Posts Tagged ‘Homophobia’

TW – violent metaphor.

The kyriarchy, by definition, is all-pervasive. There is no escape from it. If you have privilege on an axis, any misstep you make is not ‘regrettable’ or ‘a problem’ – it’s oppressive. If you lack privilege on that axis, that misstep is treading on you. Hard. And it hurts.

It’s not conducive to great understanding between oppressor and oppressed. If the oppressed person is yelling ‘OW SHIT YOU HURT ME!’ and the oppressing person is yelling, ‘SHIT MAN IT WAS ONLY [X]!’ no-one’s really listening to each other. In a vacuum, it would just be an argument between two people. They’d shout each other down, maybe neither would back down – maybe they’d agree to differ.

But in a kyriarchy, in that situation, it is all too likely to end up with the oppressed person being squelched. Because that’s the nature of oppression. When an oppressed person is justifiably angry or hurt and the oppressing person feels that the oppressed person has overreacted, who has the weight of society behind them? That’s right, the oppressing person. Whose view is legitimated? The oppressing person’s. That’s one reason why the tone argument is bullshit. You just invalidated me – you caused me pain – you denied my selfhood – you contributed to my oppression – it is not my job to tiptoe around your feelings. And the other thing is, mostly, if we talk quietly and politely, we’re not listened to. I have had conversations online where I have told people gently that something was out of order and had them continue doing it – then I’ve blown up in their faces and made sure they knew exactly what the problem was and that it was a big fucking deal. It’s a weapon. And it’s a weapon that, deployed in the right way, can be damn powerful. But it’s also an automatic response that we should not have to apologise for.

The kyriarchy surrounds us, so much that it’s hard to even see it. It’s everywhere. Once you’ve come to consciousness, you find yourself being slapped in the face with it in every situation – pop culture, activities you enjoy, people you love, subjects you are interested in. There’s no escape from it. And that feels awful, a lot of the time, even when you only have an academic knowledge of some of the oppressions involved, even when you have privilege along some axes (as we all do). It hurts when that stuff hits you.

Yeah, sometimes it can seem like people blow up over the little things. But how little are they, when a thousand of them shred our skin each day, hammering at the barriers, giving us no safe space? From the kyriarchy, there is no escape. And when you’re ripped raw from scores of microaggressions, each one hurts a hell of a lot more than it would falling on intact skin.

How little are they, when they actively contribute to oppression? How little are they, when they actively harm people?

I don’t think they’re little at all. And we have a right to our feelings.

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As mentioned in the previous post, I have been looking for non-ableist alternatives for words following the pattern of homophobia, transphobia etc. The ableism inherant in appropriating the word ‘phobia’ is a discussion that I have seen a lot of on Tumblr, and I can also see that getting rid of it would remove the common defence ‘I’m not scared of them.’ I will continue to use words in this pattern as tags until alternatives – not necessarily mine – become widespread in the anti-kyriarchy movement, but in posts I will be using the following alternatives unless others become more widely used and accepted;

Misohomy – homophobia (I prefer to maintain a distinction between the elevating of heterosexuality and the denigrating of homosexuality, hence not using the term heterosexism instead of homophobia). I may also use misahetery (mis=hatred, a=non, hetery=adaptation of hetero) for the hatred of non-heterosexuals, not to replace a -phobia word but to try to avoid monosexism.

Transhatred – transphobia (again, I’d prefer to maintain a distinction between this and cissexism).

Misoxeny – xenophobia.

I will continue to write other -phobia endings in long form, such as hatred of Islam/Muslims for Islamophobia, since I do not feel it is right for me, as a non-member of these groups, to coin terminology for them. I was unsure even about coining misoxeny.

These words are merely what I prefer to use, and do not represent me attempting to force them on others or create a more-progressive-than-thou dialogue, which is not productive. I will probably be linking this post a lot when I use the words, simply for understanding’s sake.

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.

Quick personal post – TW for discussion of hatred of non-heterosexuals.

So, yonks ago, this happened. This girl, who states openly that she is a homophobe, is in my psychology class. I keep getting put in a group with her. This makes me extremely uncomfortable for obvious reasons – I am non-heterosexual, hatred of non-heterosexuals is likely to coincide with hatred of non-cis folks, I am non-cis. There are ridiculous numbers of rumours about my sexuality going around, I don’t know what she’s heard, I don’t know what she believes, I don’t know whether she’s stumbled upon the truth from the many people I am out to.

I said to myself that I would keep my head down and hope that the teachers didn’t group me with her for group work, and that if they did I would do something about it. It’s happened twice now in quick succession. I have the email addresses of my teachers. I want to email them asking them politely to not group me with her.

However, there are problems. Do I tell them why, out myself to people in a position of authority over me? Do I not tell them why and risk them thinking me a petty feuder? What will happen if I send them? They’ve known her for years, me for months. She seems to be a bit of a favourite pupil, and while I’m not an unfavourite I’m still an unknown quantity. What if either of the teachers are heterosexist? I know one of them is cissexist, since she managed to trigger me her very first lesson, so that doesn’t bode well. What if they want to speak to her about it?

This is literally just a personal ramble, putting down into the void of the internet my feelings around the issue. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I might send an email to my favourite of the teachers and ask her to sensitively explain it to the others…

Great! Little update

Posted: February 8, 2011 in Science, Sexuality
Tags: , , ,

This abominable ‘Doctor’ is gone from the ACMD. And it’s because he failed to disclose his authorship of a blatantly homophobic paper. Some folks are saying that his homophobia shouldn’t have affected his appointment or dismissal (but that he was correctly dismissed for bad science.) Hmm. Bad science would have been a perfectly good reason to dismiss him, it’s true. But his homophobia has nothing to do with his religious values. You can’t say, ‘you can’t sack someone because of their religious values,’ as a defence for a homophobe. Because homophobia is not a part of Christianity. Homophobic views are not Christian views. They are downright hateful, which is the antithesis of the love advocated by Christianity. I am an atheist, but I went to a Church school for years, know about the Biblical views on sexuality and know many Christians – and homophobia is not a part of the Christian faith. And frankly? I don’t see why we shouldn’t sack someone for having discrimatory, bigoted views. In fact, that’s a damn good reason for a sacking.

