Queer/Race

Final Project Video

Posted in Uncategorized by Keguro on May 23, 2010

by M. Thompson

Mere Indecency: Thoughts on Malawi

Posted in Uncategorized by Keguro on May 22, 2010

Under Section 156 therefore, the State must establish where mere indecency ends and where gross indecency begins as mere indecency is no offence under Section 156. That is the observation of the Defence. (Criminal Case Number 259 of 2009)

Judgment:

The two accused persons stand charged with three counts. The first count relates to the first accused person Steven Monjeka Soko. He is charged with buggery or having carnal knowledge of the second accused person Tiwonge Chimbalanga Kachepa against the order of nature. This is contrary to Section 153(a) of the Penal Code. Under the second count Tiwonge Chimbalanga Kachepa is also charged with buggery or a charge of permitting the first accused person to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature. This is contrary to Section 153(c) of the Penal Code. In the alternative, both accused persons are charged with the offence of indecent practices between males contrary to Section 156 of the Penal Code.

The law has a pornographic imagination, coded with words like “buggery” and “indecent,” justified by codes in books that provide intelligibility. Disgust coded into legislation. Indecent. As children, we termed everything that made us uncomfortable “bad manners.”  A colonial inheritance, I used to think. But no. A hybrid, hydra-headed creature, invented to manage the ruptures and hybridities of colonial modernity. Bad Manners. Caught between then and now, who we were and who we wanted to be. The Malawi case is about Bad Manners. Legislation against nettle-stung nerves.

Facts:

The simple facts of this case that are not in dispute are that both Tiwonge, also known as Aunt Tiwo, and Steven are men. They are of sound mind. At one point they associated themselves with a certain Christian Church called Abraham Church where Tionge performed womanly chores. Finally on 26th December 2009 they were successful to conduct an engagement ceremony or Chinkhoswe at Mankhoma Lodge in Blantyre. This is a place where Tiwonge was staying and working.[the court document shifts between Tiwonge and Tionge, as though unclear of its object, unsure of its subject, scared to be precise. Such “slips” are telling, psychoanalysis tells us]

Lineaments begin to emerge. The two are men. Gender identity is fixed. This case is about gender transgression. The transgression of a man who “feigns” womanhood, who performs “womanly chores.” What happens when men perform “womanly chores”? Something is threatened, something that must be preserved, something that, perhaps, is not clear is threatened. Gender Trouble. The facticity of manhood is at stake. The making of womanly work, work that women do, work that produces women, is also at stake. This is a transgression against labor. Against work. We cannot lose sight of this. Their offence is to invade the gendered space of work, the work that women do. Tiwonge works “under false pretenses,” and this work sustains intimacies. Intimacies that gendered work, work understood as gendering, should not sustain. Let us not forget this.

Chinkhoswe. A foreign word. A word that is a metonym for culture, for authenticity, for purity. No matter its actual meaning. It cannot simply be “an engagement” No. It needs this modifier. We need to reminded that the law might have a colonial origin—indecency, buggery, such colonial terms—but it operates in an African setting. The offence is against Chinkhoswe.

Chinkhoswe, I dip into scholarship. A glossary offers “marriage surety or guardian of a partner to a marriage.” Cryptic. I feel lost. Cultures are not words with foreign OEDs. I persist.

By chance: Malawi Law Journal.

Section 22 (5) of the 1994 Malawi Constitution “provides for the recognition of marriage by custom. . . . [M]arriages contracted according to customary laws are valid. Thus, persons who are party to such marriages are entitled to all rights applicable to married persons.” (Mwambene 2007).

Persons. Such an odd, gender-neutral term. Does the Constitution use the term persons? Or is this Mwambene’s phrasing? Much is at stake in this, too much.

Mwambene argues that “the right to culture enjoys the same status as all other rights in the Malawian Bill of Rights.” The right to culture. Culture must be defended.

