anti-gay hate

Christina Engela's picture

The Trouble With Censorship Is XX XXXX XXXXXXX

The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced plans to ban pornography on the internet. Also mentioned prominently in the article is their partner in this affair - The Justice Alliance of South Africa, a small right-wing Christian fundamentalist organization which has in the very recent past, lobbied against abortion rights for women, and whose Honorary Director was involved in Doctors For Life, which actively opposed same-sex marriage in the courts a few years ago.

The JASA (Justice Alliance of SA) is no more than a small group of religious conservatives, whose Board consists of only one legal practitioner and several Pastors - professing to be a legal group, with an eye on determining the morality of an entire nation. They of course oppose gay civil rights among other things, such as minding other people's business and seem intent on pushing a religious fundamentalist agenda in influencing government.

This proposed law banning internet pornography uses as motivation the "protection of children" and "good morals" and "family values" - sorry I think I'm in the wrong room, pastor - is this the Values Voter Summit by any chance?
Christina Engela's picture

Community Building

Recently I wrote about cohesion in our pink community, and over the weekend I was again faced with the exact opposite. Some trans-women seem to feel that I have been remiss in campaigning for transgender rights and focusing only on gay rights. They feel, as I do - that there are some rather prominent advocacy groups, some of them advertising that they stand for all GLBTI rights, some not - and that these groups are abandoning trans people.

A prime examples of this is the ENDA (Employee Non Discrimination Act) in the USA, which has failed to pass in the past - and from which transgender rights were conveniently removed by some of our gay allies in order to see that the act had a "better chance" of passing. Hmm. I have to point out that (duh) this is not the act of an ally. The dust around this issue still has not settled, and I wait with bated breath to see how it goes down.

Another infamous example of exclusion and working against community unity is the UK group "Stonewall" which deigns to take the name of that holy grail of GLBTI rights and sullies it by excluding the transgender and intersex communities, and catering only for the benefit of gay rights. They do a very good job of gay rights advocacy, kudos to them for that - but shame on them for not caring a damn about the trans and intersex people - and refusing even to provide them a counseling service, information, or even to stand up for their rights while standing up for their own! Stonewall UK is a large group with a loud voice, and the T and I in GLBTI are left to fend for themselves. I am frequently disgusted whenever I am reminded of this by their one-dimensional advertising and informational campaigns.
Christina Engela's picture

Making The Difference

I want to focus today on Africa, and African affairs. Of late, African countries all around us have been flaunting their peculiar brand of homophobia, laced with ignorance on matters of medicine, science, fact - and tasting remarkably of religious fundamentalism. Relating to this, an item came across my inbox today, which was forwarded to me by a friend. It was a message from an ACDP support group on Facebook, and it went as follows:

"Jo-Ann Downs May 27, 2010 at 2:28pm Subject: DRC visit

I am off to Lubumbashi in DRC tomorrow to teach about 1000 Church leaders about getting involved in improving the country. Need lots of prayer. There are so many terrible things happening to women and children I hope to really make a difference."

This of course, is Where the ACDP completely crosses the line between religion and politics, and works to blur the line separating church and state as well - which it does, simply by existing.

We all know the ACDP, or African Christian Democratic Party. At least, those of us with the inclination to take an interest in affairs which affect us, do.

The ACDP are to South Africa as the Republican Party is to the USA. They are partisan Christian religious fundamentalists, and as is typical of people of this persuasion, their political outlook cannot be separated from their religious outlook. For them, the two are as one and the same - and to that end, government should be inherently Christian and fundamentalist too. By that reasoning, people who commit ritual religious offences (a.k.a. "sin") should also face criminal charges under the law of the land, and in particular as described in the Old Testament - which is rather odd if you consider that the Christian faith is actually based on the New Testament.
Christina Engela's picture

It's A Small World, After All

When Uganda tabled its Bill which would effectively have instituted the death penalty for homosexuality and a pink genocide, many countries applied great pressure to Uganda to drop the Bill. So far this Bill has been put on hold, yet in Uganda gay people still face an existing law which prescribes a 14-year prison term simply for being gay - just as in Malawi and several other countries.

