The Dimming of Beloved's Shininess
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Beloved has been having a hard time with his family this year which I’ve alluded to before the holidays. His parents said some things that… well, are hard to forgive. It began with some deeply unacceptable comments about Beloved being a hypothetical parent and it just escalated from there – and the fact it managed to escalate after setting the “oh you did not say that?!” standard

 Your own parents implying you’re a danger to children is… not an easy thing to swallow. Especially since we were both pretty much convinced they didn’t have a problem in that area. Turns out hypothetical jokes go out the window when possible reality looms (not that it is, but they thought it was). It just got worse from there, it’s like a decade of carefully bottled bigotry broke the dam and splurged everywhere.

It was bad.  His parents way of dealing with this “let’s pretend it never happened and never talk about these things again” isn’t sufficient to mend any rift – and agreeing to disagree on whether or not we’re child abusers is not on the cards either.

 To rub salt in the wounds, Beloved’s sisters are working over time… to make excuses. They’re not saying what the parents said was right, but they are brushing it off, downplaying it and generally jumping on the “la la la la didn’t happen!” train to eternal family peace. I know this train, it runs regularly in my family.

 It hasn’t been easy for Beloved.

 To this add that I have resolved to remove things from my life that aren’t helping – urged by Beloved with his usual good sense but a whole new level of impatience for homophobic bullshit. One of those things is Not!friend who is a good friend of Fs but, frankly has had years of driving me up the wall. I could list the many times she has annoyed, offended and infuriated me but that’s a post in itself; in a nutshell, she is the epitome of the straight woman who thinks gay men (no, sorry “the gays”) are cool, fun toys and pets for her amusement, she has no sense of boundaries, is incapable of treating gay men as individuals and believes her oh-so-coolness makes her a member of the community happy to speak at length (and in judgement) of things she knows fuck all about, complete with slurs that “totally don’t matter because it’s me” -  and she never ever learns no matter how many times she’s been told she’s out of line.

 We dumped her which was a relief – but she still hovers around like a freaky freaky stalker and she’s been giving her friend F endless grief because of it. I sympathise, it’s not a nice situation for F to be in – but nor am I  - are we - going to listen to apologetics from F about Not!friend nor am I particularly thrilled with F for basically tricking me into social situations with Not!friend. F has had a front row seat to a lot of Not!friends antics for a long time now and I am… saddened that she thinks I should brush this constant aggravation aside or that it isn’t that much of a problem.

 I’m saddened because F was one of the few straight people who was in my “safe” box… now, I’m not so sure. Beloved isn’t as close to F as me but he’s similarly vexed and I spoke to him about how my trust of F had been damaged. And he asked me if he’d come out – I said she’s straight and he said, basically, that I should have known  better than to consider her safe in the first place.

 Which isn’t very like him. Very like me, certainly, but not so much like him.

 Beloved has always had a talent for deciding someone or something is no good for him and then removing them from his life entirely; in some ways he’s always had an even lower tolerance for homophobic bullshit than I have. But he’s always been more… affable about things, less suspicious, less cynical. That’s always been my thing. I expect the worst and am grimly unsurprised when I’m inevitably right. Beloved hopes for the best and when he’s wrong, he shuts it down and moves on, hope relatively untarnished; he bounces back. He doesn’t go in expecting the worst, he doesn’t consider open trust naïve – or didn’t. But if this straight people are untrustworthy then who can he trust? I don’t have an answer for that.

I don’t know… is it weird to have wished that my husband could have remained more hopeful than me? Was it really silly to expect Beloved to be relatively untouched when I’ve always said before that it’s nearly impossible to be GBLT in this world and not have your illusions irreparably shattered? It’s not that he wasn’t painfully aware of homophobia before – far from it, like me he is no stranger to violent attack and discrimination and a whole lot of intolerable bullshit – but he came through it still bright, still positive, still open, still willing to trust and extend a vast benefit of the totally undeserved doubt. No matter what the straight world threw at either of us, he always kept his hope and a general positivity.

