social justice

All posts in the social justice 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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NO

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

#no2bullying #no2homophobia #no2suicide

On the news of another teen suicide due to homophobic bullying, it seems appropriate to make some comments. In clarifying, it is not clear whether the teen involved identified or not and no assumptions or implications are being made here. This is about our business in enabling kids to be who they are, unlike our detractors wanting to indoctrinate them through cohesion in conforming to some dated concept of gender identity.  We know the issues for the Rainbow Nation our susceptibility to bullying, mental health issues, substance misuse, and suicide.

Kids (25 & under), it matters not how they identify LGBQ, TT, I, SSA or Str8, that is not our business keeping them safe is our business. The point here is that all kids experience homophobic bullying no matter their gender identity and/or sexual ordination . This situation exists because of the narrow conceptualisation of gender or more precisely privileged masculinity as the default, which enforces compliance to  a specific set of social norms through bullying.

We know this from our individual and collective stories, this abuse in all its forms (i.e. physical, psychological and social) and the lingering deep emotional pain of rejection. Our expertise lies in the lived experience of bullying because of who we are young people seem more vulnerable to this violence. At a time in life full of discovery, confusion and contradiction, they face the excoriating pressure to conform or suffer social sanctions  and possible marginalisation.  In this time, some feel so isolated and disempowered they choose to act on their thoughts out of desperation resulting in their suicide.

This situation is not acceptable if we stand-by and let another young person bullied because of whom they are and is murdered because of the dysfunctional nature of gender. At some time as a society we need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough what do we value more an insipid idealized masculinity or our children. As a community, the Rainbow Nation has a greater stake here in addressing bullying, homophobia and suicide equally, because they represent our oppression, persecution and marginalisation. As individuals, we have a duty to make this a better place than when we arrived, to stand up against injustice, be a good neighbour and keep people safe.

Please if you are, experiencing suicidal thoughts or feel emotionally unwell follow this link  or call Lifeline on 131114 (in Aus).

Reconciliation Week

Published May 27, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land.  I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past, and present, and extend that respect to other Indigenous Australians.

From 27th May – 3 Jun we celebrate National Reconciliation Week , this year’s theme “Let’s Talk Recognition”, it is about proper recognition of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the history of modern Australia our first peoples of occupied a position on the margins of society aliens in their own lands. This is the story of a resilient people whose custom and lore disrupted over generations through waves of violence, persecution and subjugation whose living culture survives.

In 1991, the Commonwealth Parliament voted unanimously to establish the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and a formal reconciliation process. Parliament had noted that there had been no formal process of reconciliation and that it was “most desirable that there be such a reconciliation” by the year 2001, marking the centenary of Federation.  This process took place its success seems a matter for history, what it did do was give oxygen to a conversation around the injustice experienced by our first peoples at the hands of successive governments. Sadly, with the election of Howard this process lost all but token political support being bastardised by the re-authoring of history many conservatives engage in.

Then on February 13, 2008, Kevin Rudd, as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia rose in his place and moved the National Apology to the Stolen Generations motion. A moment many had waited a whole lifetime to hear their pain publicly acknowledged and validate. However, subsequently, little has progressed the issue of recognition has seemingly lost political impetus once more overshadowed by an extension of Howard era paternalism and protectionism. This journey towards reconciliation along a corrugated red track stained with the tears, fears and blood of generations continues towards home.

Bible

Published May 23, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

It is not the word of God that concerns me but its interpretation by humyns, in prosecuting their creed of hate. I freely acknowledge the Bible is both a tool for good and hate it enshrines core humanistic values and beliefs, while Haters draw on phrases often quoted out of context to justify their ignorance. This bastardisation of the message frames a campaign to persecute and discriminate against people who do not conform to their narrow vision of humanity including those who identify as LGBTIQ. The most infuriating of all Haters are those who quote the Bible chapter and verse or draw on a loose thematic analysis to qualify their position.

It seems futile to enter into a conversation where the topic is about a belief system mired in the superstitious  thinking of an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal culture. However, do not be dissuaded from initiating such a conversation but be warned, our strength is to ask questions, to challenge the narrow worldview of the ignorant and naive. Our weakness is the deep wound of rejection we all feel as an individual and collectively as marginalised people, this emotion often appears as anger and may impair our ability to express ourselves in any conversation. It is about managing our weakness, in drawing on our strengths to promote learning in seeking understanding and combating ignorance.

Motivation

Religion and Sex QuizNicholas D. Kristof

Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Nick Kristof Proof Texts The Bible – Ricochet  Benzinga Contributor

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

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.