A Suppa Earl Gae
Good morning, lesberinos! How are we on this fine November morn?
Grab yourself a hot cuppa and peruse some of the queer headlines from Ireland and around the world.
Gay Wexford have celebrated the conclusion of their first LGBT Visibility Week, with some amount of relief and pride. The group’s chair, Paul Cullen, writes in the Enniscorthy Guardian:
BE HONEST. Did you ever think that you would see the day? We have just survived the first ‘Wexford Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Visibility Week’ without major upset. Whew!
The revolution [in attitudes towards LGBT people] has come about so fast that there is already room for self mockery. The Visibility programme included a stimulating talk and slideshow on the ‘Irish Queer Archive’. Just as it has become acceptable for Irish people generally to call themselves Paddies, so it has become amusing for LGBT’S to be queer, at least amongst themselves.
Yet let no one believe that all is cosy on the Wexford LGBT front. It is notable that the programme for Visibility Week was presented almost entirely in Wexford town. The other three main towns in the county were catered for with low-key briefing sessions, while Wexford had the high profile parties and presentations, celebrity speeches and seminars. Yet, surely there are just as likely to be gays in Gusserane, lesbians in Liskenfere and bisexuals in Bunclody?
Elsewhere in Ireland, the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland reports that it has received a spike in demand for its services, while the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre warns about the dangers of further cuts to its funding.
In related news, Women’s Aid is gearing up for the start of the international 16 Days campaign to combat violence against women. We’ve written previously about the issue of violence between same-sex partners.
In happier Irish news (and this will elicit a little yelp of joy from our webmaster, I suspect), one of our national red tops reports that Westlife’s Mark Feehily plans to tie the knot with his beloved, photographer Kevin McDaid next year. The sun may be setting for Westlife, but hey – every cloud, eh?
Abroad, then, and in the United States, it’s all kicking off in California (again) where homophobes (again) are throwing hissy fits over inclusion and equality (again). This time, rather than seeking to ban marriage equality, ‘phobes are voicing their objections to LGBT history being included in education programmes.
(We can only assume these are the same people who think that creationism is a real thing.) Like Proposition 8 (the ballot initiative to ban marriage equality) the ‘phobes propose to ban this inclusive law by popular vote in 2012.
Elsewhere, allegations of “pinkwashing” by the Israeli government have made it to the pages of the New York Times. This is the term used by those who accuse Israel (or indeed any government or organisation) of co-opting and using LGBT rights issues in a bid to strengthen their own political position.
Meanwhile, AP reports that in west Africa, the parliament and federal government of Nigeria are making strides in their attempts to prohibit and criminalise marriage equality.
There are those who see the move for what it is:
Some gender experts say the bill could be an attempt to stir anti-gay sentiment.
“If you want to whip up homophobia, I think focusing on same-sex marriage is a very good way of going about it, just sowing the idea that there are lots of ‘those’ people who want to get married, so that it’s seen as attacking a fundamental social institution,” says feminist scholar Charmaine Pereira, who is based in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.
Given the pervasive homophobia throughout society and the state in Nigeria, together with widespread and extremely conservative interpretations of Christianity and Islam (sometimes mingled with traditional beliefs), it would appear that these voices of clarity may be few and far between.
And finally, in bizarro-world news and closer to home, a politician in Switzerland has compared lesbians to cocaine. One more time with that: he has compared lesbians to cocaine. I.. I have no idea.. There are no words.. He’s obviously talkin’ out of his Swiss.