Tuesday, 17 May 2016

You say, you think we need to go to war - well you're already in one



It's IDAHo, or IDAHoT, or even IDAHoBiT again! The International Day Against Homophobia (and nowadays, Bi-phobia [whatever that means] and Transphobia) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people internationally, it is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Activities are taking place (amongst others) in Russia, in Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Georgia, Moldova, Pakistan and (for the first time) even in Bhutan, as well as in more "enlightened" states such as Canada, Australia, the US and the UK.

To mark the day, I found a rather interesting piece by Simon Copland in The Guardian, from which these are selected extracts:
Looking back at this time last year, when it came to gay politics, it would have been easy to be complacent.

Ireland and the US supreme court were both about to vote yes on marriage equality and in Australia it looked inevitable that we would do the same too. Other issues were finally entering the debate, whether it was trans rights, or recognition for other non-traditional relationship styles. The march for progress was unstoppable.

What difference a year can make...

...Momentum on marriage equality in Australia has stalled, with hostility on the issue intensifying in recent months...In the US, conservatives have passed “religious freedom bills” in a number of states, and last year the city of Houston rejected an ordinance that would have added protections to queer people in housing and employment. This year, North Carolina passed a “bathroom bill”, mandating that people use the bathroom that matches their gender assigned at birth.

These attacks have surprised many in the queer communities. This IDAHoT it is worth reflecting on why this has happened, and what we can do about it. To do so, it is important to understand the historical context of these shifts. While these attacks may look shocking, they follow a pattern that has been occurring for hundreds of years.

Go back to the 1890s for example... The “gay nineties” were known for decadent art such as that from Aubrey Beardsley and the scandalous plays of Oscar Wilde. The era also saw the birth of the suffragette movement. But just as the exuberance of the decade hit its stride, so did the conservative backlash. Wilde was sentenced to hard labour, while the suffragettes faced the full wrath of the police.

This pattern is common. A similar sexual revolution occurred in the swinging 1920s and '30s. This was a time when gay rights became even more prominent with sexologists such as the German Magnus Hirschfeld actively campaigning for the rights of gay and trans people. Again, the backlash was swift. Hirschfeld’s centre was burnt down by the Nazis, while in the Anglosphere these new sexual ideas were crushed in the post-war boom, as our society focused on the ideal of “traditional marriage”.

The sexual exuberance of the 1960s and '70s came with a similar backlash, particular as the HIV/AIDS crisis hit in the 80s. Instead of dealing with [this] as a medical issue, governments around the world used it as an opportunity to scaremonger about queer people, raising fears of the spread of the “gay cancer”.

In each of these moments, the sexual exuberance of the time made change look inevitable. Progress to true liberation and equality was on an unstoppable march, so it seemed. Yet in each moment, right-wing forces responded in kind. They have been extremely successful in doing so.

Of course times today are different, primarily in that we are a much more socially liberal society, but we can still see similar themes today from the right-wing attacks of the past... [And] it is in understanding this history that we can see the weakness of some of the responses of the LGBTI community. [We have] bought into the frame of the debate. We’ve once again tried to convince people that we’re not challenging any of the tenets of modern society, and instead that we just want to “live our lives”. This becomes a problem when we actually do want to challenge social institutions...

Instead of being defensive, it is time we change the frame of the debate. We need to overthrow the very idea that teaching kids about sexuality, or that changing how we deal with gender, are bad things. We need to accept that we are dangerous to parts of society, but to embrace that fact, and make the argument as to why it is necessary.

The attacks queer people face today have a long history. For centuries, conservatives have been extremely successful in painting queer people as a threat to our society. This year, and this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, it is up to us to change that frame. Only through destroying the very premise of that argument will we be able to break the cycle of repression.
A much, much more straightforward response, of course is our traditional one here at Dolores Delargo Towers. I feature it every year on this important day...



Look inside
Look inside your tiny mind
Now look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired of all the hatred you harbour

So you say
It's not okay to be gay
Well I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Do you get
Do you get a little kick out of being slow-minded?
You want to be like your father
It's approval you're after
Well that's not how you find it

Do you
Do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?
'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control of it and it's really distasteful

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate and it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,
Fuck you

You say, you think we need to go to war
Well you're already in one,
'Cause its people like you
That need to get slew
No one wants your opinion

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate and it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you


International Day Against Homophobia

2 comments:

  1. An important day thank you for marking it with a great video

    ReplyDelete

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