You have to see this, dears. Creationist Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis (AiG), the Creation Museum in Pittsburg, Kentucky, and Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Virginia, has had the latter lit up in rainbow colours at night.
Ken Ham, maintains that the Biblical record of creation is historically and chronologically accurate, the entire universe being created by God in six days, 6000 years ago. He completely refutes biological evolution, despite looking so simian himself that he could get a part in a Planet of the Apes movie – without any need for make-up.
Kenny baby has now had his ailing exhibition lit up in an attempt to “reclaim” the rainbow from the LGBT+ community.
The photo on his Facebook page was accompanied with the following statement;
“We now have new permanent rainbow lights at the Ark Encounter so all can see that it is God’s rainbow and He determines its meaning in Genesis 6.
The rainbow is a reminder God will never again judge the wickedness of man with a global Flood—next time the world will be judged by fire.
The Ark is lit permanently at night with a rainbow to remind the world that God owns it and He decreed it’s a sign of His covenant with man after the Flood—Christians need to take back the rainbow as we do at the Ark Encounter.”
Personally, I think it looks simply FABULOUS! I simply LOVE it.
Ark Encounter, which was originally meant to be a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark, with displays and anitromic animals – and dinosaurs – opened on 7 July 2016, after a controversial start. Tax incentives were given to AiG to build the project on the grounds that it would attract tourism into the area. Public money was used to build roads and other infrastructure to the attraction also on the basis that it would be recouped through tourism. Both of these measures brought complaints from American secularists and atheists, pointing out that the US Constitution expressly establishes a ‘wall between church and state’. Nonetheless, the project went ahead.
Then AiG discovered they could not make it as authentic as they liked. Irksome little things such as health and safety laws, fire escapes, public lavatories, sanitation, electricity ducts, ventilation, light, etc, meant that instead of a full boat with one door and window, Ken Ham had to build half an ark with several windows, resting on concrete pillars, and supported by modern buildings to the rear.
Following complaints of discriminatory employment practices, the US Federal Court ruled in 2016 that AiG could insist in their terms of employment that employees must believe that the Bible is the historically accurate word of God and accept and believe in Young Earth Creation.
Ken ham boasted that the number of visitors would be over 2 million per year. In fact, people have failed to appear in such numbers, and Ham himself has kept downplaying the estimate of visitor numbers. In an interview in Gospel Herald, Ham stated that in the first year Ark Encounter may hit their own lower estimate for the first year of operation of 1.1 million visitors. The Lexington Herald Leader reported on 2 July 2017 that Ark Encounter co-founder Mike Zorath stated that the Ark would welcome it’s 1 millionth visitor in July.
And what caused this failure in visitor numbers? Well, first Ken Ham tried to claim it was due to opening in the middle of the holiday season. That may well be true, but it was Ken Ham himself who chose to open it on 7 July 2016, to reflect Genesis 7:7, “And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.” So if it failed, due to bad timing, Ham has no-one but himself to blame for that.
But then, he can always blame the atheists. Which is precisely what Ken Ham did in a June 2017 AiG blog post;
“Recently, a number of articles in the mainstream media, on blogs, and on well-known secularist group websites have attempted to spread propaganda to brainwash the public into thinking our Ark Encounter attraction is a dismal failure.
Sadly, they (atheists and the secular media) are influencing business investors and others in such a negative way that they may prevent Grant County, Kentucky, from achieving the economic recovery that its officials and residents have been seeking.”
The latest controversial move is AiG selling the park – to themselves. AiG applied for an exemption to a new local safety tax in Grant County, Virginia, on the grounds that it was a religious organisation. On June 29, Williamstown City Attorney Jeffrey Shipp rejected their request, stating that it was clear that Ark Encounter is a for-profit entity, which is how it has been listed with the Secretary of State’s office since 2011. AiG’s reaction was to sell their main parcel of land at the park, which the Ark sits on, to their not-for-profit subsidiary, Crosswater Canyon, for the princely sum of $10, so that it can be reclassified as a religious organisation.
Seems to me that Ken Ham and his associates need to make up their mind. It is either a visitor attraction, or a religious organisation. If it is the latter, then it should not be given tax incentives which would breach the secular US Constitution.
Of course, if he is really struggling, he could always turn the largest timber structure in the world into the world’s biggest LGBT+ nightclub. Whaddya say, Kenny baby?
Nasty? Yes. Homophobic? Get a grip, dears. Just another “SNP BAD!” non-story.
“Tory minister slams SNP blogger over homophobic tweet” screams the headline in Pink News.
Except that the blogger in question, Reverend Stuart Campbell – who posted the Tweet under his “Wings Over Scotland” Twitter page – is not an SNP spokesperson, is not even a member of the Scottish National Party, and even makes the point on the Wings Over Scotland website;
“The site advocates Scottish independence, but is not affiliated or connected in any way to the SNP, and neither gives to or receives money from the party, nor indeed any other party.”
Still, I suppose it’s better than the enormous gaffe that Pink New came up with earlier, where their headline read “Tory minister slams conservative blogger”.
So to the offensive tweet itself. It surrounds Oliver Mundell MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament), the son of Secretary of State for Scotland, and Scotland’s only Conservative Member of Parliament, David Mundell, who after being closeted most of his adult life, came out as gay in January 2015.
The supposedly “homophobic” Wings Over Scotland tweet read “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad embraced his homosexuality sooner.”
If that is at all homophobic, I for one am failing to see it. It is certainly quite nasty to wish someone had never been born, and that is quite a low blow for Rev Stuart Campbell, an ordained Christian minister, and I do believe that Stuart should apologise ~ on those grounds. If it were meant as a joke, it’s not even funny. But was it homophobic? I don’t think so. I’m certainly not offended by it ~ and you’d have to go to great lengths to find a bigger Scottish poof than me.
David “Fluffy” Mundell
Nonetheless that did not stop David Mundell (known as “Fluffy” to Scots Nats ~ a reference to his hair and beard, NOT his sexuality) from immediately playing the homophobia card;
“This sort of behaviour has to be called out. We’re not going to face down homophobia unless we call out people who practice it” said the Scottish Secretary.
No show without Punch, his son Oliver, who was elected as Conservative MSP for Dumfriesshire in 2016 was not long in answering either. And like Pink News, chose to take the opportunity to smear the SNP;
“It is really important they call out this kind of behaviour. There are lots of reasonable people within the independence movement. But there are still some unpleasant figures who get given airtime by senior people within the SNP,” he said, “This is an individual who has interacted with SNP MSPs and MPs, and distributed material in the last independence campaign. There is duty for all of us in politics to call out those within their own ranks who are offensive and unpleasant… …I get a lot of abuse online. There are certain individuals you don’t want to give oxygen to but sometimes comments people make just cross the line.
“For other families who have gone through similar situations, comments like that make it more difficult for people to be who they are,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the kind of Scotland anyone wants to live in.”
