‘Girls’: Lesbians in Russia (feministtimes.com)
The photo series ’Girls’ was made in response to the Russian federal law banning ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’. Since the legislative ban on gay propaganda, the attitude of Russian society has worsened towards lesbians. An assertion that lesbianism is dangerous to children, anti-Russian, and a Western influence is imposed widely. It leads to an increase of violence against lesbians and penalties for ’propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’. This is the reason why the the identity of the women in the photographs is hidden. Moreover, their identity is protected by literally burning their faces. The burned-out faces both literally and metaphorically reveal the imprints of homophobia in Russia. [Rest.]
Don’t get too excited though; it’s less a philosophical shift than it is a strategic move. Apparently it’s been losing followers because its views on same sex marriage. If you ever needed evidence that organised religions are now run as political and economic entities, then here you have it.
Last month, hundreds of boisterous protesters converged in Washington, DC, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8. Faith-based groups were on prominent display: the Methodists supporting marriage equality, the Westboro Baptists suggesting (per usual) that “God hates fags,” the Catholics both for and against gay marriage, clergy of all stripes. But one group that wasn’t there in any official capacity was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a.k.a. the Mormons—which perhaps more than any other religious group was responsible for getting Prop. 8 passed in the first place.
In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.
Although the LDS’s prophet hasn’t described a holy revelation directing a revision in church doctrine on same-sex marriage or gay rights in general, the church has shown a rare capacity for introspection and humane cultural change unusual for a large conservative religious organization.
“It seems like the [Mormon] hierarchy has pulled the plug and is no longer taking the lead in the fight to stop same-sex marriage,” says Fred Karger, the LGBT activist who first exposed the church’s major role in the passage of Prop. 8. “The Mormon Church has lost so many members and suffered such a black eye because of all its anti-gay activities that they really had no choice. I am hopeful that the Catholic Church cannot be far behind.
As the nation prepares for next week’s historic Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality, it is important to note that women will be disproportionately affected by whatever decisions get made. That’s because female couples account for roughly two-thirds of existing legal same-sex marriages. This underreported fact is highlighted in an amicus (friend of the court) brief submitted last month by the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF, publisher of Ms.) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) in support of abolishing California’s marriage ban, Proposition 8.
The brief cites research indicating that in states with some type of formal recognition of same-sex marriage, legally married lesbians outnumber married gay males almost two to one. In California, 65 percent of “legally registered same-sex couples” are female pairs.
Marriage equality is intrinsically bound up with feminist goals (see my earlier pieces, here and here, that make this point). Aside from the statistics on the lesbian marriage majority, consider the argument made by marriage equality opponents about “responsible procreation“–the absurd idea that allowing lesbians and gay men to marry will increase the number of children born out of wedlock–and the historical power imbalances within marriage that have adversely affected women.
[Read the rest: msmagazine]
Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Congresswoman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gay rights advocates won five major victories across the United States yesterday. Wisconsin elected America’s first openly gay Senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Maryland voted to affirm a same-sex marriage act the state legislature approved earlier this year. Ballots are still coming in, but Washington is expected to approve a similar measure. In Maine, voters approved gay marriage by popular vote, making it one of the first states to do so. Minnesota also shot down an amendment to ban gay marriage in the state’s constitution, paving the way for passage down the road*.
[More here, including up-to-date map by state: motherjones]
It’s incredible being given the opportunity to shatter glass ceilings but the more important focus is making sure we are creating a path many more will follow. I might not have aspired to public office if women and openly gay and lesbian candidates hadn’t run before me and shown me that doing so was possible. I recognized when I became the first woman elected to congress from the state of Wisconsin and first out lesbian elected in the history of U.S. that that’s not enough. We need to have legislative bodies that reflect America. Being a first is an extraordinary privilege, but the battle is won when there are many.
- Tammy Baldwin, December 2011, via feministing.
More evidence (as if we needed it) that this government is vehemently anti-choice.
A government backed Christian charity called Lovewise teaches school children that most rape victims ‘regret abortion’. According to Dina Rickman, the charity also teaches children that abortion causes holes in the womb, depression and infection. LoveWise also describes homosexuality as “damaging to mind, body and spirit” in its code of practice. According to its accounts from 2010 to 2011, it gave 300 presentations and has teams based in Bournemouth, Guildford, Hull, Kendal, Newcastle, Sheffield, South Coast, Suffolk, Sussex and Wimbledon. Details of the presentation were unearthed by Diane Abbott MP and Education for Choice. What’s really worrying is that the charity is backed by the government and part of Michael Gove’s Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) Council.
[Read more: liberalconspiracy]
They’re either lying about their motivations or completely clueless about human sexuality. There is no association between homosexuality and perpetrating child abuse and, though these people would probably rather gouge their own eyes out than admit it, heterosexuals have sexuality too (so what is this nonsense about “keeping sexuality out of the scouts”?). The clue’s is the name there, you ridiculous fools. Just admit you hate all teh gays and be done with it. We all know it anyway.
(The linked article claims it’s all about the cold hard cash, btw. Yes, that works too.)
Congratulations to the Boy Scouts of America for emphatically reaffirming their policy banning gays earlier this week – despite historical evidence that this strategy for preventing child sexual abuse will earn them the same success rate as Penn State football and the Roman Catholic Church.
This is a point of fact, not mere conjecture. Because the Scouts are already, despite their very best efforts at concealment, on the record as having had similar difficulties as those other allegedly gay-free institutions with sexual abusers among the men it has entrusted with its youth. And for similar reasons. Not because the molesters were “gay” – in fact, LGBT people make up a fraction of child abusers and the sexual preferences of the sick, primarily male adults who molest children skew towards age rather than gender – but because the organization’s leaders refused to discipline the child abusers in its midst or to involve the police, long past the time when they knew of instances of sexual abuse.
In fact, the smoking gun in the most recent of the many cases filed against the Scouts by former members for failing to protect them from predatory leaders was the Scouts’ own “perversion files”. These privately kept documents, over 20,000 pages of them, detail accusations and investigations of sexual abuse and other improprieties by 1,200 Boy Scout leaders across the United States from 1965 to 1985 – as well as what the organization did and did not do to protect their youth once cases of abuse were known to them. The files were never meant to see the light of day, and the Scouts fought hard, and unsuccessfully, to prevent them from being released after the trial, which resulted in an $18.5m punitive judgment against the Boy Scouts of America, the largest finding ever against the Scouts in a sex case jury trial.
[Read more: commentisfree]
The original title (“Why don’t we hear about forced marriages and gay men?”) and the comments on the piece smack of “poor menz” but it’s an important point nonetheless. Gay men are forced into marriage as a way of “addressing” their sexuality.
I recently reviewed a report for HuffPo that shows how London Police Services are underprepared for a rise in serious crime.
I didn’t have time to highlight some stats by the Metropolitan Police that show there were 298 Forced Marriage incidents / crimes reported in 2010 (including 333 actual and prospective victims – i.e. living in fear of forced marriage).
Of those, 35 victims were male, the rest were women (one unknown).
One of the inferences based on interview material, and the MPA’s own assessment, is that many of the men who are involved here are actually gay, and forced into marriage because of this.
The MPA didn’t check sexual orientation (save for one person) as part of the course, so it is hard to evaluate, but there has been some attention given to this type of marriage over the last few years – and it is deeply disturbing.
[Read more: liberalconspiracy]