otherwise you shall burn in hell forever" said Mngr's first letter - I presume "Mngr" stands for "Manager". And the email address had something to do with lathe sales. At any rate, the argument he or she proceeded to present indicated to me that this person is clearly a fundamentalist and hence a couple of cards short of a full deck. Nevertheless, I decided to respond anyway.

Dear "Lathesales/Mngr",

Clearly you have the wrong God. For the God I know, so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son as a sacrifice so that ALL - including gays and lesbians - may have eternal life.

Gay and transgender people are born as they are - and if you believe that God created you and me, then logically you have to believe that he made us all as we are. Failure to accept gay and transgender people is simply an admission that you are not as Christian as you claim to be - but then again, nobody's perfect, not even us gay people.

Instead of responding to your baneful threat with misogyny, I refer you to the following resource where you may relieve your suffering in the darkness of ignorance:

Christina Engela's picture

Censorship And The Demise Of Personal Liberty

For some time, religious fundamentalist groups in SA have been campaigning to ban various things in this country. A few months ago, a massive crowd - all of 18 people - picketed outside the Sexpo in Cape Town, demanding a return to "traditional" and "family values" and the banning of pornography - much to the amusement of the 20 odd thousand people drawn to the sexpo by their very negative press, which unintentionally turned out to be very positive for the sexpo instead. Such groups have held numerous protests and mounted email campaigns against "soft-porn" on E-TV, "blasphemy" in student "rag" magazines and of course, marches against abortion. And of course, who can forget the thousands who marched in South Africa some years ago to oppose marriage equality - because people falling in love and getting married is just way too bad for "the family", and will cause our fragile civilization to collapse?

Add to that the announcement on the radio I heard a few days ago where a government minister announced an initiative to table a bill in Parliament, which would enforce a blanket ban on all pornography in public media. This announcement can be seen on the Home Affairs website: I am sure in retrospect, he meant wet blanket.

"“South Africa should explore an outright ban on pornography in the public media as is the practice in countries such as China and India.” To this extent, the Deputy Minister will approach the Law Reform Commission with a view to requesting them to investigate and advice on the possibility of such a move. "The increase of access to technology and mobile internet, with all its benefits, also poses risks such as creation and distribution of child pornography. We need to be proactive in protecting children against this heinous crime."

Christina Engela's picture

Beating Ploughshares Into Swords

Is religious fundamentalism fascist in nature? Are religious fundamentalists prone to it? I have heard them being called fascists, and agreed with it simply because of the general perception - and my own personal experience - that fascists aren’t very nice people either. I have often drawn comparisons between them - and I find it surprising that I never realized that they seem to genuinely have so much in common with our totalitarian friends who like to march under flags sporting propeller-like symbols – and marginalizing sections of society they don't like very much - whom they delight in pointing out how much "better than" they are.

To find examples, take a look at recent campaigns to strip social minorities of human rights or equality around the world (such as the recent Proposition 8 and the current Referendum 71 in the USA, and the violence at pride events in Russia and the Baltic states over the past three years) and you will find that the groups behind them are religious, fanatical, fundamentalist – and often racist and nationalistic as well.

People, particularly those who like philosophy, like to quote the old saying that “violence never solves anything”. Parents teach it to their children. The state tries to teach it to the populace – and then hammers them if they don’t listen, but is it true? On this point, the other day I saw a poster online that cast a different light on the matter, claiming "Violence never solved anything - except for ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism." Phew. Profound, don’t you think?
Christina Engela's picture

The Cult Of Mud And Dirt

I have often wondered at the clear division between people who see the world as it is, and those who see it from inside a book written by other people.

Last week a person who described herself as a "metaphysical consultant" and I engaged in a stimulating short exchange of personal views. I have to say I liked the views she expressed and the discussion because my blogs and articles always tend to drift towards the religious and esoteric side of things - though "metaphysical consultant" sounds awfully impressive, if not a little intimidating!

The writer referred to Mary Douglas, a renowned anthropologist and her suggestion that "dirt is matter or place." "In other words," the writer explained, "Mud is fine in the garden, but called dirt when the dogs tramp it into the lounge. In other words, human beings consider what is out of place in any particular context dirty or impure."

There is a school of thought that says fundamentalists are "best left to their folly until such times as they see the light or the shift of consciousness leaves them in the same position as the dinosaurs."

Were it not for all the other people around them who they affect negatively through their folly, I would agree with that completely. Also, the comparison of mud being "mud" outside the home and "dirt" inside it, can itself be compared to gay and straight people both being sinners and children of God at the same time - and not necessarily only inside a church - but everywhere all the time.

Christina Engela's picture

March Hares And April Fools

Since the April 22 Election in which it got its chronometers soundly cleaned, the right wing Christian Democratic Alliance has been quiet - dare I say "silent as a tomb"? No press statements since April. No more boisterous squawking in nauseating radio ads about gay people being "enemies of Christianity" and a "threat to the family" or rabid press releases aimed at the government for the folly of including human rights of gay people in the Constitution and "dethroning almighty God" in favor of the rule of mere human law. In fact, short of one or two blog posts by one of its fearless leaders, Colin Fibiger - obviously on the inseparable issues of religion and politics, and suggestions on training the youth to "know better” next time, there has been no visible activity on their part. I'm thinking they ran out of a lot more than cash at the end of the elections - they ran out of supporters, interest and credibility as well.

