discrimination

All posts in the discrimination category

Rag Tag Army

Published June 27, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

On the 28 June 1969, a rag tag queer army of accidental heroes when confronted by the NYPD during a public morals raid at the Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village struck back. The Stonewalls’ patrons at that time mostly drag queens, transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth, the most marginalised of us from within our community and without. This iconic battle known as the Stonewall Riots touted as the birth of the modern gay rights movement ironically was fought stiletto to billy club but not by the homophile organisations but the undesirables demanding the respect and dignity due them as human beings.

In the 1960s and 1970s a time of grassroot political action dominated by calls for liberation or ‘root and branch’ social reform, saw many confrontations between the people and authorities. Times were a changing fast, earlier movements included the homophile organisations whose aim was social respectability through integration and later through the Gay Liberation Movement we voiced demands for social reform.

Today

As we enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century, we see gay rights organisations inheritors of the homophile perspective campaign for marriage equality, while kids kill themselves because of homophobic bullying. It seems unclear how a trip to town hall will change the norms underpinning this discrimination and persecution experienced within and by our communities.  The question here does marriage equality represent for some the opportunity to reconcile with patriarchal institutions in providing them a sense of social acceptance, while us undesirables still suffer the reality of social sanctions.

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IDAHO

Published May 17, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Today is IDAHO  Day or the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to highlight “that in reality it is homophobia that is shameful and must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly”. We need to be mindful that while our communities experience homophobia it is not our issue alone, it is that of a society which labours under the weight of heteronormativity, a political lie. Heteronormativity, a “concept that reveals the expectations, demands, and constraints produced when heterosexuality is taken as normative within a society”. Therefore, by default labelling all non-conforming representations  to the ideal  sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender roles i.e. LGBTI as deviant and legitimate targets for social sanction.  The principal example of a social sanctions here Homophobia, a penalty to ensure compliance by all not just our communities to the norm.

While the Rainbow Nation champion’s action against homophobia, two barriers remain for us to overcome this root of all discrimination and persecution.

  • How can we argue against homophobia when we may discriminate against for example effeminate men, people who identify as transgender and/or bisexual?
  • We do not tend to embrace the full diversity of the Rainbow Nation rather we tend to engage in similar normative themed arguments as our detractors.

Whether I was born this way or not

Accept me

AS I AM

We are many but We must act as one

Published May 16, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

The reality of the Rainbow Nation

The B of LGBT

The B in LGBT is a blog entry by @tcwaters reflecting on a story about perceived biases against people who identify as bisexual titled Lady Gaga Is Not an Ally to Our Community on The Bilerico Project. @tcwaters does not deny that people who identify as bisexual are not members of our community it just he has never thought about it previously until he read the Bilerico Project article. The author makes two interesting observations that Lesbian and Gay men may or may not really consider the bisexual experience and that we are not really one big homogenous “community.

The Personal

I use many different labels to define my identity including Queer, Gay & Bisexual but never heterosexual discounting it as a nonsense. In my early teens, I often thought of myself as bisexual, however, I could not say that I really was but it gave me comfort. Therefore, I can comfortably say that bisexuality is no alien concept to me it is a reality that your love is not limited by arbitrary gender divisions.

The Rainbow Nation

The dream, that one day the diverse communities of the Rainbow Nation will sit down together in an open and frank conversation to address strategically the discrimination we all experience. In a hostile heteronormative world, even with all the advances over time we still fight everyday to defend our right to be who we are. Our greatest barrier it seems is the lack of leadership to breach our internal biases, which see us discriminate against our own. This situation sees us construct, maintain, and reinforce politically convenient divisions, which in turn perpetuate the sameness that imprisons us. We like other marginalised people sit on the back stoop of the Master’s mansion fighting over scraps from his trashcan while trying not to be shot.

The greatest threat to our rights is ourselves

Only United shall we overcome

Nakba 2011

Published May 16, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Violence erupts on Israel’s borders (31/05/11)

Violence erupted on Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday, leaving at least eight dead and dozens wounded, as Palestinians marked what they term “the catastrophe” of Israel’s founding in 1948. (ABC News Aust)

Israel seemingly has become the paranoid bully of the region today being Nakba Day it has launched a violent attack on its neighbours. This in is in no way an isolated event but another episode in an active long-term political and military campaign by Israel to neutralise any perceived Palestinian and Arab threats to its sovereignty. My thesis in a post-WWII the world seeming racked by guilt because of its inaction over Nazi Germany’sFinal Solution’ the Allies  enabled the establishment of Israel. This has effectively seen the destruction of Palestine evident in the Nakba & other regular violent disputes between the Palestinian peoples and the State of Israel. Israel has the seeming universal backing of The West in its ongoing campaign to establish and maintain its legitimacy.

It is time for the world to take this bully to task and apply the wisdom of Solomon by dividing the land equally between the disputing parties.

