Archive for the ‘Gay rights’ Category

Today is the first SF Pride post DOMA and Prop 8

June 30, 2013

I expect it will be fabulous. (I am writing this to auto post while I am at the SF Pride Parade.)

I will be bearing my sign saying “Leviticus says… Crazy Shit” in bisexual colors (minus the pink since it doesn’t show up on signs) and marching with the Atheist/Humanist Contingent.

This is my favorite activist event every year, and the one which I never miss if I’m in the area.

There are loads of people who are intersectionally aware activists, who are not just gay rights activists, but also feminists, secularists, fair wage, pro immigrant, pro education, and civil rights activists as well. People who are aware that helping groups gain equal rights helps all of us, not just the one group, and who are truly interested in human rights, not just whatever aspects most directly effect them.

Sleep the night before is made difficult by excitement, sleep the night after is effortless from exhaustion.

I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I will.

Activist Whiplash

June 26, 2013

Yesterday the Voting Rights Act was gutted, which will cause who knows how many people to be disenfranchised.

Yesterday Obama gave a speech about global warming where he appropriately likened global warming denialists to flat earthers.

From yesterday through this morning Wendy Davis- and her supporters in the crowd- filibustered a bill which would have closed most of the abortion clinics in Texas and (further) compromised bodily autonomy for women.

Today, DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and Prop 8 was deemed a state matter. Which means that marriage is no longer being “defended” from consenting adults who wish to be married, and that my state is belatedly on the right side of this issue.

To say I have strong feelings about these things would be an understatement.

I will attempt to blog about each of them over the next week or so, along with writing about the SF Pride Parade – I will be marching with the atheist contingent – but first I just feel the need to breathe. Maybe after petting Sokka or having a cup of tea I will be able to write about all of this.

Who must give up identity politics?

August 30, 2012

Joe Klein says Democrats must give up identity politics. Excuse me?

Was Todd Akin a Democrat when he attacked women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Was Alan Clemmons a Democrat when he wrote a law which would suppress the voting rights of minorities?

Was Jan Brewer a Democrat when she denied public benefits to young immigrants working in and to the benefit of this country?

Was Peter King a Democrat when he created a panel to persecute American Muslims?

And was the Republican Party Platform somehow hijacked by Democrats where it calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?

No. Those were all Republicans playing to their monochromatic base of male Christians.

Those were Republicans treating women’s bodies as their property, deciding that the voting rights of poor people, dark people, elderly people and students were not as important as winning an election, deciding that working to make a life in the land of the free should be as hard as the government can make it for immigrants, pissing on the First Amendment by trying to create classes of citizen where Christians are above suspicion while those other religions are the focus of hate and fear, and deciding that the genitalia of an individual matters more than the relationship between two people.

And the same things that motivate those Republicans would motivate those who come after, to come after contraception once abortion was illegal. They would further reduce the number of people who have the right to vote until it is only a few white males with enormous pots of money, own land, and have the good sense to be of the majority denomination. They would profit off of the labor of immigrants while paying them pennies and blaming them for anything wrong in a community. It wouldn’t be enough for it to be a Christian Theocracy after a time: you would have to be the right type of Christian. Which denomination of Protestant are you? Lutheran? You are too quiet for the American Christendom. Better to have been Baptist. And as for gays? Have you noticed that when Christian Republicans quote Leviticus, it always seems to be the same verse?

Who needs to give up identity politics?

Hell, nobody on the side of equality until the actions in the list above are political poison.

A Rallying Point for Progressive Atheism

August 27, 2012

It seems pretty straightforward to me: once we dispense with systems designed to prop up existing power structures in the guise of “serving god”…

Then we can serve as friends and allies to each other without consideration for what a mythical man might mandate. We can work towards equal rights and equal pay, we can work to improve education and opportunity, we can work to lift humans to the stars rather than bombing each other back to the stone age where the beliefs of religious patriarchs are more at home.

But even within atheism, many people question religion without questioning the host of biases and prejudices that are packaged with it. And so we need A+. We need a rallying place for atheists to not just reject god, but to reject all that “god” was made to champion by self interested “prophets,” politicians and other swindlers.

We need a place for atheists to rally to support and fight for women’s right to bodily autonomy and to equal pay as well.