And marriage must be defended. This gets difficult as, Mwambene notes, “There is no comprehensive law in Malawi that deals with rights pertaining to marriage. Separate systems of laws apply to different forms of marriage” (2007). In the absence of comprehensive laws, marriage must be managed, gendered in particular ways. But I get ahead of my reading.

A footnote: “In Malawi, there are two customary marriage systems. These are the patrilineal and matrilineal systems. Patrilineal systems are defined by lobola while matrilineal systems are characterised by chinkhoswe” (2007). Lobola is defined. Chinkhoswe is not, not yet anyway.

Some clarity emerges. So much hinges on this one word, Chinkhoswe:

Notes from a 1979 court case, as cited by Mwambene, elsewhere:

We know that marriage is a social agreement between two persons, but in order that such marriage may acquire legal recognition under traditional customary law, the agreement must be sanctioned by the establishment of chinkhoswe. And as it has been said in a number of cases, this court does not recognise any union or cohabitation as constituting a valid marriage in the absence of chinkhoswe. (2005)

A handy footnote:

Chinkhoswe: the ceremony whereby the two marriage guardians (from the man’s and woman’s sides respectively) formally meet and exchange their consent to the marriage in question. (Mwambene 2005)

A partial understanding, but one that is necessary. I try to resist here the sense of gay outrage, buttressed by human rights claims, which is inattentive to local meanings, to local situations, local specificities, and so can be ignored.

Intervention cannot be a loud shouting in a foreign language. I try, here, to cobble a guidebook, to understand what is at stake, even as I prepare my whisper.

Chinkhoswe is at stake here: a matrilineal practice of certifying marriages that the law must recognize. Chinkhoswe validates marriage. This is huge. Huge. It pits customary practices against legal judgments.

The accused have staged a revolution within their own cultural norms. I cannot process this yet.

Chinkhoswe is a productive process. It produces and sustains matrilineality. It produces and sustains in-law relations. It produces and sustains generational authority—marriages must be certified by one’s relatives. It produces and sustains the terms of kinship. And it produces and sustains gender. All of this is at risk in this revolution.

And so the court’s question: how to prove “buggery” and “indecent acts.”

The accused remain silent for the duration of the trial—this, too, needs parsing.

Statements:

A doctor testifies that he does not know how to examine for evidence of “buggery” and is not aware of any doctor in Malawi who does. Perhaps he needs to watch episodes of Law and Order. This strange statement, so strange, as though sex does not leave its mark. A reluctance to know how to read the marks that sex leaves. There is much to be said here about the labor of knowledge. Knowing can be taint. To know is, somehow, to be complicit. What is at stake? What does the doctor risk in daring to know?

Of the nine witnesses, including the male doctor, four are women. Three testify that they ask or compel Tiwonge to undress. They include his boss and a “friend” who lent garments for the chikhoswe. Duress is a problem in this case. And the testimony does not help.

Listen, for instance.

Flony Frank, a friend of Tiwonge’s, reads a newspaper that claims Tiwonge is a male.

She was annoyed. She together with a Mrs. Piringu went to Tionge’s house to hear the truth from the horse’s mouth. . . . She stated that Tionge then voluntarily took off her clothes and everyone there present including this witness saw that Tionge had the private parts of a male. [Flony Frank] then told the court that she discovered that the second accused person has male genitals though they did no look normal to her. She said Mrs. Piringu undressed herself to lead by example. During cross-examination, [Flony Frank] said that she with the other women made Tionge to undress.

The anger is familiar, the gender policing even more so. Of course the genitals will “no look normal.” How can they? Tiwonge/Tionge is being written on and written over, named and re-named, re-narrated. Tiwonge/Tionge’s histories are being re-though, made to line up with gender norms, to stay within the lines. Although this wavering name, this Tiwonge/Tionge/Tiwo resists such mappings.

(I am not sure that terming them “a gay couple” captures the richness of their sense of gendered configurations, and we lose the sense of how gender might be at stake, how femininity as well as masculinity might be threatened by their lives, their gendered practices, their re-writing of tradition.)