I support the right of both these nations to exist as equals among other countries of the world

Welcome to the back of the bus

Published May 16, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Mental Health –  experience of discrimination & stigma

In my cyber wanderings, I discovered Diagnosed Bipolar? Welcome to the Back of the Bus! this piece seeks to highlight the discrimination and  stigma people with a mental condition may experience in contemporary America.  The title reflects on the discriminatory practices of the past the forced African Americans to sit in the back of public bus services a form of apartheid or race segregation. It provides the reader with some insight on the perceived experiences of stigma by a person with a mental illness. The only disappointing point here is an attempt to argue about degrees of discrimination and the inference that other marginal groups may not experience the level of stigma that people with mental illness may.

My view is that to discriminate against one person is an injustice perpetrated against us all, there is no degree of discrimination that is why marginalised people need to meet the challenge and stand as one. People may experience discrimination based on number of arbitrary demographic divisions, what about the M-F transgender butch lesbian Black Muslim diagnosed with schizophrenia. I realise some may see this as an extreme example but I am hoping people get the message that issues of identity like discrimination are complex. Therefore, the focus here is on educating people to embrace social diversity with an open mind and in a respectful way to gain an understanding of each other in striving for a more just society.

Do people living with bipolar disorder experience stigma and discrimination

LGBT suicidality

Published May 10, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Popula tions: Review and Recommendations Article (HTML) “Journal of Homosexuality” Jan 2011

When I first saw this article, I thought something new that somebody has realised that the LGBT communities face a higher risk from suicide. The acknowledgement by this panel of academics of how social factors like stigma and discrimination contribute to suicidality or suicidal behaviours of people who identify seems refreshing. In so much as it validates our experiences that these factors detract from our individual and community wellness.

Such as

  • Rejection or abuse by family members or peers
  • Bullying and harassment
  • denunciation from religious communities
  • individual discrimination
  • Discriminatory laws and public policies have a profound negative impact

Their Recommendations include

  • LGBT organizations to lead efforts to encourage early identification of mental health issues
  • Push for the development and testing of a wider range of culturally appropriate mental health treatments and suicide prevention initiatives.
  • Revision of diagnoses pertaining to transgender people in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (due out in 2013) to affirm that gender identity, expression and behavior that differ from birth sex is not indicative of a mental disorder.
  • Improving information about LGBT people by measuring  sexual orientation and gender identity in all national health surveys in which respondents’ privacy can be adequately protected, and encouraging researchers to include such measures in general population studies related to suicide and mental health.

Criticism

Social factors trigger LGBT suicidality these recommendations do not seek to address the issue but at some level manage the symptom.  The symptom being suicidality the issue here is stigma and discrimination experienced by people who identify as LGBT and their communities. It is not a pathological process but a social issue requiring a political intervention not a clinical one. While the later may assist the individual in developing personal resilience, it is a bandaid measurer. A political side step, which focuses on the victim rather than critically responding to the underlying issue

Gay in School

Published May 4, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Gay in School

This episode of Insight explored the topic of “more and more kids are coming out in their teens. What does it mean for students, parents and teachers?”  There is the usual gaggle of passionate, naive and ignorant people expressing simplistic views on a complex topic. I avoid these types of shows because I become so frustrated when people attempt to argue a point often lost in the pain of their own story. Alternately, you have those less enlightened among us argue from a position informed by dogma over reason.

The topics

Homophobia (working definition only) – is more about society ensuring people comply with Heteronormativity as the default. It violently dehumanizes, alienates and marginalizes any who offer a threat to the norm through their thoughts and actions. The most obvious targets are the LGBT communities and we do take this issue personally, because homophobia questions our very existence and is a physical danger. Therefore, for the LGBT communities homophobia is about survival and not some academic argument around inequality. However, it is this very point that limits our ability to engage in any debate to address this without becoming somewhat emotionally overwhelmed and defensive.

In this context, homophobia is about ensuring compliance from all teens to the rules of Heteronormativity. It is a whole of community issue not one solely for the LGBT communities to address. The reasoning behind this position is the institutionalisation of homophobia, even in the face of recent progressive reforms. We as a society discriminate against the other because they are not the same, in doing so deny the diverse nature of humanity.

 Bullying – is often a manifestation of homophobia in addressing the later the former would readily be resolved. If we accepted social diversity or that people interact in a myriad of legitimate ways then there would be no need for a moral policeman like bullying to enforce compliance to a narrow set of dysfunctional cultural conventions.

Identity – Personal conception and expression – the psychological & social   

Sex (biological) , gender (social) , sexual orientation identity , Sexual orientation

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex

The issue here seems to be more about how the existences of people, who do not confirm with cultural convention, challenge the status quo. It seems throughout the ages the LGBT communities find themselves fighting everyday to challenge the ignorance of Heteronormativity .  Heterosexism a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favour of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships, which in affect institutionalises homophobia legitimises violence and marginalises the other. How to challenge this situation question the norm, challenge the status quo and reject sameness.

diversity is the reality of the human condition

Coming out can be an event or process for the individual in disclosing aspects of their identity, like all of life’s developmental milestones it comes with its challenges. There is no arbitrary age when somebody becomes aware of sexual orientation rather it is all normal until somebody tells him or her differently.  We know about the social sanctions, which enforces a level of compliance with societal norms. Sometimes we feel compelled to comply, reject and ignore with each decision adding an additional layer of guilt around not being normal.. What we ask of the people who love us is unconditional support if we choose to come out.