Monday, 17 May 2010

Cause we hate what you do

May 17 was chosen as the International Day Against Homophobia because it marks the anniversary of the day in 1993 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Today, “no less than 80 countries around the world consider homosexuality illegal and in five of them - Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen - and in parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexual acts are punishable with death,” according to the world survey of State Homophobia by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

In Eastern Europe, state-sponsored Gay Pride bans are still happening. Closer to home in the West, a particular battle continues - that of compensation for the thousands of gay and lesbian people who were persecuted, imprisoned and killed during the Nazi Holocaust. It is a little-recognised fact that after the war, the supposedly liberal West Germany refused to even decriminalise many gays who had been locked up by the Nazis, and it took till 2002 for any kind of official apology for this inhumane treatment. But survivors of this double-whammy of state homophobia never received a pfennig piece.

Here in the UK, homophobic attacks in certain areas of the country are actually on the rise rather than what you might have expected of the so-called "socially liberal" society that Blair and Brown claimed credit for. Despite gay front-bench MPs, gay soap opera characters, pop stars and TV presenters, and civil partnerships and other legislation it seems no-one bothered to educate the ill-informed "gang"-obsessed yoof of this benighted society that the world according to Eminem and 50 Cent is unnaturally obsessed with and fearful of gay people.

In so many high profile cases ("Sinders" Morley, James Parkes, Ian Baynham), the ghetto creed of "respec" appears to be the motive for the abhorrent "bashing" of the people they fear most - us.

On the apparently "respectable" side of the coin, the religions - Catholic, Protestant, African, US mid-West, Islamic, Jewish - all have more than their fair share of bigoted homophobes queuing up to condemn the so-called "evil" of people happening to love someone of the same sex.

As Johann Hari famously said in an article last year:
"Homosexuality is not some unnatural intrusion, wrought by demonic perverts, as the pre-modern religious texts so absurdly assert. It is an inevitable part of nature - birds do it, bees do it - and it is, fleetingly, part of the sexual development of most teenagers. If you are full of hate for homosexuals, the evidence suggests you have a psychological problem, based on denying part of yourself.

"In short: homophobia? It's so gay."

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