Offensively ignorant

The LGB Alliance, on the actual anniversary of Section 28:

“We never demanded society change its laws” isn’t just shockingly ignorant, although of course it is. It’s also a grossly offensive insult to the thousands of gay, bisexual and lesbian people (and of course trans people, but the LGBA doesn’t even pretend to care about them) whose lives were ruined by anti-gay legislation over hundreds of years. Very little of that legislation was changed by LGBT+ people asking nicely.

It’s also a raised middle finger to the very many brave gay, bi and lesbian activists (and of course trans activists, but the LGBA etc etc etc) who fought so hard and in many cases lost so much to gain the most basic human rights for LGBT+ people.

Wedge issues to unite the right

Laura Bassett, writing for GQ.com, explains how the US Christian Right moved from being largely pro-abortion (in some cases because they were racist and believed abortion would limit the number of black children) to becoming militantly against it.

The short version: strategists used abortion as a wedge issue to rally the faithful and grow the Republican Party.

[Republican activist] Weyrich tried to make pornography the wedge issue, he tried prayer in schools, he tried the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution which would have guaranteed equal legal rights to women, and none of those issues really rallied his troops. “I was trying to get people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” he later admitted at a conference in 1990. Then, six years after Roe v. Wade in 1973, Weyrich and Falwell noticed that conservatives were starting to get uncomfortable with the spike in legal abortions after the landmark case and with the sexual, social and economic freedom that reproductive rights had brought to women. So they went all in on making abortion a wedge issue that could marry the Christian right and the GOP.

Most people are in favour of a woman’s right to choose, but the Christian Right claims to speak for the majority. It funnels money into pressure groups and grass-roots groups, demonises the powerless, misrepresents facts, spreads blatant falsehoods – as the piece notes, that includes claiming that pro-choice people are murdering children after they’ve been born – and incites violence.

It’s so horrific, and so horrifically familiar.

“Capitalism needs women to work for free”

There’s an interesting interview in PinkNews with Alison Phipps, author of Me Not You: The Trouble With Mainstream Feminism. The book is very critical of the often very privileged white women whose feminism excludes women of colour, poor women, incarcerated women, sex workers, trans women and disabled women.

This bit is short and to the point:

“Although not everybody identifies with the [gender] binary, it basically sorts people into one of two categories.,” Alison says.

“One category is about productive, useful, honourable, well-rewarded labour… and the other category is about all the shit stuff.”

Phipps has been vilified by many of the people she criticises because of her unequivocal support of trans rights. She argues that the politicians who go after trans women’s rights inevitably go after all women next.

You can see it in these right-wing movements worldwide. So, for example, Orbán in Hungary – he cracked down on trans rights first, and now he’s cracking down on laws against domestic violence. It’s all part of the same package. Preserving the gender binary. Preserving the nuclear family.

Phipps’ book is really interesting and definitely worth checking out.

Battling homophobia?

David Paisley took a look at the Twitter feed for the LGB Alliance on the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (#IDAHOBIT); you’d expect a group that says it’s standing up for lesbian, gay and bisexual people to have something to say about ignorance and bigotry.

He made this image. On the left, all the posts the LGB Alliance made about homophobia and biphobia on #IDAHOBIT. On the right, the posts they made on the same day attacking trans people, criticising LGBT+ organisations, attacking inclusive education and attacking LGBT+ people for supporting trans people.

As Paisley points out, the single post to mark #IDAHOBIT was “just a hashtag and a link to an article two years out of date.”

Paisley:

Let’s look at the response of their followers.

For their #IDAHOBIT tweet:
Retweets: 1
Likes: 11

For their anti trans tweets:
Retweets: 467
Likes: 4126

The organisation went on to attack the Council of Europe for publishing guidance designed to protect LGBT+ people from discrimination and to attack Amnesty International for saying trans rights are human rights.

Paisley:

The majority of their posts are about trans exclusion, not “LGB” supportive issues… despite the abusive language of their followers they are careful not to be abusive themselves.

Sometimes, though, the mask of respectability slips. The other week, the group and its followers went after SNP MP John Nicolson with often blatantly homophobic abuse; when presented with evidence of it, two crowdfunding websites ejected the LGB Alliance from their platforms.

