Posts tagged ‘Social Networking’

December 16, 2011

Anya Ayoung-Chee throws her weight against hate.

The petition to demand the Trinidad Express apologize for running an offensive advert that, among other things, described LGBT  people as ‘broken’  has been slowly picking up speed thanks to social networking and ActUp.org which posted an article but the pace was infuriating. Yes, the signatures tripled in two days but to have a mere 600 signatures for a subject that affects the  lives of so many people was disturbing to me. I am not broken and I will scream it out to the world

Sign the petition here.

Read the ActUp article here.

This evening the wonderful Anya Ayoung-Chee ( winner of Project Runway season 9 in case you haven’t been following this blog) came on board this evening via Twitter and Facebook. It was interesting that I was being treated to an early birthday dinner this evening and my friend Peter asked why I hadn’t encouraged Anya to join the fight. I didn’t have an answer- it was such an obvious thing – and then – as if to  admonish my sorry ass – she tweeted the ActUp post on Twitter followed by a post on Facebook to sign the petition – synchronicity.

The results have been extraordinary and the petition signatures have accelerated. Poor Anya, who is such a sweet person, has had to endure a fair number of hater comments on FB and even personal  attacks for her posts but she stands up for what is  right and we all need to be proud of her. This might be the pivotal moment in this campaign. A small battle but a significant one  for the LGBT community in T&T.

On another front,  a newspaper response is being arranged for the ignorant and cowardly bullies. Copy is being done by a Trinidadian living in the US with great credentials and the funding is being arranged as we speak.  The bigots may have achieved exactly the opposite of what they planned.

So on behalf of all the young lives that have been insulted by this ad  – a giant video bitchslap  to the evil people who posted  it  – from just a few of the wonderful and most definitely not broken people out there like me.

 

And finally, as posted before – for all the  LGBT kids who were driven to suicide because of the hate of people like the ones who posted that advertisement.  Never forget!

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February 2, 2011

They’re at the gate and you can’t ignore them.

The events in Cairo have been unsettling today to put it mildly. Anyone who has the slightest belief that all people have a right to be heard by their government  and to have their fundamental rights protected cannot fail to be horrified. After over a week of relatively peaceful protest so-called pro-Mubarak rental mobs have suddenly appeared on the scene inciting violence. A situation that an Al Jazeera anchor has described as the Egyptian Government  exploring the Nero option.

I don’t have many connections with Egypt, but like many around the world who believe in human rights and the rights of people to have decent governments I am gripped by developments.  To see a leader so enamored with power after thirty years that he will cut off  the internet and set the police on his own people  speaks volumes about the depth of his own evil.

To me it is analogous  to numerous other  struggles going on within countries by groups of people who demand the right to be heard.  In the US and worldwide LGBT people are engaged in a battle for their own rights – often in countries where doing so puts their own lives in peril.  Just as  the poor and dispossessed around the world are also demanding that their governments provide a path to economic and social improvement. There is something about the human spirit that forces us to eventually reach the end of our leash and demand our rights. The threshold may take years to reach or sometimes it only comes when some other factor like technology allows for empowerment and organization.

Facebook and Twitter may have been accelerants for the  initial protests in Egypt and Tunisia but they just made things more convenient for activists. History will tell us that Russia, the USA and France didn’t need  modern social networking to have real change and neither do Tunisia or Egypt.  Successful activists of all sorts will make use of any tools available. In this case they were also able to use emergency tools provided by tech giants like Google and ISPs in other countries that reached out to countermand Mubarak’s censorship of  free communication.

Mubarak must come to terms that the Barbarians may well be at the gate – but he’s in their house.

January 28, 2011

Social Networking – The New Human Rights Weapon

The last few days have seen an extraordinary thing happen in the Arab world. People in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and now Egypt are flexing their power and making demands for change. Such has always been the case in the world when despots drive their people to the end of their patience – but these are developments with a difference. For the first time an unhappy population doesn’t have to resort to furtive meetings in dark rooms or flyers pasted on walls in the dead of night. Activists now have the most powerful communication tool on the planet that we call social networking.

A few years ago Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist but now they are a powerful tool for groups looking to coordinate activist events or for rallying people of similar mind to support a cause. The LGBT community has embraced the possibilities better than most and organizations  such as the Trevor Project are  using the internet to great effect  to stop the scourge of bullying. Social networking, without intending it, became the  magic tool for organizing large numbers of people seeking to make a difference. Like the old shampoo advert says ” you tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on.”

Even in the developing world once one person has a smart phone or computer access they can reach hundreds of their friends. New social networking meets old-fashioned social networking.

Nobody knows what will happen in Egypt as the arrogant and clueless Mubarak seems completely out of touch with the mood of the people he governs without  legitimacy. One thing is sure – those of us who connect across borders and embrace this technology can achieve change. We can meet like-minded people and expand our knowledge of issues that affect our communities and that, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.

On a final note, Al Jazeera TV is to be commended for  some seriously excellent coverage and commentary. Sometimes old media shines too.