Monday, December 05, 2005

Poland gays fight back; The ‘gay gown’ at Oxford; South Africa & marriage equality

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A lot has happened this past week, so much, in fact, that there is absolutely no way for me to cover it all. There are a few things that stick out in my mind though. The first is Poland. I don’t know if many people out there have been keeping up with the gay rights situation over there, but I sure as heck know that I have and I also know that the mainstream media here in America is ignoring it. That aggravates me. When gay rights activists gather to ask for basic human rights and counter-demonstrators sit and scream “We will do with you what Hitler did with the Jews,” while police are beating, dragging and verbally assaulting the gay rights activists, somebody needs to take notice. Remember, people, Poland was once controlled by Hitler and then by the communists. Even the smallest hint or spark of any type of human rights abuses should be stamped out immediately, especially in Poland or any of the other formerly Nazi and communist, European countries. It is a good thing though that LGBT Polish folk are standing up for their rights. As soon as the EU gets the hint that Poland may not be too keen on all the principles of its human rights clauses, it might just kick the country out. The second thing that got my attention in the news this past week was Oxford’s “gay gown.” HaHa. I laughed, and I laugh now, in part, because it is actually funny. The LGBT group at Oxford has requested that its president be allowed to wear a rainbow colored “sub fusc” (Oxford’s traditional academic gown). The sub fusc is worn at such occasions as the beginning of academic terms, formal dinners, during exams, at graduation and other formal events. Personally, I think that having a rainbow gown is just pushing gay rights, awareness and inclusion just a little too far. I don’t know if there are any other student groups that get to have their own special colored gowns or not, but I doubt it. The Oxford LGBT group needs to focus on more important things than having a rainbow colored gown for its president. Moving on… South African LGBT folk now have access to civil marriage, or at least they will soon. The South African high court recently ruled that the country’s marriage laws are unconstitutional because they discriminate against same-sex couples and ordered the country’s parliament to amend the law a year. Religious groups and leaders, including an Anglican Archbishop and a Muslim theological group, have come out condemning the ruling. Instead of wasting time on condemning something over which they have no control or jurisdiction, maybe religious groups and leaders should take the time to do what all good religious people should do: help the poor and help the sick. God knows… at the rate at which HIV/AIDS is spreading and killing people on the African continent, you would think that people would be more worried about the infection and death rate, not to mention the rapes of virgins and newly born infants (myth holds that having sex with a virgin will cure one of HIV/AIDS). If I were one of the religious leaders or in charge of a religious group, I would be concentrating on saving people’s lives instead of on who they can or can’t love and marry.