Tag Archive | transphobia

Cartoonist Sophie Labelle tells the Trans Advocate of Neo-Nazi attacks

10887151_349427518572852_6878044040955739326_oMy favourite transgender cartoonist Sophie Labelle, creator of Assigned Male Comics and colouring books which challenge gender stereotypes and teach children that it is normal to be whoever they are, has made it to the Trans Advocate.

Sadly, it is because of the attacks that Sophie has suffered from transphobes, TERFs, and more recently Neo-Nazis.  I have personally seen some of the attacks the lovely Sophie has been subjected to, including death threats, and believe me they make me pale ~ and I don’t scare easily.  So how she keeps that pretty face smiling speaks volumes of the courage of this beautiful young lady.

Earlier this year her Facebook page was cloned by Neo-Nazis posting transphobic hate messages.

Assigned Male Comics surrounds the life of a little transgender girl, Stephie, who like all good cartoon characters, finds a special place in your heart where she will stay with you forever.

Link to the Trans Advocate article:

https://www.advocate.com/current-issue/2017/7/20/young-trans-artist-targeted-neo-nazis

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Whatever He Said, Bill Nye Does Not Speak For My Gender

Nye.jpeg

Nope. He never said that.

And he would be first to admit that.

There has been a debacle about Bill Nye allegedly contradicting himself in his show Bill Nye Saves the World, in which he says that gender is on a spectrum, with some claiming that in his 1996 show Bill Nye the Science Guy he said that gender is determined by chromosones. It did not take long for the transphobes to get to work, one of whom produced a meme from the show of Bill with the caption “Gender is determined by your chromosones”.

Despite the meme being roundly debunked by Snopes and many other sources on the internet, there are still some trying to claim it was genuine, and denying the gender spectrum.

Let’s get this clear right away. Bill Nye never said one thing about gender being determined by chromosones ~ ever, end of. On the episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy etitled “Genes”, Bill said;

“Our genes are stored in parts of our cells called chromosomes. They look like this. Chromosomes contain all of the genetic information, all of the instructions you need to make a person. Now humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46.”

This is what the bigots have latched onto, along with one sentence, not from Nye but rather from actress Amy Broder in a later episode entitled “Possibilities” in which she said;

“You’re either X and X. Girl. Or X and Y. Boy. The chance of becoming either a boy or a girl is always 1 in 2.”

Neither Bill Nye nor Amy Broder were talking about gender at all, they were talking about biological sex. That is what is determined by chromosones, not gender.

But even then the episode in which Broder was speaking was fatally flawed, as it maintains that there is only a biological sex binary. The very existence of babies born intersex tells us this is not so.

In the episode of Bill Nye Saves the World entitled “The Sexual Spectrum”, Bill corrects this by stating;

“Females usually have two Xs and males usually have an X and a Y. But it turns out, about 1 in every 400 pregnancies have a different number of sex chromosomes. Some people only have one sex chromosome, some people have 3, 4 or even 5. For me, I usually feel like I have a lot.”

But then we can be forgiveable to Bill, for the understanding of biological sex was a lot different in 1996 than it is today, and in “The Sexual Spectrum” Bill himself states;

“If you’re like me, and I know I am, you’re still learning about this field of science. We used to think that there were just two settings. Male and female. But it’s actually a lot sexier than that,”

And…

“Take sex. We used to think it was pretty straightforward. X and a Y chromosome for males. Two Xs for females. But we see more combinations than that in real life… …We have to listen to the science. And the science says that we’re all on a spectrum.”

So, Bill Nye himself admits that he is still learning and he is no expert in the field of human biology and gender. And this is important. Let us for a moment imagine that Bill Nye had said that chromosones determine gender.

I really admire Bill Nye for his intelligence, his biting wit and great sense of humour, but just what are his qualifications? Well, Bill is in fact a graduate in mechanical engineering, with all his other scientific knowledge having absolutely no academic qualifications. He also has a hugely successful comedy career behind him.

So in other words ~ and I’m not being cruel here, just truthful ~ Bill Nye is no more qualified to speak about my gender than I am to teach him about the hydraulic resonance suppression tubes he invented for Boeing 747 aircraft, or how to deliver comedy lines to an audience. As an objective scientist, I’m pretty sure Bill himself would agree with that estimation.

Same goes for Amy Broder. She is no more qualified to speak on my gender than I am to teach her about acting. Actually, on second thoughts, having seen her perhaps I could (saucer of milk for Xandra).

And of course, Bill Nye is absolutely correct that science has taken great steps in 21 years, and we now have a much greater understanding of sexuality and gender than we did a generation ago. Hell, as someone over 40 (I’m not saying by how much, dears), I had not even heard of the terms genderfluid and pansexual until a few years ago, generally because they were still relatively unheard of. But when I read up on both, having lived in confusion all my life, they hit me straight between the eyes and I realised “This is ME.” Like Bill, even I am still trying to make sense of it. I’m pretty sure most genderfluid and/or pansexual people feel the same way.

Yet there are those ignoramuses who will continue to deny that there is a gender spectrum and that there is only a gender binary. This makes it especially hard for the genderfluid, because we face this ignorant prejudice and hatred not only from the cishet majority, but also from some within the LGBTQI community, including some transgender people who outright deny the very possibility of someone being genderfluid.

But what such people do not realise is they are playing the bigots game for them. The gender binary argument using chromosones was not too long ago also used by homophobes denying homosexuality or bisexuality. It is still prevalant today among some religious bigots who use the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” line.

People, and science, were wrong about sexuality then. Just as it now known that they were wrong about gender.

And this is the part that infuriates me; that many people, including some very intelligent and otherwise very liberal ones, simply cannot seem to get it into their heads that biological sex and gender are not one and the same thing. They are not and never were. The genitalia on a foetus forms weeks before the brain develops. And despite the fact that there are many guys (both straight and gay) who seem to think through their dicks, it is in the brain that gender is determined, not the genitalia. That is as true for gender as it is for sexuality.

The fact is that there is only one person who is the true expert on their gender; YOU. That is true for all of us, be we cis, transgender, genderfluid, whateva. Therefore not one person has the right to judge, discriminate, or decry the gender identity of another.

Even though I actually think it’s cishet people who are the weird ones, and who are missing out on a whole lot of fun.

Pray for Orlando – but make sure you MEAN it.

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Moment of silence, Orlando vigil

Beware of hypocrites in sheeps clothing.

I have been trying to write this for over a week, but my mind’s not been in the right place to do so. I’m not sure it’s still in the right place, but I am satisfied that I did the right thing in waiting.  However, if I don’t get this out, I am going to make myself ill.

The shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 LGBT+ people enjoying a night out in what they believed was a safe place, was truly stuff of horror. I have never been so moved to tears, so utterly shaken, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Four nights running I cried myself to sleep. As the days went on, it became clear that the gunman, Omar Mateen, had very complex motives indeed.

The first thing we learned, which the media were very quick to tell us, was that Mateen was a Muslim. As more facts emerged, it was reported that he swore allegiance to the leader of Daesh. Then he was reportedly “angered” by the sight of two men kissing. Then it was reported that he used to beat his ex-wife. It was said he drove miles seeking out a gay nightclub to carry out his massacre. The media gradually built up a picture of an angry, homophobic, misogynistic, radicalised Muslim, with possible links to Islamic State.

