homophobia

Christina Engela's picture

Friendly Advice

I find the older one gets, the harder it is to find and make true friends. Some time ago I had many real life friends, some with whom I had kept relationships going since junior school, people that I shared and did everything with - even until long after high school. And then one day, about ten years ago - I lost every single one of them, every single one - including a best friend I had known 14 years.

The event that precipitated this? My coming out as transgender. It seems that suddenly people didn't know me anymore (or want to know me) and were suddenly far too busy to call, talk, or socialize. Suddenly, everybody was a workaholic. Suddenly, people weren't talking to me as much as at or about me. Even my best friend at the time - a guy I had known since starting high school, who was as a brother to me, and who had been quite comfortable with the thought of me being bisexual (as long as it was closeted) - was suddenly afraid to be around me in case people started doubting his manhood.

It seems that when you keep your nature a secret, and when you lie about who you are, people love you - and when you reveal yourself and live honestly, they despise you and even fear you for it.
Christina Engela's picture

Hiding In Plain Sight

 



I sincerely hope Mr Shapiro doesn't mind my including his brilliant cartoon of the issue with my article, it is remarkably apt and fitting to the situation, it puts in one picture all the words I could write a hundred articles about this subject! Kudos to him!

Last week, the storm around the appointment of the homophobic News24 columnist Jon Qwelane broke mainstream news. Immediately, there was an outcry by human rights organizations, specifically from the Pink Community, even resulting in some advocacy bodies in other countries lodging objections. Why did they object?

Well, because Mr Qwelane has made a habit of targeting groups of people in his articles, derogating them and using his articles as a forum to incite distrust and even hatred against them. Although he is known for his intolerance of women equality, and racist sentiments against White people, his particular favorite appears to be gay people.

Thus far, the only official response by the ANC has been a rather shamefully ignorant statement made by its spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, who is reported to have asked a reporter for the Mail & Guardian:

"Do you have any scientific evidence that [Qwelane] is a homophobe?"
Christina Engela's picture

Mentally Ill

Assume for a moment that I were to commit a crime of passion - say in true Colombine fashion I were to walk into a shopping mall or a high school carrying a shotgun, and start pumping - or if I were to start playing "Carmageddon" for real. Would I be considered "sane"? What do you think, huh?  Would I make a good case for a shrink to make his career with?  Would I be justified in making an insanity plea in court?

Would I?

What do you think my chances are?

Some people like to claim that transsexuality is a "mental disorder" - and as a case in point, while advocacy and human rights organizations and many, many psych professionals around the world are trying to get transsexuality removed from the list of mental disorders, a particularly nasty group of shrinks is trying to entrench us in the next edition of the Manual.

In other words, according to them, I am mentally ill.  Yet I am not on any medication, not having any counseling, not locked away in a padded cell - and I live a full, productive and happy life - but am supposedly "mentally ill" just because of being transsexual. 

Yet at the same time transsexuals have to go through a strenuous evaluation process to qualify for HRT and surgery - paradoxically to establish that they are in fact NOT mentally ill.  That's right, if you manifest signs of bipolar disorder, or personality disorders and in some countries, even severe clinical depression, you are disqualified.  So in other words, we are just perfectly sane and healthy enough to know that we want surgery - but just "mentally ill" enough to need it.  How does that make me feel?  Just peachy, thanks doc.  Tell me about your mother, lol.
Christina Engela's picture

On The Spot

 



This morning I lost my virginity... my TV interview virginity, that is.

Those who know me, know me as a fairly quiet person, so the last place they would expect to see me is on a live TV broadcast on ETV morning news, talking about international matters. Come to think of it, that's the last place I would expect to see me. Never the less, I found myself there this morning, a bundle of nerves, like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

As press and media liaison for the group, I had written and distributed the press release sent out this week, and was invited to answer a few questions, which I did. Bearing in mind that it is a bit harder to articulate words as well live, unprepared and in one take than it is to write articles such as I do every day, I did the best I could - considering it was my first time in front of a live TV camera. I had participated in a live radio interview before, but this was a bit different as all the instructions were given to me via a headset and the sounds in the background were a little confusing.

Also, I was tense and had a dry mouth - and as people who know me are aware, I have issues with my voice. And there I was, live on ETV morning news, dressed to the nines and afraid I was going to sound like Bea Arthur in front of the whole nation. Well, at least that part of it that was awake at 7am and watching ETV news. So many people were going see a woman on screen, and give the box a smack thinking it was getting the wrong audio channel. I drew comfort from my rather warped sense of humor and a wry grin spread across my face as we went live. Donovan, the video journalist/cameraman/receptionist and resident psychologist, had done his best to make me relax and feel comfortable. He smiled at me and gave me an "OK" sign behind the camera.
Christina Engela's picture

Immoral Support

 


Like others in South Africa over the past few years, I have long been asking the South African government for an explanation for not signing the UN Statement to Decriminalize Homosexuality in 2008 and what they meant when they said they did so on the grounds of "having principles". It seems they have been answering my question in increments.

