iQueer

A space dedicated to longtime QL blogger, Ulla Kelly.

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Entrenched Enemies

By Ulla Kelly

It's very freaking disheartening that people seem so incapable of changing their minds at times. I was watching The Ellen Show - an episode which was made before the USA elections (it must have travelled Africa overland) and the gorgeous Ellen Degeneres was talking to John McCain about gay marriage being overturned in California. In his usual smooth way, he referred, more than once, to their "respectful disagreement" about gay marriage, because "I believe marriage to be a unique institution between a man and a woman."

So Ellen calmly says well when someone says fine you can have a contract so you can get insurance and so on, but you can't get married, it doesn't feel inclusive; it feels like someone is saying OK you can sit here, but you can't sit there. And she spoke about the fact that women and black people weren't allowed to vote in the past. He just waffled on about the respectful disagreement yet again and Ellen said, "So you'll walk me down the aisle?" Laughter ensued and John McCain said, "Touche!" but it's really just depressing, isn't it? You can explain gay rights as basic human rights until you go rainbow in the face, but there are people on Earth who just don't want to hear it.

Why is godhatesfags.com not ripped off the internet for hate speech - from it's objectionable domain name to it's ludicrously, insanely offensive content?

Why are so many of our Pride Marches more like parties when so few countries in the world have legalised gay marriage? When people are still being brutalised and murdered just for being gay, what do we really have to celebrate? Statistics are, of course, faulty by default, but it would be interesting to know just what percentage of the global LGBTQI population actually have a better existence since things like Stonewall and so on.

I guess it's a case of aluta continua ... but we might as well enjoy life in the meantime. That concept works for me; there's got to be joy in life too, but it only works for me as long as we do not ever forget the members of our tribe who aren't even safe, let alone having fun.

So what can we do? Use your brain, use your vote, use your voice. You don't have to wear drag and join a parade in order to lobby your politicians or just to stand up for gay rights in everyday conversation. Yoou don't have to wave a rainbow flag around to complain when people use "gay" as a derogatory term. All anyone, queer or straight, needs to do, is remember that queer people are people. Human beings. Just include gay rights under the human rights umberella and it all makes sense - and homophobia makes absolutely no sense at all.

In South Africa, we're not even doing enough as a community to honour our dead. Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa - do those names ring a bell? They were the lesbians murdered in Soweto in 2007 for being lesbians. Those names matter - along with others, they're the people we owe it to, to come out, speak out and do our damnedest not to let it happen again. The enemies of ignorance and intolerance are just out there - what are you doing about them?

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