As much as I can, I want to be clear about my thinking here: this case is as much about legislating gender as it is about protecting tradition and punishing sodomy. Recent legislative histories in Malawi’s history that affect women are a key subtext, important in ways I cannot map here, at least not yet.

The evidence is, the judge admits, circumstantial. The two lived together and had a chinkhoswe ceremony. Under questioning, whether or not it was under duress, they confessed to having intercourse, anal intercourse. All of this is said by witnesses. The two remain silent. It is not clear what truth is or can be in this case.

Based on the circumstantial evidence, the two are condemned for gross indecency.

Steps to this judgment:

It was observed by Lord Woolf CJ. R v Smethurst (2002) Cr. App. R. 50 at p. 58 that the society is the ultimate guardian of decency.”

Therefore, the State argues, an engagement in a Malawian setting takes place between a man and a woman. Similarly only a man and a woman can live together as husband and wife.

The two accused person both being male were living as a husband and wife, says the state, and later they went further to have an engagement ceremony and this is conduct which is totally against the accepted moral standards.

The engagement and the living together as husband and wife of the two accused persons, who are both males, transgresses the Malawian recognized standards of propriety since it does not recognize the living of a man with another as husband and wife and two men having an engagement ceremony with each other. Both these acts were acts of gross indecency.

Indecency is defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (1989 4th Ed) as being indecent or doing indecent behavior and ‘indecent’ is defined as something offending against accepted standards of morality. [do dictionary definitions hold so much power in a law court? Especially Advanced Learners?]

Gross indecency: gender transgression, marriage transgression. Notice the absence of sex.

In his summation, the judge notes duress might have been present, wibbly wobbly, as he goes:

Confessions cannot be inadmissible at a mere suggestion that it was obtained by force. It must be proved that force was in fact used. Or the court must make a finding that force was in fact used. In fact even if force is used that fact goes to the weight to be attached to the evidence.

We can read the judge’s desire here.

[T]he Prosecution’s proof beyond reasonable doubt of a man who behaves like a woman and likes to be treated as such; the wearing of female clothes by one; the engagement or purported engagement of the two (to the extent of hiring a photographer); the soundness of their mind [as established by a psychiatrist]; their both being male; and the lie which Tionge had been telling people that he was a woman; all these leave us with one rational conclusion or inference leading to only the guilt of Steven having anal carnal knowledge of Tionge and Tionge permitting it by the anus c/s 153(a) and (c) respectively and thereby convict both of them of the offence of buggery. Otherwise the law would fail to protect the community.

Sentencing:

[A]ll the offences carry with them a sense of shock against the morals of a Malawian society.

[T]he convicts have not shown any remorse. They actually seem proud of what they did.  . . . Further the court is called upon to consider “the scar the case will leave on our morality.”

Interesting metaphor. Cases scar morality. Morality is a thin skin.

And the judge, to justify the sentence, invokes a case of terrorism, of hijacking, where the convicted demanded $5 million dollars or they would “blow up the aircraft.”  This comparison is apt, as the judge’s sentiments prove.

I cannot imagine more aggravated sodomy [where Malawian morality is the victim] than where the perpetrators go on to seek heroism [a jab at the international recognition of the case, and where the local wants to assert its authority over the global] without any remorse in public and think of corrupting the mind of a whole nation with a chinkhoswe ceremony. For that [for violating and re-writing chinkhoswe?], I shall pass a scaring sentence [commit gender and sexual terrorism] so that “the public must also be protected from others who may be tempted to emulate their [horrendous] example.”

Society must be protected: Society must be scared: Another African Story

*

I have tried to construct, here, a basis from which to think about the homo-scandal of Malawi. It is a rickety structure, marked by my illiteracy in legal discourse, my lack of more knowledge about Malawi, my sense that activism must be grounded, and my utter and complete rage about this case.