I got an inkling of what this might mean when our new president, who is on record for making homophobic statements in the media, went on stage in the hall of the Rhema cult and placed gay rights on the bargaining table for right wing religious fundamentalists less than a month before the General Election in 2009.
Christina Engela's picture

Right, Wrong and Justified

(Image courtesy of The Alaska Chronicle)
I don't know why some people just seem to get their jollies on hate speech, I really don't - and add to the insult and injury caused to those who are targeted by these people, they seem to lack the courage of their convictions - or at the very least, courage - to post their hatred to Facebook groups or newspaper websites under their real names.  No, "Witwolf" or "Boerseun" sounds far more impressive.  And a lot less likely to carry consequences.

Aside from that, it also tends to taint good, decent Afrikaans people with that horrible shade of bigotry reminiscent of the bad old days in this country.  Indeed, when I see posts like that, I have to wonder how far have we come in the last 15 years - and how far we still have to go before we live up to claims of being a "true" democracy.

Oddly enough - or maybe not, many people who are blatantly racist are also the same folks who indulge in homophobia and transphobia.  Often their conversation or topic of their derogatory "jokes" will swing from one to the other.  Next time you're in a group of people who are telling jokes to each other - or hacking away at the humanity of others, just listen.
Christina Engela's picture

Growing Pains


Over the past few months a war of words has been raging over the activities of "ex-gay" groups in the USA and around the world wherever they have set up affiliates or branches of their own - including in my own country, South Africa. The "ex-gay" movement operates on a purely religious basis and claims solely out of a misinterpretation of religious dogma, that gay (or trans) people can and should either deny their nature - or "change". They claim all sorts of "studies" and "proof" exist to support their theories, but the truth is that no such evidence exists - and that every reputable medical, scientific and psychological institute, authority or body asserts that "conversion therapy" - IE attempts to change sexual orientation by "ex-gay" industry, is dangerous, risky and harmful to those it affects.

All this has prompted me to look back - and inwards, to a time when I was struggling for self-acceptance, and to find my own identity.

The very first thought I can remember which indicated to me that there was something "different" or "abnormal" about me (those are increasingly dangerous and stigmatized words these days) was when I was three years old and sitting on a potty, looking at my genitalia and thinking "that shouldn't be there". I am sure it is no coincidence that many of my best ideas since then have also come to me under similar circumstances. *Grin*
Christina Engela's picture

Cross Purposes

 


The issue of same-gender marriage is a hot topic at present around the world. The USA, the "bastion" of liberal society - at least in theory - is watching closely the current legal review of the Constitutional validity of the Proposition 8 vote which rescinded marriage equality for same-gender couples in California in December 2008. Proponents of Proposition 8 also pushed for the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) to redefine the legal concept of marriage to mean "one man, one woman".

At present, the trial is filled with emotional appeals of the gay community for the State to recognize human rights, dignity and equality, and opposing statements from the defenders of marriage against the nasty, inhuman gay people - whose existence "threatens" religion, society and "the family" - that marriage "always has been" between males and females - and that this inequality somehow justifies the enforced continuation of this inequality.

Apparently some people seem to think that marriage "always has been" between males and females - and that this inequality somehow justifies the enforced continuation of this inequality.
Christina Engela's picture

Feeling Threatened?




Later today, Ecclesia de Lange, an ordained minister of the Methodist church, who is a lesbian - goes on trial for being married. If it weren't heartless and inhuman, it would be laughable. A day or two ago I received notification of the drama unfolding in a South African Methodist church. Let me start off by quoting from the Facebook support group:

Ecclesia & Amanda were recently married. After Ecclesia announced the news to her congregations she was charged by her Superintendent Minister for being in breach of the discipline of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. While the MCSA affirms the place of homosexual people in its membership, leadership and ministry, the Church at this stage still only recognises marriage between heterosexuals. Homosexual marriage is still a matter of great debate in the Church and Methodist ministers are not allowed to conduct homosexual marriages. So the Church is at the place where it welcomes and affirms gay members but it cannot celebrate and affirm the natural consequence of two people who love each other and who wish to commit to each other in a public religious ceremony. Sadly the Church seems to encourage deception and subterfuge from its gay members and ministers who are indeed already living together in committed relationships, reminiscent of the American military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Ecclesia very bravely refused to hide or to lie about her commitment to Amanda and was married at a religious ceremony by an ordained minister of another denomination.

Ecclesia will appear before a disciplinary hearing at the Edgemead Methodist Church on the 12th of January at 16:00. Please join us for a silent prayer vigil at the church to pray for Ecclesia and to show support for her.

The intention of the show of support on the 12th is not to try to pressurise the Church into changing its policy. That could happen at another more appropriate forum. We will be there to love and to pray for Ecclesia and Amanda. We will be there to pray for the Commission as it deliberates. We will be there to pray for the Church.

Please feel free to post words of encouragement on the wall or to start a discussion thread."
I find it incredible when people who claim to value marriage above living together - which they claim is a "sin" - attack and discriminate against us when we marry. Funny that they're not happy about that either. Go figure. I wonder, is this opposition to same gender marriage in order to continue claiming that gay people are "immoral"?

Syndicate content
Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system