 Are they solely responsible? No, this is very much the last straw on top of many other straws – but the camel’s back is now broken and I’m not sure it will ever be fixed.

 

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We're causing natural disasters again
Sparky
sparkindarkness

 

UKIP councillor  David Silvester has decided that all the flooding around the UK this year has been caused by… marriage equality. Yes, us gay folk be causing natural disasters again. (UKIP again comes forth with the excuse that though they don’t support equality and their elected members are rabid bigots who they happily embrace that totally doesn’t mean the party is homophobic, honest)

 

We’ve heard it before haven’t we? Earthquakes – gay people did that. Floods? Gay folks. Hurricane? Yep, that’s the gay people. Fukushima, Katrina, the Boxing Day Tsunami, the death of bees and birds and endangered species and serial killers and gun massacres – gays gay gays, gays have done all of that! We’re the ultimate scourge of humanity - like the 7 plagues, all the signs of the apocalypse and the Kardashians’ continued career all in one.


And no, even though we make a joke about it, it’s not harmless – this kind of demonization does dehumanise and does encourage persecution. It is the extreme end of a constant meme –we’re sinners, we’re wicked, we’re evil and we have to be stopped. It also shows a lot about our media and culture that hate speech this extreme is not really considered all that outrageous.

 

But I’ve said all that before and likely will again. Today I’ve been thinking about just what this says about the god David Silvester and his ilk worship and praise. Because this is a god who, apparently, has looked at history – looked at slavery, torture, murder, massacres, genocide, abuse, cruelty and all kinds of evil that lurk there – and decided to not do a damn thing.

 

But the minute gay people’s rights are recognise then your god is shifting his arse off that cloud and getting in some smiting? Really? This is his priorities? Because I kind of think if gay marriage is worth some bad flooding then the slave trade had to be worth wiping out a substantial portion of the map.

 

 

This is something I just cannot understand with these bigoted Christians. Why would anyone worship their god? Even if you believed in this capricious, cruel, sadistic monster, why would you ever worship it? Why would you support something so patently evil?


I cannot understand loving such a being, supporting such a being and praising such a being. In fact, I'm deeply disturbed that someone would believe in a deity so lacking in priorities and so capable of evil - and then praise it. 


The FA's Inclusion Advisory Board Fiasco
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Football has a terrible reputation when it comes to bigotry – all stripes of bigotry, really. Much the same as rather a lot of professional sport does. It generally happens unchecked, either being ignored by the governing bodies and big names or being tacitly approved of and encouraged.

 This certainly applies to homophobia – there is a reason why out footballers are not common

 In an attempt to supposedly combat this, the Football Association created the Inclusion Advisory Board, chaired by Heather Rabbatts who has a long history of challenging racism and sexism in football. The 10 member board was filled and due to start.

 Except one of the members, Michael Johnson, actually did a television appearance in 2012 in which he described being gay as “detestable” and was very not supportive of trying to combat homophobia in football.

 This man was appointed to an Inclusion Advisory Board intended to fight bigotry – including homophobia. You would think this wouldn’t make him the best choice.

 After a week of bad publicity he resigned from the post he was so woefully unsuitable for – but problems remain.

 Firstly, how are GBLT people – and minorities in general – supposed to take this body seriously? It’s clear the selection process has been at very least amateurish – either it has been handled in a singularly incompetent fashion or the FA simply didn’t care enough to actually put even a half-assed effort in (it wasn’t like his homophobia was obscure – this was a televised incident on the BBC) or they did do decent background checks and just decided homophobia wasn’t a problem.

None of these are good options. None of these suggests that the Inclusion Advisory Board is capable – or willing – to do what it was created for


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Michael Gove, stuff your patriotism, honour and courage.
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Michael Gove, stuff your patriotism, honour and courage.

