Sunday, January 30, 2011

I am illegal in 82 countries

This post is dedicated to David Kato, below, and Brenda Namigadde.

Two names you may not know, but ones you should.

David was a gay rights activist in Uganda who now forever has verbs conjugated in the past tense following his name after he was bludgeoned to death a few days ago.

Brenda is a 29-year-old lesbian who had fled to the UK after she claimed she was beaten and ostracised for her sexuality in her home country.

Just this past week, she was facing deportation to her homeland until a few hours ago, when she won an eleventh-hour reprieve - while she was sitting on the plane.

She told news outlets she was shaking in fear at the thought of going home, certain she would be killed. Can you imagine being her, sitting on the plane as the engines started revving?

My god.

I heard the news about David Kato on the way to work Friday. My jaw involuntarily dropped. Beaten to death with a hammer. The police apparently noted it down as a robbery.

Not only had he been viciously murdered, the chances for justice are slim, with homosexuality a crime in Uganda and newspapers running a "name and shame" campaign, printing photos of suspected "homos" under the headline: Hang them.

Google "homosexuality is illegal" and prepare to be horrified.

I was going to copy and paste the list here, but I am ashamed and sickened to say it is too long. Find it here.

And watch the hell out if you are openly gay in Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the Chechen Republic, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mauritania or the Sudan: there, they will put you to death if you are caught.

Thankfully due to an all-you-can-eat buffet of other atrocious shit going on in those countries, visiting them is not likely to be on anyone's agenda. It's certainly not on mine and, man, I am shocked about Saudi Arabia. But I guess the entire Middle East is not glitz on steroids, kind of progressive Abu Dhabi.

But save your gasps for the thousands of others who are no doubt taken care of in endless makeshift vigilante murders where the consensus screams: "it might not be officially punishable by death here, but unofficially it most certainly is".

Apparently Uganda is seriously considering introducing the (official) death penalty themselves. That's right, parliamentarians and politicians elected to represent their people - in the year 2009 - seriously debated the prospect of mandating human life extinction based on sexual preference.

2009 was an interesting year in Uganda. Seems they were paid a visit by a team of evangelical Americans who reckoned they had a program that could cure homosexuals. They got in Parliament's ear and told them there was a gay agenda that involved gay men sodomising teenage boys. That old chestnut, all gay men are paedophiles. Where do the ignorant bigots stand on lesbians?

And these people so proudly call themselves Christians? I spit on them across the internet, and would happily do so in person.

The same day David Kato died, that idiot shop owner in small town Arkansas placed a plastic shield over the magazine cover showing Elton John, David Furnish and their new baby boy.

"Newsagent censors Elton John magazine cover", I read online and then clicked, imagining Elton had had a few too many Cinzanos at the photo shoot and consented to posing the child buck naked, thereby thrusting a baby penis onto the shelves of middle America.

No, the child was fully clothed. The offensive part was the fact that, well, what? That two men dared to express their happiness at becoming parents?

I honestly do not know where to start.

One glance at this blog's title and you know I am biased here. But COME ON!

How can you call yourself a decent citizen, a good Christian or even a nice person if you agree with any part of this behaviour?

And I laughingly detest the fact that so much of this hate comes from right-wing Christians. People who claim to have been made in Jesus' image, or to at least be his number one fan. You know Jesus, right? Apparently the most humble, tolerant man of all time who forgave easily and welcomed all into his embrace, minus any discrimination or judgement? Yeah, that guy. The one who preached something about sinners throwing stones: you're only allowed to cast one if you are clean, my friend. And, sorry, but we are all dirty. We're human!

Why commit your life to speading hate? What good can possibly be done from that? And based on something so banal as sexuality. So what if who I choose to sleep with doesn't rock your boat: it's none of your god damn business. In the same way, it's none of my business who you sleep with. And we all know it's the good Christian men with wives and children who are cruising for young gay men in certain public toilets, don't we?

Hmm, bigoted, ignorant, scandalous and baseless generalisations hurt, don't they? Stereotypes are nasty, aren't they?

Life is a two-way street, why doesn't everyone just stick to the road rules and play nice?

Ugandan Parliament is still discussing the anti-homosexuality bill.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A new year

Well, I did it.

I made the call.

I did it today.

And I am not sure if I should be blogging about it either.

Not sure if I should try to be more private, more gun shy, about it all this time around.

Should I take my very public blog and kick it old school by transforming it instead into an old-fashioned journal, like some of us had in primary school?

You know the ones, they came in hardback floral covers with a dinky little brass lock and tiny key.

You would scrawl ‘PRIVATE’ in angry red ballpoint, indelibly imprinting the hardback for all eternity, with intent as hard a tattooist’s scrunching your face into a petulant, adolescent frown.

I feel weird. Firstly it’s been more than a month since I wrote an entry on this blog (hi, atus, how are you? Been a while)...and secondly, am I mad to think I can take the same steps and expect a different result?

I blogged about getting pregnant last time. And then we lost the baby.

Should I, then, not blog about it this time? And therefore guarantee us a joyfully different result next time?

Not sure it works that way, but I think you can forgive a little fear and superstition.

Honestly, I don’t think not writing is possible. For, despite my shameful use of a double negative in the previous sentence (it was for emphasis, alright?) I do love to write. I have to write.

In fact, I think blogging is probably more important this time, as I suspect my need for some form of catharsis, venting and support may be greater than before.

Anyway, now that I’ve come to that decision after three minutes of typing, I will continue with my story.

I rang the fertility clinic today to see what our first next steps should be.

Turns out those steps will take us on a decidedly different path – and one that is unexpected.

Our doctor has upped and retired.

Thanks a lot.

I thought something was up when I rang his number – the one that persists in sitting alongside his photo on the clinic website – and the receptionist said “Dr Smith’s rooms?”

I don’t know what was more insulting: that our much-loved doc had gone, or that he had been replaced with someone with such a nondescript name. He may as well have been John Citizen. Although someone with that many credit cards would surely have no time for obstetrics.

So I have been referred to another doc in the same clinic, thankfully – they have about a gazillion there. There was some toing and froing from the receptionist while she decided who would be best.

First there was the lady doc in Toowong, but that wouldn’t work as we were not in Brisbane, and then another guy with an Aussie comedian’s surname was mentioned.

I casually asked if he was ok with helping same sex couples and was greeted with a second’s silence, a “hmmm” and then a “Actually, yes, it might be better if we sent you to John Hynes”.

“Heinz as in baked beans,” I asked.

“No, H. Y. N. E. S. Here is his number.”

And with that, an extremely emotional connection and four-year bond with a doctor who was so important in our lives came to an abrupt end.

I worried for a moment that a new specialist was being chosen for me, all within a matter of seconds, and that it all seemed so last minute.

It seemed our doc had done a very swift retirement runner, without establishing much of a handover for his existing patients.

These might be clinical, administrative and very business-y type decisions for people in that building to make, but I felt I needed a bit

Anyway, I rang Dr not-baked-beans and we have made an appointment. I won’t say when just yet.

I asked his receptionist if they were ok seeing same sex couples. “Oh yes, we have a practice full of them.”

Huh, what are we? Termites?


Watch this space.