Malawi has just this week rewarded a gay couple with the maximum prison term for loving each other - 14 years hard labor, a potential - and even likely death sentence in such a prison. The world has begun to apply pressure on Malawi because of this human rights abuse, but the question remains - how much pressure will they apply, and what will happen if Malawi doesn't budge?

Will the outcome of this issue encourage other African states to say "oh well, Malawi didn't give the West what they wanted, they didn't give in - and nothing happened to them. They're still getting aid"? Will this encourage Uganda to pass the Bill and thumb their noses at their donors as if their bark is worse than their bite - as one does to a dog without teeth?

Gay people in Africa are living in fear. And why should gay people in Africa not be afraid? Today it is illegal to be gay in aproximately 38 countries in Africa, with many countries applying lengthy jail terms as well as a measure of draconian homphobia in laws and society. Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, as is the case in Malawi and most other African countries. The only country on the continent of Africa which has laws protecting the human and civil rights of sexual minorities, is South Africa - a country whose government, has to date not once spoken out against human rights abuses and violations in any other African state - and which continues to do business with and even to support their governments.
Christina Engela's picture

Hook, Line And Stinker

In a new press release in which the Family Research Council (of Focus on the Family and James Dobson infamy) dragged an eight year old "study" out of mothballs and served it up with today's sauce, they once again misrepresent scientific data to undermine human rights and promote their own fascist agenda.

"WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council released a new analytic report today showing that women who did not grow up with their biological mother and father are much more likely to engage in homosexual conduct as adults than are women who grew up in an intact family."

"Oh, goody," Some people will be thinking. "A new study to show how nasty, immoral, un-patriotic, and hostile to "the family" gay people are. And how much of a threat they pose to "our" children!"

As somebody pointed out to me, all to rightly: "Before long, phony religious right experts will be citing this study as fact. It's best to refute the lies before they have a chance to spread." And among the things recklessly promoted in this libelous and poorly researched "study" is the claim that "Women who never attend religious worship are more than three times as likely to have homosexual relationships than are women who attend worship weekly." This is exactly the sort of thing that bigot preachers will seize upon and preach from their pulpits as "gospel truth" and "fact".
Christina Engela's picture

Hate The Sin, Hate The Sinner

Where I come from, being called a bigot used to be an insult, and being called bigoted was an accusation people used to take very seriously. Considering that I grew up in South Africa during the last years of the Apartheid regime, and was schooled under its influence, this is a revealing scenario.

In those days, liberals used to refer to people as bigots because they were supporting and defending racist policies, and were very enthusiastic about it. Very often, the same people used to "categorically deny" being bigoted and would take such accusations very personally while often going to extremes - very often religious extremes - to try to justify their bigotry.

The landscape has changed since then, both politically and socially. As we are so often reminded, queer is the new black. There are no true "conservative" parties in this country today of the same ilk as there is a Conservative Party in the UK for example. No, here we have some small minority parties which are called conservative only because they are staunchly religious fundamentalist in nature and cannot in their minds or in their policies separate the concepts of politics and their particular religions.

Such conservative parties, which despite their claims of speaking on behalf of all "true" Christian South Africans, only form a very small, very vocal minority in the country. Perhaps this is fortunate, because their policies are radical and their reactions to democratic ideals such as freedom, equality and liberty - well, reactionary - and they scare away the moderates. They hijack the stage and the microphone away from the moderate majority and take pride in blurring the lines between church and state, fact and fiction - and actively pursue their goals of spreading malicious myths and slanderous "ex-gay" propaganda in South African culture in order to cultivate their support base.
Christina Engela's picture

