homophobia

All posts tagged homophobia

Men

Published June 24, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I recently had correspondence with @GoodMenProject  a magazine site whose stated aim is to start a conversation about what it means to be a good man. The site seems open to feedback from readers however, the content seems mainstream with increasing number of articles relating to minority masculinities. You could call it a work in progress however the name confuses me good men, what does this value-laden label infer to the reader.  All I can go on is site content, which reflects a mainly white, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied version of manhood.

In my opinion for what it is worth this conversation is long overdue however, I find this goal both exciting and intimidating as others may.  My enthusiasm for these types of opportunities is to engage with men in making sense of what it means to be a man. However, what often happens is that a minority hijacks these occasions to promote and perpetuate their political agenda either to reinforce the idealized masculinity or stereotype  and/or men’s rights rubbish. These situations are not conducive to a frank conversation, as men learn from birth not to question masculinity even if they spend the rest of their life trying to make sense of it.

This is why men rarely speak with each other about meaningful issues and are more likely to hide behind the stereotype or to engage in combat. Men do not talk to men about men’s business because they should already know the answers to their problems. A number of articles on Good Men demonstrate this with sensitive issues written by women and general articles by men have stereotypical themes like politics, sport and virility. The question here is where this conversation starts with a critique of masculinity, discussion of issues men face in their life, sharing stories of their lived experience to demystify what it means to be a man or something else.

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).

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

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.

Christian or ignorant

Published April 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Sadly, on this most sacred of days, some seek to score political points through perpetuating the ignorance of hate.  @JimWallaceACL self titled Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby contribution to ANZAC Day 2011

“Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!”

My questions to Jim are as follows

What Australia did the service personal fight for over the past 96 years?

Where in the Bible does it say you must hate people because of who they are?

When did bigotry, ignorance and hate become Christian values?

How do some people who claim to be Christian reconcile their hate with the words and recorded deeds attributed to Jesus?

Is  homophobia & xenophobia true Australian values? is that what our service personal fought for and died for?

Lord, feel pity for these ignorant people and open their eyes to the true diversity of your creation.

Australian Christian Lobby head sorry for attack on gay marriage, Muslims

Bullying

Published October 5, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

The recent suicide related deaths of five teens in the US supposedly related to homophobic schoolyard bullying has wiped up a bit of a storm. In no way does this commentary seek to minimalize the human tragedy of suicide and especially that involving children for their family and the community. Rather on these occasions a gaggle of media personalities rush out to tell their story ably aided by mainstream media. Being a cynical old bastard, I tend to take these biographies with a shovel of salt with most of these people having not seen a schoolyard for quite a while. Homophobic bullying affects all children it controls their behaviour to ensure compliance with a limited view of gender identity that needs challenging. Especially, when homophobic bullying does not end at the schoolyard gate, as it is both codified and institutionalised

Do I give a damn YES I DO!

In my three years of secondary schooling, bullies targeted me every day of the week and staff offered no comfort let alone protection.  On some occasions, staff even blamed me for causing the abuse, which still confuses me to this day. I still experience anxiety issues, which often limit my social participation because I do not really trust people. I often hide behind roles, which provides structures that limit the nature of my interactions with others

Does it get better, yes as an adult I discovered my voice, realised,  I have choices and the views of others do not count as much as when I went to school.

The Debate: sustainability verse development

Published August 14, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle

Dick in his own uniquely Australian way produced this documentary while a little heavy on nationalism raised a number of questions around the population debate. The debate seemingly avoided by politicians of all shades was already happening in a strange and abstract way for example around infrastructure, immigration, climate change, aging population and economic development. Then just to confuse us further a number of furphies   pop up around racism, if you speak about population then there is some correlation to racism. This debate like all complex questions attracts a large number of knuckleheads with a litany of simplistic analyses and commentary note finger pointing at Hanson & One Nation if they are still around.

The debate BIG Australia (36 Million -2020) verse a sustainable Australia (?), obviously the truth is located somewhere between the two. What attracts me to the sustainable Australia position is simply that it needs to be a strategic approach to address the needs of our country (environmentally, socially and economically). The only problem I see is capitalist greed that equates economic development +even increasing population + broader tax base + increased profit margins + infinite = positive social outcomes. How realistic is this equation do the numbers add up, nothing grows for ever there is a finite value attributable to everything, do keep on consuming until Western civilisation crashes and the whole biosphere implodes. One point that does stand out is Smith a self-titled capitalist naming capitalism as the major reason for this issue in naming the sacred cow as an unsustainable burdensome beast.

Other issues

Homophobia – a number of tweets made disparaging comments around same-sex attraction – disappointing – heterosexuals still  do not understand same-sex people live in a family, some parent children and live very ordinary lives – they may get us mixed up with Str8 tea room princesses

The Agenda: It is time Australia has a serious policy debate about issues that affect its future.

  • Environmental stewardship – strategic management of a  finite resource
  • Sustainability
  • Comprehensive primary healthcare – beyond hospitals
  • Infrastructure
  • Civil society – social justice – poverty – housing – employment – training – education – relationships ,
  • Economic development  beyond capitalism towards sustainability – focus on developing  Human capital – social capital

It is time for capitalism to start paying its due

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan

Published August 17, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan | The Courier-Mail

Oh Bill Bill Bill, what more can be said of Senator Bill Heffernan (NSW Liberal), other than his reputation for being a first class drongo precedes him. The Honourable Senator seemingly engaged his mouth without putting his brain into gear once again. In several recorded cases Heffernan has sought to act in an inappropriate way and been subsequently called to apologise for making outrageous, inappropriate, inaccurate or simply rude statements. It may be by coincidence or that Heffernan is simply a diehard misogynistic homophobic xenophobic conservative dinosaur, which is up to you to decide.

