Archive for the ‘Gay liberation movement/gay rights’ Category

On February 11 the campaign group Speak Up for Women received notification from Phantom Billstickers that their poster campaign calling for public consultation on the controversial Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill would be removed from over 60 sites from Auckland to Invercargill, in a move that is being described as reactionary and anti-free speech.Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 1.29.37 PM

The media company allegedly received ‘four or five’ complaints from members of the public over the weekend, in response to the posters. Ani O’Brien, Speak Up For Women spokesperson, says: “Jamey’s email came out of the blue this morning, so I called him to discuss his concerns and clarify our position. Jamey Holloway, Managing Partner of Phantom Billstickers said “[your] campaign has been accepted in error and will be withdrawn as soon as logistically possible.” Mr Holloway decided to dump the women’s rights campaign to appease the  (more…)

Advertisements

On January 14  the Speak Up for Women Campaign was launched.

This campaign is to oppose the current state of the Birth, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registrations bill and its proposals for sex self-identification.

“The BDMRR Bill will be read when Parliament returns in February 2019 and the campaign organisers are asking for help to ensure the parliamentarians understand this is concerning many people. Please spread the word! #SpeakUpNZ #NoSexSelfID

“We again ask that Our Three Reasonable Demands listed below are taken seriously.

“1. The Government must put the self-ID proposal on hold until there is reasonable public consultation. Respectful, evidence-based public consultation must take place, including with women who are affected by the proposals.

speakup2. The Government must review how the proposed changes will affect data gathering, reporting and the integrity of records for things such as crime, health and monitoring sex-based discrimination such as the pay gap.

3. The Government must review how the proposed changes will impact the protected category of “sex,” intended to protect women from discrimination under the Human Rights Act

“If you haven’t done so already, please consider sending a message to your MP. We have made it very easy for you to do so, it only takes a minute – just fill out the form here.”

https://speakupforwomen.nz/email-your-mp/

A critical take on the issue of transgender children and medical intervention 

Part 1

by Pat Green (a concerned teacher)

pubertyblockerIf you have been following the recent controversy over Rachel Stewart’s opinion piece ‘TERF: A derogatory term to shut down debate’, you may have read Kylie Parry’s response on the Spinoff website. Parry focuses on the issue of trans children and the use of medical interventions such as puberty blockers and cross sex hormones. She argues that fears over the issues of informed consent and the dangers associated with medical interventions are misplaced, and that trans children are no different from ‘regular’ or ‘cis’ children: they like sports, watch TV and don’t like doing chores. Most importantly, they are not evil people who want to ‘take over the world’ and they deserve respect and compassion.

As a teacher who has worked with and taught several trans identified adolescents I fully concur with Parry’s contention that trans children are regular human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Based on my limited experience I would even be tempted to go further, and note that many trans youth are particularly talented and display admirable character traits. I don’t think that they have a secret agenda and I do think that they should be free of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Parry also makes three claims relating to medical interventions upon trans identified youth: (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

A law to allow anyone to change the sex on their birth certificate, no questions asked, is before parliament. This demand arose under the banner of transgender rights. Measures to make life easier for transgender people should be supported, however this law change will have potentially negative unintended consequences for women and girls and this deserves discussion.

Abortionrally

Trans ideologues want to strip the word ‘woman’ of its meaning. Wellington abortion rights march, December 2018. Photo by Deidra Sullivan.

Currently trans-identifying people can change their birth certificate with an application through the Family Court with medical evidence of living as the nominated sex and with some safe guards against predatory males who may want to manipulate the process.

Trans ideology has sprung up rapidly and taken hold in surprising quarters. It is problematic because it actually has little focus on the rights of transexuals. Transgender is now a catch-all term of which a significant number are cross-dressing heterosexual males, some of whom identify as lesbians with penises. (more…)

by Phil Duncan

The postal plebiscite in Australia on gay marriage has returned almost exactly the same result as the actual referendum in the south of Ireland in 2015. Basically 62% Yes, 38% No.

