Posts Tagged ‘ biphobia ’

IDAHO Kiss-in attacked by riot cops and neo-fascists

On Tuesday May 18th, LGBT activists held a kiss in against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Saint-Jeans Place, Lyon, characterised by growing tensions between Kiss-in participants and counter-demonstrators. The Kiss-in was originally planned to take place on Saturday, to mark IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, but the demonstration was deemed illegal by the council in Rhone for “administrative reasons”. Lesbian and Gay Pride of Lyon (LGP Lyon) consequently denounced the “lack of firmness and courage of the Rhone council” considering them to have “yielded to the pressure of the right wing catholic movement”, who organised an intense campaign to ban the “gathering of homosexual extremists” and calling for public funding to LGP Lyon to be halted. Young People for France, the youth wing of the right wing conservative Movement for France party, which forms part of Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidential majority, made up part of the counter-demonstration.

300 participants of the Kiss-in gathered around Saint-Jeans Place, but were blocked by riot cops barring access to the square, apparently to avid a confrontation between the Kiss-in and the hundred young catholic extremists and fascists who had taken the right hand side of the square. The two groups held banners and placards, chanting slogans at each other, “Enough of this gang who don’t respect transpeople, dykes and fags!” and “Enough of catholic-phobia” (They don’t translate well from French). The president of the LGP Lyon said “Our demonstration is authorised, not theirs. I don’t see why it should be shocking for us to embrace in public. And we shall be back again next year, especially if Cardinal Barbarin (The archbishop of Lyon) does not condemn the actions of the counter-demonstrators”.

Some kisses between participants could be exchanged before the police issued an evacuation order at 21.30. Demonstrators were forcibly evicted from the square with tear-gas, and two catholic extremists were arrested. The Kiss-in participants left quickly, but the catholic extremists resisted the order.

LGBT Associations have said that they are pleased with the amount of people who mobilised for the Kiss-in, but question the management of the demonstration by the council of Rhone, calling it “calamitous”. A joint press-release signed by various LGBT, human rights and anti-fascist organisations was published asking ”Why wasn’t the right to demonstrate peacefully for gay rights not respected? Why were the extremists, gathering illegally in Saint-Jeans Place, allowed to spread their hate? Why were the demonstrators for human rights, acting non-violently, violently evicted by the police without reason?”

Videos and the original report from the event (in French) can be found here. Apologies if I messed up the translation! 🙂

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Hate Crime Legislation: Why it doesn’t protect us

Scotland has recently enacted a new hate crime law dealing with crimes motivated by disablism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Whilst some community groups are praising this move as progressive, I’m not so sure.

First of all, let us look at what hate crime legislation actually does. If a crime is seen to be motivated by prejudice, the perpetrator of that crime gets a tougher sentence than if the crime is not judged to be motivated by a named phobia or prejudice. This effectively is criminalising not the action in itself, which would be criminalised anyway, but the perpetrator for what they were thinking at the time. This is essentially thoughtcrime. It shouldn’t make a difference what a killer is thinking at the time of a murder, it is still murder.

I think it is necessary to discuss why exactly ‘hate crime’ happens. Interpersonal violence happens, not because there aren’t enough laws, but because prejudice and bigotry is endemic in our society. Tackling discrimination is something that needs to be proactive, not reactive, if it has any chance of succeeding. At the moment, however, our government is doing precious little to proactively challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, whilst actively discriminating against these groups. Hate crime legislation such as this is rarely something useful, but rather a cynical attempt to appear to be ‘doing something’ on the issue of discrimination.

The state is setting itself up to be seen as the only protector of our communities and the only mechanism in which justice can be achieved; when in effect it is actually one of our biggest oppressors. The institutional discrimination our communities face in prison, in the lack of provision for victims of domestic abuse and same sex rape or even with the NHS ban on gay and bi men giving blood is the real face of our the states attitude towards our community. If the state set itself up as the instrument of justice in our communities, it can justify smashing any autonomous groups organising their own attempt at community justice.

Furthermore, due to the institutional bigotry in our policing, marginalised groups like LGBT, BME and disabled people are over-represented in prisons, and often face institutional discrimination whilst in prison. Putting people convicted of hate crimes in prison for longer than they otherwise would be, where they can continue to target the same groups in a harsh environment is not a positive thing. It is not in our interest as a community to entrust our protection to the state.

It is sad that well meaning liberals support legislation such as this, which is fundamentally disempowering to our communities. It is sad that we are trusting an institution to oppress us when that institution is our biggest oppressor.

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stonewall and biphobia

Dont you just love Stonewalls complete ignorance of anything bi or trans?
I just got their latest e-bullitin, and they have a bit of a sidebar encouraging donators to give money.

I quote:

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people still face huge challenges in Britain:
*Two-thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have experienced homophobic bullying
*Half of lesbians under 20 have harmed themselves in the last year
*In the last three years, one in five gay people experienced a hate crime
Stonewall works with teachers, nurses, police, housing providers and many others to make a difference to the daily lives of Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian and gay people.”

Lets disect this:

“*Two-thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have experienced homophobic bullying
*Half of lesbians under 20 have harmed themselves in the last year
*In the last three years, one in five gay people experienced a hate crime”

Interesting facts, yet none of them about bisexuals.

“Stonewall works with teachers, nurses, police, housing providers and many others to make a difference to the daily lives of Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian and gay people”

Sorry, didnt you just say that youre for bisexual people too????

I know this dissection is a bit pedantic, but if these people cant get it right in a e-bullitin, no wonder they get it so, so wrong beyond that.