That was an expensive mistake that they’ll no doubt try not to repeat, but I suspect the mask will slip again soon enough: after all, this is an organisation whose co-founder suggested that gay teachers are predators.

“We do not need protecting from trans people.”

Many [press reports say “thousands” of] cisgender women have signed an open letter to women and equalities minister Liz Truss expressing their concern at her apparent plans for the gender recognition act.

Trans equality was not widely seen as an issue until the Transgender Equality Inquiry of 2015 triggered a concerted campaign in the media to depict trans rights as a new threat to cisgender women like ourselves.

We reject this assessment. As cisgender women, we are angry that these groups claim to speak for us, and try to justify their bigotry against a vulnerable minority in our name. It is disturbing to hear an equalities minister repeat their talking points almost word for word while outlining plans to reform trans rights.

The fact that you chose to make this a priority during the biggest crisis the world has faced in decades is even more disturbing.

I don’t know how effective such letters are; we’ve seen the current government press on with all kinds of terrible measures in the face of facts, best practice and common sense. But it can’t do any harm.

A shameful anniversary

It’s 32 years since the Conservatives introduced Section 28. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life. Yes, cheated.

That was Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

The newspapers were full of stories of a sinister “gay agenda” pushed by an equally sinister “homosexual lobby” determined to turn all your children gay. Politicians said they weren’t concerned with “responsible homosexuals”; they were concerned about the “sick” ones who had “an urge to persuade other people that their way of life was a good one.”

This video, shared by Ben McGowan, makes me wonder how much has really changed.

The video includes quotes from politicians, including one who decried “Labour’s appalling agenda encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools” in a piece in the Spectator in 2000, compared equal marriage to bestiality and wrote about “tank-topped bum-boys” in a column about the politician Peter Mandelson.

He’s the Prime Minister now.

The writers who want your granny to die

Peter Geoghegan and Mary Fitzgerald in The Guardian on the “lockdown sceptics“:

It is no surprise that so many professional contrarians are paid-up lockdown sceptics. They are products of our distorted media ecosystem, which invariably privileges heat over light. For them, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about – even if what you are talking about amounts to social Darwinism.

But the lockdown opponents are not just media “personalities”… How long before a British parliamentarian goes full “plandemic” and wonders aloud if Covid-19 is all a conspiracy?

A sinister cult

Pinknews:

The ‘gender critical’ feminist movement is a cult that grooms, controls and abuses, according to a lesbian who managed to escape.

…“They really don’t even care about gay people, which is the bottom line [for me],” she says. “They’re going for gay rights too, including marriages, the rainbow, LGBT+ clubs in schools.”

 

A simple message

Liberty:

Liberty joins other UK human rights organisations to say: trans rights are human rights.

In a joint statement with Amnesty International UK and Human Rights Watch it says:

“Human rights are universal and belong to everyone. Yet too often in the UK trans people are spoken about and treated as though their rights don’t matter.

The toxic media coverage about trans people has recently spiked. At times of crisis and political change, marginalised groups are often singled out for abuse and hate. History has shown us time and time again the dangers of setting the rights of one marginalised group up for debate. But we know that our rights and freedoms are bound together.

What’s more, this isn’t an equal conversation or level playing field. Key voices are missing – trans and non-binary people, and in particular young trans people. They are so often spoken about, not listened to. As a society, we need to make space so they can be finally heard without having to defend who they are.

We need to do this because denying rights leads to dehumanisation.

This is already happening in Hungary, Russia and the US, where trans people are facing serious human rights abuses, and new and vicious attacks on their fundamental rights.

We cannot allow this to happen here. Today, as we mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), our collective of UK human rights organisations wants to remind people that trans rights are an indivisible part of human rights.”

Benjamin Ward, UK Director of Human Rights Watch said: “For too long now, trans people in the UK have been dehumanised and their voices silenced.” said Benjamin Ward, UK Director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s time for people in the UK to stand together with trans people and for the human rights and humanity we all share.”

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “Trans people often face extreme discrimination, and right now we’re seeing growing threats to their human rights in the UK and abroad. But the biggest human rights organisations are united by their side – we won’t rest until trans people can live freely as themselves, without inequality or abuse.”

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said: “We must, as a human rights movement, demonstrate that we will forever stand by the side of trans people and I’m proud to join others to spread this message on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.”