Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

It’s not unreasonable to expect to be treated fairly, equally and without bigotry.

This is a defence I see all too often, and it’s pretty despicable. All too often in my life it comes up about the little things that make it damn clear that my self is not accepted, things like forms asking for ‘gender – m/f’ and so on. According to this particular defence of bigotry, I can’t expect services to bend to fit me; due to my so-called ‘abnormality’, I should bend to fit them. I should bend to fit with society’s narrow-minded ideals, at whatever cost to myself.

Or, another place it crops up is around terminology. Apparently we can’t expect language to change to acknowledge our humanity and our experience, and we can’t expect people to change their language so as not to cause us pain because we’re apparently not ‘normal.’

Normal is constructed as something people should aspire towards, so as not to cause trouble and disrupt the social order. It’s not. If the social order cannot serve all people, regardless of the demands of meaningless ‘normality,’ then it needs to be disrupted. It is not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate all its members, and to be honest society should want to.

No matter how much it seems to be, society is not a monolith that exists independent of the people in it. We construct society around us. Yes, the scars of history lie heavy on us and on the society that has evolved down the generations – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. It evolved through the actions of people – a lot of bigotry can be traced back to historical roots that were instigated by people – and that means that we can steer it away from the broken-down mass of kyriarchal pressures riddled with bigotry and violence that it is now.

To do that, though, we need each other. We need to look around us and realise that the kyriarchy is hurting and killing ourselves and each other. And then we need to realise that defeatism will only defeat us.

It’s not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate the people it shoves to the margins, and for a person to say this about an axis they have privilege on is harmful. The privileged’s words have more weight anyway, and the more this is said the more the immovability of society is constructed, the more privilege can shore itself up by thinking that it can’t change and shouldn’t have to try.

It’s not unreasonable to be hurt, and to demand that people stop hurting one. It’s not unreasonable to demand one’s rights.

We are all connected, and frankly we have no reason to deny others decent treatment, fair, equal and without bigotry. That is an attack, and so is defending others who hurt people in the name of kyriarchy with the feeble cry of ‘it’s unreasonable.’ There is no excuse for bigotry, and the only slight justification is genuine lack of knowledge – but that can be cleared up with a short conversation, a quick google. There is no excuse for denying people the things granted without thought to others because of who they are. There is no excuse for services meant to help us refusing to acknowledge our selves. There is no excuse for people who bear us no ill-will beyond the poison the kyriarchy has dripped into their brains from birth to refuse to stop using words that hurt us. Once the problem is brought to light, it is not unreasonable to expect that solving it should be the next step.

Slow process? Well, yes, it probably will be. But it’s not an unreasonable demand.

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Love, not hate

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Law, Religion, Sexuality
Tags: ,

Preface to this post; I have no problem with religion. If your religion is a positive thing in your life, if your religion harms no-one and perpetuates no oppressions, and if you do not try to force me to follow your religion, then I am supportive of your beliefs. I personally do not believe, but I respect the right of others to whatever religious beliefs they feel are right for them.

A Pentecostal Christian couple have been barred from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality, which they have drawn from their religious beliefs. This is a problem that I have seen consistently, in many outlets – people, mainly believers, getting the idea that Christianity disapproves of homosexuality. It does not. For a start, most Christians disregard most of the laws laid down in the same Book as those perceived as against homosexuality. Also, those laws are most probably made to oppose lust, as are the huge number of laws regarding heterosexual interaction. Besides this, the New Testament, which is generally held to be the principle holy book of most of the Christian faith, emphasises love. Love is the central tenet of all of Jesus’ teachings. To hate is to go against that, and to hate love is to doubly go against that.

So no, religious freedom is not really an issue. If it is invoked, it is a classic case of overprivileged people mistaking freedom to worship for freedom to discriminate, two things that are very different. They, as all others, are free to believe what they want; they just aren’t free to interpret those beliefs as an excuse for discrimination. And claiming that they are ‘normal’ Christians? Please, introduce me to your circle. Actually, don’t. I doubt both of us would walk out of there unscathed. Believe me, I know many Christians. They are on the whole tolerant, loving human beings who have no problem with non-heterosexuals. Hatred is not a mainstream Christian belief, it’s just the one we see most often in the news.