Of course, Rev Campbell is not in the SNP ranks, and by his own admission in Wings Over Scotland, has no affiliation to them. But don’t ever let those troubling little facts get in the way of a Tory “SNP BAD!” story. It is also interesting to note that Stuart Campbell has since tweeted that several people have approached the SNP for a comment – or an apology – for the tweet, but not one person has approached him.
For my money, homophobia is a problem in Scotland and one which is all too often ignored or brushed under the carpet. And the independence camp are far from blameless in this. During the campaign for the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, openly lesbian Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson came under attack from an online troll who made some thoroughly disgusting comments about her sexuality.
It is worth noting however, that it was members of the SNP and Yes Scotland who were first to immediately rally behind Ruth and distance themselves from the troll, they exposed his true identity, shamed him into apologising, and had him kicked out of both the SNP and Yes. Ruth Davidson tweeted that she felt that the Scots Nats defending her treated her “with gallantry”.
But then, the unionists were not so angelic either. The official unionist campaign, Better Together, once put an LGBT rainbow banner up on their Facebook page. Less than 24 hours later they had to remove it, due to vile homophobic comments ~ from their own supporters.
And of course, the Tories have not always been the champions of the LGBT+ community. Quite the opposite, historically and traditionally the Conservative Party have been deeply homophobic, transphobic, and one of the greatest obstacles to LGBT+ rights in the UK ~ and in some quarters within their party, remain very much so.
But homophobia is such a serious problem that to make false claims of it are also potentially damaging. It is like the person of colour who plays the race card where no mention of their race has been made or inferred, or the Israeli (or pro-Israeli) who reacts to valid criticism of the state of Israel by claiming anti-Semitism and bringing up the Holocaust.
Remember the boy who cried ‘Wolf’? Nobody listened to him in the end. Therefore, as odious as Rev Campbell’s tweet was in wishing Oliver Mundell had not been born (and which he really should apologise for), it was by no means homophobic, and to claim it was can only ultimately harm Scotland’s LGBT+ community.
Finally, Oliver Mundell is correct; no-one wants to live in an intolerant Scotland, or UK for that matter. We had enough of that when the notorious Section 28 made it illegal to ‘promote’ ~ i.e. have publications about or even discuss ~ homosexuality in schools.
Introduced in 1988, it was eventually repealed in Scotland in 2000, despite opposition from many Conservative MSPs ~ including David Mundell.
Yes, Fluffy ~ I’m no slouch at smear tactics either, dear.
Oh, you nasty, nasty American LGBT+ people, persecuting a poor Christian pastor for nothing more than his attempts to spread God’s love.
Regular readers of mine shall recall how I reported on the Orlando shootings, including the homophobic comments of Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, when he stated “The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles,”
No stranger to controversy, Pastor Anderson also stated that the victims of the Paris terrorist shooting deserved to die because they “worshipped death”.
It seems that some have now have had enough of his odious guff, and are now, ahem, persecuting him ~ by advertising free furniture and free airline tickets from his church on Craigslist, having magazine subscriptions posted to him, and having pizza delivered to his church.
Pastor Anderson is upset at people aiming to “harrass” and “persecute” him, and saying how they are all so nasty and uncaring.
Yeah. He’s really persecuted, isn’t he? I challenge Steven Anderson to spend one day identifying as an LGBT+ person, and learn what real persecution is all about. Even outwith the bigotry people like him spread, I somehow think that the very man he claims to worship, if he ever existed, was persecuted. Syrian Christians are truly being persecuted, to the point they are having to flee their homes and even their country. I write this in the wake of an 83-year-old priest being murdered by Islamist fanatics in Normandy. That’s persecution, having pizza sent to your door does not even come close to comparison.
That being said, however, Pastor Anderson does have a point. Doing these things is not hurting him or his church as much as the other people involved. People going out of their way looking for free furniture / airline tickets are the ones being inconvenienced. Pizza joints and their delivery drivers lose money every time anyone phones in a hoax delivery. Magazine publishers lose money with every fake delivery. In the cases of fast food outlets and magazine publishers, when they lose money, that only inevitably pushes up the prices for everyone.
So, if any Americans are reading this, I would urge you to stop doing this and find some other, more inventive, way of harassing this pond life. One idea would be to get a similarly homophobic business to send him deliveries. That way you could kill two birds with one stone.
Indoctrinating against equal marriage – and likening LGBT+ people to terrorists.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have produced a series of videos aimed at children about JW faith. One of them, Lesson 22: One Man, One Woman, however is openly exhibiting and teaching children that same-sex relationships are wrong, and worse still, teaching them to spread that message to other children.
In the video a little girl draws a picture of her family at school, along with all the other pupils. Taking it home to her mother, she explains that a friend drew her “two mommys” and tells her mother that her teacher had said that as long as two people love each other, that is alright. The mother then tells her daughter that different people have different ideas of what is right and wrong, but it is making Jehovah happy which counts. She goes on to tell her that the Bible teaches leaving ‘wrong’ things behind, likens same-sex marriage to taking unauthorised items on a plane, and suggests that her daughter tell her friend about Jehovah and Biblical rules on same-sex marriage.
I was listening to a radio show concerning this, which had Jehovah’s Witnesses and other theists phoning in saying everyone is entitled to their opinions. The JW callers all said that they were tolerant and the video does not suggest that the little girl should end her friendship with the other girl, or judge the girl’s parents.
Really? Let’s go through the video, step-by-step.
Confronted with her daughter’s friend having same-sex parents and the teacher saying that is okay as long as they are happy, the mother retorts “People have their own ideas about what is right and wrong – but what matters is how Jehovah feels. He wants us to be happy and he knows how we can be happiest. That’s why he invented marriage the way he did.”
“You mean one man and one woman?” the daughter asks.
“Exactly,” the mother replies, “Look at Genesis 1:27. “Jehovah created Adam and Eve, male and female. Then in Genesis 2:24 he said a man will stick to his wife. Later, Jesus said the same thing. Jehovah’s standards haven’t changed.”
Right, fallacy one is that Jehovah “invented marriage”. This is a common claim one gets from Christian homophobes opposed to same-sex marriage, and it makes me spit. For if they are claiming that their God created marriage, then that would mean that not only would every same-sex marriage would be invalid, but likewise so would every marriage within other religions and cultures, as well as atheists who are married. If the Jobboes, or any other Christians, wish to tell people of other faiths and none that their marriages are invalid, then they are welcome to go on and try it. Most countries in the world recognise marriages in all faiths and cultures as being legally binding, so when the police get through with them for religious hate speech, they may wish to consider that same-sex marriage where recognised by the state is equally legally binding, and speaking out against it is homophobic hate speech.