Then as time went on, we found out that as well as Daesh, Mateen had also claimed allegiance in the past to Al Queda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and various other radical Islamist groups, whose ideas and interpretation of Islam all disagree. His ex has stated that he rarely attended mosque but merely paid lip-service to Islam, the FBI stated that while there was evidence he was radicalised, there was no proof of links to any radical Islamic group. It seems then that far from the “soldier” which Daesh were quick to portray him as, Omar Mateen was a lone nutter with a chip on his shoulder, who claimed allegiance to conflicting radical Islamist groups, while really knowing diddly-squat about any of them.

Probably most damning of all revelations were that far from seeking out a gay nightclub, Mateen was in fact a regular customer and well-known at Pulse, Orlando, and that he had profiles on gay dating apps. So now of course, he is being portrayed as a self-loathing, semi-closeted gay man, and that’s why he carried out his crime.

Not one of us knows the inside of Omar Mateen’s mind, so we will never know the true motives behind the killing. It could have been religious based, it could have been self-loathing, he could have been mentally ill; we simply do not know, and that he was killed, we will never know.

Can we then absolve the influence of religion upon his crime? Some seem to be doing so, including those who are maintaining that it was a purely homophobic attack. That was certainly the view of political columnist and author Owen Jones, when he walked out of a Sky News interview about the attack, accusing them of downplaying the homophobic nature of the attack.

Of course, Jones was right. Sky were deliberately trying to push the Islamist nature of the attack and completely ignoring the homophobic element. It cannot be ignored. Even the US media, whilst touting the pulse attack as the worst gun attack in US history (wholly inaccurate; try Wounded Knee), they completely ignore one sobering fact; the Pulse attack was the single largest killing of LGBT+ people in one place since the Nazi holocaust. That little fact is something which must be pressed as much as possible.  Likewise, unlike the media trying to play this massacre down, I will call it what it is; a terrorist attack.

For cishet people, through their cishet media mouthpieces, to try to portray the Pulse shooting as anything else than primarily homophobic in nature is either to pursue an agenda against Islam, or ignore it as “not my problem”. To portray the shooting as a ‘gay-on-gay’ attack, is tantamount to blaming the victim.

But all the rhetoric coming out of the media begs the question, can we equally ignore the religious element in this mass murder? Not for one moment. Whether confused about his sexuality or not, there is one thing for sure; Omar Mateen was a homophobe, and that begs the question, just where did that homophobia stem from?

Bigotry, all bigotry, is a learned behaviour. No person wakes up one morning thinking “I hate all gays.”; it comes from indoctrination. As I said, we’ll never know the inside of Omar Mateen’s mind, but it is already known he had been radicalised and had some knowledge of Islam, which like it’s Judeo-Christian cousins, is a deeply homophobic religion. Some people, particularly apologists for Islam and for other religions, can try to downplay the Islamic religious element all they want, but it cannot be ignored. When Daesh are pushing gay men off the top of buildings, when there are Islamic countries where being gay or any other part LGBT+ can earn one anything from a jail sentence to being lashed in public, or even the death penalty, to ignore the homophobic influence of Islam is to bury one’s head in the sand, while wearing blinkers at the same time – a good trick if you can manage it. Unfortunately, there are so many today who think “Ooh, we can’t upset the Muslims.  How dare you be so Islamophobic.” (I hate that word), that we are all supposed to walk on eggshells.

Well, tough titty dears. Call me an Islamophobe all you want. Indeed, call me anti-relgious – I am – because I am not going to miss Christianity in this article either. And once you’re done calling me all your names, you can go kiss my sweet atheist arse. But I am not for one moment going to refrain from pointing the finger firmly at Islam for the Pulse shooting, when it most certainly was one of the motives.

But Islam as a faith is only part of the indoctrination. We then have to ask where it began, and as is usual with most bigotry, we need look no further than the home environment and parental influence. There is a lot of truth in the old Scots saying “Fools and bairns speak at the cross whit they hear by the ingleside.” Look to a bigot, any bigot, then look to one or both of their parents, and nine times out of ten, you shall find that they are equally bigoted, and have brainwashed their child into the same poisonous mindset. And of course, that is never more true where the family has deeply held religious beliefs.

Omar Mateen’s father, Saddique Mateen, after the killing gave an apology and claimed his son’s terrorist act had nothing to do with religion. Less than 24 hours later, Mr Mateen senior released a video, supposedly an apology, in which he stated “God will punish those involved in homosexuality… …not an issue that humans should deal with.” It later transposed that Saddique Mateen hosts an extremely pro-Taliban TV show on the California-based Durand Jirga Show, and in Facebook videos has often appeared in uniform, declaring himself the leader of the “transitional revolutionary government of Afghanistan”, that he has ties to the US congress and his own intelligence agency, which he says he will use to subvert and overthrow the present Afghan government. If Omar Mateen was a nutball, it seems it must have been hereditary.

But we also see that Saddique Mateen is indeed an Islamic fundamentalist, he is indeed a homophobe, and we then see where Omar Mateen’s Islamist leanings and his religious homophobic bigotry began; at the hands of his own father.

And that of course does not, for one moment, justify the worst ever terrorist attack upon LGBT+ people. It was a truly evil thing for Omar Mateen to do. But while he may have been mentally-ill (and the continued media stigmatisation of the mentally ill is not lost on me either), I sincerely doubt he was a psychopath and / or did not know what he was doing was wrong; that is, he was not of the legal definition of insane. I maintain he deliberately set out to kill as many gay men and women as possible, in full knowledge of what he was doing, and if anything, that makes it all the worse. However, his Islamist brainwashing does go to some extent to explaining the complex motives he held.

Not that I would ever wish to stir up anti-Islamic hatred. This is not the point of this article, but rather it is a reaction to and a criticism of a faith with a Dark Ages view of sexuality. Don’t worry Christians, I’m getting to you and I’m not going to miss you either. Just you take your place in the queue, because know what? You’re next in line.

I certainly would never wish to be seen as buying into the rhetoric of Donald Trump, who was obscenely quick to make the Orlando shooting about him, and try to claim that it supports his plans if elected US President to ban Muslims from entering the USA. Trump claimed on Twitter that he had been right about Islamic terrorism, and then Tweeted “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

Were that vile Tweet not enough, the fact that there was an armed police officer outside of the Pulse nightclub was not enough for Trump; he thinks that people in clubs should be armed. On Monday, 13 June, he stated on CNN, “If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had. If people in that room had guns with the bullets flying in the opposite direction right at him… … right at his head, you wouldn’t have had the same tragedy that you ended up having.”

Of course, we all know that Donald Trump is electioneering, and we know that his electioneering is based on a ticket which is equally bigoted against Muslims and Latin Americans. Unfortunately for the Donald, there are certain facts where his racist and anti-Islamic rhetoric falls down completely;

  • Omar Mateen was not an immigrant; he was a US citizen, born in the USA. Therefore, a ban on Muslims entering the USA would not have made a blind bit of difference.
  • People carrying guns in nightclubs, in a crowded place, with alcohol mixed in, would indeed have a very different outcome; with bullets flying in all directions, it would be a bloodbath in which many, many more would perish.
  • Of the 49 dead and 53 injured in the Pulse nightclub, the overwhelming majority were Latinx. Would Donald Trump and those in the US gun lobby who support him be so ready to push the “arm everybody” line if they were aware of that fact?

That the majority were in fact Latinx, the irony of the attack was that it was a US citizen attacking people at least from immigrant backgrounds, and some of whom were more than likely immigrants, which of course is the complete mirror of Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric – about immigrants killing US citizens.

So, what about the response from some Christians, and why do I have such a problem with them?