Right now, there is a lot of stuff making the internet and mailbox rounds, petitions and so on, and I do support this work. At the same time, I am hoping that our responses will be attuned to what is at stake, that we will understand what this chinkhoswe ceremony threatened, and that we will take our lead from activists in Malawi.

To understand the scandal of this particular chinkhoswe as simply “another gay marriage” is actually a profound misreading, a truncated and partial one. And we need to read the court documents and Malawi legal documents and historical and anthropological documents if our engagements with this case aim to engage with Malawi, not simply read it as a case of African homophobia.

Queer News This Week!

Posted in Uncategorized by Moe on May 12, 2010

Newsweek’s Straight Jacket

A Newsweek journalist criticized gay actors claiming that “it’s ok for straight actors to play gay” but “it’s rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse”. The article argues that out gay actors are not believable as straight characters and points specifically to Sean Hayes and Jonathan Groff. The article has spawned controversy and a response letter from Kristen Chenoweth**.

Poll: Maryland Divided On Gay Marriage

A recent poll of Maryland voters has found that 46% favor same-sex marriage and 44% are opposed while 10% have no opinion. Comparing this poll with those from previous years, it seems that Maryland voters are slowly shifting towards a majority favoring same-sex marriage and supporting the recognition of the rights of couples married in other states.

Hope Board Stands pat On Gay Policy

Recently the administration of Hope College in Michigan brought their policy on homosexuality up for a review. Hope College, a traditionally Christian college, was addressing the concerns of petitioners who began mobilizing in 2009 after the administration did not allow a screening of the film “Milk” to be held on campus.

All of these stories represent an array of differing aspects of the Queer/Race crossroads. The queering of individuals in the arts, in politics, and in education are all hot button issues going on at the moment. I thought that it was important to find articles that were both positive and negative. While the writer of the first article is, in my opinion, setting the image of gay actors back 50 years (if not more), the poll made me feel a bit more optimistic about the acceptance of queer individuals. I also thought it was interesting to read about the “gay policy” of a religious college. Being a product of public schools for my whole life, I can’t imagine going to a college that would have a policy that condemns homosexuality but “supports fair and kind treatment for people with homosexual orientation”. How is it “fair” to condemn someone’s identity whether sexual, racial, etc.? Even more surprising to me was the Newsweek article’s criticism of out gay actors. The article seriously implied that gay actors would have better careers if they did not come out. By criticizing both Hayes and Groff, both of whom have recently officially come out, the writer is supporting a culture in which actors stigmatize themselves.

* Kristin Chenoweth’s Response Letter

* Newsweek’s response to Chenoweth and the Controversy

Lesbian Lawmaker Carries Baby for Gay Couple

Posted in Today, Uncategorized by extremedancer14 on May 7, 2010

Christine Johnson Lesbian Lawmaker in Utah Carries Baby for Gay Men

Lawmaker from UtahThis has to be one of the most interesting news article I have seen this year. Found on BrokenCountry.com,  a current events website,  a lesbian lawmaker by the name of Christine Johnson, 41, of Utah is carrying a baby for a local gay couple. This brave surrogate mother says her reasons for doing this is because of the hardships many gay and lesbian couples have to endure when adopting a child. In the article it reads: “Johnson offered to be a surrogate at no cost to save the Salt Lake City men the prohibitive cost of hiring one-as much as $100,000. Johnson said she’s aware that many lawmakers in conservative Utah think a child does best with both a mother and a father. She predicts the men will be ‘wonderful parents.’” The baby is siad to be due on June 21, 2010.

 This issue speaks highly to a lot of issues. For one thing, and the most important, it shows that there are people out there, even those who hold high political ranks and have political clout, stand behind the notion that people of the LGBT community make wonderful parents. In addition, it shows that gender and sexual orientation should be the last thing on peoples mind and more about giving a child a loving and caring home.

Kristi Martin, May 6th, 2010. Blog #1

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Queer news this week

Posted in Uncategorized by teddytaylor on April 20, 2010

1.  Hospital rights for LGBT couples

http://www.dcagenda.com/2010/04/16/obama-memo-mandates-hospital-rights-for-lgbt-couples/

President Obama issues a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures LGBT couples have the same visitation rights.  It applies to hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds.