Marriage is timeless, it has appeared in all cultures, and it well predates Judeo-Christian culture by thousands of years. Anyone questioning that would also have to be a Young Earth Creationist, and maintain that the Earth was made in six days, 6000 years ago. And anyone who believes that sort of nonsense, which even the vast majority of Christians today relect, while not even worth debating, by trying to push creationism upon impressionable minds is every bit as dangerous as anyone who stands against same-sex marriage on the grounds of it being against their religion. The fact is that marriage has nothing to do with god(s), but rather it is and always has been a social contract between two people who love each other. And while most cultures have held to heterosexual marriage, same-sex marriage has not been unknown in many cultures, down throughtout history, in every continent across the globe.
Fallacy two is that Judeo-Christian marriage is for one man and one woman – and that “Jehovah’s standards haven’t changed”. Well, they certainly do not change in the Bible, where the most common form of marriage is polygamy, and monogamous marriage is in fact the exception rather than the rule.
In saying that Jesus says the same later, the mother is alluding to Matthew 19:4-5, which is mentioned at the start of the video, which states; “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” In these verses Jesus does indeed appear to be stating that marriage is one man, one woman. Homophobic Christians often quote these verses, and some even try to get around Old Testament polygamy by claiming that because Jesus was allegedly bringing in the New Covenant, that monogamy was thereby the rule. Does this argument stand up to scrutiny? Not for one moment. For a start, Jesus was referring to the OT in stating that God made humans male and female, and that because of that a man shall cleave to his wife, singular. Yet given the huge plethora of polygamous marriages in the OT, does that mean that all of those in such marriages, including Moses who had three wives yet allegedly penned the first four books of the OT, were breaking God’s laws? According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who maintain that, they must have been.
Was Jesus making the rule in the New Covenant that monogamous marriage was from there on to be the norm? Well, you would have to one, see if Jesus makes any direct rulings against that. He does not. Two, you would have to see if Jesus ever makes any mention of polygamous marriage. And whaddya know? There it is staring us in the face.
Also in the Gospel according to Matthew, in Chapter 25 we have Jesus relating the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins. Likening the kingdom of Heaven to a marriage, Jesus tells a story of ten virgins going to meet the bridegroom, five of whom had oil for their lamps, and five who did not, and only those with oil are taken into marriage. In Matthew 25:1, Jesus states, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” Then in Matthew 25:10, he states, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Hello? Did you see that? They went “in with him to the marriage”.
Therefore, in relating the parable, Jesus was alluding to a polygamous marriage. Some apologists try to maintain that yes, but he was only alluding to polygamy. But by equal measure, in Matthew 19, Jesus is only alluding to monogamy, with no direct commandment. More disingenuous apologists try to say the ten virgins were bridesmaids. The bridegroom choosing bridesmaids would not make any sense in Christian marriage, not even today, far, far less in Jewish marriage in first century Judea. Generally in that culture it was the bride’s mother who selected the bridesmaids.
So, by the very example of the Bible, there goes any notion of marriage being one man, one woman, completely out of the window.
The cartoon then takes a more sinister turn, by the mother using the analogy of someone attempting to carry something disallowed onto a plane flight, stating “It’s kind of like bringing something on an airplane – what happens if someone tries to bring something on that isn’t allowed?” The cartoon actually depicts a man with a large bag setting off an airport security alarm. In the modern age, when most people think of disallowed items on air flights, particularly in large items of hand luggage, they are immediately going to think of terrorism. Therefore the only inference I can take from this cartoon is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are likening LGBT+ people to terrorists. Hmmm. Strangely enough, I can’t recall any instance of any LGBT+ person ever blowing up a plane or flying one into a building. But as for those who hold strong religious beliefs…
The mother then tells her daughter of Jehovah’s rules for reaching paradise, which means removing certain things from ones life. “At Matthew 7: 13 and 14, it talks about the road leading to paradise,” states the mother, “to get there Jehovah says we have to leave some things behind, that means anything Jehovah doesn’t approve of.”
Actually, Matthew 7:13-14 may state the former, but certainly not the latter. It says “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:15-23 certainly does have Jesus stating to beware of false prophets, of knowing people “by their fruits” (this particular ‘fruit’ would never fit in, dears) and that only those who do the “will of the Lord” shall enter into Heaven. And whilst that is open to interpretation as to what is good and evil and what “Jehovah doesn’t approve of”, it says nowhere that the faithful need to “leave some things behind”.
And just what do they mean by leaving some things behind which their god may not approve of? That suggests to me that the mother is telling the daughter to end her friendship with the other girl.
“But I want everyone to get to Paradise.” says the little girl. “So does Jehovah,” replies the mother, which is completely at odds with not just with what Jesus said, in the very part of Matthew the mother is referring to, but also with Jehovah’s Witness teaching. Matthew 7:21-23 states;
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Therefore, to claim that their god wants everyone to enter Heaven is a complete falsehood. Jehovah’s Witness theology itself, based upon calculations from the Book of Revelation, teaches that only 144,000 souls will enter Heaven, whereas the rest of the faithful (there are approximately 20 million Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide) will live forever on Earth. Given that Jehovah’s Witness theology is also very big on predestination – that their god, being omniscient and omnipotent, has always known who the truly faithful are – even by their own theology, to claim that their Jehovah wants everyone to enter Heaven is likewise a falsehood, and actually quite hypocritical of Jehovah’s Witnesses to make such an assertion.
“People can change,” says the mother, “that’s why we share his message. So, what can you say to Kerry?”, encouraging her daughter to preach Jehovah’s Witness teachings to her daughter, even saying “let’s practice”.
That the cartoon says “People can change” is of course suggesting that the same-sex couple can change, and suggesting that her daughter go preach to her little friend that her parents will be banned from paradise unless they “change” is simply outrageous. This may only be a cartoon, but it is being directed at children, and asking them to proselytise that homophobic message to other children (do JW children get classroom doors slammed in their faces?).
As I said, there were many callers to the radio show trying to claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not judgemental but open to all. Well, dears, that is a whole pile of bullshit, no matter how they try to pretty it up. This very video shows a marked degree of intolerance in which it is suggested that only Christian marriage is valid, that LGBT+ people are no better than terrorists, that the little girl should cast off her friend, and that she should tell the other girl her parents are evil and unfit for her god’s paradise.
In my personal experience Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be among the least tolerant of the religious sects – and they are a sect – against the beliefs of others, or lack thereof, and of LGBT+ people, and this very video, which is nothing but the indoctrination of children with hate speech, bears that out.
But as they are so very fond of quoting Matthew’s Gospel, allow me to finish with a message to the Jehovah’s Witnesses by also quoting from Chapter 7, one of the same chapters mentioned in the video;
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
The Second World War and it’s aftermath brought about many actions which were at least questionable in their wisdom; William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) being executed for Treason, when as an Irish citizen, he could not be guilty of treason to the British state; Werner Von Braun, who used Jewish slave labour, given freedom by the USA in return for helping their space programme; Rudolf Hess, guilty of the death of millions, being jailed for life in Spandau Prison, when many below him were executed. Now historian Simon Webb has uncovered possibly one of the most shameful litanies of all; the incarceration of gay Polish men in concentration camps in Scotland.