Well, firstly there was the response from some Christian homophobes, which was to be expected. Even as the attack was happening, one particular lowlife crawled out from under his stone long enough to Tweet “Someone is doing God’s work in Orlando. #FeelingBlessed” There have indeed been many bigoted Christian pond scum who were just rubbing their hands with glee at 49 LGBT+ people being wiped out. Of course, some didn’t realise at first that it was a Muslim terrorist, and soon changed their tune when they found out. Others simply did not care who did the shooting, so long as somebody did it. When it comes to LGBT+ people, creationism, subjugation of women, abortion, atheism, wanting a theocratic government, declaring their God is the only true god, and being willing to kill for that belief, you could not get a pubic hair between some Christian fundamentalists and Islamist fundamentalists.

Of course, many of such are keyboard warriors; trolls stuck in their mom’s basement who can only pull their obese arses away from their computer long enough to waddle off for another 2 litre bottle of cola (and it’s always diet cola – WTF?), and another share-size bag of cheetos, sweating profusely at the exertion of doing so, whom we should not worry about too much. But others may be physically fit, heavily armed, and easily influenced by Christian pastors ‘rejoicing’ the killing and continuing to spread their homophobia. One such is Pastor Roger Jiminez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, who stated;

“People say, like: Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died? Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: Hey, are you sad that 50 paedophiles were killed today?’ Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. You know, I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight.” He added: “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job… …I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out,”

Jiminez also posted a video of his sermon, which YouTube promptly removed for violating their hate speech policy.

Not that Jiminez was alone in his twisted rhetoric. He was soon echoed by Pastor Steve Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church, of Tempe, Arizona, who came out with a similarly vile rant in another video, also removed by YouTube;

“…we’re supposed to be sad because a bunch of perverts in a gay bar are killed… … we’re supposed to sympathize with that. Well, frankly, I’m not sad about it at all. I don’t condone violence, I never have… but I’m not gonna sit here and cry about it and say it’s a tragedy, because it’s not…”

The video followed earlier comments by Anderson, in which he stated there were “fifty less paedophiles in the world”. Same rhetoric as from Jiminez, except of course it is a fact that children are much safer in the company of LGBT+ people than they ever have been in the company of Christians, particularly Christian clergy. Yes dears, I went there – and I make no apologies for that, because it happens to be a fact. The vast majority of paedophiles, both active and inactive, are cishet men; even men who prey upon little boys tend to be otherwise heterosexual. The LGBT+ community has the lowest incidence of paedophilia -fact. And it’s not gay clubs hiding and protecting kiddy fiddlers – it’s the Vatican doing that. Stick that one RIGHT up your cassock, Frankie Baby.

I only wish it were easy to ignore the insane rantings of the likes of Jiminez and Anderson. Unfortunately, as we in the LGBT+ community know all too well, we cannot. They are every bit as dangerous as fundamentalist Islamists. In fact, given that Christianity is still the largest religion in the world, and there are many, many more people out in western, developed, at least ‘culturally Christian’ nations than there are in Islamic countries, homophobic Christian preachers are probably a greater danger, due to the hate they stir up. Steve Anderson is the natural successor to the leader of the 16th century Scottish Protestant Reformation, John Knox. And if he thinks that’s a compliment, it’s not. Just like Knox, people like Anderson stir up the hate, which inevitably leads to violence. But when that violence happens, he is nowhere to be seen and claims not to condone it. And that dears, is and always has been, the worst kind of cowardice.

But it is not so much the hate preachers who anger me. Not even crazy TV evangelist Pat Robertson who says Christians should just sit back and “let Muslims and gays kill each other”. Because of course, the LGBT+ community are well-known for launching attacks upon Muslims. Look out, Daesh, we’re coming for you – to redecorate your tents with hanging drapes and throw pillows.

No dears, the ones who have really got my backs up have been the hypocrites, with their crocodile tears for the Orlando victims; who all too often have been the same people who have sought to further oppress the LGBT+ community.

If someone hates me, let them hate me, and I’ll fight them with my intellect, my sarcasm, and where it is called for, with kindness and a soft word. What I cannot stomach is the hypocrite who pretends to be my friend, and yet holds a deep-set prejudice against me. Those are the ones you have to watch out for, or you’ll soon find a knife sticking out of your back.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, there were a number of “good Christians” on social media posting “Pray for Orlando”. Some of the people I noticed posting this had in the past, the recent past, applauded moves to repress LGBT+ legislation. Indeed, in the two weeks prior to the shooting, there were two instances of American politicians calling upon anyone spotting a transgender woman in a ladies restroom to kill them. Some of the people I spotted posting these stories, agreeing with them, were among the same people posting their “Pray for Orlando” memes. Another such was one woman who posted a story about young children being taught to respect gender differences, and who stated “Well, that’s mine being home schooled.”

The hypocrisy is vertigo inducing.

But if keyboard warriors trying to find a salve for their guilty consciences was bad enough, those “in authority” doing exactly the same thing was bloody infuriating and insulting in the extreme. Governor of Florida Rick Scott (Rep), Texas senator Ted Cruz (Rep), Speaker of the House Ted Cruz (Rep), North Carolina senator Richard Burr (Rep), Texas representative Louis Ohmmeter (Rep), and Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell, are among just some of the US politicians who offered “thoughts and prayers” for the Orlando victims, but who have not only voiced strident homophobic and transphobic statements, who have not only pushed anti-LGBT+ legislation, but some are actually continuing to do so.

The very state the shooting took place in, Florida, and it’s governor are actually a prime example of this. Governor Scott is known to be against equal marriage, and while he says it is a matter best left to the courts, he made sure that Florida continued to drag it’s heels on the issue, long after other states had given up. More recently, Florida’s Children and Families Department began moves to remove sexual orientation and gender expression from the definition of bullying in care homes. As recently as March 2016, Governor Scott personally signed into power the state’s Pastor Protection Act, which shields churches and their clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. It took until the Thursday after the shooting for Governor Scott to even admit that the attack was targeted at the LGBT+ community.

When such vehemently anti-LGBT+ politicians come out with meaningless platitudes about offering “thoughts and prayers” for the victims, one has to ask if they truthfully mean it, or are they saying these things purely for their own publicity and ratings?

Likewise, on Sunday, 12 June 2016, the Vatican released this statement:

“The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred,

“Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion,” the statement said. “Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort.

“We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity,”

I would ask all to study that statement carefully. Notice anything? There is not one mention of “gay” or “LGBT” anywhere in it. There is not even a mention of the Pulse nightclub, or even that the shooting took place in a ‘gay’ nightclub, or that the LGBT+ community was specifically targeted.  Little difference to Governor Scott’s initial response, and with spin that any career politician (which the Pope is, really) may be envious of.

This does not surprise me in the least. For a pontiff who has ‘opened a dialogue’ with and claims not to condemn the LGBT+ community, Pope Francis is vastly hypocritical on LGBT+ rights. The Roman Catholic Church, as ever under the mistaken impression that they have full rights over marriage – and families – has continually and consistently stated they will never recognise same-sex marriage, and the present Pope has himself called it “a major threat”. As recently as November 2015, the Vatican lambasted same-sex marriages and called attempts by same-sex couples to adopt children were “a great danger”. HA! And allowing their priests access to children isn’t?  Frankie; beam, mote, brother’s eye, Sweetie.

