As Lawrence Mute reports in a long article at AllAfrica.com, the entitety of Anglophone Africa failed to back the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity. It is perhaps surprising that South Africa abstained as that is a country which does recognise changes of recorded gender.
Tag Archives: Homophobia
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 Barely a month later, it’s been revoked in the face of protests.
There is a gathering and live concert this Saturday in at the West Hollywood Auditorium, California in support of overturning Prop 8 and against the Defence of Marriage Act. For more details, refer to FaceBook.
Prop 8 is something many trans people feel strongly about and the trans community is for – or once! – pretty united it seems in wanting to stand with the LGB movement in support of same sex marriages. The dynamic is even stronger in the USA as Some states still don’t allow trans people to change their birth certificates so the ban on same sex marriages can also become a double whammy for some trans people. For example a trans woman in Ohio wanting to marry a man cannot do so: she cannot get her female gender recognised and therefore her desired marriage is considered a same sex marriage.
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.