The background to this was that after the fall of France in 1940, 30,000 Polish troops who had been fighting alongside the French in an effort to stave off the Nazi advance were evacuated to the UK. These troops were sent to Scotland to be a front line of defence in the event of a Nazi landing. Their commander was former Prime Minister of Poland, General Wladyslaw Sikorski. Sikorski was anything but popular among the Poles, and opposition groups sprang up against him. His solution was to silence any and all dissenting voices. On 18 July 1940, General Sikorski told the Polish National Council in London: “There is no Polish judiciary. Those who conspire will be sent to a concentration camp.” As he and his forces would be in the UK for the foreseeable future, the British High Command fully realised that he intended these camps to be placed on British soil.
Sikorski sent a secret order to General Marian Kukiel, appointed Commander of Camps and Army Units in Scotland, naming officers and others whom he wanted to be placed in special camps. Not only did this include political rivals or those who dared to question him, but what Sikorski described as “Person of improper moral level.” and for him that met drunkards, gamblers, the sexually promiscuous, and especially, homosexual men, for whom Sikorski had a particular dislike.
Sikorski basically decided to lock up anyone who disagreed with his government-in-exile, and anyone he had a personal distaste towards, and the British High Command where more than willing to accommodate his demands. Political opponents – real or imagined, generals, drunks, gamblers, the sexually liberal, and gay men, were rounded up, and sent to the first of many of his concentration camps, on the Isle of Bute.
Bute, in the news recently as the new home for some of the first Syrian refugees in Scotland, is a gorgeous little island, once a popular holiday destination for Glaswegians “gaun doon that watter”, which sits in the Firth of Clyd and which looks over to the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Cowal Peninsula. In the winter however, it is exposed and suffers the brunt of storms which sweep up the Clyde estuary from the North Atlantic Ocean. The first men to arrive were not even given proper barracks but instead were housed in nothing more than tents. Neither were all interned in the camp military men, but included civilians such as Michael Grazynski, President of the Polish Scouting Association, and Marian Zyndram-Kosciakowlski; who was Prime Minister of Poland from 1935-1939.
A toxic situation soon occurred in the Bute camp, when senior officers refused to have anything to do with the “pathological” prisoners; namely the drunkards and the homosexuals, the latter of whom naturally grouped together in the face of this open hostility. Whether there were gay liaisons in the Bute camp is unknown, however accusations of such were rife, and this led to the decision to separate the “pathological” cases from the political prisoners. As homosexual behaviour was an illegal and imprisonable offence in the UK at this time, it is doubtful that many in parliament as much as raised an eyebrow at this situation.
A new and harsher camp (if that were possible) was opened at Tighnabruich in Argyll, opposite the Isle of Bute. All gay prisoners were sent there and the commander was Colonel Wladyslaw Spalek. Further camps were built at Auchterarder in Perthshire, Kingledoors in Tweedsmuir, and Inverkeithing in Fife. They operated from 1941 and continued to operate even after the war, right up to 1946.
These camps were made possible by the Allied Forces Act, 1940, which enabled Allied commanders on British soil to rule over their own people as they saw fit. Under this act, governments-in-exile of Poland, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and Czechoslovakia the legal right to raise – and conscript – their own independent forces from among citizens of their countries resident in the British Isles. It also gave them the power to take punitive measures against any dissenters. All army camps and bases of these countries were considered sovereign territory of the Allied forces overseeing them, immune from interference by UK police or other authorities. This effectively gave General Sikorski free rein to behave as he liked towards his own countrymen in Scotland. This inevitably led to abuses of the Allied Forces Act and atrocities which UK authorities were powerless to prevent. Basically Sikorski could conscript any Polish man living in the UK, then if he were a political opponent, gay, or below Sikorski’s standards, he could be arrested by Military Police and interned in a concentration camp.
And for Sikorski, this did not merely mean political opponents, gays, drunkards or the like. Communists, and more controversially Jews, in Scotland soon found themselves being rounded up and placed in the camps. Isaac Deutscher was a journalist, writer, and the biographer of Joseph Stalin. A Jew and a proud Pole, he moved to Scotland after the fall of France and was all too willing to join up with the Polish forces to play his part in the Allied war effort. His reward was, no sooner than enlisting, to find himself arrested and interned on the camp on Bute.
Obviously, with camps near to centres of population, word was soon to leak out. Inverkeithing is a major town, was then an important port, nearby to Rosyth Naval Dockyard, and was a mere 14 miles from Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Rumours started to fly that people were being held in camps in Scotland for what appeared no reason whatsoever. Moreover, there appeared to be a disturbing number of Jews being held in these camps. Some of the camps, including Inverkeithing, had basic barrack conditions, barbed wire surrounding them, and watchtowers with armed guards. Among the rumours were stories of maltreatment, starvation, beatings and even the death of inmates. It is known that on 29 October 1940, a Jewish prisoner called Edward Jakubowsky was shot dead at Kingledoors, for insulting a guard.
On 19 February 1941, Samuel Silverman, MP for Nelson and Colne, raised the question in the House of Commons on the whereabouts of two Jewish brothers called Benjamin and Jack Ajzenberg, who had been arrested by Polish soldiers in London and taken to a camp in Scotland. Adam McKinley, MP for Dumbartonshire in Scotland, the following year asked in the House what was happening on the Isle of Bute. As the government had no wish to upset the Polish allies, they would give no information. Asides from which, the Allied Forces Act made if impossible for them to act or even investigate.
On 14 June 1945, Robert McIntyre, the Member for the Scottish constituency of Motherwell, stood up in the House of Commons and asked the following question:
“Will the government make provision for the inspection, at any time, by representatives of the various districts of Scotland of any penal settlements, concentration camps, detention barracks, prisons, etc. within their area, whether these institutions are under the control of the British, American, French or Polish governments or any other authority; and for the issuing of a public report by those representatives?”
On the same day, Moscow Radion made the same accusation, concerning a Jewish academic called Dr Jan Jagodzinski in a camp at Inverkeithing. The British and then the world press was soon alight with tales of concentration camps in Scotland, and by now with the full horrors of the Nazi death camps being known, the people demanded to know what the hell was going on.
In an attempt to diffuse the situation, the Polish Government-in-Exile invited the press to visit the camp to Inverkeithing, to prove the prisoners were being treated well. This was exactly the same tactics of the Nazis, who reserved a few camps with good conditions, to allay any accusations of ill-treatment. This Polish exercise in propaganda failed to convince the press or the people, particularly when the first prisoner to whom reporters spoke turned out to be yet another Jew, by the name of Josef Dobosiewicz, who told the press that a prisoner had recently been shot dead in the camp. The commandant confirmed that this was correct, but that the man had been trying to escape. Again, the Allied Forces Act made it impossible for British authorities to act.