Of course, there have been other churches have similarly made sanctimonious statements about Orlando, while at the same time condemning LGBT+ people and continuing to oppose equal marriage and same-sex adoption, but as the single largest Christian communion in the world, it is the RC Church which angers me most. Not least because these are statements from a bloke in a dress, who is celibate, trying to make the rules for all humanity. Just a word Frankie dearest, if you’re not going to play the game, do not assume to write the rules.

Some Christians of course may try to claim it’s a matter of “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Another load of sanctimonious, platitudinous crap. I fail to see any difference between that particular Christian soundbite, and the half-assed and hypocritical apology Saddique Mateen offered for his son’s actions. But worse than that, every time a Christian comes out with an anti-LGBT+ statement, every time they speak out against equal marriage, every time they try to prevent a same-sex couple from adopting a child, they provide the fuel for the fires of hatred. They can put their hands on their hearts and say “Oh no, not me.” all they want, but the fact is that is starts with even one individual Christian saying that homosexuality is unnatural (unlike a woman emerging from a man’s rib, which, among other things in the Bible is obviously perfectly natural), and it ends with someone going on the rampage and killing people purely because of the sexuality they happen to have been born as. And in that respect, the homophobic / transphobic Christian churches are absolutely no different from Islam. Bigoted Christians can try to play at Pontius Pilate, attempting to wash their hands of the blood all they want, but the fact is that they are every bit as complicit in the murder of not just those in Orlando, but every LGBT+ murder – and suicide – as if they had carried out the attack themselves.

At this point, I was going to go on a tirade about prayer solving nothing and use it to illustrate how God does not exist. However, I have been humbled by an atheist friend who had a Roman Catholic upbringing, who has shown me that hate is never the way. Were I to go on my tirade, then I would be as guilty of abusing the Orlando terrorist attack as those I mention above, only from the opposite perspective. Also I fully realise that there are many Christian churches and communities who do not judge others, fully following the teachings of their saviour, but rather welcome LGBT+ people, and many others society has rejected, with open arms. The same can be said for Islam, but it has to be admitted, to a much lesser extent. I am equally aware that of the 49 dead, some were indeed believers in God, so for me to carry out a blanket condemnation of all religious faith would serve only to dishonour their memory.

And while I may be a hardened, cynical, atheist bitch who does not believe prayer does any good, I fully realise that those faithful who do indeed offer prayers do so with only the finest of intentions, and to throw them back in their face would be hateful indeed. So, genuine faithful, on behalf of the entire global LGBT+ community, thank you for your compassion and your kindness.

My article is therefore not directed at those faithful who accept all and turn away none. Rather it is directed at the hypocrites who on one hand seek to further, judge, vilify, oppress and persecute LGBT+ people, then on the other hand offer prayers and ask others to do likewise, which as far as I can see is for no other reason than their own self-aggrandisement.  Any of such who may be reading this, your false prayers and crocodile tears are not only not welcome, you actually do those who are genunine a huge disservice.  Shame on  you.

More than anything, it is in memory of the 49 young people, mostly Latinx – let us never forget that – who thought they were in a safe place, only to be gunned down in the worst anti-LGBT+ terrorist incident in history.

Goodnight, my sweet darlings. Nothing and no-one can hurt you any more.

Xandra.

XXX

Salvation Army rejects gays – but accepts a paedophile

salvationarmysymbolAlso ignored sexual abuse of women.

I am utterly incredulous at two stories about the Christian charitable organisation, the Salvation Army.

In the UK the organisation has admitted they will not allow LGBT+ to serve as ‘soldiers’ or ‘officers’ (is it only me who finds the very idea of regimenting Christianity distasteful?), yet in a story from Australia, one SA officer, who did not act on the sexual abuse of two women, has also denied having a paedophile in their ranks, a man who admitted his offence, by claiming that not all child abusers are paedophiles.

In a BBC television show The Sally Army and Me, openly and actively gay comedian, female impersonator and TV / Radio presenter Paul O’Grady, better known to many as his drag queen persona Lily Savage, spent time with the organisation, concentrating on it’s charitable works, but also performing in a Salvation Army band. O’Grady was allowed to wear a Salvation Army uniform for the cameras, but the organisation has confirmed that as an actively gay man he would not be allowed to serve as an SA officer. The Salvation Army’s internal hiring policies ban gay men from serving, unless they remain celibate, which of course would be almost impossible to prove.

In the show, Paul O’Grady openly confronted Commissioner Clive Adams, chief officer of the Salvation Army in the UK, upon their policy concerning LGBT+ people. Adams confirmed “You wouldn’t be allowed to be a member. You could volunteer for us, you could come to our church services but if you want to become a soldier in the Salvation Army, you have to commit to what we believe.”

This is completely at odds with another claim from Commissioner Adams, who also stated that the organisation “abides by all applicable anti-discrimination laws in its hiring”. Indeed, I actually wonder if the Salvation Army is acting within employment law by banning sexually-active LGBT+ people from employment.

“That’s upsetting, really,” Paul O’Grady replied, “because I know so many men and women who are gay and lesbian and they’d be the most wonderful officers.”

The Salvation Army’s policies towards LGBT+ people have long come under criticism. In the USA in 2014 transgender woman Jodielynn Wiley had to flee her home in Paris, Texas, due to death threats and moved to Dallas. The US Salvation Army refused her emergency accommodation because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. She was eventually rehoused by another charity. In 2014 the Australian Salvation Army were forced to apologise after Major Andrew Craibe discussing a Bible passage (Romans 1:18-32) which suggests gay men should be put to death and which appears in the Salvation Army Handbook, confirmed he believed that it should be taken literally.

Also in Australia we have the recent claims of Major Peter Farthing, a man who himself failed to act over the sexual abuse of two women, trying to defend another member by alluding that he was not a paedophile.

Speaking at the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, the former SA Secretary for Personnel, Major Farthing, was speaking on the 1989 sexual abuse upon an 8-year-old little girl by SA officer Colin Haggar in a town in New South Wales. Haggar had admitted the offence, yet Major Farthing denied the man was a paedophile and refuted having a paedophile in their ranks.

“My understanding is that a paedophile is somebody whose primary sexual orientation is towards children or adolescents, and not all offenders are paedophiles,” Farthing told the commission.

“Some people offend in a kind of crime of opportunity – a situational crime.

“Left alone with a child, they might have some brokenness, something going on in their own life which may make them vulnerable to offend and they will abuse a child.”

Farthing concluded that while all such offences were “serious” in his view, “the nature of the offender is not the same. They are not all paedophiles.”

Major Farthing had also failed to act when Colin Haggar sexually assaulted two women in 1990. He told the commission, “it wasn’t a contemporary action”.

“It is not second nature to me. It is not something I’m greatly familiar with, and it is not something the Salvation Army have habitually done,” he said.

“So you know my mind didn’t immediately run I have to investigate this.”

Haggar was dismissed from the Salvation Army in 1992, but was later re-admitted and allowed to remain until his retirement in 2015.

Major Farthing could not of course be more wrong over the nature of paedophilia. Anyone who has a sexual attraction to children, whether they act upon those urges or not, is, by definition, a paedophile, and their urges are not even driven by sexuality.

The overwhelming vast majority of paedophiles are heterosexual men, most of whom are in relationships with women or even married. They often have families of their own and the vast majority of child sexual abuse is carried out by family members of close family friends. Even the majority of paedophile men who abuse little boys are otherwise heterosexual and will show revulsion to any suggestion of sexual relations with other adult men.