I personally think this is a step long overdue.  The idea that you may have to die alone, in a hospital, because you’re gay doesn’t sit very well with me.   People who receive the death penalty seem to have more rights.  I think it should be my decision who I want making my medical decisions for me when I cannot, especially on my death bed.  I appreciate what Obama said in his memo, “And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.”  The quote is so simple that it makes the issue seem that much more awful.  Why have people of the LGBT community been denied this for so long? I mean the right to marry whoever you want is arguable, with ideas such as religion and tradition, but when it comes to health-related emergencies I think people need to be a little more open-minded.

2.  Johnny Weir makes a statement

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/19/Johnny_Our_People_Make_the_World_Gorgeous/

Figure skater Johnny Weir gives his opinion on the LGBT community.  He also mentions other minorities.

Although the story is not necessarily “CNN” headline news, I think it is important to recognize the importance of small acts such as this.  Johnny Weir is still a household name, coming off his highly publicized Winter Olympics performance.  This statement would probably grab more attention than if someone like Elton John were to come out and say it today, just because Johnny is more fresh and more relevant right now.  In order to build awareness and tolerance, people need more exposure.  A few weeks ago you had Ricky Martin coming out, and now you have Johnny talking about, “And this community, us, our people, are the people who make it fucking gorgeous.”  I look at it as positive reinforcement.  LGBT celebrities owe it to themselves and their community to use their exposure to build a type of awareness that ordinary people have a much more difficult time achieving.  It tells people we are not ashamed, we are not scared, and we are very proud of who we are.

3.  Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/19/Smooth_Prom_for_Derrick_Martin_and_Boyfriend/

Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom with no major issues.  He did have to ask for permission first though.

This article is kind of bittersweet.  If you tie it to the article above, it just goes to show how reminders like the one by Weir are beneficial to the entire community.  People may have their opinions on what is right and what is wrong, but versus how things may have been 20 years ago, people are more tolerant and less aggressive, and you can really only ask so much of people.  What is unfortunate about the story is how Martin had to ask for permission from his school.  Coming from a Baptist high school, I can understand how this might have been an issue, but it isn’t clearly defined if he goes to a public or private school.  I think it just goes to show how much extra the LGBT community has to go through to do things that most people would normally take for granted.  It’s stories like these, which are more personal, that get people thinking.  It’s not that we want your pity, but sympathy is never a bad thing!

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Queer/Race in the Census

Posted in Uncategorized by kth14 on April 8, 2010

This article is against “queering the census” or rather adding an option on the census about sexual orientation. This argues that LGBTQ peoples are struggling for the same rights as heterosexual people and therefore categorizing non-heterosexual individuals would be against the idea of the LGBTQ community being ordinary Americans.

Gay “Marriage”

Instead of getting a part on the census where one can indicate sexual orientation, the lesbian and gay individuals can now check the “married” box if they believe that reflects the status of their relationship. On the census form they are allowed to participate an acknowlege their relationship as a marriage while legally they are not allowed to have this title.

President Obama filled out his census form and when asked about race he checked the “Black, African Am., or Negro” box despite being half white. The government is trying to encourage people to check whichever box they feel expresses them best, which for Obama was black/African American/negro instead of “multiracial” or “white.”

So, the census is a very big deal and highly publicized to the point where I do not want to do it because it is being shoved down my throat too much. But, some recent articles have taken a very critical view of the census and how it applies to the LGBTQ community and racial communities, specifically black peoples. The first article, “Don’t queer the census” has some good points about the LGBTQ community being just Americans instead of the “gays” or “queer” population. Not having a box to choose sexual orientation integrates queer people with the normative, heterosexual population.

