South Africa

Christina Engela's picture

The Blood Feud Continues...

I keep hearing the SA blood "service" whining about another blood shortage - but at the same time they continue to refuse to accept blood from people who are gay. They won't accept the perfectly good blood that the Pink Community willingly offers - so as far as I'm concerned, they can just whine and whine till they run dry.

They have no reason to not accept our blood. None. Only the terminally stupid or ignorant believes that blanket discrimination is the best way to protect people from receiving HIV infected blood. The problem here is their clear refusal to screen for HIV infected blood - but they clearly have no problem with discriminating against people. And surprisingly, they are allowed by SA's government to continue blatantly thumbing their bigoted little noses at the non-discrimination clauses in our Constitution. What gives?

Every complaint against their unjustifiable bigotry and prejudices has been met with skepticism, regurgitation of right-wing rhetoric asserting the deluded opinion that HIV is caused and spread exclusively by gay people - and that mainstay of South African culture - apathy.

The SA National Blood "Service" bans all gay people who are not sexually inactive for less than 6 months from donating blood.

They also ban blood from males on the grounds of anal sex - as if straight people and women don't indulge in anal sex. Uhuh. Right. Clearly these jackasses should watch a little of the pornography they take a so-called moral stand against - they would be educated quite quickly into abandoning this little fantasy of theirs - and naturally I am referring to the heterosexual variety.
Christina Engela's picture

Come To The Dark Side - We Have Cookies Too

Christians - you just can't seem to win with them. If you're gay, you're evil. If you're not religious, you're evil. If you're an atheist, you're a "willing pawn of the devil". If you believe in another god or gods, or even call their god by another name, you're evil. If you are tolerant of other faiths, or of homosexuals - then you're "misled", "backsliding" or yep, evil.

If you're gay and a Christian (horror of horrors), they want to cut up your membership card and deny that you are part of their club (or ever were), and when you abandon their faith or even go so far as to change religions and want nothing more to do with them, they still persecute you because you have somehow "proved them right" - and then they see you as an even bigger "threat" to their paranoiac little "worldview".

Many Christians automatically assume everyone else is a Christian too, or if they aren't, should be - which is why I often receive these annoying spam chain letters filled with snarky comments about Muslims or other faiths - or about us dirty rotten trannies and queers who just don't seem to get the message. God has got our number and will be coming round to punish us for our "sinful lifestyle choice" - oh yes, and presumably to pat them on the head for a job well done. And quite often, these people do not realize the harm they do to their own image and their own cause - take for example the following:

The world is always ending, the sky is always falling, and there are always "signs of the end times". I am seriously looking forward to the 22nd May 2011 - because I am going to taunt every fundamentalist half-wit who sent me a chain letter about the end of the world being nigh on the 21st with: "Hey guess what, the world didn't end yesterday - don't we feel stooopiiid?" LMAO. Just like the other twenty-odd dates I've heard of in the past few years. What happened? Was it postponed? Cancelled due to poor attendance? Why didn't I get the memo? LOL. Now, ahem - before someone runs off to report me for being a "Christophobe" (that one was specially for "Dr" Peter Hammond of the FF and CAN conglomerate whose wonderful book exposed our cunning plan to take over the world), let me move on to my point.
Christina Engela's picture

SA - Not So Liberal After All


Not interested in politics? Not interested in how the government spends its time - and your money? Really? Think we live in a nice, quiet, safe country where all is right with the world? The government is benevolent and doing its best to deliver all the things it claims to? Think it lives up to our Constitution? Think it cares about all the people who live in South Africa? Think there is no reason to be concerned with anything to do with politics?

Who is still naive enough to think we aren't already living in a police state? Come on, don't be shy - put your hands up.

Think about it for a moment. No, really.

