homophobia

Christina Engela's picture

Not Seeing Is Believing


Ever hear a child put his hands over his ears, or sometimes closing her eyes too, and chanting loudly, "I can't hear you - lalalalala"?

Aside from the old adage that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", there are different names for this concept, such as "selective ignorance" and "self-imposed ignorance". I often use another term, because I think "willful ignorance" fits better due to the fact that it takes a conscious decision to decide to stay ignorant about an issue on purpose - especially when there is so much information available. We are surrounded by it, and so as far as I'm concerned, to remain ignorant about some things must take a supreme effort of will.

Ignorance is not knowing something, and ignorance in itself is not such a problem - people closing their minds and being willfully ignorant, is. Some people are unwilling to accept facts or information that will either contradict their beliefs, or relieve their ignorance - precisely because the facts or truth will disprove their beliefs. That is what happens when people become set in their ways, old and inflexible. It is the same with belief systems. The same could be said for languages - when they stop growing and changing to keep up with the people who use them, they become obsolete and die. Basically, what I am talking about here is resistance to change.

Likewise, it's amazing how fragile religion can be, how like a house of cards? When its continued existence rests on the continued denial of actualities and facts, because the pillars of that religion have come to rest on assumptions, mistakes and outright lies instead of the foundations upon which it was supposedly founded?

Take an example. Some people who belong to a particular religion, say Christianity for instance, hate gay or transgender people. They say that gay and trans people are "evil" because they are gay or trans, and they use their religion as an excuse for their hate, and drum up other people who feel the way they do into a frenzy of anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment - leading to exclusion, discrimination and persecution.

The gay and trans people say "stoppie bus", protest - and say they didn't choose to be gay or trans, and in any case most feel they were born that way. Just ask Lady Gaga, she'll tell you. The haters refuse to accept this, maintaining that being gay or trans is a "sinful lifestyle choice" and see this as relevant and fitting because all "sin" is a choice. The ringleaders attempt to mask their hate by making idiotic statements like "hate the sin and not the sinner", clearly not understanding that our expressions of love or self-identification are precisely part of who we are as people, and obviously not realizing the brute stupidity and implications of such a statement.
Christina Engela's picture

Spit Or Swallow?


Belief is subjective, you don't have to like somebody else's beliefs any more than somebody else might agree with folks standing in church waving their hands in the air. Some folks see religion as chicken soup for the soul - well, some folks like their soup with croutons, others with noodles. Some like tomato, others butter-nut. It would be a boring old world if we all just stuck to "hearty beef" now wouldn't it?

When I posted that on Facebook as a status, an old friend of mine replied, extending the metaphor: "Some people are vegetarian, others just hate soup, others say soup is for sick people, and some just eat soup cos they are too poor to eat steak."

What can I say to that, other than LMAO?

Be that as it may, some folks like to criticize other people for believing "a load of bullshit" because they believe in another religion different to their own - which they see as the only "true" or "right" religion. Somehow the irony in that completely eludes them.

Others like their own religion or belief system so much that they decide that other people should adhere to their belief system too, and cannot accept the possibility that other people might not want to, or would choose another belief system. You see, to them their belief system has become a lens through which they see the world, and without this lens they would be plunged into a world of darkness, terror and gloom, and for all intents and purposes, essentially blind. Substituting their own lens for another would not work for them either, as it would seemingly distort their view of the world to the point where the world would be overrun by monsters and demons and they would see their worst fears realized.

Yes, I have used yet another metaphor - this time substituting the religious views people have of themselves and the world around them with optical lenses, and each religion being represented by a different lens - each providing a starkly different view of the world. As in real optical lenses which come in different strengths, so too do religions. Christianity 25+ for example gives a different world view to that provided by Agnosticism -5. For one thing, the elephants look a little smaller, and things sure do look hazy, but not as hazy as for example when using Rastafarianism 0 (cough - cough, this is good shit, man). Yes, this is tongue in cheek, so please put down the gun and back away slowly and nobody will get hurt.
Christina Engela's picture

Living In Interesting Times


A few thousand years ago the Chinese developed a saying that went "May you live in interesting times". This is, believe it or not, intended as a curse, not a blessing. By "interesting times" of course, they meant that by looking at history, it is the eras of peace which are most dull and uneventful - and the chapters of violence, war and chaos, the more interesting to read.