 

Michael Gove, our ignorant and generally nasty education secretary has a long list of bullshit he likes to pull on a regular basis. His latest gem is to lash out at Blackadder – and schools showing it – for spreading “left wing myths” about World War 1. See, they should be teaching about Patriotism and Honour and Courage – not incompetent generals, grim conditions and horrendous loss of life.

 

World War 1 was one of the stupidest conflicts in the history of mankind. It was fought because all the great powers of Europe rather laughably though their rather shaky domino-alliances would stop them all going to war – instead those alliances ensured that a relatively small regional conflict escalated beyond all measure. It didn’t have to have been the death of the Archduke, not long before there were severe tensions between Britain and Russia which almost set the whole ball rolling anyway. It was inevitable because, ultimately, you had a lot of power mad fools, playing the whole world as if it were some kind of chess board with zero inclination to talk to each other just dying to slaughter a whole bunch of people for the sake of those 3 demons: Patriotism, Honour and Courage (with Glory also raising its ugly head).

 

Not only was it fought for stupid reasons, but it was fought in a mind numbingly stupid way – a way that was guaranteed to massacre lives over and over again.

 

This isn’t “Blackadder” or “Oh What a Lovely War” that created the whole “lions lead by donkeys” meme – HISTORY created it. We had a deadly modern battlefield complete with fortified trenches, artillery, machine guns and poison gas and generals who were still using tactics that were 50-100 years out of date. Maybe that could have been excused, but they were so insulated from the suffering on the ground (and had a pretty callous view of the troops anyway – just look at the fate of those men who were shattered by shellshock, so many of them shot as “deserters”) that they stuck to those tactics over and over again, no matter how many times they failed.

 

This isn’t “revisionism” Gove, this is history. This is the history of conflict that killed over 15 million people for no damn good reason at all and ended after a good part of the continent was absolutely shattered with a treaty that settled very little except sow seeds of simmering resentment that would grow into World War 2.

 

And as for “patriotism”, “honour” and “courage” (and of course, “glory”)? Manipulative buzz words used by the elite to send a generation of men to their death – and it’s the same lie they try to peddle today. If teachers and TV shows are exposing this then more power to them! Let them expose the rampant foolish pride of nationalism that you want to hang the flag of patriotism on. Let them see how little “honour” there is in innumerable rows of graves – let them find no honour in filling those graves (with their own bodies or another) and instead look for true honour in peace. And the courage to die needlessly for arrogance, for pride, for pigheaded refusal to talk and think and learn – that isn’t courage, that is a foolish obscenity, a waste of insufferable proportions.

 

There is only one possible good that could have come out of World War 1 and that is showing us the utter horrors of war so starkly as to expose the lies of those who sit peacefully in the halls of power while sending another generation off to die.

 

If teachers and Blackadder can firmly bury Patriotism, honour and courage as the murderous deceivers they are in the minds of school children then I will celebrate them for having achieved something amazing for our future.

 

 

And Gove, from his lofty perch on high, again shows how unfit he is for the role he fills.


The Pardoning of Alan Turing
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Alan Turing has been posthumously pardoned for being convicted of being gay, the barbaric and vicious persecution for which eventually drove him to take his own life.

 I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this one.

Firstly, for anyone asking “why Turing?” I have to say you don’t understand the iconic nature of Turing to British GBLT people because he symbolised so much.

 He was a prime example of a gay man, in history standing up and performing an incredible service for his county – and in one of the most iconic conflicts of our history. He is an example of a gay man who achieved incredible thing with a lasting legacy that has benefitted not only the country, but the entire world. This is what we are capable of. These are the people you condemn with your homophobic.

Because of this incredible thing, he is also iconic of the toxicity of homophobia. A homophobia that not only persecuted him to death despite of the vast debt owed to this man, but also despite of the great things he never had the chance to achieve. That is the waste of homophobia. That is how overwhelming it is

And this toxicity of homophobia went further, because he was erased. History didn’t remember him. He was removed from it, not just in our schools but in our media (there are television shows and film adaptations and even documentaries out there about the work of Bletchley Park and early computing. Guess who is missing from them/made straight?). The reason why he is so well known now is because British GBLT people fought passionately to make it so – because it was so outrageous that this great man was being removed from history because he was one of us. How dare they? How dare they pretend he never existed?! How dare they make him straight? We fought and we fought hard to make sure he was remembered again. You’ll notice how many monuments to him appear in traditionally gay neighbourhood. You’ll notice how FEW monuments there are to him that predate 2000 (especially outside of Manchester).

He is symbolic of the untold masses of GBLT heroes and ancestors who we have lost, who have been removed from the pages of history and who we will never be able to reclaim.

Alan Turing wasn’t just a great man who was evilly persecuted – but he is also a great symbol.

So where do my conflicting feelings come in?

My conflict comes in not just because it’s a gesture that doesn’t change the past so much as try to play the “we’re so much better now” card (I would actually rather have more comprehensive history of GBLT people, our achievements and the persecution of us entered into the school curriculum to mark his horrendously unjust death more than anything else) and is therefore a pretty easy bandwagon for even the most homophobic of politician to jump on (notably, however, a rather huge amount of them didn’t) while at the same time we’ve seen political reticence (to say the least) on dealing with banning reparative therapy, doing something substantive about homophobic bullying, extreme homophobic discrimination in the asylum and immigration system, our woefully poor and homophobic sex education laws, the problems of homophobia in religious schools, homophobia in sports and a series of cuts that are, as with most cuts, hitting GBLT people and other marginalised people far harder than most (for some examples among many –organisations like the Association of GBLT police officers have had their funding cut. Legal aid has been gutted, homeless services butchered etc etc).

 My discomfort comes from the idea that what happened to Turing was wrong BECAUSE HE WAS A HERO. And yes, his being a national hero is an extra slap in the face – but what was done to him and the gazillion of other men throughout history. I don’t want “incredible service to the country” to be the benchmark we have to meet where this kind of evil treatment. What was done to him was evil and equally evil when done to GBLT people who didn’t achieve the amazing things he did. Of course, on the flip side, Turing’s pardon is supposed to be indicative of a collective regret of all those injustices – but it’s weak.

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The Pope as person of the year?!
Sparky
sparkindarkness

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Pope Francis is an amazing agent of PR. He makes pretty speeches, throws in some dramatic (but ultimately unhelpful) gestures and people crawl over themselves to praise him as some kind of living saint. It’s remarkable – he continues to maintain policies that are the very height of vicious bigotry but people are turning out to sing the man’s praises! Pretty speeches guys! Washing feet! He sits on a simple chair! A SIMPLE CHAIR! Truly this is the thing saints are made of! Truly only militant atheists could possibly oppose this homophobe! Never mind that his church continues to fight against marriage equality, anti-discrimination provisions and even to try and keep our existence illegal, he made a pretty speech! How dare you criticise him!

 

The man will probably be made a living saint before the end – these pretty speeches are just so awesome.

 

And now the Advocate has hailed this man as person of the year.

 

The Advocate is advocating for homophobes now. At least the comment section is as appalled as I am. It’s not only grossly nauseating to give this man the award for making pretty speeches while maintaining homophobic policies, but it’s an


The desperate need to fawn over straight people, no matter how bigoted, over and over again doesn’t seem to be fading, alas. These are the scars that homophobia leaves – we have so little respect for our own self-worth that even the most token, failed attempts at being slightly-less-awful to us are considered wonderful and worthy of cookies.

 

Hey, maybe, just maybe, at some point this pope will actually do something for GBLT people. And when he does, then we can look at praise and accolades.

 

But he has done nothing. He has changed nothing. His pretty speeches are hollow, his church continues to promote bigotry throughout the world, he continues to support evil persecution of the worst kind. The church hasn’t changed and he has made no effort to change it

 

He hasn’t even condemned the homophobia his church espouses – just asked them to focus attention elsewhere to help patch the church’s awful PR. But this man is worth praising for his pathetic waffly speeches? He hasn’t even taken back his OWN HOMOPHOBIC CAMPAIGNING. Or are we all going to forget about that?