Also, there are way too many ways for queer people to identify themselves (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, I just like to experiment, etc) and trying to define queer people in specific ways is hard to do while including every definition and combination of definitions. Each individual has his or her own identity and sexual preferences, should we include  on the census the type of person we are attracted to (big muscles, blonde, tan, really smart guys with glasses-this is for an example and not true as to who my type is, so if you qualify, don’t waste your time. Unless you’re the character Ben from Queer as Folk…)?

This somewhat segues into my next point about race on the census. Obama checked black/African American/negro. Yeah right. Obama is the whitest black person ever-he’s even half white! So, why is he checking this box instead of white or multiracial (which would make most sense)? He’s trying to appeal to the black community as well as any other liberal community (LGBTQ, democrats, lower class) that finds his race appealing and a good reason for him to be President. Now, I don’t really have anything against Obama (I’m a Hilary girl) and I think he’s doing OK as President (well, everyone looks good after Bush) but he needs to stop trying to appeal to an audience of black Americans, like by checking the black race box.

The race box is kind of annoying to me because I am not just “white,” I’m Irish and English and some other European countries. But, how come I do not get to express my heritage and background? Just because I am white I am simply an American and white is my race? Is black a race now? I thought that race was a cultural or geographical heritage or background, not simply the color of our skin. In a couple months when I’m sunburnt, can I check a “red” box?

Or, my great-great-grandmother was Native American, so can I check the Native American box? It seems that the race box is trying to access one’s background and heritage, but the boxes that are on the census do not really determine a person’s culture and upbringing. Obama may be half black and check the black box because that’s what he identifies with, but he is one of the most culturally white-black people ever.

I want to briefly mention the article about LGBTQ people being able to identify their relationship as a marriage in the census, but not legally. The census is allowing people to be very liberal with describing themselves and statuses (as liberal as possible with boxes) which may distort the results. While it is open-minded to be able to allow people to choose their relationship statuses and races based on how they feel they identify them, the results may also be misleading because multiracial people identify themselves as black and two lesbians living together identify as married when they legally are not. The census is taking a scientific, precise way of accounting for every American and making it more illogical and imprecise, which is good in some ways and bad in others.

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Let Constance Go to Prom!

Posted in Uncategorized by Lorena A. on March 24, 2010

In case anyone is interested, here’ s the link to join the ACLU’s fan page for Constance McMillen on Facebook. Show her your support =)

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Let-Constance-Take-Her-Girlfriend-to-Prom/357686784817?ref=ts

In case you don’t know who Constance is, or her story, here’s the link to that:

http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/fulton-ms-prom-discrimination

Posted in Architecture by anj316 on March 3, 2010

http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Top_US_court_declines_to_block_DC_g_03022010.html

This article is about how the U.S. Supreme Court decided to reject a petition by opponents of gay marriage. This petition would have prevented the law from taking effect. But with the rejection, legislation will commence on 3/3/2010.

http://www.advocate.com/Society/Culture/Remembering_The_B_in_LGBT/

This is essentially about how bisexuals are real people too. Bisexuals around the nation want to be included in things like the National Gay and Lesbian Task force, as well as expand the saying of ‘gays and lesbians in the military’ to including bisexuals. The main point is that bisexuals demand inclusion.

http://www.365gay.com/opinion/neff-you-cant-tell-if-weir-is-gay-by-looking/

This is primarily about the U.S. skater, Johnny Weir, and his sexuality. The author talks about why his sexuality is being assumed just because of outward appearance, and how other stereotypes should be questioned, like athletes who are “typically male” and therefore not gay.

These specific articles are good ones to focus on for the week, simply because they are current events of the community, as well as the nation’s public. Same-sex marriage has always been a hot topic, especially since the last presidential race. Now, the Nation’s Capital is getting same-sex marriage, which, I hope, will rock the boat and get more states on the way. The bisexuality topic is an issue that I always personally have to deal with. Many people always ask if it’s real, and question my decisiveness. But because I am bisexual, although I normally resist any labeling terminology, I know it’s real, and that people sincerely feel this way. Lastly, the piece about Weir is pertinent because the Olympics were just on for a fortnight and figure skating was a big deal. But while Johnny Weir’s teammates were being boasted about, in National Championships, Weir was being called “flamboyant” and “fabulous,” without any mention of his repertoire of medals and winnings. The focus was his sexuality and not about his athleticism, which should not have been the case, in my opinion. The Olympics are about athleticism and hard work, sexuality not included. All in all these articles are reflective of queer news, in my opinion, of the last week. Also they were articles that were interesting to me because they were interesting and made pertinent points about people in and out of the community.