And now to address the misohomy aspect of it. (misohomy; hatred of homosexuals, following the same pattern as misogyny and misandry, as a non-ableist alternative to homophobia. Coined by myself, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find someone else had thought of it.)

They can’t tell a child that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable. Forgive me, but isn’t this a trifle absurd? It’s quite easy – you look at a child, open your mouth and form the words. The only way this would be hard for you to say is if you have trouble saying anything, or if you have trouble saying anything that isn’t misohomic.

They say that, “We have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith and we feel sidelined because we are Christians with normal, mainstream, Christian views on sexual ethics. We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.” No, sorry to break it to you. You feel sidelined because the world has moved on from the days when hatred was okay. You feel sidelined because you can feel your heterosexual privilege trembling under your feet as all of us non-heterosexuals decide that we do not want to be trampled on anymore. Cry me a river. Listen, you experience kyriarchal oppression too. All our oppressions are interconnected. Stop standing on others to try to get to the top and start demolishing the pyramid.

You’re prepared to love and accept any child? Well, as long as they’re heterosexual. And, presumably, cis and binary (since misohomy and transhatred and binarism tend to come together). I don’t call that any child. Non-het/cis/binary kids deserve love and acceptance too, because we are human, and we are dying from the hatred of people like you. And also – the practice of homosexuality? The homosexual lifestyle? Bullcrap. Non-het folks are human. Those who love, love like you do. It’s not a choice, it’s not a practise. It’s human.

And as for the Christian Legal Centre saying that it ‘sends out the clear message…that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents’ – uh, no, it doesn’t. It sends out the clear message that misohomic parents with mainstream misohomic views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents. It’s a different thing. Christianity is not about hatred. If you want to align your own experience of your faith with hate, so be it – just don’t expect to be treated as anything other than the hater you are, and don’t try to claim that you represent others’ experiences of that faith. I really hope I’m misinterpreting the comment and that it was meant in a positive way, but it really doesn’t sound it.

Holy shit. The NHS is totally failing the elderly. The anecdotal evidence for this can be found by speaking to many, many people (although it isn’t universal), but it’s now being officially recognised. I really don’t think that sporadic random-attack checks are quite cutting it, though, as a solution; yes, it’s better than nothing but it doesn’t really change the culture of care. ‘Care’ should mean exactly that. Any system claiming to look after people’s health needs to do so with compassion and respect, or they are working against their own purpose. I believe that socialised health care is a great good for all – as long as it actually lives up to the title of ‘health care.’

Oh woo. We get the chance to look at and comment on new legislation. Y’know, that would be a great thing if those comments were actually listened to. However, the Government hasn’t exactly shown itself to be very good at listening to criticism. Tell me, Coalition – just how many of us normal folks’ voices = the voice of one big-money conservative capitalist?

On tumblr, I’ve been seeing a frightening number of bills restricting the bodily autonomy of those with uteri (for example, H.R.358 ) coming from the USA. Dear American politicians – you’re being shitbags. You’re also failing at this ‘pro-life’ business since you’re quite prepared to authorise the killing of living, breathing, human beings, and don’t seem to care about people’s prospects once you’ve coerced their uterus-having parent to incubate them for nine months at all costs. And you know what could help reduce abortion rates? Sex education. Greater availability of contraceptives. Free health care. A functional welfare system. Know what doesn’t help reduce abortion rates? Restricting abortion. That just drives it underground and makes it utterly unsafe.

And I have been sadly deficient in saying this for quite a while; to everyone standing up for their freedoms, wherever you are in the world, I admire you and hope that your stand is successful.

Trigger warning for rape, rape culture, rape apologism and all-round badness.

I haven’t, yet, posted about the Assange case. So now I am, finally.

As always, in a high-profile case involving a male celebrity being accused of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion against women, the old rape apologists have come out to play. They’re calling it stuff like ‘sex by surprise.’ Attempting to smear the two women making the accusations.

But you know what? What the allegations describe is clearly rape. And it is never, ever, ever okay to target the victim.

