civil society

All posts tagged civil society

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

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.

Where charity must end and social capacity building begins

Published August 27, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

It has been eight months since the devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, this impoverished country. This event was not clearly cause of Haiti’s third world status but made a bad situation even more complex. Before the event, you had a society divided along economic lines of the wealthy few and the mass populace living in abject poverty.  In a solution, focused world there is no quick fix here, no matter how many countries seem committed in addressing the problem. Here community recovery or reconstruction is impossible for one stark reason this project would involve state building activities.

Here state building refers to undertaking activities to construct social institutions that effectively grow social capacity in a country where to date the state is at best dysfunctional. It involves making a long-term financial commitment by wealth nations, something lacking other than in superficial scattergun charity responses.  Recently, CNN retuned to see how things have changed since the quake the shock on their faces, was amusing at some level. What did they really expect give a destitute man a bowl of soup, an aspro or band-aid  and everything would be fine, charity is not the key here.

Now the flood crisis in Pakistan

NGO’s mostly worry about the organisation and selling the charity product in the West.

Easkey: Tiny Irish Village goes Gay for a Day

Published August 12, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Tiny Irish village goes gay for a day | Irish News | IrishCentral

The tiny coastal village of Easkey, County Sligo has “gone gay” today in hosting what is thought to be the smallest gay pride event in the world.

The local Family Resource Centre of Easkey, population 250, is urging residents to “go gay” in an act of support of the local LGBT community.

The village, which is best known as a surfing and fishing town and has just two shops, two pubs, two butchers and a post office, will host a reception in its Family Resource Centre followed by a shore side barbecue.

Organizers expect around 80 people from the community to attend, all of whom will wear pins proudly stating: “gay for a day.”

The event is part of the Northwest LGBT Pride festival. In its fourth year, the festival hosts a series of events across Counties Sligo and Leitrim in acts of solidarity with rural Ireland’s gay community.

“There is a trend now in Ireland where gay people are leaving the big cities and returning to their rural roots,” said 10-year Easkey resident Denise Clarke,

“It is no longer a necessity to run off to Dublin or London or Manchester to ‘come out’. As a society we have moved on and are more broadminded and accepting.”

By

ANTOINETTE KELLY

IrishCentral.com Staff Writer

Published Sunday, August 9, 2009,

Will there ever be a ‘Post-Racial’ Society?

Published July 27, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Will America Ever Be A ‘Post-Racial’ Society? | NEWS JUNKIE POST

By Gilbert Mercier

The article gives some commentary on race relations in the US after the arrest of an African American academic Henry Louis Gates in his home by a White police officer. What resulted from this incident were claims of racial profiling and subsequent comments by the President, which caused a political whirlwind.

Points of interest

  • Racial divide did not magically end because of Obama’s election
  • ” racial politics” in America are far from over.
  • African-American & Latino experience, racial profiling by police
  • Minority status makes people automatically potential suspects.

America has come a long way from its ugly past as far as race relations, but we still have a long way to go.

Additional Information

African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968)

International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination

Commentary

In the past 40 – 50 years there have been significant advance in civil rights however the old hate has not disappeared, discrimination has just become more sophisticated. This is but one example of Institutional racism, whereby is

“the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”.

In this case, the police acted on a report that two black men were trying to break into a house, in fact they where however one was the owner of the home Mr Gates.

Further Story by Womenmusing

Black Men and Crime What’s The Story?

Unity Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Published July 21, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

DavidMixner.com – Live From Turkey Hollow

Part One “Oh Lord Not Now!”

Part Two: Learning from History

Part Three: Picking Our Issues

Part Four: What Now?

I will let Mixner’s words speak for themselves, the key points here are the themes he explores and question he asks.  The article speaks to what seems to be human nature that ‘we don’t learn from the past’ and for whatever reason generation after generation seeks to reinvent the square wheel. His target the self-appointed and self-styled ‘New Gay Civil Right Movement’ (US) it seems a network of vanilla mainstream Gay/Lesbian civil rights organisations. When reflecting on historical successes of liberation movements he makes the following point

“People with clearly defined values and principles are the best agents of change. Those who are willing to negotiate or compromise beyond those values and principles often find that they merely face more demands for them to compromise again…. Individuals who know ‘the line in the sand’ and refuse to compromise are often instigators of great change.”

It seems Mixner calls for us to draw a ‘line in the sand’, a position based on our principles that we will not make a compromise on. He reflects on the 200-year campaign by African Americans to gain freedom and some sense of qualified equality. He indentifies the work of Dr King, and attempts to draw some connections between African Americans journey and our own. However, we were there too, campaigning for equality and observance of our civil rights it seems that all those oppressed by the cultural elite demanded equality at that time.

If we are serious about a civil rights movement, we need to start answering a range of questions.

Who are we? The Rainbow Nation or Vanilla wafer

What is the underpinning ideology? Socialism or Liberal Democratic individualism

What are our shared or community vision, values and beliefs?

Where do we come from? rural, regional, suburban or cosmopolitan

When do we start addressing these issues? Strategic or ad hoc

How do we unify such a diverse community? Collaborative or elitist

Why do we need to undertake this task? Aims & objectives? Goal?

Critical Thinking: Impossible in Schools?

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Robert Rose: Critical Thinking: Impossible in Schools?

In a world increasingly dominated by spin, the need for not only children, it is up to us all too critically question everything seems paramount. The News is not what it seems, rather a commentary infused with the belief system of its authors. Something presented as a factual account is often pitted with both explicit and implicit value statements. An example being current affair shows and some mainstream News broadcasts present station programming promotions and other service announcements as News, when in fact it is commercial advertising.  Do not accept anything as fact without questioning it, Who, What, Where, When, How and why, check and double check, do not accept any convenient truth as a fact.

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.

Bigotry remains

Published July 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Advocates: Bigotry remains | TimesDaily.com | The Times Daily | Florence, AL
Advocates hope the festival brings awareness of the difficulties the disabled still face – workplace discrimination if they can get a job, the expensive resources for day-to-day living, and getting people to get to know the person behind the disability instead of just the blindness and/or deafness.