This is because paedophilia, like all abuse, is not about sex, it is about power. The paedophile just like any other abuser, whether they use sexual, physical, verbal, or psychological means, is an inadequate individual who seeks to assert power over their victims. Because they are so inadequate and powerless – or see themselves as such – abusers pick out the weakest targets, those least likely to be able to defend themselves. In the case of the paedophile, this just happens to be children, whom they seek to belittle, humiliate and control through sexual means. In reality the abuser, any abuser, is a bully, and in the nature of the bully, a coward at heart.

Should anyone doubt that, just look at Colin Haggar’s track record; having abused a little girl one year, he moved on to abusing two women the following year. If his “primary sexual attraction” was to children, why should he suddenly abuse two adult women? There are volumes of cases of sexual abusers and sexual thrill killers who have equally attacked children, adolescents, and women. Serial Killer Robert Black mainly targeted little girls, but once tried to abduct a teenage girl, thereby making him both a paedophile and a hebephile; one attracted to pubescent teenagers. Fred and Rosemary West abused their own children, the children of others, teenage girls and grown women.

Farthing is not even correct in claiming that child sexual abuse is a crime of “opportunity” or “situational”. Paedophiles are world class manipulators, who can spend weeks, months, years even, building up a trust in their targeted victim. Paedophiles from outwith families will weedle their way into the trust of the child’s family and of the child themselves before they strike. The idea of “stranger danger” and the stereotypical image of the paedophile as the dirty old man in the park in a shabby raincoat are very much myths. While not unknown, the vast majority of paedophiles are very far from being opportunists, and that is one thing which makes them so bloody dangerous.

And while they may indeed have someth “brokenness” within them, that can never excuse the behaviour of the paedophile who acts upon their urges. Contrary to what some claim, paedophilia is not a mental illness – or just another sexuality as some are nowadays trying to claim – but rather any psychologist worth their salt who has dealt with paedophiles will tell you it is a “learned sexual behaviour”, which is usually triggered by some catalyst in the past of the individual. All too often and all too sadly, in the case of paedophiles it is a “cycle of abuse”, where they too were sexually abused in childhood. That however can never excuse their actions. I would also argue that to say a paedophile abusing a child because they are “broken” and in a “situation” where they are left alone, is tantamount to shifting the blame from the abuser onto the child; another favourite tactic of paedophile abusers.

I would never deny that the Salvation Army does an enormous amount of good works, whether that is giving overnight beds to the homeless, supplying food banks to those in desperate poverty, supplying emergency accommodation to those in need of such, or many of the other good works that make a difference to millions worldwide. But for senior officers to hold such views against the LGBT+ community, to turn a blind eye to cases of sexual assault upon women, and to completely blindfold themselves to a paedophile within their ranks is wholly unacceptable and their priorities appear to be completely twisted.

It seems to me the SA would do well to consult sexual psychologists, who would be able to show them that LGBT+ people are normal – and by sheer weight of numbers they must already have LGBT+ members who have not outed themselves – but those who abuse women, children, anybody are far from normal and should not be trusted one iota.

Well, there’s one thing; at least the Salvation Army is being wholly consistent with the Bible, which while it calls gay men an “abomination” and calls for their execution, it seems to have absolutely no problem with sex with little kids, incest, rape, and the subjugation of women.

 

“Don’t vote for ‘Satanic’ SNP” Minister tells congregation

Wee Free clergyman brands gender and child policies “evil”.

$$-AAA-0001In the run-up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections, a Free Church of Scotland minister has branded the Scottish National Party (SNP) as “Satanic” over their stance on gender fluidity and one of their key policies on children in an outspoken and strongly-worded letter to his congregation, asking them to think before voting SNP.

Reverend Paul Gibson of Knox Church in Perth, part of the “Free Kirk” or “Wee Frees” as they are known, published his letter online in the wake of the recent announcement SNP party leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) that if re-elected, the SNP would restructure gender recognition laws in Scotland to bring it into line with “international best practice”. This would include individuals being allowed to change their gender on their birth certificates without medical consultation or authorisation from a committee, and for non-binary people to be able to state their gender fluidity on official documentation.

Insisting that “The Scriptures plainly teach that God is the author of all life (and therefore the sole designator of each person’s sex)”, Rev Gibson, also taking a side-swipe at same-sex marriage, insists that human beings are made male and female, that God “ordained the institution of marriage between a man and woman as the pinnacle of all human relationships”, and that “He has not only enabled the biological process of procreation but also given this married partnership a divinely ordained responsibility of raising their offspring according to His precepts.”

Continuing in what can only be called a rant, Rev Gibson states “We have already seen widespread celebration of the oxymoron that is same-sex marriage… …our authoritarian “progressives” want to take us further into the darkness by effectively disregarding the God-given authority and responsibility of parents, as well as allowing – if not even encouraging – all people to choose which gender they wish to identify with. You almost have to pinch yourself each time you even think about it – so extreme is the departure, not just from biblical morality, but basic wisdom and common sense. Can a government really be this foolish and that Satanic?! The answer, tragically, is yes.”

Conceding that “there is a good degree of truth to the statement, “they’re all as bad as each other” – at least from a Christian perspective”, Rev Gibson goes onto claim that “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias”, but then continues, “However, when you consider the massive potential there is for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values, coupled together with our government’s plans regarding gender, you would have to conclude that true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

Really, Paul dear? You are trying to say your god is the designer and creator of all life, who decides the sex of every individual, that the same god ordained marriage between a man and woman for procreation and bringing up children, you call same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”, you brand the SNP as Satanic, say you have no bias, then state that “true believers” cannot support the SNP?

A lot to get through here, but deep breath…

The SNP are Satanic, and by inference anti-Christian?

For a great many years now the SNP have been funded by the deeply religious Stagecoach buses founder and owner, Brian Souter. That is the same Brian Souter who led a campaign to retain the deeply homophobic legislation, Section 28 (in England) / 22A (in Scotland), which made it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality in schools. That legislation effectively made it illegal for LGBT+ young people to mention their sexuality and thus further entrenched guilt and depression in many. Although I truly admire the SNP government in Scotland and am a firm supporter of Scottish independence, that they continue to receive money from Souter is one of the main reasons I refuse to join the party.

Every Education Committee in Scotland must, by law, have a religious, i.e. Christian, representative upon it. In ten years in power, and in five years of a majority government, the SNP have done nothing to change that, despite only 39% of Scots now counting themselves as religious, and church membership and attendance in sharp decline in Scotland.

The SNP administration have built more new Roman Catholic schools than any administration previous to them.

Every school in Scotland must offer Religious and Moral Education (RME), which parents can opt their children out of. Few parents are aware of this right, and when the SNP government were petitioned by the Scottish Secular Society to change this to an “opt-in” – whereby the schools would have to ask parents if they wanted their children to receive RME – they downright refused to do so.

John Mason MSP of the SNP in 2014 tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament stating that creationism should be taught in schools as science could not disprove it (yes, dears, he really asked science to prove a negative). The motion failed, but that it got as far as being considered underlines the fact that the SNP government is in fact riddled with Christians.

The SNP candidate for Central Scotland, Sophia Coyle, is a committed Christian and ardent anti-abortionist, and is also opposed to same-sex couples adopting children.

The Scottish government has an advisory committee on religion, which secular, humanist and atheist groups were not made aware of until 24 hours before it’s first sitting. The Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, Rev David A Robertson – effectively Rev Gibson’s boss – sits upon that committee.

God designates the sex of every individual?

