Identity and Politics

The “Gayby Baby” film presentation controversy has hit me harder than I’d like to admit. Not because it does affect me personally per se in terms of families, but it’s struck me at how political such issues have become. It’s bought back feelings of like I shouldn’t be who I am all over again, quite frankly.

Why is identity, particularly of minorities (racial, gender, sexuality, etc), so politicised? Not everybody is straight! GET OVER IT! I’ve written before in one of my other blogs, and also here, that I’ve struggled with self – acceptance. To be perfectly honest, those feelings haven’t gone away completely. This is why I’m so passionate about these issues being discussed in schools and for students who don’t fit the “heteronormative” category, or whose family doesn’t fit the “nuclear” norm is so important. It’s reality! All this talk about “propaganda” and the “gay agenda” is just becoming ridiculous. Students and parents should not be forced nor intimidated into watching the film, I agree with conservative commentators on that.

 

Why are the lives of LGBT+ people and their portrayal in society so overly politicised? Why is it, when an issue affecting the LGBT+ come up, it’s automatically deemed “shoving it in people’s faces”, or “the minority is taking over the rights of the majority”. Newsflash: THE MAJORITY HAVEN’T PUT UP WITH THE GARBAGE THAT THE LGBT+ HAVE (at least not for something like sexuality. I would take a shot and say that straight kids don’t have to pull their hair out wondering whether they should “come out”, all the while fearing repercussions. Straight people aren’t physically attacked or emotionally abused because of their sexuality. Straight people don’t go around having their orientation mocked in the media or told that it doesn’t exist. Straight people aren’t spiritually abused in religious institutions, pressuring them to take part in pseudo “counselling” which is condemned by mainstream medical bodies around the world. Straight people aren’t at risk of being sexually assaulted in a bid to “cure” or change their orientation. For straight people, struggles with sexuality generally don’t lead to self – harm and suicide (not that suicide, mental illness and self – harm aren’t tragic in other circumstances).

 

I believe (and the reason why I support the showing of the documentary), is not to “convert” people to be LGBT+, nor force people to take a particular side but merely gives voice to people who are living the reality of, in this case, living in same – sex headed families. Are there people that are going to disagree? Of course there will be. Will it make opponents of same – sex marriage change their minds? Probably not. All it will do is say “this is how some people live in the world”. That’s it. I’ll stress again, I’m against forcing or bullying people into watching it. Opponents should be treated with the same respect as proponents. But, in the context of schools and the wider community, the LGBT+ should be able to be heard just as much as anyone else. People in non – traditional families should not be in fear of public backlash. Like I wrote in another blog, if this can open the door to talk about not just gay and lesbian parenting, but also open the way to acknowledging other non – straight students (including asexuals), then it’ll be worth it.

 

Why is acceptance so politicised, I’ll never know.

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Why All the Semantics?

I just read a post about the SCOTUS ruling and the “love wins” mantra. The blogger, who is of the LDS faith (Mormon), argues that the mantra should be “tolerance wins’, arguing that not all opponents against same – sex marriage are haters.

Last Sunday on “The Bolt Report”, columnist Miranda Devine and Andrew Bolt were talking about the term “marriage equality” instead of “same – sex marriage” being used in the media. Devine even went as far as saying that you’d think marriage equality meant the equality between a heterosexual couple.

Are we seriously going to resort to wordplay in the same – sex marriage/ marriage equality debate? Is that what the argument is going to be about for the next two years or so? I really want to put a perspective on both of these with respect to those who disagree.

Firstly, marriage equality versus same – sex marriage: for those who read this blog, you’ll have noticed that I use the term “same – sex marriage” as opposed to “marriage equality” or “gay marriage”. The reason for the first one is probably habit. The second reason is because when addressing the issue, I’m usually talking about more than just gays and lesbians. I’m usually talking about others who are, or who are likely to be in same – sex relationships: homoromantic asexuals, bi – romantic asexuals, pan – romantic asexuals, pansexuals, etc. There are arguments that “gay marriage” is exclusionary and erases the people I just mentioned. So they’re my reasons.

Secondly, the “love wins”. It was a popular mantra both at rallies and on social media when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), ruled in favour of legalising same – sex marriage across all 50 states on June 26, 2015. The reason? I think it was because now under US law, same – sex relationships were legally treated the same as any heterosexual/ opposite – sex relationship. Love won because they were now considered equal under the law. Keep in mind that in America, the states that didn’t legalise same – sex marriage, or prohibited it, legally, same – sex couples were denied numerous rights often attributed to opposite – sex married couples.