With natural disasters and the collapse of tyrannical rulers and their regimes progressing in a kind of tsunami in the Middle East, the changes in Egypt, the civil war in Libya, the other threatening revolutions in various exotic places and the disaster in Japan, our times appear to be most interesting indeed, and looking to be more so each week.

Wow what an interesting few weeks this has been in South Africa.

I'm proud that South Africa went to the aid of Japan, and I'm proud of the people who went into dangerous places no-one else would venture in order to rescue the living and recover the dead, and to make things better for a stricken people. Seeing things like that show me there is a spirit of humanity - called ubuntu here - that runs through this nation, regardless of race, color or creed - and yet our country is such a paradox when dealing with our own natural diversities. I felt proud too, when South Africa supported the most recent UN Statement last week, but that unfortunately was short-lived.

First, Mr Gay SA won Mr Gay World, for the second time running since South Africa began participating in the international contest two years ago - also winning the right to host the next Mr Gay World in Johannesburg in 2012 - and our entire community got a complete flat ignore by 99.9 percent of the straight media, despite letters asking the media to cover the event, and complaints that the straight media did not report the win. On Wednesday, only two straight media bodies made the effort to show up at a press conference held by the organizers. To their credit, they were an ETV news team (who also do news inserts for Kyknet) and Beeld. Aside from the Pink media, broadly speaking, there was a near-total news blackout on the win. Journalists from several newspapers contacted the organizers for interviews, which were given - but the stories never appeared, which makes one wonder why.

The interesting thing is, while articles on the contest were not posted, a few letters by the organizers complaining that the contest received no attention, were posted - and the sheer array of hostile remarks tinted with lunacy, religious fundamentalism and brute ignorance were astonishing. Of course, this indicates the sort of readership of many of these newspapers - and to whom they cater. Printing news about Pink successes on an international scale would be like printing Israeli news in a paper catering for anti-Semites.

Of course, this is a worrying indicator. Originally in 1994 it appeared that English and Afrikaans language newspapers would cease to cater solely for the readership of particular race groups - but despite this change, it appears that a certain part of society is still excluded completely, despite being part of these language groups. The exceptions of course, are when there is a nice fat gossip story involving *gasp* homosexuality, or *shudder* a "tranny" getting fired for changing sex. All too often, the victim gets media treatment to make them look like they "deserved" it. Our community in general only appears to be reflected in the news when there is a negative connotation. There are exceptions of course, but they are few and far between.

Let me just state clearly that I did not oppose the Protection of Information Bill put forward by the Government, which threatens to censor the Media, just so that the very same media I chose to protect from government interference can deliberately exclude items of morale-building and positive value about my community because of its own heterosexist and sectarian religious prejudice.
Christina Engela's picture

Are Good Christians "Too Forgiving"?

Are good Christians "too forgiving"?

That's quite an interesting question, especially if you look at the "inerrant' scriptures which set the precedent for "turning the other cheek". Why do I think "good" Christians might be too forgiving? For that matter, why do I think there might be Christians who are not good, but bad? Why indeed?

I just read this article by Michael Hamar, and it - and the comments - brought a few things to my attention. First, that I am clearly not the only one being accused of being hostile to Christianity in general - having to also occasionally post reminders that I am taking on bigotry and bigotry originating from various religious groups - and not specifically targeting all adherents of the whole religion.

Which brings me back to the point. There are "good" Christians, who to most people are the folks who welcome all people and treat them with respect and tolerance for their diversity in general - which appears to be in keeping with the way that Christ lived - and since he was the founder of this religion, hence the name, one would expect this to be the backbone of the faith itself. But is it?
Christina Engela's picture

The Parliamentary Drowning Pool

Last weekend, Mr Gay South Africa won the Mr Gay World contest - the second time a South African title holder has walked away with the top honors of this prestigious event - and also incidentally, the second year of the Mr Gay SA event. To crown this achievement, South Africa has also been selected to host next year's Mr Gay World event in Johannesburg. This is no doubt a remarkable achievement, and something to be proud of, well, at least one would think so.

