Advice on Activism

i was reading an article today critiquing ‘click activism’ a.k.a ‘slacktivism (‘A Click Is Not Enough’, Johanna Lovatt, Weekend, p. 8, Herald Sun, 23 January 2016). I agree with the premise of Lovatt’s article.

The problem is, very rarely does ‘click activism’ change ingrained attitudes that havve caused the problem in the first place (especially when it comes to discrimination. I want to talk about that more shortly). Very few people donate funds or time to issues that they, according to their Facebook profile, are supposedly passionate about. I think it even goes further than that.

Seeing many Facebook profiles with the rainbow filter after the SCOTUS ruling and nationwide legalisation of same – sex marriage across the U.S. was heartening, and, to be honest, with some surprising. I hope that was a start of discussion and a safer environment for members ofcthe LGBTQ+ community. Or is it? Will people be able to come out more freely without fear? Will people will more openly condemn discrimination and mistreatment faced by the LGBTQ+ community? Will LGBTQ+ people be able to raise concrns without being criticised or shouted down? Forcthose who championed the SCOTUS ruling last year, will you stand up for people who are bisexual? Pansexual? Transgender? Asexual?

 

In regard to asexuals, i want yo write a few points on how

people can support people who come out as asexual and

the comunity in general.

 

  1. Educate yourself. Learn exactly what asexuality is.

Resources that may be helpful include Asexuality Visibility Education Network (AVEN) website, research done by Canadian Anthony Bogaert. You can search a number of videos by SwankyIvy (real name, Julie Sondra Decker) on YouTube. She also has a book ‘The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality”. The book can be downloaded from Itunes.

Be wary if you see media items about asexuality. While many reports and representations are OK, there are some that are not well informed.

2. If someone comes out to you, believe them. Many asexuals realise that they lack sexual attraction in puberty (not all, but many). My guess if someone comes out to you, they are not ‘too young’ to know.

3. Please DON’T pester asexuals about dating or sex. It’s unlikely that dating or having sex with the ‘right person’ will change their mind

4. Please keep questions respectful. Don’t cause embarrassment asking unnecesssarily personal questions. This includes when an asexual person is in a romantic relationship.

5. Please allow asexual friends/ family members to join conversations. This may main refraining from certain topics that the asexual person maybe uncomforable with. Let them bring up topics they want to talk about.

6. If you know, or are close to people who are asexual, let them know you love and care about them.

7. Remember, the person who has come out to you is the same person he/ she/ they, etc always were

8. Be vocal against sexual assault, indecent assault or sexual harrassment that asexual people can be victims of. That includes

being vocal when an asexual friend is being pestered and receiving unwanted advances.

 

Activism, whether on – line or real life should be about fighting injustices faced by people. I think knowibg what the cause is, the pitfalls and how to combat those injustices is a start. Also, activism should, ultimately be an everyday thing. So, criticise discriminatory slurs, stand by LGBT+ loved ones. Educate yourself and love and accept asexual loved ones. With these steps, this just may combat discrimination.

So, that’s my list so far (sorry for tge dodgy spacing. Just the Ipad I’m on at the moment).

Any advice I missed?

 

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Special Pride AFL Game?

I heard last night that AFL’s St. Kilda Football Club (a.k.a. the Saints), have put in a request to have a “Gay Pride” round when they play against Sydney Swans. Melbourne’s The Age the St. Kilda Football Club had lobbied league bosses to play the round to stand for equality and fight against homophobia. This was inspired by Jason Ball, the first openly gay footballer. His team, the Yarra Glen. have played such games, where they give out a rainbow coloured trophy, for the past two years.

When I first heard about this on 2GB last night, to be honest, I was underwhelmed. Usually when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, I’m usually choking back tears until they roll down my cheeks. But last night, nothing. Well, nothing but maybe a bit of scepticism. Look, I’ve argued before that because of the AFL’s national reputation and how it’s a cultural phenomenon in Australia, that players and codes standing up for social issues like racism and Aboriginal recognition (e.g. the “Reconciliation Round”), plus it’s condemnation of violence against women is understandable. But such a divisive issue such as gay marriage? The caller who bought this to the attention to Andrew Bolt and Steve Price on 2GB last night who raised the topic and said that he didn’t need “education” or be “lectured to” at an AFL game.

Here is where I guess I worry. I worry that these pushes of such strong political issues, only alienates people. I fear that people, out of being so fatigued, will eventually turn a blind eye to LGBTQ+ issues (if they haven’t already). I fear that same – sex marriage opponents (some of them anyway), will finally spit it. And when all hell has broken loose, the people who are just fatigued by the whole same – sex marriage debate, even if they aren’t necessarily opponents, will give up the fight to combat issues facing the LGBTQ+ community such as suicide, bullying, harassment, being kicked out of home (for young people), etc.

All I’m saying is, give people breathing space. For platforms like AFL or NRL, don’t alienate supporters. Just back off and give people a chance to enjoy the game without any politics or sociology being thrown around. I mean, football is usually on Friday night or the weekend anyway. Isn’t that for a reason?

I’d be falling over if I saw football players having a purple, grey white and black trophy.

What do you think of St. Kilda’s decision next year? Too far or do you agree with it?

Why ‘Come Out’?

