homophobia

Christina Engela's picture

The Judas Church

In a shameful turn of events, the Methodist Church of South Africa has today betrayed the trust of all its non heterosexual members and supporters - and its foundational message of inclusive worship - by upholding the guilty verdict handed down at an earlier internal hearing which discontinued the services of Methodist minister Ecclesia de Lange - a Methodist minister who is also a gay woman for daring to marry her partner albeit in another church.

The Methodist Church of South Africa has thus fumbled a perfect opportunity to right past wrongs, to truly show a meaningful welcome to the pink community in its ranks - and has instead chosen to compound them by affirming instead rejection and bigotry.

Now all GLBTI people know that the leadership of the Methodist Church of South Africa is not welcoming and affirming - but is merely tolerant - and only tolerant up to a point of law.
Christina Engela's picture

Bonfire Of The Diversities

A few very interesting things have grabbed my attention in the international news this week and I thought I would mention them here.

Right at the top of the list, possibly because I am transgender myself, I want to mention that "France has become the first country in the world to declassify transgenderism as a mental illness. A health minister signalled the change would be made last May and this was confirmed last week by a government decree." And about bloody time too! I can't wait to see which countries will follow this sterling example.

"South African man wins Mr Gay World 2010 A South African man has scooped the title of Mr Gay World 2010. Charl Van den Berg, a 28-year-old restaurateur from Cape Town, was named the winner at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, yesterday." Fantastic! This is one of the first good reasons I have had to feel proud of this country in ages!

"The European Parliament has confirmed that upholding LGBT rights is a condition for nations to join the European Union"- this is fantastic, and means that if any other country in Europe wishes to join the EU they WILL have to respect and uphold the civil rights and equality of the pink community within their borders." I only hope this will also apply retroactively to all countries ALREADY members of the EU, on pain of expulsion or other penalties should they go back on this principle.
Christina Engela's picture

The South African Dream

 



South Africa is full of potential and possibility and hope. All we need to do is grasp it and realize it. Sitting on the sidelines will let others achieve their own corrupt desires unopposed - and make our nightmares come true.

It is so easy to be caught up in the negativity that says South Africa is a dangerous place, that it is a haven for crime and gangsterism and corrupt government officials and conniving self-interested politicians, a place where dreams suffocate and joining the rat race to greener pastures elsewhere is the solution.

It is so easy to overlook the obvious, that we are now 20 years post-Apartheid, we have weathered the worst of it, that despite the doomsayers and gloom merchants, people of all races, cultures and religions, genders and sexual orientations are living together side by side in relative harmony. People are working together, sharing office space and even sharing jokes and sorrows together in ways we never dreamed possible two decades ago.

This is my dream, the South African dream, an equal opportunity society, where we all can make our dreams come true.

.....Well, not quite yet.
Christina Engela's picture

These Colors Don't Run

 


Considering the events of the past few days, weeks and months - it is quite easy for me to feel negative - but I am not going to.

Nope. Not me, not today.

If you're wondering why, I will tell you. Because there are folks out there who want us to fail, they want our community to be complacent and silent and happy with the way things are. They love our apathy and false sense of security. They love it when we sit quietly by and accept every slap in the face and every kick in the butt they deliver. And because being negative will play into their hands, I am inclined to not play along.

I dance to my own tune, folks, I drum my own beat.
Christina Engela's picture

The "M" Word


Are we only gay, bi, trans or intersex when the good times are rolling?

Are we only pink at parties?


You may detect a note of bitterness in my article today, and I apologize for it - but I feel that by just covering it over with pretty wallpaper will just do more harm than good.

So here we go, here beginneth my rant.

We all know the TV series "The 'L' Word"... well today's subject is "the 'M' Word".

This morning I attended a prayer vigil for the Methodist minister who has been suspended recently, not specifically for being gay - but for being gay AND daring to get married. I find this telling of the times we live in, in South Africa - where almost any attempt by us to use that precious "M" word results in slant-eyed looks, or sudden embarrassing silences.

I took leave specially just for this event as I did not want to miss it. A friend called me at the last minute to attend and asked me for a lift, and even though it was in the opposite direction to the church where the vigil was being held, I said it was on my way and picked him up.

