April 23rd, 2013
The French parliament votes in favour of gay marriage:
France has become the 14th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage , pushing through François Hollande’s flagship social reform after months of street protests, political slanging matches and a rise in homophobic attacks.
After 331 votes in favour and 225 votes against, there were chants of “Equality! Equality!” in the French assembly, where the Socialists have an absolute majority. But thousands of riot police and water-cannons were in place near parliament in advance of street demonstrations planned against the law.
February 14th, 2013
DC Comics hire Orson Scott Card, science fiction author and noted homophobe, to write some Superman stories. People not surprisingly object. Bleeding Cool mudracker Rich Johnston comments and feels the need to warn people about the evils of censorship:
Some try to draw a line between an opinionated person and an activist. I disagree, any famous person who expresses an opinion, especially in this day and age, de facto becomes an activist for that opinion.
It’s a very dangerous game, it has led in the past to witchtrials, McCarthyite or otherwise, and it’s no better than the actions of, say, One Million Moms. And next time? It could be you…
This is the sort of naive fear people who don’t pay enough attention to history and politics have, from vaguely remembered civics classes and decades of middle of the road propaganda about how all kinds of extremism are equally bad, the sort of semi-liberal idea that goals don’t matter, but methods do. Which leads to such absurdities as saying that taking action against bigotry is as bad as the bigotry itself, as notable dimwit Mark Millar has done. Of course if you follow this logic to the bitter end, not only could you never boycott writers or artists for being bigots, you should actually be obliged to buy their comics, or you’re punishing them for their opinions.
But of course there’s a huge difference between those McCarthyite showtrials Johnston is so worried about and grassroots boycott campaigns. McCarthy operated with the full support of the state and most of the press against people who actually were a danger to the United States, to further his own career, destroying the lives of those he persecuted. Orson Scott Card meanwhile is a successful writer with a long career who never had to suffer for his bigotry, who will still be rich and successful even if he never gets to write Superman.
What’s more, it’s not his speech that people object to, nasty though his opinions about homosexuality are, but the fact that he is actually on the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, which works hard to keep homosexual people second class citizens in America. It’s somewhat disingenuous of Johnston to ignore this and pretend he’s just some ordinary person with unfortunate opinions, as harmless as your racist nan.
Can you let somebody like that write for Superman, symbol of Truth, Justice and the American Way, who used to take on the Klan in his radio adventures? Really?
Categories: Comix, GLBT
February 10th, 2013
So last month Julie Burchill got to write a hate filled column about trans people in The Guardian; this morning she got to have a nice old chinwag with Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs. Seems wrong somewhat, doesn’t it? The BBC wouldn’t let a Nick Griffin on the programme, so why give somebody who is clearly bigoted against trans people a pass?
To be fair, Burchill isn’t that similar to Nick Griffin, a better comparison would be Christopher Hitchens: a self identified leftist who always was a bit of a bully and who made a sharp rightwing turn once being leftist fell out of fashion. Like him, she’s has always moved in media circles –”queen of the Groucho Club” and such nonsense– and I have the suspicion that this cuts her a lot of slack outsiders, like Griffin, don’t get. It’s annoying as fuck to see those smallminded fools get media attention because of who they know and took coke with twenty years ago when so many much more interesting people are ignored.
Categories: GLBT, Media
January 21st, 2013
Julie Burchill being nasty again about trans people in The Guardian (in an article since replaced by an apology of the editor) is bad enough, as it might provide cover for bullying but much more worrying is the general disrespect and disdain many trans people receive from their own doctors, as documented in stories shared through Twitter and elsewhere.
Two weeks ago, one of the few doctors providing gender re-assignment outside the NHS, doctor Richard Curtis came under investigation by the General Medical Council, for alleged errors made during gender reassignment, including one alleged wrongful referral for surgery.
For many trans people this investigation looked like yet another attack on the already scarce resources for gender reassignment in the UK, once again focusing on the alleged harm that might have been done to people erroneously under going gender realignment therapies, rather than the everyday difficulties many trans people have with getting the right medical support.
This anger led to the establishment of the TransDocFail hashtag on twitter, started by trans activists Zoe O’Connell and Lib Dem councillor Sarah Brown, asking UK trans patients to relate their experiences with gender reassignment and health care in general. It led to a flood of tweets by trans people, often anonymously describing the problems and bigotry they encounter at their GP or hospital.
The heart of the problem still seems to be the idea that trans people need to be protected from making a potential mistake more than they need to be helped become what they really are, as well as a continuing transphobia amongst some health care workers, not often addressed in the news media. As Sarah Brown is quoted:
“The media are typically invested in presenting a rigid narrative about how trans people interact with medicine. The stories trans people would like to tell, stories of outrageous levels of systemic abuse and transphobia, don’t fit this narrative and so go ignored and unreported. Social media is changing this. The stories trans people have to tell are reaching people who seldom hear them, and people are often appalled by what they hear. We can’t even begin to tackle widespread medical abuse of trans people until there is wider awareness of just how bad it is.”
A related problem is the fact that so often, the only trans stories covered in the media are negative ones, which is something the We Happy Trans project attempts to do something about.
(Originally posted on MetaFilter.)
Categories: GLBT, sciencebollocks
November 19th, 2012
Claire is a new character in Questionable Content, introduced some months ago as a co-worker of the (allegedly) main character Marten (on the right). I like the matter of fact way Jeph Jacques has introduced her being trans here. There had been no clues in earlier strips and no drama is made out of it; no big dramatic soap opera reveal is made here. If there’s any cartoonist I’d trust to handle this well it’s Jeph Jacques, looking forward to what he does with this.
Categories: Comix, GLBT