These days I find myself referring to the little blue fish in that adorable movie "Finding Nemo", the one that kept on saying "just keep swimming". And no matter what, no matter how bad things got in the movie, that was her philosophy, and she stuck to it - "just keep swimming". I can't help but draw comparisons between circumstances and the wisdom and stoicism of that little fish - or the writer for that matter. No matter what happens next, no matter how much people surprise - or shock, or disappoint me.
Since when did we Pink folks in South Africa start looking down on and judging other people by their inborn characteristics? When did we decide we were too good to socialize with or compete with others? Where did this smarmy superior attitude and this mentality of "if we can't win, then it must be rigged" come from? When did we decide that gay people are equal to straight people, but some gay people are more equal than others?
It's not just a Pink thing or a gay thing, it seems - but a South African thing. We see it every time the Boks, Proteas or Bafana lose on the playing field, even if it was a fantastic match like last Saturday's rugby battle - with just one point difference in the score. "Ah, they're rubbish!" The "die-hard" SA fans say in disgust, as they take off their team paraphernalia and pretend they were out drinking with their mates instead of watching the game. I can see the same tendency with politics and the folks leaving the country because "their team lost" or "doesn't stand a chance".
I think I've discovered the answer to the problem.... us. The problem is us activists. We're too far ahead of society in SA - many foreigners tell me SA is 20 years behind in terms of societal mindset. It's all our fault for trying to accelerate a process of unity between two groups that never used to socialize before - let alone want to share a stage or a dance floor. I think as activists, we're more-or-less on a mental and social par with US activists, while most of our own community is still stuck on issues of race, having just recently struggled over the language divide between English and Afrikaans... And the human rights activists...we're the thinkers and the do-ers, and we're being ham-strung by having to carry - no, drag - much of our community along behind us at our pace instead of at the slow, plodding pace of their retro-grade thinking.
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.
The first time I heard the name Elna Baker was onthe "Matchmakers" episode ofThis American Liferadio show. Her segment on working for FAO Schwartz is well worth listening to: The beginning makes me laugh hard, and then it packs a sucker-punch of commentary on American racism and classism. Touched by Elna Baker's humor and poignancy, I went looking forher personal website, which has clips of her telling stories. Watching her first video clip, then, I was surprised to learn that Elna Baker is also a practicing Mormon committed to virginity-until-marriage. As she says of her dating experience for the laugh-line, "As a Mormon, I don't believe in having sex, and eventually, as a guy, he didn't believe in that. So atheists do have beliefs."
How many people have died since the dawn of humankind? Millions? Billions? Hundreds of billions? And of those people who have passed into the great hereafter, have any of them EVER returned to this life to tell us of what awaits the living on the other side? No? I don't know anybody who ever died and came back to say, "you know, Tina - the afterlife is pretty cool - I just sat around and ate peeled grapes all day and bantered with God - but I thought it was so cool I should come back and tell you about it." Like I say, I don't know anybody like that. Do you?
What we have is books, written by a bunch of nameless, faceless people thousands of years ago who decided to sit down and write about what they thought life was all about - and no, it wasn't the number "42" either. No, it was a lot more entertaining than that. They wrote about gods who supposedly laid down laws (or was it the authors themselves - how will we EVER know?) and demanded blood and animal sacrifice in order to keep in the "good books" of these deities. And today we have people who quote these works of unprovable potential fiction as "gospel truth" - pardon the pun - and even oppress and persecute other people in the name of these said documents.
Malalai Joya is an Afghan politician who has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan." As an elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from Farah province, she has publicly denounced the presence of what she considers warlords and war criminals in the parliament. She is the author of "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice"
Joya: US backed fundamentalism is at the root of the Afghan problem; foreign troops should get out now
So the Playgirl shots of Levi Johnston were released yesterday. I have to admit that I, like Jolie du Pre, have really been looking forward to them. ...Except, the couple pictures that have been released without charge aren't too exciting.
Surely relevantly, I'm sick to death of hearing about his ex-future-mother-in-law, whom I like to refer to either as "Bible Spice" or "Caribou Barbie." (I wish I could take credit for coming up with either.) For weeks, my Google Reader has been flooded with articles exposing the arch-conservative's hypocrisy, lies, and incompetence - sometimes with good satire. And honestly, I can't pay attention anymore. In her ideology, liberals are the direct tools of Satan, so the frothing wrath of liberals only helps her. All I want is for her to fade back into obscurity where she belongs, and I already regret this post's collaboration in keeping her famous.
My would-be Facebook friend wrote to me again yesterday. I say "would-be", because were it not for the tiny detail that I am a transsexual woman romantically involved with another transsexual woman, and the minor aside that this would-be friend is a "bible-believing Christian" who thinks I have made a "sinful lifestyle choice", we might actually be friends.
Aside from this detail, and the fact that I am also a human rights activist for the pink community, I might be friends with a lot of people who think along the same lines as her, but who might otherwise not actually wish me harmed, ill or dead.
She doesn't seem a bad sort though, this disembodied voice that pops into my inbox every so often just to let me know that the people my articles are aimed at, actually do read them from time to time - and are apparently "sensitive" to them. "I know you mean no harm to what you call sincere people," She says, "but I am afraid that in your writings you are creating a conception that all people are good except bible believing Christians. I am a bible believing christian and it pains me when people create ungrounded perceptions of us..... "
Two thousand years ago a man came to Earth who was called the "Messiah", and who sought to reconcile God and Humanity. The religious called him the "Son of God" and the "Son of Man" and also the "New Covenant", by which the sins of all were wiped clean with his blood. Oddly enough, there are those today who call themselves his followers and him "King Jesus" while "evangelizing" to transform the world into perfect little sinless utopias - and who, by stark contrast also reject completely that which he stood for.
I have often found it strange, if not a little gory that blood is such a recurring theme in the Christian faith - and even more disappointing that it is being supplemented by fresh blood in modern times.
He called people to love others and to show love to others - as they love themselves. He called people to forgive each other for wrongs done to them and not to seek revenge. He encouraged people to do unto others as they would have done to themselves and I have to wonder if they really hate themselves that much? I say this, because if the way they treat others - or would have done to them, then if they are applying this principle as they believe the Son of God commanded them to do, then logically they cannot be very fond of themselves. Not at all.
That March meeting launched a campaign that has led directly to today, when the Ugandan legislature is debating an anti-gay bill that would lead to life imprisonment for gay sex, and death for those having same sex relations if they are HIV positive or having sex with someone under 18. Heterosexuals would have no such restrictions. This law, which would also criminalize any human rights organizing for LGBT rights, could be passed any day.