We walked into church together five minutes early, with about 3 people sitting inside, including the minister. We looked at each other half sheepishly, recognizing the significance. This, it seems was going to be yet another typical Port Elizabeth event for the apathetic Port Elizabeth pink community.
Christina Engela's picture

Bipolar Opposites

With all the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela, who became arguably the most important, if not the best President of South Africa - it occurred to me to look at the similarities and differences between this icon and our current Prez.
  • Supporters of Nelson Mandela plunged South Africa into a 20 year border war in order to bring an end to the monstrosity called Apartheid - which at its core was a noble fight for liberty.
  • Supporters of Jacob Zuma threatened to kill for him - as per ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema - in order to prevent him from going on trial to face corruption charges.
  • Nelson Mandela inspired his supporters and even changed the minds of his former enemies and united the country as never before.
  • Jacob Zuma inspires his supporters in the ANC and has done little more than be controversial and divisive and to embarrass South Africans before the world.
  • Nelson Mandela said: "Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement", "There is no such thing as part freedom" and "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another" - and his rule was marked by it.
  • Jacob Zuma said: "When I was growing up an ungqingili [a gay] would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out", "same-sex marriages are a disgrace to the nation and to God" and encouraged faith-based bodies to engage the government on such existing same sex marriage legislation - and his rule so far is marked by homophobic slurs and tacit support for bigotry and homophobia.
  • Nelson Mandela's trademark was colorful ethnic shirts and his smile.
  • Jacob Zuma's trademark is his song "um'shini'wam" (Bring me my machine-gun).
  • Nelson Mandela went to jail for 27 years, was released in 1990, went on to win an election and made a positive difference as President of South Africa, and is today regarded as a much respected world icon of freedom, equality, forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • Jacob Zuma has been cleared of a rape charge, become infamous for his "HIV shower" gaffe, avoided going to trial for corruption charges, won an election - and as president, done little more than make excuses for his personal indiscretions as "a man".
  • Under Nelson Mandela, South Africans had a president they could be proud of.
  • Under Jacob Zuma, South Africans dread the next day's headlines to see what else our President has said, done or given approval to.
'Nuff said.
Christina Engela's picture

Man In White Speak With Forked Tongue

 


What message are we receiving when religious leaders consciously undermine and criticize human rights protections and equality laws?

This question presented itself to me when I read of the Pope's planned visit to the UK - upon which he has immediately criticized existing UK laws which protect the lives, equality, humanity and dignity of certain groups of people as violating "natural law" and is viewed as an attack on the legal rights granted to women and gay people. It is a de facto defence of faith-based discrimination. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that Benedict "objects to the fact that religious institutions in the UK can no longer lawfully discriminate at will on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation".

Are we to understand that the Pope feels that women, gay and transgender people should not have rights at all?

Does this example not attempt to completely redefine what it means to be Christian, godly, civilized or human? Does it not paint religion with a fresh coat of hypocrisy, tears and bloodshed?
Christina Engela's picture

As Good As It Gets

 



Some like to claim that marriage equality for gay people will "increase the divorce rate" because "everybody knows" that gay people "cannot commit" and are promiscuous. Ironically, this claim often comes from people who have been divorced themselves, or are themselves in unhappy marriages. That is for them as good as it gets - and so they judge others by their own limited knowledge or jaded standards.

The fun part is where I get to point out the old gay couple living in my area who have been together for 40 years, and although they have not married, I have to wonder how many heterosexual marriages their relationship has outlasted?
Christina Engela's picture

Mob Rule

Unfortunately, it is human nature for people to hate and despise what they don't understand, and to torture and kill those whom they don't want to understand. When such groups of people are presented to larger groups as a threat, or a scapegoat, they often seize the opportunity to point out that "there are more of us, so you must be wrong, unnatural and evil". It also needs to be said that such people, when placed in control of a government - certainly don't need to understand. They just need someone to blame.

"It is their fault for the bad rains, the earthquakes, the floods, the tsunami's - all because we tolerate their existence" these people claim. Some can see reason and sense in the likelihood that nature and tectonic crust movements could be governed by noble morals and the ritual sacrifice of minorities made guilty of manufactured crimes by prejudice and bigotry. People in the hot-seat point fingers in order to shift blame and to cling to power. Give the mob someone to blame, anyone to keep them busy and focused on someone else, anyone else but me. Ah, the ancient art of misdirection. It is an old, old story, as old as the pyramids, if not even older.
Christina Engela's picture

Enough Is Enough

Dear Mr Ssempe lays it all on the line for SA - send Jon to Uganda - or else face protests and a boycott of SA businesses in Uganda.

"We take this letter to remind you that South Africa has vast strategic economic interests in Uganda in the areas of communications, energy, banking, food and mineral sectors. These include household names such as MTN, Eskom, Stanbic, Nandos, and many others. The de-selection of Mr. Jon Qwelane and sending to Uganda someone who pleases the homosexual groups in South Africa threatens the good social standing of these companies in light of our nations values. You need to carefully weigh what is South Africa’s strategic interest in our nation and region. Is it business or sodomy?" "Cancelling Mr. Jon Qwelane appointment and sending someone else due to the pressure of the homosexuals will trigger a widespread civil society protest which stands to affect the South African businesses in Uganda."

A big, burning question I would like answered is: Why is SA even trading with those fascists in the first place - and why is SA still - after two years - refusing to speak out against Uganda's laws which abuse human rights?
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