transphobia

Christina Engela's picture

I Woke Up This Morning

I woke up this morning, alone. The space beside me, cold and empty. You should have been there, but you weren't. Your pride was too strong and you were too good for me, remember? Well, I do. How could I ever forget?

You said you could handle my past, you said you could face the future by my side. But somehow both issues became just too steep for you to climb over. What I am and what I was before was just too much for you to accept or deal with, your misplaced faith that I could be anything else just too much for me to give in to, or capitulate.

Nothing in this universe could stop the process I went through to become who I am, nor turn it back to what I was, nor make me perfect enough for me to be acceptable to you. And so here we are, two opposites in a world of opposing forces, assigned labels like 'good' and 'evil' simply for how we come into this world, how we cope with it, and how we go out from it. In a world where we are taught too much that it matters, how can I blame you any further?
Christina Engela's picture

Christo-fascism Anti-fun Police At Work In SA

In recent times I began pondering more deeply about religious matters. Having come from a Christian background, I am more familiar with the way things work in what Pagans tend to describe as a "book religion" - by this is meant - a religion which is defined by a set of rules in a book, and a dogma which is taught and enforced in its temples, homes and wherever its adherents go.

The concept is firmly aimed at extending control over its adherents. You're not allowed to question or challenge anything. You're not supposed to innovate or find your own path or "cherry-pick" which principles in the book you're going to adhere to, and which not - which oddly enough is precisely what the fundamentalists do, even though they certainly won't admit to it. You're not supposed to think, argue or challenge anything - and least of all, to test it for yourself. You're supposed to do nothing but follow, keep your mouth shut, trust, have faith - and above all, to obey the doctrine.

Anyone who doesn't comply is outside the church, outside the law and out of "the grace of god" - or so they clam. When you begin to pick at the stitching holding this bag of nuts together of course, it begins to unravel somewhat dramatically.

The entire concept of a book religion is a house of cards - built on the foundation of the book itself. Therefore it can never be more firm than the foundation upon which it is set. It is claimed that the book is the work or writing of the foundational god of the book religion itself - and once you realize that "hang on a minute, some blokes wrote all this stuff down" - it's pretty much a domino effect from there. That's right - for a book to be entirely produced by the central deity of the religion - i.e. a set of laws given by it to Humanity itself, would amount to tantamount proof of the existence of that deity. Unfortunately, not one single copy of the Christian bible (or any other holy book) has been found with any signs that it was written by anything other than ordinary mortal men - no matter what their adherents claim. Oops.
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

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

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

Broad-Spectrum Anti-Idiotics

"Before Carol was a Carol they were a David, strange but true. Make some hard cash and any transexual can become a woman."
This is broadly speaking the comment someone made about somebody else in a discussion I was part of recently. They had it in for somebody whom they didn't agree with on some or other matter, and went around posting articles and comments venting their dislike for them - and in each case pointing out the detail that they were "transsexual", only to later have it pointed out to them that they had it completely wrong - "Carol" as it were, is intersex, not transsexual.

Personal differences aside, it made me wonder why some people find it necessary to pick out a particular characteristic of somebody they don't get on with - and then use that as an insult and a judgment - at the same time insulting and judging all other people who have that feature in common too.

That is like saying "Joe Soap, who is an Aquarius, is an incredibly bad cook - and therefore all other Aquariuses are too". Make sense?

I see no need for some people to climb into somebody's gender pedigree or to vilify or mock someone for being intersex or make it a point of special mention every single time they are brought up as a topic of discussion. This form of "entertainment" is cheap and degrading of transgender and intersex people.

It is the same as mentioning ''John who wrote "X title", the topic of our article - and only has one testicle (so he is therefore by implication, less of a man than me) Hahaha". It is irrelevant. And if it is being used as a means to ridicule or whip up sentiment against somebody, it makes it even worse. If you don't like somebody then just say so - it is unnecessary to offend all other transsexual, transgender or intersex people because you dislike one person who happens to also be transsexual or intersex.

A little clarity on the differences between intersex and transgender seems required on the topic of transsexuality in comparison to intersexuality. Allow me to provide it.
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.
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