Intolerance, Discrimination, Persecution and Ridiculousness

Did any of you, when you read or heard UKIP councillor David Silvester’s claim that the recent floods were due to the government’s decision to legalise gay marriage, wonder, as I did, if it was a hoax? Surely no one could be that stupid. Oh yes they can. And people voted for this man. So help us. We can laugh at how ridiculous Silvester is here, but in some countries he could be much more dangerous.
For alas, he is not alone in his nonsensical thinking. And some of these nonsense thinkers wield an unhealthy amount of power.
Joan Smith wrote a cracker of a piece in the Independent on Sunday asking why Vladimir Putin gets so hot and bothered about homosexuality.
Nigeria has just joined thirty-seven other African countries in passing a bill allowing the state to persecute gay people and witch hunts have begun.
Yet, in my in lifetime, I have seen much greater acceptance of people’s sexuality. I attended an all girls’s secondary school. When I first heard the word lesbian, I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it wasn’t something to aspire to. It was a small school, around 450 girls. Some of them must have been gay, surely. But if they were, they definitely weren’t out. Maybe Sandi Toksvig, who attended a school in the same town, was bolder and her sexual orientation was a commonly accepted fact in the sixth form common room, but somehow I doubt it. Now she celebrates her lesbianism in her numerous appearances on tv and radio and no one I know bats an eye.
We are starting to see more and more out gay men and women in public life. It’s helpful I think, and makes it clear that an interest in cushions is not necessarily an indicator of sexual orientation.

There was the shameful and ridiculous time under Margaret Thatcher when Section 28 was introduced which banned schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’. I am not sure how that would work. BOGOF perhaps. They seemed to think that a person could be influenced or persuaded to become gay. I have a number of gay friends, socialising with them has not altered my heterosexuality one jot. Mind you, I have been supposed to be lesbian on the grounds that I am fairly independent. As a condemnation of heterosexual women’s behaviours you couldn’t get much better.
There is something in human make up that likes to pounce on and persecute anyone who seems different. Different can come to mean lesser. That rule applies to race, to sexuality, to gender, to class, to nationality and to income. There is a group of aristocratic girls who call them selves Hares who are campaigning to end the rule of primogeniture and create equality in the peerage. I didn’t intend to write any of this tonight. But the tale of my labyrinthitis will have to wait. It was the piece on the news about Davos showing well off people drinking champagne and nibbling canapés discussing how to solve the world’s problems that set me off on quite a different train of thought.

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13 thoughts on “Intolerance, Discrimination, Persecution and Ridiculousness

  1. Doesn’t it make you sick? I share house with my best friend and have been asked with a nudge nudge if I’m lesbian, isn’t it possible that two old women could live together just because it works?

  2. I frequently hear the argument that legalizing gay marriage will undermine the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. I can’t figure it out this logic either. Maybe something like, I can’t marry you because people will think we are gay? Some people really are stuck on stupid.

    • TBH I hadn’t given the gay marriage stuff a lot of thought until I read an interview with Susan Calman, http://www.susancalman.com/, whose appearances on radio 4′s News Quiz always brighten a day. She was almost tearful about the fact she couldn’t marry her partner. To that point I had thought the civil partnership option sounded fine. But it is the lack of recognition of gay couples having the same status as straight ones that smacks of lesser human rights. There is also a lot of selective quoting of biblical texts. Leviticus features strongly.

  3. I hate to do this, but I would really appreciate if you drop by my blog and read (hopefully give feedback as well) about my article regarding homophobia. It would mean a lot to get your input because I really enjoyed reading your post.

  4. I love the phrase ‘promoting homosexuality’ in that context as it implies to me someone with a stall at a school fete handing out leaflets trying to recruit.

    The problem with UKIP is that as they’re not a proper party, with a proper structure, they come from all sorts of people squished together without much vetting of who they are and what they believe. So there are some fruits.

    I do wonder though that if the same claim about flooding would have been made in the fifties, sixties, or seventies, whether it would really have been given any more credence? I can’t see it really, although I may be wrong. So he may be stuck in the past with his views but I’m just not so sure when that was.

    • For a party without any elected MPs UKIP is driving much of the political agenda at present.
      Having been alive at the time you mention, I don’t recall gay issues having a particularly high profile, but they have gone over my head. I don’t believe people would have been as ready as you think to have ascribe natural disasters to the gay community in particular. It would have been about the new ‘permissive society’.

  5. Isobel! A Rant! How wonderful. And you rant against the magical thinking that gays cause floods. In the US of A we also cause earthquakes, droughts and hurricanes. BOGOF is just one of our strategies. Most of us are working for points to get a toaster oven as a bonus. Well documented.

    Everything happening globally is, as these things usually are, more about domestic politics than about the forward liberation movement. That human beings, like many primates, try very hard to enforce group behavior is always contrasted by the human desire to explore and be different.

    • Hurricanes? Sounds like the gay community this side of the pond needs to up its game. Is a toaster oven the same as a toaster here, or is it a mini oven?
      Our desire to scapegoat seems innate. Do we never learn?

  6. Did you not have hurricane-force winds in December? Who else?

    Toaster oven is probably a mini-oven – small, inexpensive slightly more powerful than a toaster with a horizontal door opening used mainly to make melty cheese toast. After the toaster oven, many of us choose points for the slow cookers. Because the destruction of civilization as we know it is dependent on lentil soup and cheesy toast.

    Sending you both in a virtual way and hope you are feeling better.

    • Of course! It’s obvious now.

      DS’ remarks have sparked a lot of funny tweets, eg strong winds predicted after two men seen holding hands. Also there is a campaign to get It’s Raining Men to number one.

      Still not sure about the gadget. I inherited a mini oven from my mother. It’s great. Revived my latent cake baking love.

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