Almost a year after the end of hostilities, men were still being held in the camps. Enter Willie Gallagher, Member of Parliament for West Fife, and the only Communist to have taken a seat in the House of Commons. On 16 April 1946, Gallagher asked the Secretary of State for War to look into the case of two more Jews being held in a camp in Scotland; David Glicenstein and Shimon Getreudhendler. Given that Inverkeithing was in Gallagher’s constituency, one can only assume that these men were in that camp.
The exact date is unknown, but shortly afterwards, the Polish concentration camps were quietly wound down and closed. The Allied Forces Act was eventually rescinded in 1951.
British High Command was never blameless during the Second World War, and actions were taken either through error, or sheer bloodymindedness. In 1940 for instance, the British government decided to round up a number of German immigrants and intern them. They were hoarded onto the vessel HMT Dunera, and shipped off to Australia, where they were held in what can only be described as a concentration camp in the blistering heat of the Australian outback. These internees were German alright – they were German Jewish refugees who had fled to the UK to escape the Nazis.
And one consequence of a British civil service cock-up also involved Scotland and had a particularly tragic outcome. Camp 21 at Comrie was a Prisoner of War camp which housed some of the most dangerous and most fanatical Nazis captured, including brainwashed members of the Hitler Youth. Following an attempted breakout from a camp in Devizes in the south of England, a number of prisoners from there were transferred to Camp 21. Due to a clerical error, these included Feldwebel Wolfgang Rosterg, a known anti-Nazi and spy, who had informed the Devizes guards of the planned breakout. Placed among the Hitler Youth, when word got out he was a spy, they carried out a kangaroo court and lynched him to death.
The Allied Forces Act however was an odious piece of legislation, which allowed General Wladyslaw Sikorski and those who followed him to behave no better than the Nazis, rounding up political opponents, communists, Jews, and anyone he deemed undesirable – of which gay men made a sizeable proportion, placing them in concentration camps, maltreating, beating, and even executing them at a whim, on UK soil.
Sikorski was undoubtedly a war criminal, every bit as guilty as those Nazis who persecuted and killed Jews, political opponents, communists, and of course, homosexuals. But the British High Command and the parliament of the day share his guilt, by enabling his excesses, and making themselves powerless to take action to stop him, and yes, by turning a blind eye to these atrocities to avoid upsetting an ally.
When Tumblr user ‘webelieveinyoukris’ (I know, don’t go there, dears) posted a rant, attempting to use the “nature” argument against gays and lesbians, I don’t think she was quite prepared for the backlash.
The user having given an anology of three islands – straight, gay and lesbian – had her argument ridiculed when several LGBT+ people launched into a hilarious diatribe based around her theme.
Me? I’m Captain Xandra, the Pansexual Pirate from Crossdresser Cove, in the Genderqueer Archipelago. I always had a thing about sailors, and I have been known to hang around wet buoys.
Kim Davis refusing to issue a marriage licence to a gay man
Seems you CAN fight City Hall.
Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, USA has been jailed for Contempt of Court for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, despite it being part of her job to do so. As she is an elected official, she could not be dismissed from her post.
Mrs Davis consistently refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, stating that her religious beliefs as a Christian prevented her from doing so.
One gay couple managed to capture her on camera stating that she would not issue them with a marriage licence. She then continued to refuse to marry same-sex couples. When told she must, she stopped issuing licences altogether, arguing that by doing so she was not discriminating against anyone, but continued to draw her salary. She even appealed to the US Supreme Court, stating her religious freedom meant she did not have to issue same-sex marriage licences. They refused to issue her a stay. Earlier this year the US government ruled that all states must recognise and comply with same-sex marriage.
On 3 September US District Judge Dave Bunning found her Guilty of Contempt of Court for failing to comply with several orders, including one he had issued, and placed her in the custody of Federal Marshalls. Davis had said earlier she was prepared to go to jail over the matter.
Three Deputy Clerks in the same office have likewise been ordered to comply with same-sex marriage, or they too shall be jailed.
Kim Davis and her deputies are trying to claim that as they are devout Christians, forcing them to issue same-sex marriage licences is an infringement of their First Amendment rights, which guarantee freedom of religion. They do not appear to be too intelligent, as they are failing to realise that by refusing to issue such licences, they are enforcing their beliefs upon same-sex couples and are thereby infringing their First Amendment rights.
It is doubly damning as they are employed in public office posts, and the US Constitution guarantees a wall between church and state. Davis and her cohorts were therefore acting totally illegally and unconstitutionally by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences by basing their actions on religious belief.
Kim Davis and her deputies of course base their beliefs and actions upon what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, in the Book of Leviticus;
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13, KJV)
Notice here that this verse mentions sexual relations between men. Neither this verse nor any part of Levirate Law says anything about two men (or two women) marrying. Indeed, contrary to what the bigots may think and try to claim, nowhere in the Bible does one find marriage defined as one man / one woman. In fact there is no definition of any kind of marriage anywhere in the Bible.
Kim Davis and her deputies therefore could easily have issued marriage licences for same-sex couples without for one moment compromising their deeply held religious beliefs. That they refused to do so can only mean they are either ignorant of the Bible, hiding behind the Bible to promote their own homophobia, or far more likely, both.
Levirate Law, in the very same chapter of Leviticus, has plenty to say on the question of adultery, however;
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10, KJV)
And why do I bring the question of adultery up, dears? Well, let’s just have a look at the track record of the oh-so-pious and righteous Kim Davis;
She married her first husband, and then had twins fathered by another man.
She divorced her first husband, and married another man, who was not the father of the twins, but who adopted them.
She then divorced her second husband and married the father of her children.
She then divorced her third husband and remarried her second husband.
So much for the sanctity of marriage. So much for being a ‘good Christian’ and adhering to the Bible. Seems to Kim Davis that it’s okay to discriminate against gays, yet she herself has flouted the selfsame law – on several occasions – which she claims prevents her from marrying same-sex couples.
It’s called hypocrisy, Kim dear, which is one more reason I am happy to see you rot in jail and I do hope a hefty fine follows. Step down from your job, Luv; you are obviously unfit to hold it.
What becomes of lesbian, gay and transgender kids?
I was listening to a radio phone-in on which UK politician and celebrity George Galloway was discussing the merits and demerits of same-sex eduction. Seems that this great ‘socialist’ is all in favour of it, because apparently boys do better in primary schools, and girls do better in high school.
George Galloway claims to be being altruistic in his goal to give children the best start in life, which is very laudable. One wonders, however, if he has actually thought this through, or if he even actually cares about some kids? He was concentrating mainly on girls and claims that all too often their schooling suffers due to crushes on boys, first love affairs going sour, and more intelligent girls being singled out and bullied as “geeks” by boys.
I doubt that Galloway, and those who follow his logic, have ever thought of what would become of a minority of children in such schools. I am talking of course of girls who are lesbian, boys who are gay, children of both sides of the gender binary who are bisexual, and those who are trans. And that’s before we even broach the complex issues of pansexual, intersex and genderqueer children.