Great.

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Health, Politics, Science, Sexuality
Tags: , , ,

It’s cheering to see that, after deciding pah! We don’t need no scientists on the drugs advice council!, the decision has been taken to appoint an anti-drugs hardliner to the ACMD. Because after taking away the need for scientists, who should be able to weigh evidence in an unbiased way (if they’re worthy of the name), it’s obvious that what’s needed is an utterly biased board member.

Oh yes – this guy, Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, is not just an anti-drugs hardliner with connections to extreme Christian groups. He’s also a raging homophobe. The extreme Christian group he belongs to are interested in ‘healing homosexuality.’ Always a warning sign. Also, according to the Times, he was a co-author of a report on gay marriage in Canada that stated (I can’t remember the exact wording), ‘any attempt to legalise gay marriage should bear in mind the link between homosexuality and paedophilia.’ Bad science AND homophobia in one sentence!

And the Government has appointed him. Basically, it’s said, ‘we don’t care that you’re a raging homophobe and bloody-minded science wannabe. We’re going to put you in a responsible position and give you a platform because we think you’re great!’ (since all appointments are apparently made on merit. Damn that’s a scary thought, if he’s the best they can find…) They’re not getting paid, so that’s something – at least we’re not paying him.

Sometimes I hope that maybe, scientific/medical training teaches people to examine their prejudices and be flexible in the face of opposing evidence. Then something like this comes up.

Trigger warning for homophobia, transphobia, erasure and discussion of suicide.

Browsing through the BBC News site, the four main Welsh party leaders have made videos for the launch of Stonewall Cymru’s YouTube channel It Gets Better… Today. The aim of this campaign, inspired by America’s It Gets Better project, is to tell lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers that they ‘don’t have to wait for their lives to improve – they can be great now,’ (from Stonewall Cymru) and that ‘they don’t have to wait for life to improve as bullying is being tackled’ (from the BBC).

If it really is a start of a concerted push against homophobia from politicians and media figures, then that’s obviously a good thing. As far as I can gather, one major failing of the It Gets Better campaign is that there’s little or no concrete action going on, and it’s based on the foundation of ‘hold on, then later on things will get better.’ This one seems to counteract that by saying, no, you shouldn’t have to wait. Which is good, although empty if there’s no action taken. And by the way, action doesn’t mean posters; my old school had the SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY : GET OVER IT posters up everywhere and I still experienced quite a bit of homophobia, despite not even being out to myself as any kind of queer, and I still wouldn’t have been comfortable speaking to teachers about it.

BUT. I addressed the positives first because that’s my normal essay style. (do you agree ‘yes because… NO NO FUCKING NO because THIS, GODDAMN IT, THIS!!!’)

BUT. What about transphobia? Stonewall has always ignored or denigrated the non-cis population. They have given awards to transphobes. Sometimes they have claimed to represent the T in LGBT, but they’ve generally done more harm than good. Again, non-cis people are being thrown under the bus, being ignored and erased utterly. In the UK, it was found in ‘the UK’s largest survey of trans people (N = 872)’ (http://www.nmhdu.org.uk/our-work/mhep/gender/transgender/) that 34% of adult trans people have attempted suicide. According to the LBGT Excellence Centre Wales, ‘the national suicide rate for Trans People is estimated at 3 in 100,000, 31% of this group. It is estimated that 1 in 7 of diagnosed Trans People attempt suicide at least once during their life. It is estimated that the main causes of “Trans Suicide” are harassment , denial of treatment, and absence of support. It is also estimated that 1 in 200 transsexuals commit suicide within 5 yrs of having Gender Reassignment surgery, as a result of depression brought on by harassment / bullying.’

So yeah, transphobia and transphobic bullying totally aren’t worth campaigning against, because, like, no-one gets affected by it…

Dear top politicians; you don’t just have a responsibility towards non-heterosexual people in your country. You have a responsibility towards non-cis people in your country as well. We’re hurting. We’re dying. We’re bleeding. Stonewall is not our friend, and by endorsing them you are signalling that you are not our friends either. And we need you. Damn but we need you. Don’t abandon yet another population. Begin to take a stand against the kyriarchy – all the kyriarchy – in our society. Then maybe faith in you will return. From someone who exists, despite everyone’s protestations to the contrary.

Transphobia is rampant. Possibly more than homophobia, although the two are so closely intertwined in most of the cis, straight bullies in schools that it’s very hard to tell which you’re dealing with. I’ve experienced both. As far as homophobia went, there was lip service towards its wrongness. There was lip service towards the wrongness of many other types of kyriarchy. Transphobia… anything to do with being trans… never mentioned. Ever. Except by the kids who saw someone different, and went on the homophobic and transphobic warpath.

*    *    *

On a side note, I think I, as a non-binary person, got explicitly included in a lesson the other day. In history, the guy that takes it said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, and anyone who isn’t a lady or a gentleman is welcome to participate too.’ He probably didn’t mean it the way I took it; he was probably being sarcastic, or facetious. But it gave me a warm little thrill inside and I really want to send him an email thanking him, but I daren’t because I’m scared of coming out to my teachers. It feels pathetic that I’m thrilled by these tiny, tiny, tiny things…

Seriously, though, unless he’s saying it to every class, what were the chances of him saying it in the presence of a non-binary student?