All posts for the day June 19th, 2009

Obituary: Kamala Das

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Obituary: Kamala Das | World news | The Guardian
The article reports the death of Kamala Das, Indian poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist and memoirist aged 75. Like many of us her lived experience seemingly inspired her work as the

“vulnerable child-woman trying to create meaning in an inconstant world; nostalgia for a serene, rural past; the unfair privileges of caste and wealth; and the contradictions of motherhood. “

Is this an experience we all share in coming to know ourselves, life seems to be for many a battle, rather than a journey to self. It is the process not the destination which is important and to archive this we need to engage with and confront life.

“Das was at the forefront of a new movement in Indian English poetry, a shift in focus from the colonial experience to the personal.”

Das seemingly was one of those leaders who do so by example, by sharing her wisdom through self-expression to challenge the status quo. In achieving this moved effetely between different mediums, it seems that how something is said is not as important as it being said is.

“Das would move adroitly between genres (poetry, fiction, memoir) and languages (English and Malayalam).”I speak three languages, write in two, dream in one,” she wrote in An Introduction, a poem from her first collection, summer in Calcutta (1965).” She spoke of womanhood in authentic ways

“She began to break taboos with her early poetry, in which she celebrated her sexuality and advised women to “Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of/ Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,/ The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your/ Endless female hungers …” (The Looking Glass, from The Descendants, 1967).”

She also gave voice to women’s experiences under the oppression of men and society

“In My Story (1976), she recounted the trials of her marriage and her painful self-awakening as a woman and writer. She became an icon for women, in India and elsewhere, struggling to liberate themselves from sexual and domestic oppression.”
“Das’s rebellions were more multidimensional than she was given credit for.

“Das’s spontaneity often translated into whimsicality and earned the ire of critics, but it allowed her to explore the paradoxes of life and relationships with emotional honesty.”

Kamala Das, poet and writer, born 31 March 1934; died 31 May 2009

Marriage Equality Attitudes: Simply Knowing Gay People Helps, But Isn’t Enough Beyond Homophobia

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Marriage Equality Attitudes: Simply Knowing Gay People Helps, But Isn’t Enough

The article talks about findings of recent US Gallop poll (May 09), the author raises the question of contact with a person who identifies as gay or lesbian is enough to influence their views on same sex marriage. While he article raises a number of relevant questions, it does get a little academic. They argue that contact (ill defined) was enough, without knowing the person to shape heterosexuals’ views. My view being that our greatest supporters can be our family and friends or more concisely those who know and love us.

If interested please read the article, it raises a number of relevant questions for the community. The most significant of these being that people who know us are more likely to support our fight for equality that an associate. It seems that familiarity may breed support rather than contempt it is in the sharing of your story with others you can gain support. My view being that by sharing your lived experience with other’s they get to know you as a real person and not simply one of them.

Ur so gay. So what?

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Ur so gay. So what? | most, care, popular – Exclusive –

I love the article Mr Comer speaks his mind on the need for celebrities in our community to make some kind of public confession on their identity. The article refers to Adam Lambert American Idol runner-up declaration that he is gay and son of Icon Cher, Chaz Bono community rights activist undergoing gender or really sex reassignment. The author raises the question why do these celebrities and others need to make such public statements on private matters. His wish

“We lived in a world where Lambert and Bono would not feel that they had to disclose such intimate details about themselves. …they could take their sexuality for granted just as most of us straight people do…”

I note Mr Comer’s need to make his own gender identity clear several times in the article of being a heterosexual man, I wonder why. However, the target for his scorn is the media, which he is also a member of, he goes on to say

“It would be ridiculous if every straight celebrity felt they had to proclaim his or her desire for the opposite sex, so why should famous gay people feel forced to have to announce their preference?”

I simply refer back to his mention of “us straight people” and being the partner of pop star Katy Perry. While the intent of a call for an egalitarian observation of gender rights the execution was a little untidy. In his defence, he quotes Dr King’s legendary October 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. when he declared

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Mr Comer goes on to say that the “same respect must absolutely be afforded to those among us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender . . .it’s character that counts…”

This later does not escape me as Mrs King put it

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“I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”… “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern.”

The Political Carnival: Hatred and the far right

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

The Political Carnival: Hatred and the far right

The article speaks to the relatively recent rise in Hate group activities in the US (circa 2009). However, these people are out there at all times, except the media ignores them until it is convenient like many things to pump up their sensationalist noise factor. Although as a community, they and their minions are part of our lived experience, in espousing some highly selective vitriol against our very existence. While these ignorant people are found wanting due to the inconsistencies in their argument, some quote from the Bible, however over looking its messages of love and acceptance believing these are only for the selected few. Their logic in arguing something that is in opposition to the source they claim as supporting the position held, escapes all reason. It would seem logic has little to do with HATE or ANGER, they seem to cloak the real emotion and neutralise any chance of reconciliation or do they.
It may speak to our strength as a community both in surviving their ongoing attacks and in actively mounting a resistance to this lunacy. The source of this resistance being our PRIDE, an ability to in example openly defend, lobby and express ourselves in a positive way to the wider community.

Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston: Why Americans Ignore the Poor – Huffingon Post

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston: Why Americans Ignore the Poor

Why does America seemingly vilify their economically disadvantaged citizens, in the home of the brave if your poor it is always your fault. Not that the top end of town is receiving government handouts through middle class welfare initiatives. I have never been able to work out why centre right political parties and governments not only advocate but also legislate middle class welfare. Is this the leftover of trickledown economics, Reganism that brought us the economic injustices of the 80’s and the recent credit crisis? While the economically disadvantaged including working work are feed some line about an achievable universal self-actualizing dream.

This fantasy rebranded by various conservative & liberal governments using the nations name the American or Australian the 3 bedroom home, car, employment you know what i mean. The only way most people can achieve it is through credit debut, while shopkeepers pump out weekly sale with all its promises of increased socials status only if you purchase the goods. . What happens if you are just scraping by and in no way able to achieve financial independence? In America it seems the individual is a faul, the caused the myriad of social issues and not the wealth with political protection & patronage.

For Latinos and blacks, a call for unity, not hate

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

For Latinos and blacks, a call for unity, not hate

This article speaks to the debt Latinos have to the Black Civil Rights Movement in advancing civil rights in the past 40-50 yrs. Subsequently the need for this community to show due respect for the African American’s sacrifice in advancing racial equity that Latinos have benefited. How does this relate to our community we too have a debut of gratitude to the Black Civil Rights Movement and Feminists whose struggle have enabled us to make significant gains over the same time period. While we have own history i.e. the homophiles, Stonewall and Gay Liberation, all in their own way and subsequently others have shaped our history. Sometime we lose site of the battles previously fought and won, when engaged in our current campaigns.

This article should serve, as a reminder that we all discriminate may be not in the same way as our foe but in other ways. If we don’t stand up against discrimination who will if one person is discriminated against because of who they are, we are all discriminated against. Even those who have the good fortune to experience privilege for whatever arbitrary reason, in the end those who hate will find out. This may be a word or action, which will remind you that you are one of the other, marginalised by mainstream.

Privilege and Ignorance Speak Volumes

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Womanist Musings

The link makes comment on the ignorance that fires the prejudice expressed by some through denial of discrimination. Admittedly, every member of ours and other marginalised communities has experienced the venom of haters through their lived experience. The poison of denial that people are discriminated at the beginning of the 21st centenary, however ignorance still fires up old hate, which until rallies against the advances made in the past 50 years. Since the times of MLK, Malcolm X, Flower Power, Women Liberation (second wave Feminism) & Stonewall, and many others who all stood up for equality. In all this sacrifice we the Other gained much, however our detractors still hold power and their minions still espouse their vile hate.

Among the thing we ask for is

•respect our human and civil rights, we do not expect you to agree with wholly us as we surely cannot agree wholly with you
• Mind what you safe and if you want to contribute think before you speak or act
•ask questions rather than pass judgements, nobody knows everything google or yahoo first
•we don’t discriminate and willingly encourage you to know us
•Educate don’t discriminate

The Queer World We live in

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos have last laugh on Darwin – Times Online

The article discusses the diverse social arrangements or relationships animals enter into, there is nothing groundbreaking in this News. However, my question why our community puts such weight in these types of stories, it has been posted, reposted, tweeted, re-tweeted, blogged and done the rounds of mainstream media. While there is a promise not to get into any psychobabble, it does sit in the back of one’s mind Ok quickly, because we regularly experience some form of rejection and sadly some more than others. The conservative mantra of ‘homosexuality being unnatural does tend to rub a wound in both the individual and collective psyche.

Do not be mistaken that there is any presumption here this question has to be answered by each of us. Some of us come-out with the support of a loving family, while others do not we experience probably the greatest pain an person can rejection by the ones we love, along with that of the society we live in. The pain begins to build in layers that eventually can weigh us down, then a light a story of hope that proves to our detractors that we are normal or our feelings are natural. It is proof that God/Mother Nature/science or whatever name you use created us.

It is hard to face rejection without hope that is why we have a community that celebrates PRIDE

You’ve found us out, Pete: We want gay kids to be treated like humans

Published June 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

You’ve found us out, Pete: We want gay kids to be treated like humans
Good As You:: Gay and Lesbian Activism With a Sense of Humor

I am heartened by the work of people like Kevin Jennings (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network founder and executive director) and currently Obama education appointee. This entry focuses on comments made by Mr Jennings at GLSEN’s Mid-Atlantic conference, held October 25, 1997. It speaks to a wide held view among our detractors that we actively recruit people to become gay, otherwise known as the gay agenda. The spectre of McCarthyism figures highly in my thoughts on this view, it is 2009 our kids deserve better than to suffer under the hysteria of 1950’s bigotry. GLSEN gives them that chance to be who they are and find respect and acceptance in the communities they live.