The Obgerfell vs. Hodges case was about Jim Obgerfell, from Ohio, who, when his partner, John Arthur died in 2013, Obgerfell was not legally recognised as his spouse and therefore, he wasn’t afforded widower rights after Arthur died. In the US, stories surrounding medical decisions came with the same sort of result. Same – sex partners were not given the right to have a say about what happened to their own partner medically because they weren’t deemed family under the law. The rights went to the blood relatives of the person in hospital, leaving the partner out.

Under American law, same – sex couples were refused over a thousand rights given to opposite sex married couples. These included social security, illness (as described above), death, etc. They literally weren’t treated equally under the law in many ways, particularly in states that had the “Defence of the Marriage Act” (DOMA) status. This was also condemned as unconstitutional about two yeas ago (can’t remember exactly when, but I do remember hearing about it).

Under Australian law, if same – sex marriage is legalised, the changes won’t be so dramatic, at least in a legal sense. The Gillard Government amended Centrelink and other laws to assure that same – sex couples are attributed the same legal and financial rights as both married and  opposite sex de – facto couples. The big talking point about the legalisation of same – sex marriage in Australia is the issues of adoption, IVF and surrogacy. The laws in each state is different. To my knowledge, New South Wales permits IVF to lesbian couples as well as single women, although, in South Australia, such fertility treatment is only afforded to medically infertile married opposite – sex couples. Not sure about the other states and frankly, too slack at the moment to look them up. Before the last state election in Victoria, Daniel Andrews reportedly did talk about extending IVF to lesbians and single women, but I’m not sure if that’s gone through or what.

So, back to the terms. Does it matter? Like I indicated at the start of the post, I think it’s just semantics. But what do you think?

Also, feel free to add your knowledge about current Australian laws surrounding IVF, surrogacy and adoption that you know and feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken.

Asexuality Segment on ‘The Morning Show: Fixing Some Misconceptions

This morning, Australia’s ‘The Morning Shoow did a segment on asexuality, particularly in dating relationships. Now, at first, I’ve got to say, I wasn’t overly offended, however, when I thought about it properly, I did get the criticism that was posted on Facebook about it. Firstly, there is no ‘pesonality traits’ or whatnot to pick out an asexual. You will likely NOT know someone is asexual unless they tell you.

Secondly, we are not against physical affection. Yes, there are some that are touch averse, period, but not all of them. In fact, I’m personally very physically affectionate, always have been.

Dating history (or lack of), is not necessary a factor in determining when someone is or isn’t asexual. In fact, many asexuals do have a dating history and may have been sexually active in past relationships, especially before knowing about the term and applying it to themselves.

Addressing something co – host Larry Emdur said: asexuality is not erectile dysfunction or has to do with libido or genital function. Many asexuals have full genital function and many still have a libido. What asexuals don’t have (or have much of), is sexual attraction to anyone.

And finally, fixing up what a Facebook commenter said No, asexuality is NOT the same as asexual reproduction, nor is it the same as abstinence.

No, Gays Aren’t Equal Because They Can Marry The Opposite Sex

This post isn’t an argument for or against same – sex marriage, but rather about, what I think, is a fallacious argument against it. Many same – sex marriage proponents (mostly straight, mind you), use the argument “Gays can already marry…. a person of the opposite sex”. While, yes, that’s true technically speaking, it’s flawed. Very flawed.

Think about this: why do most people in the West get married? Children are often a factor, yes, but according to Relationships Australia, the number one reason why most people get married is… love. And, for most people, this “love” wouldn’t be platonic, but sexual and/ or romantic in nature. Let’s be honest here! Most people don’t get married to people they are not attracted to! Most people don’t have to either! Most people can take this for granted. Most heterosexual people don’t have to think twice about who their attracted to, how they’ll be perceived in public, who they can take to the Débutante, the Year 12 Formal, who to take home to their parents, etc. But same – sex attracted people* often do, often with elements of fear of rejection and retaliation. For too many LGBT+ youth, these fears are confirmed.

Can mixed – orientation marriages, as in gay/ straight relationships, work? Well, yes, but if your open and read the link, the success rate isn’t high, at least in the US and very often leads to heartbreak.Straight/ straight, (and I’m making a generalisation here), don’t have to go through that. Mutual attraction, usually sexual and romantic, is just there. The same can’t (at least mostly) be said for same – sex attracted people in opposite – sex relationships. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to try and force yourself to date someone who your not attracted to. It’s, figuratively speaking, is like hitting your head against a brick wall, as if trying to break it down, obviously without success. Other asexual people can attest the same (Julie Sondra Decker aka Swanky Ivy talks about it in her book Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality).

