Politics

Police Brutality at Sydney Mardi Gras

It takes a lot to make me feel sick. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach; I’ve drank from a stream while hiking, gone further uphill and found a rotting sheep carcass in said stream and still held onto my lunch. But something I saw today induced a wave of rolling nausea so great I feel compelled to share it. This video is just over 4 minutes long; I urge you to watch it all, with the sound up. But if you’re really pushed for time, skip forward to 55 seconds in.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Random

An Open Letter to Derek Twigg, MP

Last week I wrote about the speeches given by various MPs during the equal marriage debate. I said I had never felt as proud of UK MPs as I did that day, and I meant that. Genuinely. But there’s one MP I am not proud of – my own MP, Derek Twigg; one of only 22 Labour MPs to vote against equal marriage.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Random

UK Passes Marriage Equality

Yesterday was a bit of a write-off for me. The UK House of Commons was discussing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill from 12.30pm right up to the vote at 7pm. I followed the entire thing as it happened.

Now this was already a done deal. Enough MPs had said in advance they were voting for the bill that we knew we’d won. It was simply a case of seeing how big our majority was going to be. But before that, for six and a half hours, over seventy MPs from all parties and levels and of all ages and backgrounds were given four minutes each to present their own reactions to the bill. It was the content of those four-minute speeches that really struck a chord as I was following this debate; the number of out gay and bisexual MPs who spoke movingly of what this bill means to them in particular. I have never been as proud of UK politicians as I was yesterday listening to some of them speak.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Why Equal Marriage Matters

Hands up who’s bored of the equal marriage debates rumbling through virtually every country in the west at the moment? It seems every other US state is currently having a referendum on the matter – with some voting for, and some against – the UK bill just hit parliament, and Paris was invaded by hoards marching both for and against. SCOTUS briefs are currently being filed in advance of the hearing on DOMA.

Whatever your political position – for, against, ambivalent – you can’t escape it. I’ve heard arguments every which way recently, opinions and surveys and outright lies in some instances spread across the media. The most common complaint I’m hearing is that – in most places – us gays already have civil partnerships, so why are we banging on about marriage? Continue reading →

Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Naming (and Shaming) Sexual Identities

We’ve all heard the term LGBT, right? Gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*. Do you know how many groups consider that acronym redundant? The NYT ran an article recently on what it dubbed “Generation LGBTQIA”. Here’s just a sample of some of the labels you can apply to your sexual identity: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, queer, homosexual, asexual, pansexual, omnisexual, trisexual, agender, bigender, third gender, gender queer, intersex, two-spirit, polyamorous… The list goes on.

Do we really need all these different definitions? Is it really necessary to split our community into smaller and smaller chunks of identity? At what point does an identity become so individual that it ceases to have any relevance to a wider group – and are we damaging our own equality movement by getting bogged down in a plethora of unnecessary labels?

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Coming Out: A Never-Ending Process

I’ve just read a great blog post about coming out, which has got me thinking (again) about the whole process. I always say I came out at 14, but of course that’s not strictly true. What I mean by that is I told my best friends (via email – my bestie responded with I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) but everyone else took a little bit longer, and it’s a process that’s still not really over. It never will be.

How many times do you refer to a gay person as ‘out’? What you’re saying, in effect, is that they’re out to you. That’s all. There is a perception that coming out is a single act, that one day you’re sitting quietly in your closet and hoping that no-one looks at you too closely, and the next day you’ve emerged in a shower of rainbow flags and glitter and from that point on everybody knows, for better or worse – but that simply isn’t true.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

What is (Gay) Sex?

Dur, right? I’m a bit old for the talk about the birds and the bees.

Or am I? As a gold-star dyke, according to some people’s definition of what sex ‘is’ I could well be considered a virgin. But that’s my business, right? What I do and who I do it with is irrelevant to everybody else so they can all keep their beaks out. As long as I’m not breaking the law, it’s all good.

Except when the government gets involved.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

The God Complex

The leader of an ‘ex-gay’ Kansas City prayer group, has just been named as a suspect in the alleged murder of his wife. According to ex-members of the group – part of the virulently anti-gay International House of Prayer “charismatic movement” – he feared that his wife was about to report the systematic abuse that she had been subject to under the guise of ‘spiritual experience’. One of the claims was that she was drugged with anti-psychotics while he engaged in sexual activity with the male members of the group.

A week ago a Minnesotan pastor was charged with eight felony counts of sexual assault on men during ‘ex-gay’ therapy sessions. It seems like every other month some anti-gay pastor is caught in flagrante delicto in a men’s room.

What on earth is going on?

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Random

Heteronormativity and the Myth of the ‘Gay Lifestyle’

“…the gay lifestyle is incompatible with happiness and fidelity in human relations.” British broadcast journalist Simon Fanschawe.

How many times have we heard that expression, the “gay lifestyle”. What, exactly, is it? We know what our detractors say, we’re promiscuous and immoral and obsessed with sex and youth. We’re all fundamentally flawed, broken; the gay lifestyle is incompatible with happiness. We’re deeply, deeply miserable (excuses for) human beings who adopt a happy, campy air in order to sucker the next generation into our vast whirlpool of misery and self-loathing. The gay lifestyle is nothing if not self-propagating.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Perpetuating the Myths

I’m talking gay stereotypes. The bulldyke, the screaming queen. You know them, I know them. Heaven forbid anyone should write about them. Because, y’know, they’re stereotypical. Most gay people aren’t like that. Most gay people hate to be associated with people like that. Most gay people are ordinary men and women just like you and me who feel no particular urge to fill their lives with glitter and sparkles.

How dull for them.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff