Archive for October 25th, 2010

October 25, 2010

No easy answers

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I have been posting a lot of things about the plight of LGBT kids who are frequently the victims of bullying and who have so much more to deal with as they try to find themselves.  This is , of course, just part of a bigger picture as many adults around the world are also bullied simply because of their sexual identity – who they are. It ranges from overt threats of death as seen in proposed legislation in Uganda to more subtle versions in the US in the form of DADT and DOMA. Even in countries such as the one I consider home, Canada, there are still manifestations of hatred based on ignorance. LGBT  Canadians and their supporters  had a long struggle to bring Canada to a point where a guarantee of non-discrimination is included in the Charter of Rights. I know I was out there marching back in the day.

In Trinidad & Tobago  ,where I am now working and living , there seems to be an emerging consciousness that one group is being deprived of basic rights that everyone should be entitled to. As the link in my last post might have illustrated, there is much homophobia here. It may be related to a high level of  professed religious allegiance and a lower level of  education and exposure to broader ideas – but it exists. There isn’t the overt and disgusting violent manifestation as is seen in Jamaica and, truth be told, there are even  a few very out there characters who escape violence even though they are themselves in public places. They can do so as long as they don’t use the ‘G’ word. If they said “we need Gay and Lesbian rights!”  they would probably be booed or attacked.  The unspoken rule here is that you can be yourself but not if you make it a matter of civil rights. That is just plain wrong. To say that would mean that the rest of society is somehow threatened.

In recent days here we have seen the group CAISO that decided to mobilize against the arrival of an Ex-gay US minister in T&T.  They decided to show up en masse  to one of his lectures wearing protest T-shirts and ask him questions. It might not seem like much but it was a first for this country. Naturally, as has happened around the world, other parts of the LGBT community decided to argue over this action. Some said it was wrong to draw attention to the ridiculous man, others said that it would only cause a backlash from the religious community.  Those points may have validity but to me the fact a group of young people chose to not care about social repercussions and decided to make a statement was important. It reminds me of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project and  the fact there was a backlash to that. Never mind he managed to get the US president to speak out on LGBT bullying ( though Hillary did a far better job) . Every little protest action is important in any rights movement. Trust me – I know.

CAISO has complained that they got no media coverage. I can’t speak for the rest of the media, as I have done several news items and interviews on related subjects,  but late afternoon on a weekend is not the best time to hold such a thing as we are all stretched for cameramen. It also didn’t help that the Prime Minister had called a press conference at the same time.  Word of advice send a press release of your intention to every media house.

I think it is time I bring back humor to my blog . The focus will stay but I need to be more myself  and blend it with the issues I care about.

Still reading Simon LeVey’s amazing book Gay, Straight and the Reason Why: The Reason for Sexual Orientation. Everyone should buy it.

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October 25, 2010

Trinidad’s strange attitude to homophobia

My Twitter friend @traceyctt put me on to this very well written article on homophobia in Trinidad. I don’t know the author ( though I have already thanked him on Facebook) but it is certainly worth a read.I especially like this bit:

A FB friend, let’s call him ‘Bob’, decided to comment on the video saying, “Gays could do what the f@ck they want. Once they don’t come around me”, followed up with the more insightful “They could all kill themselves, don’t really care”.

Now it would be easy to dismiss Bob as an idiot, after all he sounds like one, but on closer inspection of Bob’s Facebook page, you’ll discover that listed in his favourite music are Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin. He has a Maya Angelou quote for his FB status, and his profile pic shows him enthusiastically enjoying a mojito at Shakers.

Read more in T&T’s own Outlish magazine ( the name is not connected in any way to the subject strangely) here. And read Tracey’s beautiful blog here.

All I can add is …

October 25, 2010

No post today

I am reading  an eyeopening book by Simon LeVey on “Gay, Straight and the Reason Why: The Reason for Sexual Orientation”. I will report tomorrow. Download it now at the Kindle store if you can . Fascinating reading so far.