We need a place for atheists to come together to oppose xenophobia and racism, and to dismantle the biblical teaching of “Cain’s Mark.”

We need a place for atheists to show their support for and work towards equal marriage rights.

We need a place for atheists to work towards a more sensible mental health system that doesn’t have roots in a belief that you can prayer your neurochemisty better.

We need a place for atheists to discuss issues of disability or gender in a way that doesn’t reflect the larger religiously-inspired discomfort with and blame for any deviation from (socially created) norms.

We need a place for people to teach and learn about privilege and oppression and organize to fight the systems that perpetuate them.

And thanks to Jen McCreight, we have one: Atheism Plus.

Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

Ambiguous graffiti

August 17, 2012

I saw this graffiti and was struck with questions:

“Fuck Gay’s!!!”

Is this pro gay or anti gay? Or just pro fucking?

Why the apostrophe? What does the writer want to fuck- or want to encourage others to fuck- that belongs to gays? If body parts, it indicates that it is pro gay. Or at least pro fucking.

But if rights or property, that would be anti gay.

Now, if it is just a grammatical error, that would also indicate anti gay, because the ability to spell and correctly construct grammatical structures seems to be lost on people scrawling hate on walls.

As to the exclamation points, I’m just going to quote from Eric, a book by Terry Pratchett: “Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.”

What do you think?

Youtubers Get It, So Can You.

August 2, 2012

 

Note the difference between that and the sort of thing Hemant argues against? I know it is subtle but I think if the above was the common approach everybody would be a lot happier, and our government wouldn’t be trying to get into its citizens’ bedrooms.

Secularism: For The Win.

Marriage equality supported by Democratic Party’s national platform

July 31, 2012

Over at The Hill, Daniel Strauss writes that the Democratic Party’s national platform will include support for same sex marriage and full equality of rights attendant on marriage.

My feeling is: It’s past time. Didn’t we already have this fight about consenting adults being able to marry who they love? It was called Loving v. Virginia. The decision in that case- that marriage is a basic civil right, intertwined with those of liberty and the pursuit of happiness- should  apply equally to this one, despite that fight being about racial difference and this one about sameness of sex.

Godless good works

July 13, 2012

Maryam Namazie has a list of ways you can oppose people being sentenced to death by stoning. Only the Force Change and Facebook links worked for me, but try everything you can if you oppose this terrible practice.

The Deep Fried Freethinkers are raising money to get air conditioning units for people suffering from the heat in Mississipi – found through Friendly Atheist.

Ask an Atheist is doing a blogathon to raise money for marriage equality in Washington State – found through Friendly Atheist.

And once again, demand for Camp Quest is growing fast enough to demand a battle of the fund raisers. In one corner, cephalopod aficionado Pee Zed Myers, cockily declaring his imminent victory over all that is right and mammalian. In the other corner, a brave, valiant, daring and true… 12 people.

Donate for Camp Quest, do it for science, for reason, for truth and justice. But, most of all, do it for heightened emotional pleas.

It gets better: and it makes me love our species.

July 11, 2012

I am inspired by our species: by our progress in humanism, by our art, by our moments of bright shining passion: by our love for each other as human, as equals rather than idealizations or icons.

I love when attitudes change towards greater love and equality. Even though it frustrates me that progress is so slow, I love that people are advocating for gay marriage in greater numbers than ever.

I love seeing people fight for their rights, and I love seeing allies fight for the rights of others… and I love that they are doing it sometimes for their loved ones, and sometimes out of a deep and unequivocal realization that treating people as people is something demanded by our very humanity.

And I love when people bravely declare who they are, and the reactions they get include love and respect. I love that safe spaces are being made in communities which previously weren’t safe, and I love that the safe spaces that exist are getting bigger and more inclusive.

I love that when we talk about gender, race, sexuality, disability, wealth and other places where inequalities arise in our societies, more and more people are examining their privilege and are starting to Get It.

And I love being able to say: I am a part of this, however small. We may be a bunch of tragically fragile hairless apes, but we have brains, we have compassion, we have righteous indignation and we have persistence by the ton. We will make our societies more just, more equal and more caring.

Because we are just too damn stubborn not to.

Links from Addicted to Pez. (Emily’s Tumblr)