2002

Heffernan under parliamentary privilege accused a presiding judge of making private use of Commonwealth cars. It was found to be Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia, the accusation was found to be in breach of parliamentary standing orders. Justice Kirby our first gay high court judge came out in 1999

2007

Heffernan was forced to make an apology to Julia Gillard Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. in May 2007 after questioning whether she could fully understand her electorate because she was a childless woman.  Ms Gillard is the first woman – and the first foreign-born person – to hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister. She is also unmarried

2009

The above article reports on one such occasion involving Heffernan supposedly comparing gay men to paedophiles during the National Marriage Day Breakfast held in Canberra on 13 August. Gay rights group Equal Love accused Heffernan of making the following statement

“I don’t mind gay people. I just want you to stop f**king the kids.”

The article goes on to report Heffernan denial

If he did not make said statement, why did he need to apologise? Oh, he was misquoted it was somebody else that got it wrong. The Honourable Senator also supposedly contacted reporters to seek a retraction and clarification. This convoluted little faux pas gets even weirder, Heffernan as reported said

“I wish to clarify the alleged media comments in respect to gay people being paedophiles. This is incorrect,” he said.

Therefore, Bill clarifies the mistake made by the media, but not by him, going on to say

“I actually said `everyone knows that I conduct a continuous war on people who use kids as sex objects and I don’t intend to change now’.

The question here being how does his unrepentant campaign against child abuse relate to marriage, he goes on to say

“I did not refer at any point to gay people only.”

The reason for this apology and retraction for not saying what he didn’t say, be explained by comments from prominent Sydney gay activist Gary Burns said

“It is these kinds of ignorant comments that keep alive the myth homosexual men are perverted, sick and dirty child molesters,”.

Burns also admonished Heffernan by saying

“People in the powerful position should be aware they have responsibilities as well known public figures, because it is their comments that lead to gay men becoming a statistic of a gay hate crime.

There are hints of covert political pressure here and possible threat of legal action however, this is but an observation.

Then last week Heffernan was at it again when he flicked the bird at Senator Penny Wong current and first Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water. Ms Wong is also the first openly gay member of the Australian Commonwealth cabinet, and the country’s first Asian-born federal minister. The Minister was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia to a Malaysian Chinese Hakka father and an Australian mother.

It seems Heffernan serves some purpose for the Coalition otherwise he would have been got rid of by now. While it seems that Heffernan may represent either a dated 1950’s Australian worldview, he has stood and been successfully re-elected on several occasions. The scary question here being is he really a social dinosaur?

If Homosexuality Is a ‘Sexual Preference,’ Is Heterosexuality a ‘Sexual Predilection’?

Published August 5, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

If Homosexuality Is a ‘Sexual Preference,’ Is Heterosexuality a ‘Sexual Predilection’? / Queerty

Words, Words, Words, these building blocks of communication can be used in many ways i.e. to express love, to incite conflict, to convey ideas, and state disrespect. The use of language is important because words have immense power they define our cultural reality within the relationships that make us human. Words are the means by which we communicate with each other in many different positive and negative ways i.e. to express love, discriminate, share ideas, show disrespect and enforce social values. In recent history, we have become more sensitive to power of words Government reflects this social shift in its dealings with cultural groups. It has established formal guidelines in the form of policy & procedures, legislation and the law. These guidelines relate to appropriate ways in undertaking a respectful dialogue with an identified cultural group. However, cultural conflicts exist in a complex society like ours we can see it playing out in everyday life, mass media, and some political commentary or more subtle in other mainstream culture.

The notion that words represent real power and as such language or the use of language be it spoken, written or otherwise transmitted is not an original idea. However, this point while relevant the source post-modernity or critical –modernity seems peripheral. Hence to be aware that with every statement made we convey some form of authority or power. Quiet often it draws on some i.e. moral authority, political ideology or something an elder relative imparted on you as wisdom. If somebody said to you, I wish you were dead or I hate you, then if you held the person in esteem like a parent, how would this make you feel. This happens when someone discloses his or her gender identity, further compounded by a society that in the main denies his or her right to exist.  However, upon this disclosure they become members of a great Rainbow nation , that often freely reaches out in support.

A black day

Published August 4, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

August 1, 2009, Tel Aviv, Israel

Murdered were

Nir Katz 26 and Liz Tarbishi 17

2 killed as gunman mows down youths in Tel Aviv gay centre

Members of the homosexual...

Vigil for TA attack held in Jerusalem

A black day for Israel’s gay community Jerusalem Post

Police conduct reenactment of TA gay center attack; 100 attend Haifa rally Jerusalem Post

Police looks to witnesses for lead into Tel Aviv gay center shooter – Haaretz

Police We have lead in gay-lesbian center killings – Haaretz – Israel

Foreign Office condemns Tel Aviv gay killings  Pink News UK

Vigils Scheduled to Mourn Tel Aviv LGBT Victims (USA) 05/08/09