AND WE HAVE A WINNER of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of 1 of my books! Lisa W, come on down! YEEE-HA!!!! (Lisa, if you do not have an email message from me, check your spam filter)
Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Thanks for the comments and thanks to those authors who participated in this hop. Happy reading, happy writing.
Hi, peeps. And hello, newcomers. Thanks for joining me today, which is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
I agreed to join in the (Blog) Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is going on from May 17-27 on various blogs. I hope you’ll go and check out the others, too, to get an array of perspectives on this very important topic (and also to join in on some prize-winnin’!).
This day (commonly acronymed as IDAHO) was launched in 2004. It’s always on May 17th, which is the day in 1990 that the World Health Organization decided to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses/disorders in the International Classification of Diseases. Transgender identity (referred to as transsexualism in the ICD), however, remains in the ICD as a “mental/behavioral disorder,” classified as a gender identity disorder.
Also, for those of you not in the know, I write F/F mysteries, sci fi, and romance, though all of my works generally include an array of characters. You can find out more about me here on my website (click “About”) and you can check out what I write here and here.
And here’s information about the giveaway I’m doing as part of this blog hop:
Answer the following question for a chance to receive a $25 gift card to Amazon.com and 1 copy of any one of my published books. Here’s my book list, which will explain the order of books in my two series (one is mystery, one is science fiction).
Here’s your question: Who is Alysia Yeoh? Give me a little bit of a reason as to why she might be considered important.
Put your answer in a comment on this post. Please include an actual, working email address when you fill out the comment form. Do NOT include your email address in the comment body, to avoid spam bots. Don’t worry. My little merry blog elves will make sure I get your email address. NOTE: I will notify the winner within 30 minutes of the drawing. If you do not hear from me, CHECK YOUR SPAM FILTER. Thank yuh. Thank yuh ver-uh much. 😀
I’ll draw the winner randomly from all the correct answers on May 27th, 9 PM EST (US). Have fun!
All right. So let’s get global…
One of the things that I’ve been following closely for a while, now, is homophobia and transphobia overseas. I’m based in the U.S., so you have a point of reference there. And I absolutely am not saying that homophobia and transphobia don’t exist here in the States. It does, but I think sometimes we as Americans forget that there’s a world out there, and that LGBTQI people are suffering in other parts of the world, too, that they’re brutally raped, tortured, beaten, reviled, and even murdered by members of the communities in which they live.
At least 75 countries still criminalize consensual sex between adults of the same sex, and it wasn’t that long ago even in the U.S. that sodomy laws (which invariably target LGBTQI people) were on the books. In some states, they remain on the books, though the U.S. Supreme Court overturned them federally in 2003.
source: theagenda.tvo (re-sized here)
The criminalization of consensual same-sex relationships and sex forces a host of problems onto LGBTQI people, which are often compounded — sadly — by people in the faith community (local and from the U.S.) who parrot and spread vicious anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric to their congregations. An airborne toxin, that rhetoric filters down through layers of societies, feeding on fear and ignorance and exploding into acts of horrific violence against LGBTQI people. And even in a country like South Africa, that included sexual orientation and thus marriage equality in its 1996 constitution, a wave of so-called corrective rape against lesbians (in a vile attempt to “make them straight”) and other types of violence directed at LGBTQI people and those perceived to be LGBTQI has swept that country.
And let’s not forget Uganda, influenced by American evangelical figures considered fringe in this country who helped influence the 2009 anti-gay bill that added even stricter punishments to extant anti-sodomy and anti-gay laws. Death in some instances, life imprisonment in others, prison for those who do not report LGBTQI people to police. The bill has yet to pass, but the rhetoric and violence stirred in its wake have killed and injured many Ugandan LGBTQI people.
Currently, Zambia is in the midst of a wave of unprecedented anti-gay sentiment and arrests, ostensibly fueled by political and religious leaders, the latter calling to “cage gays”. AIDS activist Paul Kasonkomona was arrested and is currently incarcerated, allegedly awaiting trial.
And in Belize, the trial began last week in a lawsuit filed that challenges the anti-gay sodomy statute in the Belizean constitution. Belizean society is virulently homo- and transphobic, and it is not unusual to see derogatory terms for LGBTQI people used in local newspapers. The gentleman who brought the lawsuit, and no doubt many other Belizean LGBTQI people, have faced an outpouring of violence, especially since the trial started. And in case you wondered, Belizean law includes a statute that bans gay people from entering the country.
Let’s not forget Russia. Last week, a young man came out to drinking buddies, who then beat him, raped him with bottles, and killed him. Currently, several regions and cities in Russia have either passed or are considering passing laws that forbid so-called “homosexual propaganda.” That is, anything that basically mentions homosexuality in any context. Russian LGBTQI people get no help from police, who often ignore violence against them or even participate in it.
Lest you think that other European countries are more “civilized,” I remind you here of the massive anti-gay protest movement in France, spearheaded by the virulently anti-gay group Manif pour tous, whose leaders vowed “there will be blood” if marriage equality passed. It did pass, and there had already been blood, as France has been wracked by a wave of homophobic violence prior to and since the bill’s passage, stoked not only by those in Manif pour tous, but also religious authorities.
These are the realities that LGBTQI people face every day, in many parts of the world. Homophobia and transphobia kill, hurt, maim. They cause terrible fear, which prevents people from getting medical care and/or education they need, because they can’t afford to reveal anything about themselves to healthcare professionals. This can lead to increasing rates of HIV/AIDS and further problems for transgender people who may need healthcare. Homophobia and transphobia force people to deny who they are, to live under a cloak of secrecy that adds to the personal and institutional layers of oppression and psychological burdens that they must carry every day. It causes families to reject their sons and daughters, and poisons social situations and workplaces. It can be brutal or insidious, and the damage it leaves behind remains visible in lifelong scars both physical and emotional.
Let us not forget, thus, that in the midst of victories, both here and abroad, that our work is not finished. Let us not forget that even with new initiatives here and at the UN and abroad to acknowledge that human rights include LGBTQI rights, that millions of people still face terrible things every day because of who they are. Let us not forget that there is always work to be done, that we are not operating in a vacuum, and that ours are not the only voices in this struggle. Let us celebrate our victories, remember those who are no longer with us, and let us carry on in their honor, and in honor of the generations behind us.
Thank you for spending this day — and this week — with us at the blog hop against homophobia and transphobia.
Some links you might find useful:
Erasing 76 Crimes: great site with information about anti-gay laws around the world, and updates about anti-gay and anti-trans violence around the world.
Human Dignity Trust: organization in the UK that is targeting anti-sodomy statutes in Commonwealth nations through lawsuits
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association: worldwide info about issues that are affecting LGBTQI people in various countries. Also provides a report on the anti-gay statutes in different countries.
And this gem, recently released: UN Human Rights Commission’s 2-minute spot against homophobia. Watch it HERE and share the love.