Well firstly, biological sex, i.e. how we are born, and psychological gender are two different things. Gender Dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, which has been deeply researched by experts in the field, not “progressives”, and the conclusion of science is that a transgender woman is a woman, a transgender man is a man, and a non-binary person is a non-binary person – which is precisely what transgender and non-binary people have been telling cisgender people since time began.

Being transgender or non-binary is no more a choice than being cisgender is. If anyone disagrees with me, then I challenge them to present me with the peer-reviewed science disproving Gender Dysphoria, or stating it is a choice. And note I said “peer-reviewed science”. Do not even try presenting that dusty old book of Bronze Age goat herders campfire tales; that is not the proof, it is the claim.  And if anyone still disagrees and claims that gender is a choice, then tell me when you chose to be cisgender?

I think I speak for all transgender and non-binary people that while we are happy with who we are now, if we could have chosen to avoid the confusion with our gender identity, the mental turmoil, the mixed emotions, the depression, the ostracisation from family, friends, and society in general, the abuse, the threats and the actual violence visited upon us, we would have never opted for it. As it is we never got that choice, and all the psychological damage and abusive treatment we have suffered has been at the hands of others, not our own.

Of course the greatest place where Rev Gibson’s argument of his god designating everyone’s biological sex falls down is when intersex babies, with genitals from both sides of the gender binary are born. When an intersex baby is born, if God existed, would that then not be that God’s design? One wonders how Rev Gibson would cope were he father to such a child. Would he decide the child’s gender, and authorise surgery to assign his chosen gender? If he did so, would he not be interfering with God’s design? Or would he leave it to the child to decide when they were old enough which gender they were? If so, and surgery were carried out, would that child not then be interfering with God’s design? And would that child leaning towards one gender not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s argument of gender being a “choice”? Or if the child grew to realise they were happly to remain intersex, which would be adhering to “God’s design”, would that not then completely destroy Rev Gibson’s arguments against gender fluidity?

If you’re reading this, Rev Gibson, I suggest you sit down and consider the above carefully – a large glass of perspective and soda may help. And while your at it, consider that the only person who is the ultimate expert on their gender is the individual concerned. And that applies to transgender, genderfluid / non-binary, and cisgender people.

Marriage was ordained by God as one man / one woman for procreation and bringing up families?

By ‘God’, Rev Gibson here of course means the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. I can only take it by making such a statement that to add to his sins, the reverend gentleman is also a young earth creationist, who maintains that the Bible is to be taken literally as the unerring word of his God, and that the entire universe, the Earth, and all life – including mankind – were created in six days, 6000 years ago (someone forgot to tell the Egyptians, in the same region where the scriptures were written, and who have a recorded history going back 7000 years). Unfortunately for Rev Gibson, that has long been proven to be cobblers, and just as mankind long predates the Bible, so does marriage, which has been found in every culture on the face of the globe as a social contract between two people who love each other.

If Rev Gibson insists that marriage was instituted by HIS God, then I leave it to him to tell every married couple in Scotland who are Muslim, Hindu, some other non-Christian religion, or of no religion, that they are not married. And once Police Scotland are done with him for Religious Hate Speech, he may wish to look at what Scots Law has to say about marriage, and the fact that it makes little mention of religious faith.

Likewise for Rev Gibson is to claim that marriage is for one man / one woman is to be a hypocrite to his own faith. In the scriptures polygamous marriage is the most common form, with monogamous marriage being the exception rather than the rule. I often found it amusing that religious objectors claimed that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy, which they called sinful, when it is so common in the Bible; just as the same people claimed it would lead to incest, when it is equally common in the Bible, and if creationists were to be believed, then we would all ultimately be the descendants of incestuous unions of the children of Adam and Eve.

If marriage is for procreation and bringing up families alone, one has to ask if Rev Gibson has ever refused to marry an elderly couple, or a couple unable to have children due to matters of physical disability? This is another piece of hypocrisy I intensely dislike from homophobic clergy, who bang on about procreation and family, yet will happily marry elderly couples and those who cannot have children. This entire argument falls down on the fact that people marry for love, and for companionship. My own parents often stated they married for companionship, my siblings and I came along later. So if a heterosexual couple marry for love and companionship, although they be elderly, unable to have children through physical disability, or even if one or both are asexual, then exactly the same applies to same-sex couples.

Rev Gibson calls same-sex marriage an “oxymoron”. He must agree then that it makes sense? Or is he just as ignorant as many others using that word are nowadays? An oxymoron is not, as many think, a mere contradiction in terms. Rather it is a contradiction which ultimately makes sense.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition of ‘oxymoron’;

“A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).”

We can see from that example that “falsely true” whilst apparently contradictory in this instance, ultimately makes sense. Likewise, Liverpool beat poet Roger McGough made wonderful use of an oxymoron in his poem The Fallen Birdman; “People gathered round the mess, in masochistic tenderness”.

Therefore, if Rev Gibson is asserting that same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, he is essentially stating that it ultimately makes sense.

If I am wrong on this one, I am sure the lovely Clare Flourish whom I follow here on WordPress, and who is much more learned in the English language than I am, shall soon put me right.

There is “massive potential… …for the Named Person Scheme to be used as a means of interfering with the role of parents who seek to raise their children according to Christian values”?

The Named Person scheme is part of the SNP policy of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC). It is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which when going through the Scottish Parliament, had full support of almost every party, with only the Scottish Conservative Party (who are about as “Scottish” as a Wiltshire cricket pitch) opposing it. It has the full support of several children’s charities and Police Scotland, it is based on models from other countries and yet more countries are looking at GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme with views to emulating it.

GIRFEC recognises that every child is different and an individual and aims for them to achieve their best within their abilities, rather than treating all children as the same, and expecting them all to achieve the same standards. The Named Person scheme is not about interfering at all. Every child will have a Named Person within the education and / or social care systems whom the child or their parents can turn to in time of need. The Named Person equally shall be trained to look out for a child who is unhappy, failing, and how to help them, and the warning signs of abuse, and how to properly address that.

The only objectors to GIRFEC and the Named Person scheme are a tiny group of protesters, who are attempting to challenge it in court, and which is almost certain to fail.

I have to say, if Rev Gibson thinks that the Named Person scheme has the potential for interference in bringing up children, particularly in the Christian faith, then he must have a very dim view of Scotland’s educationalists and one can only wonder just how much contact he has had with Scottish teachers. It just so happens that through a job I was once in, I had quite a bit of contact with teachers in Scotland, and a surprisingly large number of them are in fact active Christians. Indeed, I find the number of Christian teachers quite disturbing and I would be more worried about them attempting to push their faith upon children irrespective of children’s wishes. These fears were realised a few years ago, when two head teachers at a South Lanarkshire primary school were dismissed after children had been presented with creationist literature at an after-school club ran by American evangelists.

If the Named Person scheme were such a worry to Scottish parents, then the tiny take up of the No To NP protest certainly does not bear that out. Likewise, the Scottish Tories have been extremely quiet about it in their campaign for the Scottish Parliamentary elections. The SNP won a majority government in the Scottish Parliament in 2011 – in a proportional representation voting system devised to make majority government ‘impossible’ – and are on track to win another majority government when Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday, 5 May, 2016. If Named Persons were really such a huge issue, then the Tories would be pushing that strongly, just about every parent in Scotland would be against it, and the SNP would be lucky to win a handful of seats. The fact that the same parents are fully intending to vote SNP tells it’s own story; that having been given the information about GIRFEC / Named Persons, they understand it, and they like it.

