Theme: Opposing grave Human Rights Violations on the basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.
I have not posted much because I am massively disillusioned with trans activism in the UK which refuses to understand how far the UK has moved and concern that stories are sometimes used as a point rather than in compassion for the victim. This UN video, however, is a landmark and is something that everybody should watch. It reinforces how lucky we are in the UK – I wish people would remember that because, I believe, until we do, we cannot really understand how bad the situation is on other countries.
Warning: this is a speech which is emotionally powerful and some may find deeply upsetting. There are no disturbing images – just truth about brutality in many countries.
There’s a full version of the even (85 minutes) here
Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights is the name of a TUC-sponsored conference to discuss homophobia and transphobia in faith communities taking place on Saturday 16th May. There’s more about it on the Morning Star site.
Personally I have reservations about this. In some quarters there is entrenched homophobia and transphobia within some (but not most) faith communities. There is, however, a problem within the LGBT community that quite unacceptable anti-religous views are tolerated. Both sides of the divide need to grow up, not just one side.
Since devolution, Scotland has developed a reputation for social conscience. The Herald reports two stories:
- Stonewall Scotland (who unlike Stonewall in the UK do fight for trans rights) addressed SMPs on the benefits of creating a new offence of homophobic and transphobic attacks. Ms Stokes told MSPs: “We need to make it very, very clear that homophobia is not acceptable, that transphobia is not acceptable, that everyone has rights and deserves to be treated decently.”
- The Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Network (LGBT) presented a petition which will be considered by a Holyrood committee. They are proposing and amendment to the Marriage (Scotland) Act to allow same-sex couples to marry in either civil ceremonies, or religious ones (where the religion permits it).
Fresh on the heals of the reports from Gainesville Florida, it seems Kalamazoo, Michigan has beated Gainesville to it. In December Kalamazoo passed an ordinance protecting LGBT rights. Barely a month later, it’s been revoked in the face of protests.
OK I’ve found a bit more:
Firstly the Citizens for Good Public Policy have their site here, which describes what the proposed amendment will do, and links to a copy of the draft amendment. They intention is stated as follows:
The proposed amendment, if approved by the voters of Gainesville, will require the city’s civil rights categories (contained in the Code of Ordinances) to match the State of Florida’s civil rights categories. This action will remove two current categories—sexual orientation and gender identity disorder—as well as nullify current laws, such as the Gender Identity Ordinance, that specifically pertain to these categories.
That’s a particularly evil (and I use the word advisedly) ordinance as it completely removes all legal protections from anybody who is gay or trangendered.
There’s also a decent Associated Press article which summarises the state of play and includes a little map to show where Gainesville lies in Florida.
As a Christian myself, I am saddened that somewhat ambiguous remarks by the Pope have been reported as attacks on transsexualism. For instance Christian Today says ‘In an attack on transsexuals, the Pope said, “It is not man who decides who is a man or woman but God.”’ Actually the Pontiff’s remarks are ambiguous and could be read as supportive of transsexualism because an MTF transsexual person doesn’t choose to be a woman: she was made [by God] as a woman and is obeying her destiny in choosing to live her life that way. It is illustrative, however, that Christian Today has seized upon the remarks as an ‘attack’ on transsexuals and used them to justify their own transphobic stance. Whether the Pope’s remarks were transphobic is clouded in doubt: it is certain that the reporting of those remarks by certain elements of the Christian press is transphobic.
However, although he does not specifically mention homosexuality, it is hard to read the address as anything other than homophobic.
I might add that this is a story for which press reporting seems exceptionally sensationalist (in both directions) and, so far as I can discern, a majority of articles repeat mis-quotes from other publications and fail to go back to quote the original text accurately.
I have now read a Google translation (http://tinyurl.com/7nykdw) of the full address and cannot see anything obviously transphobic in the original text. It also seems only indirectly homophobic. Hopefully an authorised translation will appear on the Vatican site in the next few days. Certainly this reinforces my view that this whole flap has been greatly exaggerated by the press editorialising to get across their own prejudices.
Stonewall has created a storm by announcing that Julie Bindell has been shortlisted for the award of Journalist of the Year for an awards ceremenony on 6th November 2008 at the V&A in London. Bindell’s writing has long been criticised by the trans community, and for views which many trans people believe to be transphobic, such as an infamous article in the Guardian in which she said of trans women “I don’t have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women”.
Particular anger has been directed at Stonewall over this move because of Stonewall’s stance in relating to homophobic writings and song lyrics. There is a strong feeling that Stonewall ought to know better.