Yesterday the news broke on Twitter and Facebook that the DA (Democratic Alliance), the official Opposition party in Parliament, was to make a motion to congratulate Mr Gay SA and the organizers on this fine achievement. It was alleged that Upon hearing of this motion, the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) immediately declared that it would oppose this motion.
Many folks, myself included, felt that the ACDP stood a snowball's chance in hell of blocking this motion with its puny three seats in over 400 in Parliament, but it seems we were in for a surprise.

The DA filed the motion - and as promised, the ACDP voted against the motion with all three its little votes - joined by the Freedom Front Plus, an equally tiny right wing, racist and homophobic Afrikaner party which probably doesn't appreciate fully the extreme irony in it's name. Apparently, according to some obscure little regulation in Parliamentary procedure somewhere, only 7 votes are required to block such a motion - which is exactly what happened.
Christina Engela's picture

Sleeper Awake!

Sometimes it feels like you are the only one who sees the world for what it is, while it seems that all those around you are blissfully unaware - not knowing and not caring to know things that could make a difference in solving problems or bringing about changes necessary to improve things. One of the catch phrases I remember from the original Dune movie in 1984 was "sleeper awake!" and it describes exactly how I feel today.

Why?

Despite appearances presented to the outside world, South Africa - and Africa - is a human rights mess, and especially so on the front of Pink rights.

Yes, there are massive shortcomings and omissions and failures on the part of Government to act on domestic issues - but while SA's government may not have de facto "obligations" to advance Pink human rights around the world or in Africa, our government has been active in efforts to assist and buddy up to governments known to be breaking down the human rights of the Pink community in those countries - and complicit in causing the downfall of human rights by it's continued failure to act.

What should we as the Pink Community do? Sit on the sidelines and let them continue to do so unhindered? Or should we be pressuring the SA government to live up to its obligations to uphold the SA Constitution both locally and internationally?

Too often LGBTI rights and interests are sidelines on thinly veiled excuses of diplomacy while all too visibly other more conventional interests are tackled head on, and with full media coverage. Of course, defending gay or trans rights simply isn't considered "moral" enough for our government - while it is in apparent agreement with the notion that homosexuality and transgender is "un-African" and not deserving of their attention.
Christina Engela's picture

Free Hate Kills

You believe in freedom of speech, don't you? How about freedom of religion? You believe in that? I know I do. But every so often there are people who come along demanding that some forms of freedom of speech or expression of their religious beliefs are actually "hate speech" - like those nasty deviants and trolls, the homosexuals. Know what I mean? No?

Well let me tell you. A few years ago Uganda (yes - that Uganda, the little country in central Africa that most people in the Western world need to look for on a map to see that it is an actual place and not some fictional setting in a novel or a suburb somewhere in Soweto) started cleaning house and tidying up all the loose ends. They started clearing out all the humanistic nonsense and jibber-jabber about human rights and started talking sense. the began speaking about morals and the importance of family and putting children first. They started putting Christ back into government where He belongs, and planning sweeping reforms and exposing those freaks for what they are - deviants and a danger to greater civilization throughout Africa.

A newspaper, the Rolling Stone Magazine, started putting the names, addresses and pictures of these nasty sociopaths and pedophiles on their front page a few years back, exposing them for the frauds they are, parading around as if they are as human as every decent heterosexual pillar of Ugandan Christian society, while their very existence chips away at the moral fiber of Ugandan dignity and Christian righteousness. Rightfully, calls were made by this same magazine for these sub-human creatures to be killed, accompanied by howls of outrage from the international community who are all too willing pawns of the homosexual agenda.

Right.
Christina Engela's picture

Happy New Year

When I sat down to write today's article, I started off thinking about last year and all the things I felt good about. It's my first article for the new year... and then I thought about last year, and the year before that, and all the things that p'd me off during that time - and about how many of them are still applicable and have been carried over like remainder in some obscene parody of Sub - A maths.

I'm STILL ashamed to admit I live in a country which is called the rape capital of the world. I'm STILL ashamed of a government with a track-record of denying there is a crime problem, and a lack of interest in addressing this problem - in fact, getting them to even talk about rape, and especially "corrective rape" of lesbians, is near impossible. (If you are reading this and are a government official who can do something about it - shame on you - and get off your rear-end and do something about this.)

I'm STILL ashamed to live in a country whose government and its representatives keep doing and saying things that embarrass me as a South African in the international media - whether it is issues of corruption, or human rights neglect, or patent ignorance about what they are saying or talking about.
Christina Engela's picture

“The homosexuals are coming! The homosexuals are coming!”