What would become of such children, most of whom are already either too scared to come out of the closet, or who do not yet realise their gender and / or sexuality? Yet it is in the teenage – high school – years that gender recognition and sexuality blossoms. Not being trans myself, I have no idea what it is like for a trans person at school, or likewise the experience of homosexual boys and girls at school, but I can imagine it must be sheer hell. Perhaps those who have experienced it can enlighten myself and others.
I do know however that my penchant for crossdressing manifested itself at an early age. Of course in my teens I had no idea of what being genderqueer – or pansexual – meant, but I certainly know that even at the mixed schools I attended, I would not have dared to come out as either, for fear of ridicule and bullying. Not that it would have been at all tolerated by the education authorities either. I recall a gay chap I once knew who recounted the story that he was pulled up at his local authority school for dressing flamboyantly and told he must wear school uniform. So the following day he did turn up in full school uniform – his sister’s old one; complete with pinafore dress, blouse, patterned socks and Mary-Jane shoes. He was suspended for two weeks and his parents called in to account for his behaviour. I have no doubt exactly the same thing would happen in most schools today, and I hate to think what the repercussions would be of daring to crossdress in a same-sex school.
So, children may well fail if they are distracted by objects of affection. And what happens then if that object of affection happens to be of the same sex? Strange as it may seem to some, there are not only lesbian and gay teens at school, but right across the entire sexuality spectrum; we all know this, because we’ve all been through it. And here’s a thing, even where heterosexual teens are concerned, do George Galloway and other proponents of same-sex education propose we have only women teachers in girl’s schools, and only men teachers in boy’s schools? I ask because I recall full well that as a teenage oik, I went through entire boxes of tissues over sexual fantasies about my very curvy, redheaded English teacher.
Or do those who propose same-sex education merely completely ignore teenage sexuality? If they do, then they are heavily in denial, and none moreso it seems than George Galloway. During his radio show two men dared to broach the subject of teenage girls in skirts that are too short for them, and he cut their calls off, saying that they “have problems”. Because of course, if we dare to even broach that subject, we are automatically perverts, aren’t we? Try not. Nobody knows this better than any parent of a teenage girl. My own female partner has a daughter whom she has strictly ruled that shorts, skirts and dresses must reach at least the tips of fingertips with arms at full downward stretch (and without hunching her shoulders or attempting to bend – as her daughter has been known to attempt). Whether George Galloway and others like it or not, give teenage girls an inch and they will take a yard – literally.
I am all for girls and women being able to wear what they want, where they want, when they want, and recognise that dress has nothing to do with rape. But at the same time, there is such a thing as a sense of proportion and decency – even if it’s only for themselves. Girls will wear skirts, shorts and dresses too short – and boys will wear tight pants that show off their asses and packages, because human beings are sexual creatures, and because of their blossoming sexuality, many teens will attempt to ‘push the envelope’ wherever possible where dress is concerned.
I could have phoned the show and broached the subjects of gender and sexuality in teens, but after Galloway cut those two men off, I saw no point doing so, because I just know I would have been similarly cut off. George Galloway, who some claim is a great orator, is in a habit of doing that; either shouting over his opponent in an ‘argument’ (Galloway only ever has a ‘debate’ when the other person agrees with him), or cutting the other person off when he doesn’t agree with them, or more commonly, when they are winning the argument.
Yet teen sexuality and gender recognition is not something which can or should be ignored. Nonetheless so as recently the UK Office for National Statistics, an official government body, released a survey in which 49% of young people (18-24) identified as being something “other than 100% heterosexual”, and across the board all ages now tend to recognise that sexuality is not a binary but a spectrum where all lie somewhere upon. Given those statistics, we then see that same-sex eduction could be highly detrimental not just to a small minority, but almost half of teenage schoolkids.
And as to the bullying aspects, if George Galloway does not believe that girls bully other girls, I would suggest he has his head in the sand, up his arse, or somewhere else he can choose to not recognise facts. Girls can be extremely vindictive little minxes to each other, and will quite easily pick on the smart girl, every bit as much as boys will pick on the geeky intelligent boy. We all know this; we’ve all experienced and seen it with our own eyes. As John Lennon said in Working Class Hero, “They hurt you at home, and they hit you at school; they hate you if you’re clever, and they despise the fool.” Just recently in the UK there was the shocking case of an out-of-control girl who was convicted after a video showed her beating up a girl much more intelligent than her. The said girl was stupid enough to allow friends to post the video on social media, which led to her subsequent conviction, but I would suggest that is the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who tries to infer that girls (and boys) would not be bullied in same-sex schools is playing the same ignorant game as those school heads who claim their school does not have a bullying problem. All schools have bullying problems, and parents would do well to listen to the heads who admit they take a strong line on bullying, and avoid those schools where the head claims bullying doesn’t exist like the plague.
I am somewhat bemused by George Galloway’s claims that he does not want school pupils ‘distracted’ from their eduction. This is the same man who for years has been claiming that the Scottish National Party (SNP) aim to destroy Scotland’s state-funded Roman Catholic schools, and that those same schools would be scrapped in an independent Scotland. So, being distracted by a member of the opposite sex should never be allowed in George’s book, but it’s okay for them to be distracted by religious mumbo-jumbo, which should have absolutely no place in schools in my opinion.
So, given that he wants same-sex schools, and faith-based schools, and looking at what I have already said above about teachers of the same sex, can we take it that George Galloway would favour girl’s schools ran by nuns, and boy’s schools run by priests? Because historically that’s really been a recipe for success, hasn’t it? Sure, just ask the hundreds of those who survived sexual and physical abuse in such establishments.
That’s before I even come onto George Galloway’s continual pandering to Islam. Does he then favour Islamic girl’s only faith schools? In his broadcast Galloway claimed he wanted to see girls become engineers and scientists. Let me tell you now, in an Islamic girl’s school, that is never going to happen. And no, I’m not being Islamophobic; I am merely stating a fact that Islam, under which men and women are supposed to be equal, in fact strongly oppresses women. But then, the Roman Catholic Church is not far behind them in that degree, so sincerely doubt one would see many engineers and scientists pouring out of RC girl’s schools.
And of course, we all know the views of the Roman Catholic Church – and other Christian denominations – and Islam on anything which detracts even the slightest iota from the cisgender and heterosexual binaries. So in that context same-sex faith schools could only ever be oppressive and harmful to LGBTQI children.
But then exactly the same applies to non-denominational and secular same-sex schools. We already know that if anything causes confused sexual longings, it is locking up teenagers (or even adults) of the same sexuality and gender together. Stories of buggery at boy’s boarding schools and lesbian encounters at their female equivalents are legendary. But in those contexts, they are many times the result of what the homophobes and transphobes are the very people to accuse the LGBTQI community of; sexual experimentation and learned behaviours.
If we want well-rounded, well-educated adults, then we need children, not just teens but from an early age, to mix with each other. That is as true of gender and sexuality as it is of race, ethnicity, culture and faith. To do any other can only ever be divisive, and can only lead to problems in the future. And I for one do not know how anyone can dare to advocate such, and then have the audacity to describe themselves as a socialist.
And yes, girls and boys will have crushes. They will ‘fall in love’. They will have their first romances. And yes, their little hearts will get broken as result of that. And yes, that is sad and bloody tragic. It is also however part and parcel of growing up, and is in itself a life experience, and one of the most important lessons the overwhelming vast majority of us ever learn. And all of us look back on those days, and we smile and bear no ill will; for we all know just how important that lesson was.
I am sure I speak for most when I say that the last thing we want is a scientist who has never experienced compassion for others – or for that matter the poet who has never fallen in love.
But then, as he’s so sure of his facts, I’ll give the floor for one more statement from George Galloway;
“And when they returned they sat mixed together, Christian boys in their scruffy jeans next to Muslim girls in immaculate hijabs. During the break they had discovered what they liked about one another – and forgot what it was they were meant to dislike.”
(George Galloway, Daily Mirror, 6 September 2014)
There’s a word for it, George. It’s called hypocrisy.
Any step against gender labelling is a positive one
The US-based retail giant, Target, does not have any UK stores, and if you wish to buy from them you have to do so online.
Nonetheless, one has to applaud a decision they took recently, to remove gender-based labelling and decor from some of their departments. All the more so because they took that decision in response to customer feedback.
On their corporate website, A Bullseye View, Target stated:
“Historically, guests have told us that sometimes—for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well—signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.
“We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.”
I like how Target are making the distinction of the more subtle differences here, such as not using pink and blue backing paper on shelves. Sometimes gender segregation in store is more subtle than some people notice.
When I posted the Target story on Facebook, I was met with comments from people claiming they had never seeing aisles segregated by gender. Of course, those making those comments were speaking from their position of cis privilege. They don’t see them because they don’t look, and because they are cis, it does not register in their brains.
I was in a toy store recently and I could not help but notice that the store was indeed segregated, not by signage, but by colour. One side was pink, and had dolls, dolls houses, kids make-up sets, and all the other toys traditionally associated with girls. The other side was blue, and had toy cars, guns, cowboy outfits, and all the other toys traditionally associated with boys.
Were it not enough that this store was clearly making a distinction between genders and toys which the owners had obviously decided suited either side of the gender binary, I noticed something that made my blood boil. The pink – girls – side had all the artists materials; the blue – boys – side had all the scientific toys.
What message is that sending, exactly? And with attitudes like that, is it any wonder that many more men go into the field of science than women, and men taking an interest in or pursuing a career in the arts is still seen as fette among the cishet majority?
The backlash against Target has been considerable. Their website is full of comments from disgruntled Americans saying they will not shop at Target any more. Good, don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out, Sweetie. On the plus side those bigots are getting a few replies from those supporting Target saying they won’t be missed.
And of course there has been the usual media backlash, particularly from the right-wing US media who claim to report news, but seem to exist only to push their opinions upon others. And of course, Fox are leading the field. On Fox and Friends, host Brian Kilmeade claimed he would have problems choosing what toys to buy for the children in his life. Really Brian? Do what I do, dear; ask the parents – or even the kids themselves. Probably most disturbing were the comments from psychotherapist Tom Kersting;
“I understand there’s this whole gender neutral agenda going on, and I actually have clients of mine that are — don’t really know what gender they are. I don’t want to confuse kids that are young when we take them to a toy store, having them question what their gender is, That’s the problem I have with that.”
Who is Tom Kersting? I did a little digging and found out he is indeed a therapist and counsellor, for marriages and families. He is also a hypnotherapist, which given that is a highly controversial and scientifically unproven field – which has been proven to suggest false memories – sets alarm bells off in my head immediately. He is also the therapist on the US ‘reality’ show, A&E. As the above paragraph suggests, he has no expertise in the field of gender dysphoria, and the fact he refers to a “whole gender neutral agenda”, and claims that he has clients who do not know which gender they are, only serves to highlight his ignorance in the entire question of gender. In other words he’s a television showman and a hypnotherapist quack who does not know what he is talking about and is unqualified to make any comment on the gender issue. And that dears, is why I have a problem with him.
You know what the real problem with the objectors is? Ignorant homophobic and transphobic bigotry. They are scared that if their little darling Johnny plays with dolls, or little sweetie Jenny plays with a train set, in their minds they imagine them becoming homosexual or transgender. And of course, those of us who are better educated fully realise that decision has already been taken in the womb, and hell and high water will not change that. And that fact just further underlines Tom Kersting’s ignorance upon this subject. If he is unaware gender and sexuality are formed before birth, then one wonders just where he got his qualifications from, and how. I played with Action Man as a child (GI Joe in the USA) and had a whole load of paraphenalia concering this militaristic toy. It no sooner made me grow up cishet than it made me violent. The ideas of toys conditioning gender, sexuality, or behaviours is completely bogus and has not one shred of solid scientific evidence to back it up. Boys play with dolls and plushies, girls play with war toys and train sets (and we all still play with Lego), whatever their gender or sexuality – get used to it.
In the end, just what are Action Man / GI Joe, and action figures (which some never grow out of) if they are not dolls?
I see I have also been as guilty as most in concentrating upon children in this article, when of course Target are not only removing gender-based signs from many departments, not just toys, and are doing so based upon customer feedback. The very words were, “some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.” Equally true. I am very girlie (You don’t say, Xandra? Oh I do say, dear.) but the devil will be skating to work before I ever watch a chick flick or read a trashy romantic novel. Things like that give me, as we say in Scotland, the dry boak. I base my bedding around the decor in my room. Am I to be told that I cannot buy bedding because it’s based on gender?
If my female partner was frowned upon or patronised for going into a hardware department, she’d probably show the staff that there is more than one use for a staple gun.
I simply loved what one woman had to say in the comments on the Target website; thank you Ms Angela Yates of Richmond, IN.
“For all of those who are upset about this change, how would you feel if the cleaning supplies aisle said “Women’s” and the tool aisle said “Men’s” because we all know that only women can clean and do housework and men are the only ones handy with a hammer, right?!“
I cannot say that I am a big fan of Target. I don’t buy from them online and if they had stores here in the UK, I would not enter one. Not because of the above change but rather because earlier this year they closed down their Canadian stores and rather shittily made over 17,000 of their Canadian employees unemployed as a consequence. Shame on you for that, Target.
Their step in ending gender-specific aisles and departments is one to be applauded, however; firstly, because it was an action in response to customer feedback, and secondly, because it is the thin end of the wedge which could very well make other stores follow their lead.
And should any readers of this think that would be the end of civilisation as we know it, or like Fox’s Brian Kilmeade think it will cause them considerable confusion in making choices when buying gifts for children and other loved ones, just ask yourself this question;
Just how do you reckon blind people make such choices?