Alternative Healing

I was impressed by two stories this week. I know, it is only Tuesday, but I am already beginning to think it will take something pretty extraordinary to top the past few days, at least for me - and at least, in the field of human rights in South Africa. The first one I am going to mention is the publicized signing of a memorandum against homophobic hatred caused by religious fundamentalism and the patriarchy - signed by some well-known religious figures in Cape Town. Yes, this is good news - and it certainly shows that not all Christians are out to prove the right wing claim that to be a Christian is to be a fundamentalist fanatic with homicidal anti-gay tendencies. But then again, I could be wrong. The tiler working in my bathroom some time ago told me in confidence, that he "hates things what is skew", but he could have been referring to the tiles.

This brings me to the second item, about a lady by the name of Liana Munnik, who was brutally assaulted - so badly that she ended up in hospital. The reason? Because she is gay. Her assailant? A married woman who kicked her repeatedly between her legs until she lost consciousness, and was unable to defend herself or walk away - a woman who screamed homophobic abuse at her - among other things, that she was "an abomination in the eyes of God", "going to hell" and that she was going to "kick her straight". The woman's husband reportedly prevented her friend from intervening, by throwing her to the ground and holding her down with his knee on her neck. See the newspaper reports: ‘I will kick you straight’ and 'Lesbian kicked to 'convert' her'.
Christina Engela's picture

Owning The "H" Word

The "H" word. We all know it. We have all felt it. Sometimes we use it to describe traffic jams, the stuff we find on our sandwiches, the work we do, or getting up on a Monday morning. We use it so easily, but sometimes things happen to us that we can't control - things that are done to us by other people who for that moment, had control over our lives and made us feel powerless, insignificant and small. And then it is that we turn the injury done to us by others into hatred directed back at them - and make it all worse.

We own the "H" word, and we eagerly claim it with both hands - not realizing that it is not us who wields it, but it which wields us.

Hate is bad for everybody.

It's bad for the people who harm us, at least in terms of karma, but it's also bad for the victim - because it festers inside us. Hate is acid in the blood that eats us hollow from the inside and destroys us - and does the work of our enemies for them.
Christina Engela's picture

What's Your Handicap?

Today I want to talk about handicaps - such as religion. And when I say "handicap", I mean in terms of driving with the handbrake still on. That's right, like having lead weights put in your pack to slow you down. Or your golfing handicap. Yes, that's a better description - because without that handicap, you could score so much higher. In fact I think that describes exactly what I mean.

Yes, very often, it is the silly superstitions and unfounded restrictions of religion which handicap us in life, getting in the way, blocking our path to happiness and success, thwarting our development, stunting our growth and scuppering our rise to our full potential.

You wouldn't go to war over a book marked "chicken soup for the soul", would you? Would you persecute people just because they are different to you, or believe different - or live differently to you? Would you refuse to hire somebody because they believe in a different god to you, or fire an employee because they call your god by a different name? Would you discriminate unfairly against somebody because of who they happen to be in love with or living with? I know I wouldn't. So why condemn other people for not buying into your little book? Come on, man how does that ever make sense?

"Dump the religion already it doesn`t deserve you." People have been telling me. Oh, but I have, believe me. It is just impossible to fight for human rights without having to face down the medieval witch-hunters, manic street preachers and other arcane robed figures with wild eyes and ragged hair and even wilder beliefs.
Christina Engela's picture

Ulterior Motives

So last week when I wrote an article about my girlfriend being hijacked, somebody comments and asked why SA's law enforcement agencies do not seem to be curbing or preventing these violent crime incidents?

My thoughts on your question are as follows, and two reasons come to mind:

1) Because they are unable to curb or prevent violent crime

2) Because they want the country to be or at least appear to be becoming ungovernable.

Of course, one would have to really wonder why reason 2 might apply... except if for example you would need to "justify" a crackdown on societal or democratic freedoms.

Surely I am exaggerating? I don't know, am I?

Asking myself this question, I am confronted with several interesting facts.
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