It seems most of its supporters have skittered back to the ACDC, - I mean, P - or cast their votes elsewhere, since even that slightly larger party had its conservative voter support decimated by half.

Since having its nose rubbed in its’ own misogyny and anti-diversity utterances, the ACDP has over the past week or so been (very surprisingly) commenting favorably on Caster Semenya’s gender test ordeal, presumably only because every other political party has been doing so as well - and it has realized that agreeing with everybody else tends to make them less bad. It's called PR, I believe - aka brown-nosing. I wonder what they would have to say should her tests, due out soon, show her to be a transgender or transsexual person? Considering the things their reps have had to say about gay and trans people in the past, I should expect one of them to drop a political clanger over it.

Christina Engela's picture

Religion, Deadly Contagion And Other Afflictions

Imagine a pandemic which claims a death toll so high it staggers the mind. Millions upon millions dead, suffering and dying from a plague which knows no cure. Every single human being touched personally by the hand of death, suffering and tragedy. Everyone who survives, perhaps the last remaining member of a large and happy family, standing alone and wondering where to go from here? Far fetched?

Not really. It already happened once in recorded history. In Medieval times, bubonic plague took nearly half the population of Europe, some scholars postulate up to two thirds. And what could medicine do about it at the time? Nothing. They couldn't even ease the suffering of the victims. The contemporary art reflects the ever present um, presence - of death in the conscious and sub-conscious, particularly in portraits and other art of the day. The fabled Dans Macabre is just one example. At the time, the science of medicine was in its infancy. With hardly any contrast at all, the prognosis for such a massive and virulent outbreak of some new or resilient disease today is not much better.

A week or so ago I watched an interesting doccy about the Black Death. It was pretty relevant, considering that if anything similar were to happen today, the global medical capacity to handle such a crisis would be nil anyway. Hospitals would be swamped. Handling capacity would be overwhelmed. In recent weeks, medical testing to confirm such cases as "swine flu" or H1M1 blah, blah, blah take anything up to a week - and some cases were even misdiagnosed completely. The death toll today even in so-called advanced countries stands at a total in excess of 1000. Oddly enough, the spread of this disease seems to have affected modern countries more - where transportation is far more effective than in rural non-urbanized places.

Christina Engela's picture

"It" Is For Objects, Not People

Recently I engaged in a private debate with representatives of international GLBTIQ advocacy groups online. Actually it started out as a call to action, to launch protests to affirm opposition to transphobia and the pathologicization of transsexuality - then one of them launched into a scathing criticism of trans people who wanted to have transgender classification removed from the coming DSM-V 
Presumably she would prefer transsexuals to continue to be classified as mentally ill - as they are deemed currently by world health professional groupings. Presumably she likes the stigma attached to being transgender and the rigamarole involved in getting the goodwill of the "gate-keepers" who hold the 
keys to their future happiness, assuming of course that they jump through all the hoops and barrels like good little freaks should.
This person, supposedly a director of a group involved in transgender education, proceded to state that "any transsexual person" wanting to abolish this current system "clearly does not speak for the community" - and then pointedly referred to trans people as "he/she/it".
"He/she/it" - "IT" ??? Excuse me? Did I read that right? 
This person just called transsexual people "it"? The email address title of the writer said "Transgender Education"?? Needless to say, I could not believe my eyes.
Christina Engela's picture

The Human Race


The issue of Caster Semenya, the 18 year old female athlete who has won two gold and one silver medal for her country - South Africa - makes me wonder. It makes me wonder how far we have come in the past 15 years post Apartheid, and how far we have come since the inclusion in the Constitution of certain phrases which are supposed to guarantee equality for people on the grounds of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation with everyone else.

Despite certain shortcomings in the wording of this document, which still allows a degree of hate crime and hate speech to slip through the loopholes, it seems clear that such a shift still has not taken place in the mindset of the people of South Africa. Clearly this also has not taken place in other countries either.

It has been reported that this fracas had a prequel three years ago in SA, and that the questions that arose now around Caster's gender could have and should have been answered then.

Following the abysmal treatment of a star athlete, SA is now making all sorts of complaints about the way she was handled - or should I say - manhandled?

SA is supposedly complaining to the UN about it, and the papers are filled with notification of outrage at the handling of this woman’s' human rights. But I have to ask a question:

Is this outrage because she is a woman who has been accused of being a man - or is it outrage because of the transgender issue?

Christina Engela's picture

Stupidity And Self-Inflicted Ignorance

Isn't it strange that having a dick automatically makes you a man, but having a vagina isn't enough to make you a woman?

Odd as it may seem, this gets proved every day for transsexual women around the world. Occasionally it is the stuff that makes headlines, peddles newspapers, or makes topical conversation around the craps table over drinks, transphobic jokes and peanuts. 
I feel it is an accurate portrayal of the fundamentalist worldview when I say their "view" is of the "join us - or else" or "I have a right to exist - and you don't" persuasion. The scary part is that the extremists see themselves as "true" Christians (or "true" men) - and everyone else as their enemy. I think it is the height of paranoia. (Of course, as the old song says - that doesn't mean we're NOT out to get them.)
For the past week or so I have been hearing and reading nasty comments based on speculation whether pop star Lady Gaga is intersex, and about a female athlete being accused of being male and having to undergo examination to prove that she is a woman! Suddenly a beautiful woman on stage that has been wowing millions with her cool songs and great voice now stops being beautiful and is a freak, a monster and a sexual deviant etcetera, etcetera. Men say online that they would never touch "it". 
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