The South African Police "Service" have resumed the use of a military rank system - and their "General" has told them for all intents and purposes to shoot first and ask questions later - and to shoot to kill. People accused of crimes, innocent or not, spend years in prison awaiting trial. The recent spate of police brutality and excessive force and unjustifiable violence has resulted in comparisons between the current Police "Service" and the old Apartheid-era Police "Force" - and these comparisons have been made not just by the average citizen - but also by those formerly oppressed by the old Police Force. Looking at it closely, one can understand perfectly why.

Two weeks back, a local activist in Ficksburg was brutally assaulted and then shot dead by a group of policemen in riot gear - this despite the fact that the man was not even resisting them. The fact that this transpired openly in front of press cameras and journalists, speaks of a shameful devaluation of human life and threatens to redefine the term "transparency". Last week, an unarmed civilian was shot dead by a policeman in the street outside a police station while in her private vehicle, apparently after colliding with a parked police vehicle. It is as though the average police officer these days doesn't care a damn what they do and who sees it and knows about it - because the "boss" said it is "okay" and they are after all, "only doing their job". Also last week, it was reported that a policeman at a crime scene refused to call an ambulance for a wounded victim despite repeated pleas to do so because "she was going to die anyway". And yes, the victim did die - but who made this policeman an expert in the medical field? The fact that she did die doesn't prove him right - if anything, it makes him complicit. So first we had "shoot to kill" - now we have cops who think they are qualified to decide whether shooting victims will die or not. We now have police officers who seem to think they are the law and they are above it.
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

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

The Joys Of Being Trans In SA


I went to renew my driver's license today. Oh, you have no idea. It was an adventure. Funny, you would think that once you were found competent enough to drive a car or own a gun, and not having any serious misdemeanors logged against your name - that you wouldn't need to keep reapplying for various permits? It is an interesting innovation in South Africa, figuring a way to make people pay for the same damn thing over and over again - and paying more each time. What fun.

 

 

So off to the merry traffic department I went.

 

 

First, there were no pens on the counters - that's right, none. I asked the lady at inquiries for a pen, and she acted as if I were crazy for not somehow psychically knowing I should have brought my own! Wow. So what now? I was told to ask one of the "car guards" outside for a pen. I did - it cost me three times the price at CNA for an ordinary cheap yellow Bic pen - and the f****r had the cheek to still ask me for "loose change" on top of that.

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

So Who Is Erroll Naidoo?


Over a number of days recently, I was engaged in an email debate with Erroll Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute based in Cape Town. The reason for the debate? Mr Naidoo is leading an attack on Cape Town Tourism over its support for the Mother City Queer Project, and the use of a catch-phrase advertising Cape Town as "the Gay Capital of South Africa". Some of us wanted to inform him that he was being an ass and making human rights abusers out of himself and all those who support his call to target entities which he frequently accuses of "promoting the homosexual agenda".
 
In the course of this debate, Mr Naidoo played the card which has become expected of him - that is, he pretends to be nothing more than a "concerned citizen", a "pastor" and "faithful Christian" who is nobly "standing" for "Christian biblical values" while "doing the Lord's work". He says he doesn't hate gay people, in fact he says he has a good relationship with one gay man who has been his barber for 30 years, and whom he invites to family celebrations. Right.
 
At the same time, he has been using his own religious views to fight against the equality and civil rights of our community since the early 1990's, and is probably the most outspoken and visceral opponent of our human and civil rights in South Africa. Well, aside from that other guy on Facebook last year who claimed to be calling for the return of the death penalty because he was a Christian and believed gay people should die for their "sin". Wow, seri-haas. Not exactly good PR material, that one.
 
Be that as it may, I have grown used to the periodic emails sent out by Erroll as the FPI, urging Christians to support his work in influencing government to pass laws, to turn theocratic and fundamentalist, to send emails notifying various companies of their intent to boycott them if they don't acquiesce to his ludicrous demands - and he is always "standing". What for? Surely those sexy legs of his are tired of standing by now? He is also perpetually asking people for money and favors to do it - because fighting against human rights and equality takes serious money, you know - and right now the world is in a recession and people would rather spend money on important stuff - like putting food on the table.
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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