Before, I read a blog post (didn’t finish it admittedly), about a lesbian mother of young children and her struggle to ‘come out’ to strangers she comes in contact with. My question was ‘why’? To family or friends, if you feel secure enough. But strangers? Then, I realised, everyone does it. Let me explain.

People, especially women, often freely, talk about their family and relationships, spouses, etc. If you’re not in a traditional, heterosexual relationship/ marriage, what do you say when the conversation turns to you? I’ve been there, especially in my early 20’s. What do we say? I stayed silent, for most of the time. When I did speak, I mostly just went along with the conversation, kind of just went with the tide.

Frankly, the most awkward conversation is when I asked when I ‘like’ anyone (meaning man). I say, ‘no’, and for the most part, that’s where the conversation ends. That’s fine. But sometimes, I want more. I want to say, ‘welllllll, actually’….. and tell the person/ group the truth. Well, the basics anyway. This is why this blog is good for me, frankly. My posts appear on my Facebook wall (and Twitter feed), and, although I was reluctant at the start, I’m glad that it’s getting out there, and people I know (hopefully), are coming to know me as an asexual (I son’t really talk about romantic orientation). It’s been really positive, actually. There hasn’t been a backlash and no ‘unfriends’, so that’s good.

So, I guess everyone ‘comes out’ in everyday conversation, in a way; talking about martiage, kids, who likes who, etc. it’s just in reality, for those of us who don’t fit the ‘norm’, so to speak, it’s not good or bad (most of the time for me, anyway), it’s just another dimension I sometimes find myself thinking about. I’m sure it’s the same for others too (not all). Sounded like a dilemma for the mother I was reading about, too.

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?

Same – Sex Marriage Is Not About Love

Before you cyber – thump me, just hear me out. A few nights ago, on ‘The Project’, there was a story about an elderly Australian female couple who go married in New Zealand. Of course, on the show, ( I watched the segment on FB), and below the link, an inevitable debate erupted. The usual arguments, both for and against were put forward. Then, a couple of hours later, something came to me… The pro same – sex marriage isn’t about love. Not entirely anyway. It’s about gay, lesbian and other same – sex couples (bisexuals in same – sex relationships, asexuals etc), being viewed both equal under the law and socially as being the equivalent to married heterosexual couples. It’s seen as one less form of discrimination that the LGB people have to face, sometimes on a daily basis. I think the reason why so many heterosexual people have jumped on the ‘pro’ side of the same – sex marriage debate so strongly is because most people know or is close to someone in who is LGB and/ or in a same – sex relationship. These people are connected because a loved one of friend is. I can can hear the arguments already… ‘Marriage is about children. Gays can’t reproduce…’ Look, just save it. Frankly, I’m not keen on having the arguments rehashed. I just wanted to put forward another take on the never – ending same – sex marriage debate

Equality: What Does It Mean?

Trigger Warning: violence, gender and sexuality discrimination. Proceed with caution if this is triggering for you.

The last couple of days have been about the campaign for equality. Last night, Sydney, NSW, celebrated the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Like every year, the issues that come up surround the legalisation of gay marriage and other legal rights.

On Mamamia, Labor senator Penny Wong, herself a lesbian, wrote a post in the light of Mardi Gras about gay rights in Australia and how Australia falls short. She talked about, for example, the high instances of verbal and physical attacks gays and lesbians, specially young people, still face. I have written before that LGBT youth faced a much higher instance of bulling according to Youth Beyond Blue.

In late 2011, sister of conservative columnist, Andrew Bolt, Stephanie, wrote columns published in both Crikey and the Sydney Morning Herald about her wish for marriage equality to become legal in Australia. Her main reason? She argued that the marriage certificate made her feel more secure and validated (she’s married to her partner in Canada… at least she was at the time that the article was written). She too, faced violent attacks when she came out at 21.

To me, the issue goes beyond marriage, as I think these two examples point out (especially the Mamamia article). Whether we like to admit it or not, homophobia still exists. It’s still risky for gay people to reveal who thetpy are. Have we made progress? Yes, but we’ve. Still got a long way to go.

What about people who are bi? From what i’ve read, they seem to be attacked by both the gays and heterosexuals. I’ve been critical of how bisexual people are portrayed in the media, as do many people who identify as bi themselves. No, they don’t need to sleep with everyone they see! Stop fetishising them, (especially bi women), and turning who they are into nothing more than a porn movie! They just happen to be able to experience attraction to both men and women (well, usually). Deal with it! Same as pan sexuals and poly – sexuals are attracted to multiple genders (poly – sexuals aren’t attracted to all genders where as pan sexuals are just so we’re clear).

And finally, asexuals. I’ve said this again and again, first being believed would be nice (I’m talking for all asexuals here, not my experiences personally). I’d like there to come a point where discrimination and teasing of asexual people is frowned upon just as much as any other form of discriminatory behaviour. I’d love for all asexual women to be able to resist sexual advances without having their safety in jeopardy. I’d like for asexual men not to feel emasculated because of their asexuality. I’d like it for asexuals to not experience discrimination by health professionals (e.g. being treated like a ‘problem’ in relationship counselling.

So, yeah. We’ve come along way, for sure. Hopefully,we can go a little bit further so what I’ve written above can come true too.

What steps would you like to see takecplace as in LGBT+ rights?