Blog #1: Queer Politics

Posted in Uncategorized by bblurbs on February 8, 2010

Queer News This Week…..

http://www.365gay.com/news/north-if-gays-can-serve-openly-pedophiles-are-next/

This brief article found on 365gay.com is titled “North: If gays can serve openly, pedophiles are next”, which discusses the repealing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy and Oliver North’s opinion that if homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, the next step is for violators of the law, more extremely put, “pedophiles are next”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpthHE6dJng&NR=1

In this video, found on the FoxNewsElectionHQ channel on youtube, an anchor discusses the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy” and the possibility of it being repealed. I originally found a similar video on the Queers United blog, but went to further search videos that provided more information about the issue. It also provides further support to the first link provided, showing Oliver North speak candidly about his opinion on the possible banishment of the policy. While he doesn’t make reference to his statement about “pedophiles”, we do see that he refutes the repealing of the policy, describing that Barack Obama’s hope to get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a “stunning assault on the all volunteer military” and that it also treats “homosexuals as lab rats in a radical social experiment”. Though he attempts to make it seem as though getting rid of the policy is somehow cruel to homosexuals and is more of an “experiment”, it is clear that Oliver North is more worried about homosexuals serving in the military and breaking a ridiculous tradition and rule that is embedded in the U.S. Code that he quotes within the video.

While my sexuality as a heterosexual female is not put in jeopardy by this law, it amazes and angers me that sexuality in any situation would be put into any “U.S. Code” as a concern or threat.  Army is about National Security as Oliver North has stated, but what does the security of a country have to do with the sexuality of those fighting? Does this take away from their ability to fight and admirably serve for their country?

http://www.365gay.com/news/malaysia-opposition-leader-wants-sodomy-trial-judge-removed/

Here’s another article that I found on the 365gay.com website. This article speaks about Anwar Ibrahim, a Malaysia opposition leader who was accused of sodomy, an act considered illegal, even when consensual, in Malaysia. Ibrahim was convicted of having sex with a man for not the first time, which initially earned him six years spent in jail, but for the second time. Ibrahim feels as though because of his position as a politic leader, his charges have been more severe and unfair; he assumes that along with all the publicity of the trial, the government no longer wants him in office.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Each of these articles directly relate to politics and reveal how uncomfortable society is concerning homosexuality. In the first article, Oliver North basically makes an outlandish comparison between homosexuality and pedophilia, saying that if homosexuals are allowed to serve for their countries, pedophiles will be next. The second video, Oliver North makes it clear of his belief that homosexuals being able to serve openly in the military are an insult to other heterosexual men serving in the army, as if homosexuals are unsuitable. The third article is similar, Anwar Ibrahim’s activities behind closed doors immediately cause others discomfort, and ultimately make him unsuitable to serve for his country.

As a heterosexual female, I can only imagine how it would feel and how difficult it would be for something as natural and beyond my control as my sexuality to be a determinant of what I can or cannot do, or what I am capable of. It seems scarily similar to race issues in the past; people being “incapable” or “unwanted”, simply because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, or nationality. The insulting and implied comparison of homosexuals to “pedophiles”, sick minded individuals, could make no homosexual man or woman feel any more ostracized from society than a criminal. These articles just highlight the difficulties of being “queer”, of being at odds with what is considered the majority. It highlights how difficult it would be to live openly in a society not completely ready to accept, and in contrast, how difficult it still is to live privately. To be queer seems to be a catch 22.

– Brittany Britto