It has gone beyond that. The two women have had their identities revealed by information tweeted by Michael Moore on information from another website. They have had their identities revealed. In this rape culture. And they’re being threatened. They’re being smeared. So are their supporters. They are in danger.

Not fucking okay. Never fucking okay. The last post I put up on here was about some victim-blaming work put in by the Welsh justice system. Rape culture has gone too far. It doesn’t matter about WikiLeaks. That’s got nothing to do with the issue. The issue is rape charges. And surely we know by know that there is nothing that makes a rapist bar the act of raping someone, and nothing means that someone who has done so is not a rapist.

Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown has been standing against rape culture, against the people who’ve been supporting it. She is a hero, and she and everyone who is supporting her are worthy of sincere commendation.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape (sorry I didn’t put it up earlier)

We have an update on this case, in which a woman was jailed after being coerced into retracting rape allegations. It seems that her husband, against whom the allegations were made, broke bail conditions, but no official action was taken over it, which allowed him to manipulate her into retracting allegations and thus forcing the police to drop the case.

But yet, she still has a criminal conviction. For the crime of being human, and being violated, and being hurt, and being vulnerable. For being put into a situation in which she was the victim. It’s wholly ridiculous. And also… he has custody of the children, which she is currently trying to change.

Honestly, ‘no longer seen as a credible witness.’ Here we’re getting down to the idea of ‘The Rape Victim,’ and the mistreatment of those who deviate from that ideal. In what way does being affected and intimidated by someone who evidently was abusive at a point when she shouldn’t have even been in contact with him make her a less credible witness?

Bloody UN

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Bodies, Law, Sexuality, World in decline
Tags: ,

Trigger warning for homophobia.

I’m finally getting around to talking about the UN voting to remove sexual orientation from a resolution to condemn extrajudicial killing.

So let me get this clear. Heterosexual, probably cis politicians voted that non-heterosexuals do not deserve protection. They justify it with their ‘cultural sensitivities.’ Thus, it is no longer a crime under the UN to kill a gay, bi, pan or other non-heterosexual person on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

There are no words for how wrong this is. (whether having sexual orientation there made any difference remains to be seen, but even an utterly ineffectual document has a little weight.) None. People are being murdered, executed, ostracised, beaten, raped and all manner of other terrible things – on account of who they love.

Fuck cultural sensitivities. Seriously. Culture is all well and good, but when it threatens lives then it’s crossed the line. Non-heterosexuals have existed since the dawn of time. Everywhere. There is no such thing as un-[insert country/continent/religion/culture here] when it comes to non-heterosexuality.

When a human life is threatened, there is no excuse for bigotry in the name of culture. And if you believe that I or others like me shouldn’t exist, seriously, fuck you. And fuck anything that causes that belief. Because we exist. And we are human. And we have worth. And we have a right to live. So do you. You are human. You have worth (however deeply you’ve buried it in hatred of others). You have a right to live. But you don’t have a right to encroach on our rights, either. Live and let live. You’ll soon learn the error of your ways.

The pillars of our society are crumbling, and we’re given a holiday to celebrate a Royal Wedding. Are we expected to sit in the ruins of our futures and dreams and rejoice, because some rich people are getting married? The world has moved on, or it should have. We no longer need to tug forelocks, smile when the leaders smile, cry when they cry, and never else. This false joy overlies the boiling anger in our lives, and as our children are held in the cold streets the media laughs to hear the wedding date.

Why do we listen? We must join our children. Join them, and stand in solidarity against the moneyed classes as they, with their huge hands and feet, crush our world unheedingly beneath them.

None of us are safe. If they will deploy armed police against the people, against the children, they will stop at nothing. No happy veneer of a woman and her man will mend this land. Nothing will mend this land, now, till we all extend hands to each other and pull close. Together, we will be stronger than all of them. All of those fools who, by design or by thoughtlessness – and it is of no consequence which, until the fight is done and stock must be taken – have set the very walls of our society alight, they are strong; but together, we can stand against them.

We are not trivial. We are not worthless. We have our hopes. We have our dreams. We have our talents. And we deserve to be able to use them. For all of us who look to democracy and see no true representation, you are right. We must demand it of them. And soon.