People are against same – sex marriage. I get it, and, actually, I can understand some of the reasons why. But this argument that “gays already have marriage equality” is, in my honest opinion, ridiculous.

Rights… For Asexuals

in the gay marriage debate, the issue of personal ‘rights’ comes up. Of course, the rights of the proposing and opposing side tend to butt heads. Frankly, sometimes I wonder whether people from both sides of the debate want their rights at all costs, no matter how high. Some rights I’m talking about are free speech, freedom of conscience versus marriage equality proponents arguing for same – sex couples to have full legal rights of married couples, often including the custody of children (although I’ve argued on Facebook that IVF for lesbians ANC gay adoption and fostering is already legal in some areas in Australia).

I want to turn to a different topic for a biypt and talk about the rights of Asexual. Now most of these rights are more social than legal, but I want to list them anyway.

  • For all people who identify as asexual to, as much as possible identify as such without fear or negative psychological impact
  • For Asexuals not to be bombarded with deeply personal and/ or offensive questions when revealing their identity
  • To be believed
  • To be able to reject any unwanted sexual or romantic advances without fear of one’s physical or emotional safety
  • For romantic Asexuals to have their relationships not made fun of, ridiculed or considered less than
  • For aromantic Asexuals to not bs insulted for their relationship status (e.g. being called a ‘cat lady’ as an insult. No offence to cat lovers)
  • To be treated with respect and professionally by health professionals
  • To be able to become a tenant without prejudice
  • To not be discriminated against in the workplace
  • For young asexual people to not feel alienated in Personal Development classes when sexuality is discussed (that one may take a while)
  • To not be assumed or ‘accused of’ being gay

Not the most exhaustive list, but it’s what I can think of at the moment.

What others can you come up with?

Virginity

Australian women’s magazine “Cleo” has an issue with a story of a 24 – year – old woman who admits that she’s a virgin and is OK with that. I remember when reading about this on Twitter; about being a virgin at twenty – four, and my immediate reaction, was, I admit pessimistic; thinking it was just a virginity – shaming thing.

I was surprised by Cleo’s reply and am pleasantly surprised with the article. The woman, Peta Melrose, 24, is unashamed that she’s never had sex. She stands her ground, not bowing to peer pressure, social expectations or pressure from guys to lose it.l find this very positive.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so cynical, because they have done an article on asexuality before back in 2011, (I think), featuring blogger Johanna Qualmann. They let her tell her story. Unfortunately, no, the article didn’t go into romantic orientations, etc, not her fault, of course. Actually, it was the first time I actually saw asexuality being presented in mainstream media.

Discrimination vs. Bullying

This is the last time (hopefully) I’m going post about the Adam Goodes booing controversy. A part of the debate has been about whether it was discrimination and how it was handled by the AFL and the media. On whether the booing was based on racism is only something that Goodes himself would know. Whatever Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Rita Panahi or even Mia Freedman or Jonathan Green, it wouldn’t affect anything. I’m going to share a personal story that is not based on race, but I think relevant. When I was in high school; Year 10 and 12, I had three different people ask whethe r I was gay. I’ll never forget what I felt after each time. I felt like I was ‘kicked in the guts’. Actually, sometimes I wonder whether that would’ve been less painful. It may sound dramatic, but that’s how I felt. Was it homophobia? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. But it hurt. Really hurt. One of the controversies has been over the then 13 – year – old girl who shouted a racial insult at Goodes and how she was treated. Again, I can see the dilemma. One of the people that made the comment about my sexuality was younger than me, probably only one of two years older than what the girl was who called out the racial slur at Goodes. I was faced with the dilemma. Yes, this girl was younger than me. That didn’t change the fact that it made me feel like total crap all over again.

Not or everyone may have felt the same way. I’ve heard on TV interview with fashion designer Alex Perry and a YouTube clip with Joan Jett; both who have had speculations and rumours about their sexuality, both seemingly unfazed. That doesn’t take away the fact that it affected me quite a bit.

What i explained here sounds minuscule compared to many other people, I get that. Also, I’m not pretending that I’m speaking on Goodes’ behalf. I can’t. I just wanted to bring my perspective and my experiences to the debate.