Monday, 26 March 2012

Just Plain Sense: Till Political Convenience Do Us Part (reblog)

Christine Burns has just published a very important article about marriage (and civil partnership) equality rights for all, gay and straight, in the UK. You should read this. It's important.

The coalition government has begun a three month public consultation on equal civil marriage for same sex couples.
Central to this debate is the argument that having two kinds of legal partnership -- civil partnership for same sex couples and marriage for heterosexual ones -- is divisive and discriminatory. Why, if they are meant to be the same thing, should this difference persist? And, if they're not the same thing, does this imply that one is inferior to the other?
The government proposes to make civil marriage (the legal part of what heterosexual couples currently sign up to) available to same sex couples as well. They're not proposing to impose changes on the religious aspects of marriage.
At the same time the coalition proposes to retain civil partnership for same sex partners who don't want the new option, but not to open it to opposite sex couples.
Arguments against all aspects of these proposals will consume the media during the consultation period, and undoubtedly again when a Bill is debated in Parliament.
All this noise threatens to erase the viewpoint of one group whose rights could be the "collateral damage" in whatever accommodation is made. These are the people whose interests I want to discuss.

READ THE REST HERE: Just Plain Sense: Till Political Convenience Do Us Part
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Sunday, 18 March 2012

TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers

National Center for Transgender Equality logo
Image via Wikipedia
This is a shout-out for TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers - National Center for Transgender Equality's Blog. While this info is aimed at travellers in the USA, common sense dictates it should hold good everywhere. If it doesn't, then maybe your country needs a little more education in tolerance and awareness. In my opinion, one important point is missed: try to ensure that the photo on your travel ID at least looks sufficiently like you. This applies whether you're trans or cis, to be fair, but the problem is exacerbated for trans folk.

The UK allows you to update your photo if you've changed a lot since the last one. I would hope other countries do the same, although I'm not naive enough to hope this is the case throughout the more progressive world. But if you can, then change your photo. It might just make things go a little more smoothly.
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Think of the children!

Yes, dear Eugenes of this world, let's think of the children. More specifically, let's think about why you should find it morally acceptable to inculcate fear and intolerance. We'll address the issue of why you think sex is bad some other time. Suffice to say that perpetuating that idea is damaging a lot of lives.

This is from the excellent web comic Gutters, which specialises in commenting on the North American comics news. Those who read Archie should recognise the characters and the situation immediately.
Clicking on the image will take you to the original, full-size version with the authors' comments... And, unfortunately, a fair number of comments from the ignorant and fearful/hate-filled. Nevertheless, if you like American comics (yes, that includes Canada), you'll probably appreciate Gutters and its affectionate satire.

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Monday, 5 March 2012

UK Coalition for Equal Marriage - petition

Since the raving loony brigade are out in force in the UK - the all-comers champion is currently Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who likens same sex marriage to legalising slavery - I'm putting up a link to the C4EM petition for a little common sense and respect for your fellow (wo)man.

Four reasons to sign::
  • Marriage Is Unique

    On this one point we agree. Marriage is unique. It is a union of two people in love, for life, to the exclusion of all others. A commitment upon which one can build a home and a family. We just think it should be available to all who want that commitment.
  • Be Glad of Redefinition

    Marriage has not remained unchanged since the dawn of time. It has changed throughout history, adapting to each culture. In western culture it has more recently undergone changes to better protect the rights of women. Funnily enough, the Church of England (of which Lord Carey was head of as Archbishop of Canterbury) introduced divorce into marriage in the UK when it broke from the papacy. Divorce is the antithesis of marriage and the biggest change to the definition of marriage since its inception. Marriage changes all the time, and the churches themselves have been doing it. It isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Great Consequences

    If marriage is redefined (again), those who believe in the modern definition of "traditional" marriage will still be married. They will still have the same sexual-orientation. Peoples' careers will remain intact, the sun will keep shining, and toast will still have a tendency to land butter-side-down. Couples seeking to adopt or foster will still be assessed based on the needs of the child, as they should be. Also, if we're very lucky, schools might teach kids not to be massive bigots like their parents, and we'll be one step closer to a cohesive, mature, civilised society.
  • Speak Up

    We agree with C4M; people should not feel pressurised to go along with same sex marriage just because of political correctness. Take Ben Summerskill's advice: If you're against same-sex marriage you should marry someone of the opposite sex. The government will be launching a public consultation on proposals to bring in full marriage equality. This will provide an opportunity for members of the public to make their views known.
Sign here (UK residents over 16 only, I'm afraid. Yes, if you're a UK citizen abroad you're stuffed, but that's always been the case).

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Thursday, 1 March 2012 St Petersburg? Don't go there...

A message arrived today from our old friends at The news is not good: that horrific anti-gay bill in St Petersburg was passed on its third reading and there is now only one thing that can prevent it from becoming law.
The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. We just delivered your 300,000 signatures demanding an end to Russia's "gay gag rule" to Russian embassies in 8 cities around the world! All Out members like you talked with embassy staff, delivered giant "postcards," and got major coverage in international media1.
But it's not over yet. As we expected, lawmakers in St. Petersburg just voted to pass the catastrophic bill that would impose fines of up to $16,700 for "offenses” like organizing a local pride parade or a student Gay-Straight Alliance. The Governor now has just 14 days to reject the law - enough time for a final, critical push.
During our global flashmobs yesterday, we made a video highlighting just how absurd this law is - and we paired it with the music of Russia's own iconic, revered (and gay) composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky. We stayed up all night, but it was worth it! It cuts straight to the heart of why we're speaking out and will inspire others do the same ... if we get it out there. Will you take a minute to watch this video, and share with your friends, family and colleagues? We want to get 100,000 views in the next two weeks - the timeline for the Governor to veto this shameful bill.

Tweet it, reblog it, post it to your wall, put it on your blog - if each one of us takes one minute to share this far and wide, the Governor and other decisionmakers in Russia will have to think twice about the damage this law could do to their city's reputation. Check it out here.

We cannot stand by while our friends in Russia are pushed underground or their speech is criminalized. If the Governor signs the bill into law, simply writing a book with a gay character, mentioning LGBT rights on air, or even holding hands with your partner could be considered illegal "propaganda" in Russia's second largest city.

The conservative lawmakers who advanced the bill think St. Petersburg's governor will ratify it despite an international uproar. But Governor Poltavchenko can't ignore the fact that Saint Petersburg is Russia's #1 tourist destination - or that tens of thousands have already publicly pledged not to travel there as tourists if this backward law is signed. If we can get more people to watch this video - hundreds of thousands - then the Governor and his advisors will soon realize they have a PR disaster on their hands.

Please, watch this video and share the message now. To Russia, with love:
Alberto, Andre, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jasmin, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile and Wesley

1. Washington Post: Russia ‘gay propaganda’ proposal to be protested Tuesday

2. Russia Gazette: Gay activists organize ban on St. Petersburg

All Out is bringing people together in every corner of the planet and of every identity - lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and all that’s between and beyond - to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are.
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