Yesterday I received an incredibly long-winded and frantic response from Errol Naidoo - it seems the email campaign to demonstrate our objection to his attack on Cape Town Tourism for supporting the city as a gay and gay-friendly tourist destination must have struck a nerve somewhere. For one thing, in the space of two A4 pages, he used the word "homosexual" no less than 22 times!

In the same note, he used the word “family” a whole 6 times, most often with the word "anti-" preceding it, or "friendly" following. A pattern emerges, indicating that Mr. Naidoo seems to be obsessed with gay people and "families" – and for some unfathomable reason, views them as opponents on a chess board. Which piece he plays in this sick game of his, is anybody’s guess - but since he seems to be such an adept drama queen, your guess is as good as mine.

He might as well have called his letter “The homosexuals are coming! The homosexuals are coming!” Perhaps he imagines he is the Paul Revere of his right wing religious extremist tribe of Leviticans? Perhaps, like Paul Revere, someone will name a brand of drugs after him? Who knows? But, speaking of advertising, the advertising slant calling Cape Town the gay capital of South Africa, or even of Africa which he is waxing hysterical about, is by far nothing new. In fact, it has been called such for the better part of the last decade. It is quite strange that our friend Naidoo has suddenly got his knickers in a knot over old news – but that is hardly out of character I think.

Not once in his lengthy diatribe did he use the word "gay" – which is of because he hates gay people and would sooner bend over to pick up soap in a prison shower before he would use an inoffensive term like "gay" which we chose for ourselves. I'm not saying that he hates gay people just because I don't like him, I'm saying that because he wasquotedas saying such in a newspaper article last year. Such hateful people prefer to use the "H" word because it is precisely what riles us, and it probably rolls so nicely off the tongue when you’re foaming at the mouth in a pulpit and working up to the bit where you pass the collection plate.

As a community, we Pink folks are quite used to the slurs, insults and name-calling directed at us by those arrogant, cocky people who seem to have their underpants on too tight and a few screws loose or missing. Very often there are attempts to strip us of our human rights and dignity, and certain legal provisions which grant us equality and freedom regularly come under attack from such shallow and narrow-minded individuals who demonstrate a penchant for arm-chair criticism and abusing human rights. Unsurprisingly, it is Mr Naidoo who is most often standing out front, cheering them on, directing their otherwise futile rage at anything which they belligerently squint at through a very narrow and puritanical worldview, and pointing out “enemies” for them to vent their otherwise futile and generally pointless hatred and frustration at. As a part-time pastor, it is his self-appointed job to give his flock of sheeple a wolf to unite against, and where one does not exist, to invent one.

But who is Errol Naidoo, and why all the fuss?

Christina Engela's picture

Reading Between The Lines

Apparently South Africa has gained a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council - for the second time. I can only imagine the kind of mayhem they could wreak if they ever got a permanent seat. As a South African of mixed sexual orientation and gender identity, it makes me shudder. No, really. I love my home, and I love my country - but lately I cannot help but to be ashamed of it.
 
In the past 20 years I have seen this country rise from the depths of racist, heterosexist and theocratic abuse of power, to become an inspiring young democracy - only to become once again mired by the same flaws and failings which characterized the Apartheid state, only in slightly different shades of neo-fascist red and totalitarian purple.
 
According to an article in the latest Pink Tongue, SA International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says that "SA will be too busy dealing with African issues on the UN Security Council next year to worry about who goes to bed with who" - this when asked whether SA would use its non-permanent seat on the Security Council to address gay rights and other human rights issues.
 
This flippant and insensitive response demonstrates at best a cavalier approach to very real and very serious human rights issues faced by our community in Africa. Delegates concerning themselves with saving Pink lives and working to cancel out prejudice and oppression is a) reduced to a matter of bed-partners, b) not an African issue, and c) obviously not important, duh what are you thinking? At worst it demonstrates a callous disregard for the plight of human rights of gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender people on the continent - a continent on which South Africa is a major role-player and economic power.
 
All of this, coupled with the appalling record South Africa has in terms of sabotaging or ignoring human rights issues over the past few years, proves to me that our government is hostile to the Pink Community - no matter what the Constitution says.
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