 

The sad thing is it’s all part of an ongoing pattern of praising complete non-efforts from religious groups and acting like they’re somehow our friends when, at best, they get it so wrong and at worst, they’re like this Pope, supporting bigotry and putting a veil of acceptability around it.

 

 

We will never achieve justice and equality if we continue to throw parades every time someone throws us crumbs – especially if that crumb comes with a slap in the face.


I am sick of the "struggle" of homophobes
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Bigot Baroness Warsi, who published pamphlets warning people of the terrible dangers of gay people preying on school children, has let us know she's on a "journey" when it comes to the equality of gay people.

 

Homophobic journalist Mehdi Hasan (he who thinks gay people worried about the World Cup being held in Qatar where gay people are flogged are "qatarphobic") has written a long piece on how much he STRUGGLES with homophobia and he was totally even more homophobic in the past!

 

The Salvation Army - a deeply homophobic organisation (you should really donate to other charities if you think GBLT people are human beings) - has assured us they've removed their ex-gay therapy links - and they totally won't let the guy who thinks the penalty for being gay is death to speak again. Of course, they're not changing policy

 

The Pope makes some pretty speeches while maintaining the bigotry of his church - continuing to fight tooth and nail against equality measures in Italy, Ireland, the US, India (yes, the Catholic church was one of those that pushed to bring back the anti-gay genocide in that country) and many more places. But his apologists cry "baby steps".


And we can scarcely go a week without some wanna-be ally describing the convoluted steps he's taken to discover that LO! GBLT PEOPLE MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PEOPLE!

 

Enough

 

I don't give a fuck what "journey" you're on or how much "better" you've got. I don't care that you have backtracked on SOME of your bigotry. I don't care about the "baby steps" you take when you're still miles from seeing me as an actual person

 

You're still a bigot

 

You're still a homophobe.

 

I don't care if you feel really guilty about going to see Ender's Game. I don't care if every time you eat your Chick-fil-a, you make a mea-culpa blog post and feel really bad. I don't care how much you have "struggled" with the idea that I am a human being as worthy as you.

 

You're still a bigot

 

You're still a homophobe

 

Do you not see how INSULTING it is that you are having an epic struggle to see me as a person? Do you not see how offensive it is for you to declare that looking at me as an equal is some kind of massive hardship to you? Don't you see what a slap in the face it is to say you have to "evolve" or "grow" to finally realise that I'm an actual person worthy of respect?

 

It's about being a decent human being. Do you actually expect me to be impressed by you having so much trouble reaching bare minimums of decency?

 

I don't care about your struggle, your evolution, your guilt and if you're on a "journey" please let it to be somewhere far away from me. All your struggles say is just how little you think of us. All your guilt is worthless when you support bigotry anyway. Having to battle to see us as people just shows how low your regard for us is.

 

 

I am not giving out any praise for people working their way towards basic decency. You treat me as a full human being, due the respect, rights and regard that any human being is due, or you're a bigot and a homophobe and I will treat you with the contempt you deserve. 

 

I don't give people medals for realising I'm human, since it's the bare minimum required for basic decency and I don't rewards the bare minimum. I'm not going to give an iota of praise to people who don't even reach that minimum! Or those who have met that minimum but want me to know just how HARD it is to see me as an actual person! Or who are desperately trying to stretch for that minimum but JUST COULDN'T DO IT! ZOMG SO HAAAAARD!

 

You're a bigot or you're not. It's that simple. This isn't even about "allydom" here, or doing anything (y'know, stuff that may actually be praiseworthy). It's about being a decent human being - and it's really not that hard.


In the interest of making excuses...
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 ...or digging the whole deeper, Beloved insists on some clarifications
 
 
1) Apparently a pomegranate and a turnip look superficially similar before one cuts into them.
 
