Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cowardice, tolerance, and nuance around the new homophobia wave

Homophobia is big news these days, as various countries enact new laws or enforce old ones to persecute gays. 

This article about the cowardly, hateful bullying sweeping Russia made my blood boil.  I can't even fathom what it would be like if someone tried to take my own children away from me for who I am, as is the situation many Russian gays are facing right now.  I could easily be driven to violence if anyone or anything threatened my family in that way.  But it all makes me feel so helpless, because there doesn't seem to be a good way of addressing it.  I think when you hear about injustice and oppression, the natural impulse is to fantasize childlike about using force to "get the bad guys".  But even in a case like Russia's, where the violent, murderous homophobes are clearly identifiable as bad guys (which moral clarity is rare in most conflicts), how would you use force to right the situation?  A military or guerrilla incursion led by foreigners would simply strengthen and cement the society's demonization of gays as a foreign, undesireable element.  If Russian gays themselves began to use force in self-defence, again they'd be even more targeted by the larger society.  There's no easy way out when the hatred and the evil is all around you, in the general society.

Here is an article of simple, straightforward language that puts the lie to the idea that African gays are somehow "un-African".

And lastly, here is a very complex analysis calling into question the logic of a Western development establishment that is vocally disapproving of the oppression of gays by intolerant laws, but not of the oppression of the poor by neoliberal laws and militarism.

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