But then, in claiming he is not biased but given his strong opposition to Named Persons, Rev Gibson gives away that he is indeed biased, and given which party was the only one to oppose GIRFEC, it is obvious how he votes. He says it himself; “I for one have no burning desire to champion the cause of one party over the others within the church, nor to make out that one is worse than the others purely on the basis of some long held political bias.” Why even add that bit about bias unless he has one?

So what does Holy Wullie, sorry, Reverend Gibson, do? He effectively tells his congregation how to vote, stating that those “true believers need to think long and hard as to whether such a political party – one which seems intent on destroying any lasting imprint of God’s design – can honestly be supported in good conscience before our Creator.”

And goes further by calling the SNP “Satanic” and “evil”.

Want to see what a truly evil government is, Rev Gibson? It is one which tells severely disabled and terminally ill people that they are fit for work and takes benefits away from them. It is a government which seeking to make savings, goes after the poorest of the poor, while giving the obscenely rich tax breaks and incentives to make even more money. It is a government of one of the richest countries in the world which tells people who have paid into the system all their working lives that there’s no money in the pot for their pensions, and they’ll have to work for more years to come. It is a government which claims to be helping refugee children, taking only those from Syria, and turning a blind eye to the lone refugee children just across the English Channel, many of whom are at danger from trafficking and child prostitution. All that, and many other things visited upon the UK by the Tory Westminster government, are the epitome of evil.

And I personally think Rev Gibson is crediting his Wee Free parishoners with far too much intelligence; if they were at all capable of thinking long and hard, they would not be in the Free Kirk.

I am an atheist, and I am also a secularist; I believe in removing religion from politics and public life as much as possible. I fully recognise that everyone is entitled to an opinion, even the unco righteous like Reverend Gibson. I am also fully aware that for many Christians, including dear Clare Flourish, their faith is a main driving force in speaking out against all sorts of wrongs, and I admire their passion in that. The Society of Friends (Quakers), the Iona Community and St John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh are certainly no slouches at speaking out against social injustice.  When any member of clergy tries to tell their congregation how to vote however, they cross the line from opinion to interference in politics, and that needs to be challenged wherever possible. I am fully aware that clergy pay taxes on their earnings, just like the rest of us, the churches as organisations however do not, and given that Reverend Gibson and his own Wee Free Moderator, Reverend David A Robertson, have both been very vocal recently about SNP policies on transgender and non-binary people, then I for one say it is time to remove tax exempt status from the Free Kirk.

As a footnote, given that Reverend Robertson has long stated his support for an independent Scotland, one wonders if he will pull Rev Gibson up for his attack upon the SNP? Given that Robertson recently published an “open letter” to Nicola Sturgeon, saying much the same as Gibson, I sincerely doubt it.


The full text of Reverend Gibson’s letter can be read here:

http://www.knoxchurchperth.com/letters/april-19th-2016

“Open letter” from Reverend David A Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, to Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland:

https://theweeflea.com/2016/04/01/the-ultimate-april-fool-an-open-letter-to-nicola-sturgeon/

Rocky Horror creator’s Transphobic Comments

$$-AAA-001Has Richard O’Brien taken a step to the right politically?

Creator of the Rocky Horror Show and TV game show The Crystal Maze (yawn), Richard O’Brien, has stated that transgender people cannot be women.

In an interview with UK free newspaper, The Metro, O’Brien says that he agrees with the view of Germaine Greer and drag queen Barry Humphries. When asked about his views on trans-exclusionary feminists, including Greer, who has said “Just because you lop off your cock and then wear a dress, doesn’t make you a fucking woman.”, O’Brien replied “I think I agree with that. I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries,” he said. “You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

Earlier in the interview, genderfluid O’Brien said that he thought of himself as a “third sex”, who is “somewhere in the middle” of the two binary genders.

“I wish we would see ourselves as members of a sentient race of beings and be nice to each other,” said O’Brien, “as human beings as opposed to male or female.”

Yes, Richard, dear, I would love very much for everybody to be nice to each other. But when an odious cow like Germaine Greer spits venom at transwomen, then don’t be surprised when the transgender and genderqueer communities return fire in kind. And if you agree with her, and say that anyone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery cannot be a woman, then that makes you every bit as bad. Lay down with dogs, do not be surprised if you wake up with fleas.

And in asking for us all to be ‘nice’ about it, O’Brien is in effect no different from those during the civil rights movement who suggested that blacks should be quiet and ‘slow down’. Fuck that. The transgender / genderqueer community are just beginning to make themselves heard, and as Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “slow downism leads to stay stillism, and stay stillism leads to do nothingism”.

Richard O’Brien is famous for creating the Rocky Horror Show (1973) and the subsequent movie it spawned, the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which for those of you who have been living under a rock these past 40 years, is a zany musical tribute to B movies, in which a stranded couple seek help at the home of the mad Frank N Furter, who turns out to be a transvestite from outer space, who is creating his own man, Rocky. The show has every member of the cast dressed up in drag. The movie, which famously starred Tim Curry as Frank N Furter, and had a wonderful cameo from a very young Meat Loaf, is being remade with transgender actress Laverne Cox playing Frank N Furter.

Now with O’Brien’s comments, there has been the predictable backlash from the LGBT+ community, including those who say they ‘hate’ the Rocky Horror Show, claiming that it exploits transgender people.

Does it really, dears? And do tell me, just how many transgender and genderqueer people identify themselves with drag queens, which essentially what Rocky Horror portrays? Not this genderqueer person for sure.

Where O’Brien makes his biggest mistake is in being guilty of a Typical Mind Fallacy; making biased and overconfident conclusions about other people’s experience based on his own personal experience. Because he identifies as genderfluid, he assumes the true must be the same for all genderfluid and transgender people. Yet where those who are transgender / genderqueer people lambasting Rocky Horror make their mistake is by thinking that the portrayal of drag queens in any way represents them.

The characters in Rocky Horror, particularly Frank N Furter, are sexually fetishtic transvestites. Now, of course we all have our sexual dynamic, but can anyone who is transgender or genderqueer honestly say that their gender governs their sexuality? If they do, then I would be surprised, for as gender and sexuality are two different things, it does not govern anyone’s sexuality; and that is true of all genders.

This is where I have one of two problems with the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first is that it is being remade in the first place. I sincerely doubt it can ever be as good as the original, which is a classic with a cult following. The second however is the casting of Laverne Cox in the role of Frank N Furter.

Myself and many others are first to complain when a cisgender is cast as a transgender person in a movie, as happened with Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. If we then accept a transgender woman playing a sexually fetishtic transvestite, are we then not simply playing the transphobic cisgender community’s game for them? The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, can certainly be seen as LGBT+ movies, but the point being that those movies surrounded the stories of drag queens, not transgender / genderqueer people. At the other end of the spectrum we have one of my favourite movies, Cloud Atlas, in which most of the cast take on roles on both sides of the gender binary, but which is by no means any sort of comment upon gender, or sexuality for that matter. But dang, Tom Hanks makes a damn fine woman.

Movies like Rocky Horror are not a gender political statement, neither do they represent the mainstream transgender / genderqueer communities. But the moment anyone tries to claim that they misrepresent us, then they become so. But if we identify with that, then we can hardly complain about Laverne Cox, whom I have no doubt will play Frank N Furter brilliantly (although I doubt ever as good as Tim Curry), taking a starring role in a spoof musical comedy, where sexually fetishtic crossdressing is part of the theme. Sorry girls, but we simply cannot have our cake and eat it too (and we’d never get into our dresses if we did).