The Yes vote across the ditch was a tiny fraction below the Yes vote in Ireland and the No vote there was a tiny fraction above the No vote in Ireland.  Also, in Ireland it was a binding referendum; in Australia it was just a plebiscite.  Nevertheless it seems that by the New Year gay women and men will have the same right to marry as straight women and men.

It’s a victory for human progress and equality.

But it is also a sign that the ruling class, certainly in the imperialist heartlands, has no interest in continuing to discriminate against gay women and men. It’s not just that the progessive movement is pushing for marriage equality; the reality is that they are pushing against an already-opening door.

It’s all a long way from the early days of the gay liberation movement.

Just a few decades ago Australian cops were (more…)

This year is the 50th anniversary of the partial liberalisation of anti-gay laws in Britain.  The reform applied to England and Wales, but not Scotalnd or the part of Ireland still incorporated in the ‘United Kingdom’ – nor to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.  The reform also did not extend to the armed forces or the merchant navy.  In the article below, a longtime British marxist and former activist in the gay liberation movement looks at the significance of the law change – then and now.  

by Mike McNair

Under the 1967 Sexual Offences Act homosexuality between consenting adult males in private was no longer an offence. ‘Adult’ was defined as someone over the age of 21; and ‘in private’ was subsequently defined by the judiciary: homosexual acts were only permitted in private property and there had to be only two people present. In a public place like a hotel it would still be an offence. Given the limits of the 1967 act, I did not expect anything like the scale of celebration there has been around its 50th anniversary.

In addition we have had a brief rush of publicity around a group of LGBT anarchists forming a fighting unit alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria against Islamic State. Rather startlingly, the Daily Mail on July 25 ran the headline, “These faggots kill fascists” – a photo showed them raising the rainbow flag in Raqqa.1

This story of a very small group of volunteers has been all over the mainstream media. There has been, I think, a valid argument, presented on Al Jazeera by a Syrian-Palestinian woman activist, that this group was in substance holding up the flag in favour of the general frame of western intervention in Syria, rather than having any realistic expectation that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) will display strong and persistent solidarity with lesbian and gay rights.2

But the coverage demonstrates that this summer’s celebration of gay rights is very broad. The story is that our modern liberal society has liberated lesbians and gay men from the chains of medieval oppression. Alongside this celebration, LGBT issues, just like women’s issues, have been made into an instrument for the justification of dropping bombs on foreign countries.

In this context it is worth looking a little bit further at what has been celebrated: the 1967 Act, what followed it and what went before it. As I have said, it decriminalised homosexual conduct between consenting males over the age of 21. Even though the ‘age of majority’ was reduced to 18 in 1969, as far as homosexual acts were concerned, it remained at 21 until 2000.3

The 1967 Act had an interesting consequence, in that it initially led to a substantial increase in prosecutions! Roy Walmsley, a member of the Home Office Research Unit, reported in 1978 that offences for ‘indecency between males’ recorded by the police had doubled since 1967, and the number of persons prosecuted trebled between 1967 and 1971. Most of the additional prosecutions involved two males 21 or over, so it was not primarily about consent, but about the ‘in public’ issue. In 1978 there were wide variations between police areas in respect of this.4

This is by no means the only instance of law reform leading to an increase in prosecutions. The same was true of the reforms of street prostitution (introduced under the Street Offences Act 1959), of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, and of the 1967 Abortion Act. Nearer to the core of criminal law, it was also true of the various offences under the Theft Act 1968. The replacement of laws which are understood to be ancient, unfair, technical and difficult to understand by new legislation incentivises the police to prosecute – and makes it easier for them to do so. And it makes it easier for magistrates and juries to convict.

I might add that the ‘gross indecency’ offence, which had previously been triable by jury, became, as a result of the Act, triable before magistrates. That increased the number of prosecutions, as magistrates have always been more willing to convict than juries.

