human rights

All posts in the human rights category

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

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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

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

The Arab Spring

Published April 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

It seems strange I have chosen at this time to write on what some call The Arab Spring, a series of protest in Africa and the Middle East nations against authoritarian rulers. A people’s movement featuring various forms of civil disobedience for example rallies, marches and strikes sometimes met with open violence by authorises. These events have seen increasing civil unrest across the region as the democratic tsunami rolled from Tunisia through Egypt and beyond. It has resulted in regime change, with the legislative/policy change, sacking of several governments, heads of state resigning, and even civil war. The people voice demands for political reform to end decades of authoritarian rule, which is unprecedented in the region.

Including

Tunisian Revolution , 2011 Egyptian Revolution , 2011 Libyan civil war

2010–2011 Algerian protests, 2011 Bahraini protests, 2011 Djiboutian protests

2011 Iranian protests, 2011 Iraqi protests, 2011 Jordanian protests

2011 Moroccan protests, 2011 Omani protests, 2011 Syrian protests

2011 Yemeni protests, and others

What inspires me about these events is the civil passion to challenge the violent authority of aging dictators and seek to reinvigorate their nations. While I see, the calls for democracy in simple terms as a people demanding change to improve their lives. Some have described this social change movement as a youth movement. However, in these protests I have seen people from across the lifespan standing up and demanding social justice.

It is not about

Debates based on competing political philosophiesAmerican Imperial, Capitalism  and Socialism

Islamist threats verse Western interests around securing oil supplies

The power of social mediaTwitter, Facebook and the blogger sphere theses are tools they are not feet on the ground

Traditional relations between the West & Arab people – as those being ousted are mainly Western puppets

However equally it may be about some and/or all of the above

All I can say is let the passions of the people reinforce their resolve in seeking to write their own destiny and defeat those who seek to expunge the flame of justice.

Them boats keep coming?

Published July 18, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Human Rights

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

Immigration – Pull or Push Factors

Asylum seekers or illegal immigrants

Other boat people – this is not a new issue

Who now

Afghanistan Sri Lanka

Tamils

Policy History

Children Overboard Affair Pacific solution Tampa affair

Refugee Detention centres

Temporary Protection Visa

Where to

Indonesia Malaysia East Timor Nauru

Issues

People smugglers

Border security

Xenophobia Racism

White Australia

War on Terror

wedge politics

Where from

Indonesia Malaysia

Where to

East Timor Nauru

What is the real debate here?

A Liberal’s Hit List: Poverty in the LGBT Community

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

A Liberal’s Hit List: Poverty in the LGBT Community

The article gives some limited commentary on a recent report by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law titled

“Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community”.

It highlights a number of findings that question the myth of ‘the power of the pink dollar’, in that households in Our Community are at least as likely—and at times more likely—to be poor than married heterosexual couples. The rigour of this claim may need further consideration however the point here is to be mindful that our people come from a diverse socio-economic background.

40 Years Later, Still Second-Class Americans

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Op-Ed Columnist – 40 Years Later, Still Second-Class Americans – NYTimes.com

The article written by a straight who acknowledges his ignorance to our history gives a clear commentary on the changing attitudes to our community from the Stone Wall Riots through to the present. In 1969, we had no political muscle, no presents, other than as phantoms of the tearoom. Even the much-laundered  Stonewall Riots  seen today as the birth of our civil rights movement was simply them others causing public mischief.  According to the author, it was not until the AIDS crisis in the 1980s that we popped up again. Not as a proud community but as a threat to public health, we became the disease. He goes on to reflect on various public policy, politicians and ambivalent public attitudes that have and still frustrate us. His conclusion which seems quiet amusing upon reflection

“The cultural climate is far different today, besides. Now, roughly 75 percent of Americans support an end to Don’t Ask, and gay issues are no longer a third rail in American politics. Gay civil rights history is moving faster in the country, including on the once-theoretical front of same-sex marriage, than it is in Washington. If the country needs any Defence of Marriage Act at this point, it would be to defend heterosexual marriage from the right-wing “family values” trinity of Sanford, Ensign and Vitter.”

1970s

In Australia, gay men as television characters appeared in the 1970s with Number96 butch Lawyer Don Finlayson (Joe Hasham) and The Box’s Lee Whiteman (Paul Karo) man bag carrying effeminate television producer. This was my introduction to representation of gay characters in mainstream media. These characters were presented as normal people, not monsters or strangers but accepted for who they were, althoughwhi being soaps there was always a crisis. I can’t remember which year but under the Xmas tree was a parcel for Lee, that was me, being a kid I did not appreciate the meaning, that Mum already knew who I was before I ever guessed.

I also remember the first Sydney_Gay_& Lesbian_Mardi_Gras held to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of The Stonewall Riots , which ended in a violent mêlée caused by over enthusiastic homophobic police. I was angry and excited, I wanted to be there, and the activist was steadily growing but had not yet found his voice. The other event AIDS, it was first described to me as a new form of cancer, being anything but sexual active it passed. However, as the crisis grew, I took note in 1985 QuAc or the Queensland AIDS Council Incorporated, formed by concerned members of Our Community and interested organisations(another story). It received recurrent government funding and AIDS subsequently addressed as a public health issue (yet another story). Since then QuAc has morphed into the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC – pronounced ‘quack‘)..

Related Themes

The article cites a number of themes I have compiled a simple compare & contrast on the differences in attitudes between the  US & Australia

Pride in Brisbane in June with a march and fair day.

DOMA (USA) – IN Australia Same Sex Marriage Australian full story

DADT (USA) – In the defence force members of Our Community serve their Australia with PRIDE

Police force we have LGBTI Community liaison officers (Queensland)

Overview of the Australian Government’s Same-Sex Law Reforms

(effective July 2009)

Some of my memories

In the 1970s I have 2 other memories upon reflection I now find interesting the first was an insight into my family’s attitude, towards gay men. My great-uncle made his only visit home after a long period, Mum told us Uncle Bill was coming to visit. In a childish way I though ok some old bloke was making a visit, but she went on to tell us that he would be with his partner (not sure what that meant), who was also a man named Joe. She explained we were expected to show them all due respect, I was thinking what about my father (another story), it was then made clear the instruction were from my father. Ok I was confused, when they arrived with my favourite larger than life aunty (we all have one, but I was lucky I had two another story) they were openly welcomed link any long lost family. They chatted on for hours about the old days and their life in Sydney, there was a meal, it was so normal. When they left my father made no negative remarks and seemed glad they visited, I was very confused by this acceptance. So gay marriage was/is normal and has been for a very long time.