Apparently. Perhaps to someone who is not familiar with either...
 
 
2) The pomegranate was put in the vegetable drawer
 
-true... however I only receive an echoing silence when I ask who put them there
 
 
3) He didn't make a mess cutting the pomegranate, but by using the potato peeler on one.
 
...this is apparently better.

This also shows that he only has the slightest idea how to use the peeler


4) He doesn't like pomegranates. 
 
...I fail to see the relevance 


5) He thinks you can put turnip in my chilli
 
...this is why he doesn't make chilli

Reason #968564 Beloved is not allowed in the kitchen
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Wishing to "help", Beloved decided to chop vegetables.

 

We will, for the moment, leave aside the fact I didn't ask him to, that he didn't know what I intended to cook, what vegetables I intend to use (if any) or even, really, whether the vegetables he was chopping even remotely go with each other, let alone anything else I intend to cook. Also, of course, "chop" and even "peel" can mean many things depending on what veg you're cutting and for what recipe

 

I mean, I wouldn't mind if he'd chopped an onion. The chances of me not frying and onion in butter and garlic no matter what I'm cooking is pretty remote. All food starts with chopped onion, butter and garlic. Well, almost.


But, no, I will leave that aside. For now.

 

But I do object to him chopping the turnips

 

Because we do not have turnips.

 

We do have pomegranates.

 

I think you can see where I am going with this.

 

I... can't quite fathom how one mistakes a pomegranate for a turnip.

 

I'm also not sure why, even if shocked to find your "turnip" contains a multitude of ruby red seeds, it is quite necessary to spread those little seeds everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. 

 

 

Oh, and if he'd checked the oven he would find the chilli, nicely slow cooking away, already made and in no need of any vegetables at all

 

No turnip needed

 

And most certainly not needing pomegranate. 


Confused people and a facet of the GBF
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 I’m having a drunken musing about some of my GBF problems, including some of the people in my life who try to treat me as a mascot, or a toy or feel a desperate need to get close to me to be their bestest friend so they can be one of the cool crowd.

It’s annoying. And many of them are annoying for the usual reasons of fetishism/privilege/dehumanisation and general annoyance that comes with straight privilege and causes me headaches.

 But there are a couple who surprised me because I though, to a degree, they had more sense (and, to be fair, they generally behave better albeit still annoyingly). I, for a long time, put it down to the fact that it’s amazing how good people can be at hiding their prejudices and it can shock you at the worst times making no-one truly safe (case in point, friend I complained about lately in long complainy post I mean to go into more detail on when I’m not drunk and typing drunkenly on a tablet while laid on a drunk Beloved who is, indeed, drunk).

 But there is another element (not to friend-I-complained-about-and-is-no-longer-friend, but to others) to these generally clueful people. It comes to not understanding what being “out” means to everyone.

Because, of course, being gay is a big big big, super big massive secret, right? So if she’s in on the BIG SECRET then that must mean she’s one of my closest of close friends, right? Because it’s not like I would ever tell a near stranger that I’m gay!

But I view being gay as basic biographical information for me – it’s not a secret, just about anyone who knows me knows I’m gay. A casual acquaintance will know I’m gay.

So she thinks she’s my bestest friend ever because I trusted her with my biggest secret. I think she’s a person I met once or twice who has a poor sense of boundaries.

 It’s not an excuse for the overwhelming majority (displayed by general behaviour) but for this odd blip of behaviour from an otherwise apparently decent person it may be the key

 Of course, there follows the “I’m sorry, we’re not actually friends, sorry you got the wrong impression” conversation which is AWKWARD. Hallmark should really make a card “You think we’re friends! I don’t really like you – sorry!”

 Or maybe a cake? Chocolate with “I don’t like you very much! Take a slice and go away!” written on the top?

 (It could go with my “You’re my husband’s friend, not mine. I have better taste.” Victoria Sandwich).


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