September 05, 2006
Is it un-African to be gay?
Is it un-African to be gay?
Do African countries need to change the way they deal with homosexuality?
Ghana's government has banned a conference for gay men and lesbians due to take place in the country later this month. Information Minister Kwamena Bartels said the gathering could not be allowed because homosexuality was illegal in Ghana.
In much of Africa society is conservative and same-sex relationships are frowned upon, but it is an open secret that homosexuality is alive, and South Africa has some of the most liberal gay rights in the world.
Should homosexuality be accepted in Africa or should the view of wider society hold sway? What's it like being gay or lesbian in Africa? Should governments take a lead on gay rights or should they follow public opinion?
There are over 40 comments already posted expressing a wide range of opinions. However, it seems that a majority of posts from Africa fiercly condemn homosexuality. The hatred, righteousness, and ignorance expressed in some of the comments is difficult for me to sit with. And yet, I know this does not represent the full spectrum of opinion of Africans.
I'm interested in your reactions and encourage Uncommon Man readers to check out the discussion and comment (here and/or there).
May 09, 2006
Homophobia in The Middle East
There has been a surge in homophobic killings by security officials in Iraq, including "the murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay". It also seems that the Bush Administration is "willing to engage in some diplomacy with Iran":
via Lawyers, Guns and Money - The Worse, Most Severe Way
April 24, 2006
Blogging Against Heteronormativity
I think the idea of getting a community of bloggers to commit to posting about a particular topic is a great tool for blogging and the internet. Saturday was delcared "Bloggin Against Heteronormativity Day". What is Heteronormativity? Here is a definition (from Blac(k) Ademic):
Heteronormativity: in brief, heteronormativity is a term that can be used to describe institutions, policies and beliefs that reinforce the rigid categories of male and female. these categories, supposedly, determine our sex, sexuality, sexual desire, gender identity, and gender roles. therefore, there are expected behaviors for males (such as the patriarch of the nuclear family for example), as are there expected behaviors for females (the submissive wife to the patriarch, among other things).
Why blog about it? Who participated and what did they say? Check out the link below:
via BLac(k) Ademic - Blogging Against Heteronormativity
March 06, 2006
Men And Homophobia
One way of dealing with homophobia as a straight person is to be an ally and confront or just simply respond to homophobic comments. Below is an article that shows how the act of a male river rafting guide wearing a pink helmet can offer numerous opportunities to respond to a homophobic world.
via Voice Male - My Pink Helmet
February 13, 2006
Anti-Gay Marriage Bid Fails in Maryland
In the ongoing state-by-state process of defining what "marrige" is - and instituting homophobia - a victory in Maryland:
via Washington Post - Bid in Maryland House to Save Gay Marriage Ban Fails
January 24, 2006
Ten Reasons Gay Marriage Is Wrong
I picked this up from Alas (A Blog):
Ten Reasons Gay Marriage Is Wrong
1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
January 12, 2006
Brokeback Mountain and Masculinity
Homophobia and the film Brokeback Mountain are inextricably intertwined in the media. Then Larry David of Seinfield and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame wrote a brief piece about why he wasn't going to see the film, which sparked a realization in Leonard Pitts, a syndicated columinist. In his piece below, he reflects on something that many of us who have thought about men and masculinity are aware of - a gay relationship on film not only stir-up fears about homosexuality but it also stirs-up fears about masculinity (the two, of course, are woven together).
December 21, 2005
In Western Massachusetts, where I am based, there is a local news story that reflects a bigger issue. A local preacher is running a "Mr. Hetero" contest. On the surface, this preacher intends this to be "funny" event. But what this is really is an anti-gay event. Most blatantly of all the organizers are planning to have a man who was saved from his "gay-lifestyle" by Jesus. "No one ever has anything for heterosexuals", the preacher offers as a reason for having this event. Obviously he is unaware or ignores the fact that most things that have anything to do with sexuality assume heterosexuality. The article below describes some of the resistance he is encountering.