Neither should we worry about what Richard O’Brien says. He created a gem in Rocky Horror in the 1970s, and has done little to nothing ever since. Even The Crystal Maze was pulled from Channel 4 eventually when ratings plummeted. Certainly, his views are bigoted and ignorant, just like those of Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries, Jeremy Clarkson, et al, but notice what all of these people have in common; they are all tired, bigoted, old farts whom no-one listens to any more.

And while we’re about it, how come none of the above (or most transphobes) have ever said a transgender man isn’t a real man?

I am predicting and awaiting calls to boycott the remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I equally predict that it will prove as effective as the boycott of Zoolander 2 – i.e. not one jot.

Perhaps the best comment I saw on Richard O’Brien’s statement came from one transgender woman, who commented “He’s right. I don’t think I am a woman, I know I am a woman.”

That’s the spirit, gel. And that’s the way we all should view our gender; don’t dream it – be it.

Germaine Greer is not a Woman

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

Claims to know how women should look, sound and behave

And that’s by her own definition

There is a controversy going on in the UK over whether feminist author and celebrity Germaine Greer should have been allowed to speak at Cardiff University, Wales, on 18 November.

Greer, now 73, was once the doyen of the feminist movement, whose 1970 book The Female Eunuch, became an instant bestseller and led many women to realise their full potential as individuals.  A liberation feminist rather than an equality feminist, in which she believes women’s liberation means embracing sex differences in a positive fashion – a struggle for the freedom of women to “define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate.” (Germaine Greer, “The Whole Woman”, 1999)

So far, so hoopy.  That is a very positive goal, which I personally admire and can fully agree with.

Unfortunately, Greer’s attitude to male to female transgender people is far from laudable.  Indeed, she goes as far as to deny the very existence of trans people, which has caused the controversy over her intended speech at Cardiff.  A petition was started asking her to be banned.  In the event, Greer cancelled the talk herself.

The entire debacle started back in 2009, when Greer wrote an article for the UK newspaper, The Guardian, in which she stated that trans women “seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so.  We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.”

There it is, girls; every one of you trans women are suffering delusions.  One can only wonder what Germaine Greer makes of crossdressing genderfluid pansexuals like myself.  But then, I don’t even need to ask.  For in a speech at Cambridge University in January, she stated that trans women know what it is like “to have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”.

Can we take it from that statement that Germaine Greer defines her womanhood (and every other woman’s) by her genitalia?  Excuse me, but isn’t a huge part of liberation feminism fighting the sexualisation of women?

Not for Greer, it appears, for she goes further.  She stated both in 1999 and 2009,  “No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight.”

This is the oft-repeated transphobic assertion that trans women are not real women, because they can neither ovulate or give birth. The fact that Germaine Greer is unrepentant over these ill-chosen words concern me greatly, and I wonder if she actually realises the full crassness of her statement.  For by saying such, she not only deeply insults trans women, but also infertile women.  Even if not doing it directly, she is defining what a woman is by her ability to ovulate and give birth.

And given that, I am more than willing to turn that right around on Germaine Greer.  For if she wants to define women thus, then given her age I would imagine that she no longer able to menstruate and I would be very surprised if she ever gave birth to a child now.  Therefore, by her very own narrow definition, Germaine Greer is no longer a woman.

That is of course, a nonsense.  But it is playing Greer at her own game, just like all the other TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists).

And it is an important nonsense.  What qualifies this Australian former convent school girl (oh, there’s a fucking surprise), with qualifications in English and French and an honourary doctorate alone, to speak on anyone’s gender except her own?  Absolutely nothing.  Indeed, even if she had qualifications in medicine or psychology, she still would not be qualified to say who is and who is not a woman.  For the only person who is an individual on their gender is that person themselves, whether they have a penis, a vagina (big, hairy and smelly or not), or both.

Now there’s a thing; what does Germaine Greer say about intersex individuals?  What does she say pseudohermaphroditism, where the testes do not drop but grow inside the (female) body?  Do we even want to know?  Probably not.  Like trans women, she probably claims they don’t exist.

Amidst all this, Germaine Greer denies being transphobic.  Says the woman who made all the above statements, and has also recently accused Caitlyn Jenner of “stealing the limelight” from Kim Kardashian, and that get this, “misogyny played a big part” in the decision of Glamour magazine to name Caitlyn Jenner their Woman of the Year.  Of course, Greer’s denial of being transphobic is not akin to the person who says “I’m not a racist, but…”.  No, it’s much more insidious, because it is again based upon her complete denial of the existence of trans women.  When asked about transphobia, she told The Cambridge Student magazine “I didn’t know there was such a thing. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

Really Germaine?  Tell that to the trans women who have been shunned by their loved ones, the ones who have been driven out of their neighbourhoods, the ones who daily live with abuse, the ones who have been threatened, the ones who have been beaten, and to the loved ones of the trans women who have been killed.  That is the reality millions of trans women (and men) face every day, and to make flippant remarks about arachnophobia are not only not funny, they are disgusting.

Meanwhile, the middle class dahlings of The Guardian are trying to claim that Silencing Germaine Greer will let prejudice against trans people flourish (Guardian, 25 October).  In a disingenuous article under the above heading, Zoe Williams of The Guardian tried to claim that “it is precisely because there is still so much prejudice against trans people that nobody should be silenced.”  What?  In the same way that allowing white supremacists a platform will put a stop to racism?  That allowing jihadists to speak will end Islamic extremism?  That allowing a fundamentalist Christian to speak on God’s ‘role’ for women will eradicate misogyny.  Not a bit of it.  Hate speech is hate speech, however it is dressed up, and deserves to be shut down wherever possible.  This is precisely why Cardiff University has rules against certain speakers who spread hate, which should have made the petition completely unnecessary in the first place.

Some have claimed that Greer’s talk was to be on Women in Power and nothing to do with trans issues.  Given this entire recent debacle – and Greer’s own words against Caitlyn Jenner – it is unintelligent to even imagine she would not have touched on the subject.

Germaine Greer of course is having a grand old time playing the martyr now.  “I was going to talk about women and power, because I think there is a lot of triumphalist [sic] talk that masks the real historic situation,” she told BBC News, “And apparently people have decided that because I don’t think that post-operative transgender men are women I’m not to be allowed to talk.”  Aww, poor Germaine – not allowed to spread her hate speech, which every TERF on the face of the planet would lap up, and which could end in more attacks upon trans women.

But as we can see, she remains unrepentant, which she made clear to the BBC by stating, “a great many women” who are cisgender think that trans women do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”.

Well firstly, I’m sure most if not all of my readers are only too painfully aware of the ignorance and prejudice which cis privilege affords.  That no sooner backs up Greer’s argument.  There are many straight people who deny that some people are born homosexual, but that does not mean that lesbians and gays do not exist.  Germaine Greer is far from either ignorant nor stupid, therefore when she makes such a crass statement, one can only surmise that she is speaking from pure blind transphobic bigotry.

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, I was unaware that there was / is any particular way for women to look, sound, or behave.  Far from it, I say that women come in all shapes and sizes, with many different looks, many different voices, and who follow many different behaviours.  That’s what makes them individuals, and one can only wonder what qualifies Germaine Greer – or any these other cis women she claims to speak for – to dictate and define how a woman should look, sound or behave?

But then, I ask that because I am a liberation feminist.  Germaine Greer, once one of the most important voices of feminism, is nothing today but yet one more cis bigot, and a sad parody of her former self.