The press release on the Target website (and attached odious comments) can be read here:
At the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, gay actor John Barrowman grabbed and kissed a kilted male dancer. It was a moment which was hugely applauded in the stadium, across Scotland, the UK, and around the world.
Gay and lesbian kisses are now becoming so commonplace in soap operas, that the media hardly bothers reporting them nowadays. There are similarly quite a few same-sex kissing scenes in many movies.
So, given that the public is apparently so accepting of LGBTQI actors and celebrities kissing in the media and entertainment, one would think that people would be equally accepting to exactly the same thing being done by ordinary people in public.
And one would be dead wrong.
On 11 October 2014, 22-year-old Annabelle Paige and her unnamed girlfriend were shopping in branch of Sainsbury’s supermarket in Brighton, England, when she lovingly gave her girlfriend what she describes as a “light kiss”. She thought no more of it, until the couple were approached by a store security guard. The guard told them that he had received a complaint and they were to refrain from kissing, or leave the store.
Ms Paige said that the security guard told them “either leave and take it outside or continue our shop without being affectionate as it was making other customers uncomfortable.” The female security guard told Ms Paige that a customer had said it was ‘disgusting’. The use of this word rankled with Ms Paige, who remonstrated with the security guard who claimed a customer had said that.
Ms Paige stated “She told us she was sorry to have said that, but a customer had complained, saying what we were doing was ‘disgusting’ and had claimed they were worried for the safety of their child so the security guard felt she had to come and say something to us.” Worried for the safety of their child? Really?
Annabelle Paige and her partner lodged an official complaint with Sainsbury’s, who apologised profusely, and will be making a donation to a charity of Ms Paige’s choice. A Sainsbury’s spokesman stated “This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”
The day the incident happened upon, incidentally, was National Coming Out Day.
One would hope this was an isolated incident. But no. In July this year, lesbian couple Mog Wilde and her long-term partner, Freya, were visiting the Cardiff Food Festival in Wales for Freya’s 35th birthday, when Mog kissed her. “We were dancing to the live music and I kissed Freya because she looked so beautiful and it was her birthday.” Mog said. The couple, who were in a public thoroughfare, were then approached by a security guard from G4S, who told them to quit or they would be removed from the event. The security guard claimed that there had been complaints and remonstrated that there were children around.
One onlooker stated that there had been complaints from some “middle-aged ladies” but the couple reported that they got cheers and support from those around them, including a gay couple who also kissed – but were not approached by security.
A spokesperson for Cardiff City Council stated, “Festival stewards received a number of complaints from members of the public about a couple who were engaged in a very strong display of public affection at the festival’, they said. “Once the couple in question had been identified a steward approached them. They reminded them that sexual behaviour of this level was inappropriate for what is very much a family event. At no time did any Council employee ask the couple to leave.” they concluded, “The same course of action would have been taken regardless of the sexual orientation of the individuals involved.”
This incident took place on the same day as the Bristol Pride event, 30 miles away.
Back to supermarkets, this time British supermarket giant Tesco. Just this week a gay couple were subjected to a tirade of abuse from a member of staff in a branch of Tesco in Brixton, London. Steve Luetchford was shopping, when his partner happened to give him a peck on the cheek. They were approached by a female member of staff who started shouting at them and told them to get out of the shop.
Steve told Pink News “Basically the BF kissed me on the cheek and woman went ballistic at us saying “how dare you do that here, there are children here, you people are disgusting do that at home you have no right to do that in
“I was like actually we do have a right and I said she didn’t have a right to talk to us like that she started calling us miss and told us to get out and kept going on about children being in the shop.”
Not one member of staff intervened to stop the verbal assault, and every one of them refused to give their names, although Steve stated, “one girl was really rude and insinuated we deserved to be spoken to like that.”
He later posted on Facebook “We weren’t at all being grotesque or sucking face.”
Tesco has since apologised and has said that the store manager is investigating the incident.
Three isolated incidents, but probably three which are the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger problem. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that the lesbian kiss between Mog and Freya (pictured above) was somewhat passionate, but then, it’s no different from what one can see cishet couples doing in public any day of the week.
And notice the common thread which runs through the complaints; all three complainants holding up the children card, with one claiming that parents were worried for the ‘safety’ of their child. Yeah, because the child was really at risk by seeing two people being loving towards each other. I frankly doubt there was any child in that case, if indeed there were children near in any of the three cases.
And there are other things to consider in the reaction to all three cases.
Sainsbury’s are reported making a donation to a charity of Annabelle Paige’s choice. Did they then offer Ms Paige money? If so, to my mind that is merely adding insult to injury. I’ve worked in many customer services roles and problems are not solved by throwing money at them.
The Cardiff City Council spokesperson who claimed “The same course of action would have been taken regardless of the sexual orientation of the individuals involved.” has actually told a barefaced lie. There were two gay men who also kissed, and they were not approached and told to desist.
Given that not one member of staff intervened in the Brixton branch of Tesco, and all allegedly refused to give their names, one wonders just why then Tesco are leaving the investigation to the store manager? Just how committed are they to diversity, or to even getting to the bottom of this incident? One would have thought that particular incident requires someone completely independent of the branch to investigate the matter.
It also does not escape my notice that security guards were involved in two of the incidents. Having been on the receiving end of these petty-minded little Hitlers on a power trip every time they don a uniform, I have a particular dislike for them. The difference is I know my rights, I know the limits of their ‘powers’ (basically little to none), and I’m not afraid to face them. Once they see they are dealing with someone in the know, they usually shit themselves and scuttle away like the cowardly bullies most of them are.
This is kissing we are talking about, for gawd’s sake. Yes, a kiss can be very intimate, even sexual, but most people, whatever their sexuality know the limitations in public. The supermarket cases were apparently not intimate or sexual, and while the kiss between the lesbian couple was, they were cheered on by those around them. And any homophobes / transphobes reading this, everyone has the right to show affection to a loved one in public, regardless of their sexuality or gender. If you don’t like it, look the other way. Indeed, you should do so anyway, as it’s an intimate moment which is nothing to do with you. How would you like it if people stared at you kissing your partner?
There is no way that any cishet couple would have been similarly approached for any of the above three public displays of affection. Indeed, one wonders how willing some little G4S toady or a frosty-faced cow in a supermarket would be to face up some muscled, tattooed bruiser and tell him to stop kissing his female partner? It simply would not happen, because it’s nothing to do with public displays of affection, it’s nothing to do with protecting children; it has everything to do with homophobic / transphobic bigots seeing the LGBTQI community as an easy target and thinking they can impose their ‘standards’ upon them. Like all abusers, homophobes and transphobes are bullies, and in the nature of the bully, cowards at heart.
I am reminded of a gay friend who was once arrested for walking down a public street in Scottish city, hand-in-hand with his boyfriend. That was way back in 1983; have we really progressed so little in the intervening 32 years?
(“What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?” Robert Browning; ‘A Toccata of Gallupi’s’)
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