via Masslive - Straight Men's Contest Planned
December 20, 2005
The Economy of Desire
Economist can calculate the cost of most anything, apparently. As the interesting article points out, below - they can cacluate the cost of eating a hamburger as opposed to eating a vegan meal (cost being calculated as the long-term effects of eating that hamburger). The article below focuses on the cost of sex (in the same manner as above, not with prostitutes). And, specifically the cost of sex when the AIDS crisis was at its nadir. The researchers, however, ended up making some realizations about sexual preference, in general:
In other words, sexual preference, while perhaps largely predetermined, may also be subject to the forces more typically associated with economics than biology. If this turns out to be true, it would change the way that everyone - scientists, politicians, theologians - thinks about sexuality. But it probably won't much change the way economists think. To them, it has always been clear: whether we like it or not, everything has its price.
via New York Times ( free registration required)- The Economy of Desire
November 10, 2005
Gay Rights Victory
There were many little, but significant, victories for liberal folks to celebrate with this week's elections. One of these is Maine voter's choosing to uphold their state's gay-rights law. And, given recent recent political loses on this issue, this is important. We have been living through a period of time where so many moral and ethical issues have been put to the legal and political test - and many of these issues have been eroding toward a conservative end. Is the tide finally turning?
via Boston.com - Maine Voters Turn Back Bid To Recind State's Gay-Rights Law
October 25, 2005
Gay Children At The Hand Of Bullies
An article from the Guardian newspaper in England focuses on the harm of bullying on gay children. For those of us who have worked with gay youth, it is not surprising. The important statistic named in this piece is that 40% of gay adults admit that they attempted suicide as a young person and 50% considered it.
The article also underlines (but does not name) one of the main factors, I believe, for bullying and homophobia in schools: administrators and teachers who ignore or condone the behavior. I believe teaching young people tolerance is very important. But, it means almost nothing if they see a teacher ignore or encourage homophobia. Start at the top in educating around this issue, then work your way down to the young people.
October 17, 2005
The Churches New Policies
In an editorial written by Michael Kimmel, he examines the new policy of the Catholic church in ending pedophilia in the priesthood. He criticizes the confusion between pedophila and homosexuality. By focusing on ending pedophilia (which is usually perpetrated by straight males) in the priesthood by focusing on homosexuals is basing policy on a myth. Pedophilia and homosexuality are not the same thing.
In particular I like Kimmel's suggestions for reform in the church (reforms which he notes are unlikely to take place under the current Vatican administration). The second reform he offers is:
even if the church is unable or unwilling to examine the prejudices that guide its condemnation of homosexuality, it should continue to distinguish between homosexuals and homosexual behavior, in the same way that it currently distinguishes between heterosexuals and heterosexual behavior.
October 07, 2005
Below is a very good, simple resource about homophobia. It includes a section on How to Recognize Homophobia in Yourself And Others and How Does Homophobia Hurt Heterosexuals? Good material for oneself or to refer others to.
via Campaign to End Homophobia - Homophobia
August 31, 2005
What Make People Gay?
An interesting article about the current research into the nature of sexual orientation...a long debated issue. Current research is pointing more and more to a genetic connection.
Article: via The Boston Globe - What Make People Gay?
August 10, 2005
Prejudice in the Gay Community?
Often we have to deal with the ways that others define aspects of ourselves. For instance, I have a colleague who talks about his being bothered by the way that mainstream manhood has been defined by those men who act "tough" or use violence - that isn't him. The issue of "definition" can be exacerbated in groups of people who are marginalized, because the power of prejudice from the mainstream can be so pervasive. In the article below, in a similar way to my colleague's concern about the definition of manhood, what about those within a marginalized community who feel that their community's public "face" may not define them?
Article: via VoiceMale - Pride (Marches) and Prejudice
August 02, 2005
Test Your Gaydar
One of the goals of this site is to inform people of the goings-on out in the nether-regions of the internet regarding issues of being a man. Now, here is something that purports to be a kind of game - look at a series of paired photos of people and guess who is gay. Is this all just fun? Or is it really testing your prejudice?
Check it out at: How's Your Gaydar?
July 20, 2005
Father Kills Toddler Over Gay Fears
This is an intense news story about a father who went too far in trying to keep his 3-year-old from being "a sissy". What is even more scary is the defense trying to blame the mother and is possibly going to use "gay panic" as an excuse for his behavior.
Article: PlanetOut Network (via UK.Gay) Father "Killed Toddler Over Gay Fears", Court Hears