Resistance

This is not the whole story, however. There has also been a good deal of judicial and prosecutorial resistance to (more…)

imagescontact_img

Barbara Gregorich and Phil Passen were members of the US Socialist Workers Party from 1965-72, and key figures in the Proletarian Orientation tendency within the SWP and then in the Class Struggle League 1972-74.  While maintaining their anti-capitalist views, Barbara became a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and Phil  is a musician on the hammered dulcimer.  In the interview below they talk about growing up in 1950s America, the winds of change of the 1960s, their politicisation and activity in that era, their involvement in the US SWP an how and why they began questioning its politics and organisational methods, how they came to a parting of the ways with it, their subsequent political activity, the decline of the left and the fate of the original new social movements of that era, and their assessment of politics in the United States today.

Philip Ferguson: Could you tell me a bit about your backgrounds?  What was it like growing up in the States in the 1950s and early 1960s?

Barbara Gregorich: I grew up in a small town in Ohio. My mother and father worked in my uncle’s bar as bar tenders until I was ten, then my father worked as a millwright in a steel mill and my mother worked at home. One of my uncles had a dairy farm less than half a mile from our house, and I spent much of my time there, with my cousins. I loved being outdoors and helping with milking and other farm chores. After I graduated from high school I attended Kent State University, which was maybe 35 miles away. I graduated with a degree in American Literature and also one in American History. I received an MA degree from the University of Wisconsin, in Literature, and I did post graduate work at Harvard, in the History of American Civilization.

I worked as an Instructor of English at Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College while living in Cleveland, Ohio. Then Phil and I moved to Boston and I worked as a typesetter, first for a small job shop, then at the Boston Globe. We moved to Chicago, Illinois, and I worked as a typesetter for the Chicago Tribune, then as a postal letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office. I had always wanted to be either a baseball player or a writer. Baseball is closed to women, so I became a writer. In 1979 I went freelance,  which I’ve been to this day.

download (3)What it was like growing up in the States during the 1950s and 1960s is an interesting question, because of course one doesn’t think, “I’m growing up in the ’50s . . . and now I’ve transitioned to the ’60s!” But a person is definitely aware of the characteristics of the decade he/she grows up in, if not at the moment, then in retrospect, or in contrast to the next decade. Living in the 1950s, I was aware that I didn’t like many things about society. I hated fashion, especially as it applied to girls and women. I hated petticoats and crinolines, the latter “required” for the felted poodle skirts fashion of my junior-high years. I hated popcorn socks and pencil skirts and I refused to put my hair in curlers: torture!

What I wanted to wear was t-shirts and jeans, clothes I could function in. I also wondered why my fellow students flocked to and embraced each fashion that came along.  I can’t say that I was aware of politics when in junior and senior high, but standing in the early 1960s and looking back on the 1950s, I felt that it was a very conservative, unquestioning decade, and I was glad to be out of it.

Compared to the ’50s, the 1960s were a blast a fresh air, with people my age questioning what was right and wrong in society, and acting to make changes.

download (2)Phil Passen: I grew up in a small town in Michigan. My father, whose father had been a bricklayer who died from a fall on the job, owned a children’s clothing store in Monroe, Michigan, a small town between Detroit and Toledo. My mother’s parents had died when she was an infant, and she was raised by an aunt and uncle. I don’t know what their class background was, but I assume skilled workers or lower petty-bourgeois. My parents declared bankruptcy in 1960, and lost the store and our house primarily because of medical expenses for my mom’s various illnesses. I remember that this was the first time I thought about anything political, even though I didn’t realize at the time that it was a political question. But I wondered how medical expenses could be so great that they could cost people something they had worked so very hard for. My father was an Eisenhower Republican, and my mother was a Stevenson Democrat, and none of that made any sense to me.

passncon2I remember a palpable difference between the ’50s and ’60s. At some point early in the ’60s I realized that the stodgy, uninteresting, unexciting coat-and -tie atmosphere of the ’50s was gone — replaced by rock and roll, the Beatles and Stones, Bob Dylan, beats, greasers, art films, and an air of excitement. Hard to explain, but I remember feeling the change very strongly. And in the background, at least for me, but something I was very conscious of, was the Civil Rights Movement. I knew something was different.

Phil F: What made you first begin to question the existing state of things?

Phil P: Unquestionably, (more…)