Now NUS loons denounce Tatchell … for defending himself against their slander

February 28, 2016 at 8:21 pm (academe, Beyond parody, Free Speech, gay, Human rights, Jim D, lesbian, LGBT, NUS, Peter Tatchell, students, surrealism)

Readers may remember the incident a week or so ago when Fran Cowling, the NUS lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) representative, said that she would not share a stage with Peter Tatchell, whom she described as “racist” and “transphobic”. The row was covered in some detail by Comrade Coatesy here, and in the Guardian here.

Tatchell, a long standing campaigner for gay rights and human rights more generally, quite understandably, decided to mount a public defence of his good name against these outrageous slurs. As a result of doing so, he was denounced yet again, in this hysterical Open Letter – which includes the truly Orwellian charge of Tatchell referring to a “confidential email chain” that had been forwarded to him “without permission”, thus apparently making Tachell’s accuser the true ‘victim’ of this story!

The signatories include not just the usual NUS suspects and their petty bourgeois and authoritarian friends in academia,  but shamefully, the editor of the anarchist Freedom News has signed, too.

It’s a depressing read, but serious in its way, as an example of the anti-free speech, authoritarian logic of extreme identity politics and the hysteria it can induce.

Note, in particular, this paragraph:

Tatchell has a long record of urging that public platforms be denied members of ethnic and religious groups, especially Muslims. He has called for banning so-called “Islamist” speakers from Universities. He has even demanded mosques apologise “for hosting homophobic hate preachers” and give “assurances that they will not host them again.” Tatchell claims the right to decide who qualifies as a “homophobic hate preacher”; what counts is not inciting violence or any tangible threats to LGBT Londoners, but rather simply expressing religious opinions about homosexual acts. The peculiar urgency with which Tatchell targets Muslims lends credibility to the charge of racial insensitivity.”

So, at some point, it has apparently become acceptable for supposed leftwingers to consider speaker tours for homophobic bigots to be a matter of indifference, and that it is “racially insensitive” for LGBT rights campaigners to object to people expressing “religious opinions about homosexual acts“. Most decent lefties (and liberals) will find this euphemistic description of far-right hate preachers pretty sickening. Now, some might disagree with Tatchell on minor tactical issues of precisely how he approaches this, but my gut response, when ‘lefties’ tell gay rights campaigners to shut up about organised far-right bigotry is: “fuck off”.

Also: “The particular urgency with which Tatchell targets Muslims“? Well – which Muslims? All of them? An attack on a far-right preacher who thinks all gay people are animals is an attack on all Muslims? Isn’t it “racially insensitive” to identify all Muslims with the hard-right ideologues that Tatchell feels “urgent” about?

What a wretched, hypocritical shower these self-righteous NUS authoritarians and their academic friends, are!

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Pride! When Lesbians and Gays Supported the Miners

September 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm (AWL, cinema, class, gay, history, Jim D, lesbian, LGBT, solidarity, Thatcher, unions, workers)

I ran into Comrade Clive Bradley over the weekend, and he was warm in his praise for the film Pride, which depicts (albeit in “feel-good” style à la The Full Monty and Made in Dagenham) the role of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) during the great 1984-5 strike.

Clive was a prominent member of LGSM at the time, although he’s not portrayed in the film.

Here’s an interview that Workers Liberty’s paper Solidarity did with Clive a couple of weeks ago, just after the film’s release. There is also a review of the film, which I haven’t republished, but which can be read here.

“The miners needed solidarity”

Solidarity: What was LGSM and what did it do?

Clive: It was a group that was set up of lesbians and gay men set up to support the miner’s strike. It has to be said it was initially mainly gay men, but more and more women got involved over the time. Practically it raised money for the miners who were on strike for a year. Mainly by standing outside lesbian and gay pubs rattling buckets, it raised quite a lot of money. This was sent to a particular mining community in south Wales, in the Dulais valley, with which connections had been made.

Solidarity: Why did this get started, and how did you get involved?

Clive: It was the idea of two people in particular, Mark Ashton and Mike Jackson. Both are dramatised in the movie. They put out a call at Pride in ‘84 and organised a meeting at “Gay Is the Word” bookshop in London. At that time I was just moving to London from Manchester and was a member of Socialist Organiser [forerunner of the AWL]. It’s not rocket science to see how I got involved.

I went to the second ever meeting of LGSM. I was active in supporting the miners and thought it was a brilliant initiative. It proved to have a very powerful effect on lesbian and gay men and on the miners. The NUM went on to lead the pride demonstration in August 1985. The NUM, a traditional union, not famous for its view on matters such as lesbian and gay rights, became quite prominent in the changing policy on gay rights in the Labour Party.

Solidarity: What impact did it have in the gay community, and what arguments did LGSM make about why gay people should support the miners?

Clive: The strike lasted for a whole year and divided the country, divided everybody. A lot of people supported the miners and didn’t need to be persuaded, but we argued that we needed the miners to win. If the miners lost then the Tory government would be going for everybody, and these lesbian and gay communities would be an easy target. People would put a lot of money into the bucket to show solidarity — presumably a lot of money they didn’t have in many cases. LGSM was the first really concrete example of how an “autonomous” movement of the “specially oppressed” (as we used to say) could struggle alongside the organised working class, and transform working-class consciousness in the process.

Solidarity: Were other left groups involved in LGSM? What was their attitude to it?

Clive: Some members of different left groups were personally involved, even members of Militant [forerunner of the Socialist Party] and the SWP, whose organisations were more hostile to the project. Militant , for example, generally argued that any kind of autonomous organisation was necessarily divisive. LGSM and Women Against Pit Closures, etc. showed that quite the reverse was true.

Solidarity: How was LGSM received in the mining communities?

Clive: The film does this quite cleverly. It is basically a rom com between two communities. The film shows you both acceptance and hostility, but a growing acceptance. That isn’t far off what actually happened.

I went to South Wales twice, the second time when the strike was actually finishing in March ‘85. That was very emotional for all of us. My own experience was that people couldn’t really have been more welcoming.

The first time we went down, there was a minibus load of us, we were being put up in people’s houses, that was the deal. We all went down to the miner’s welfare in the evening to sing songs and get drunk. It was completely fine, no hostility at all.

The reality was we were raising money for them. The miners needed solidarity, and I’m sure if people were at first dubious about where the solidarity came from, need overcame that. And, of course, as you make contact with people you realise that you have more in common than you initially thought. Why the suspicions broke down, as I’m sure there were some, is no mystery. It was the nature of people meeting each other and the power of solidarity.

Solidarity: What do you think members of LGSM learnt from the experience?

Clive: For many people it was their first time going to that sort of working-class community, though certainly not for everyone. We were a mixed group and certainly there were people from working-class backgrounds, it was not all middle class lefties. The vast majority were just people who wanted to do something.

When you have a big confrontation between a section of the working class and the government you have to take sides, more than just in your head.

There have been reunions [of LGSM] recently and many people still seem to hold broadly the same views that they used to. You can tell for many people in LGSM it was an absolutely formative experience in their lives, and very important to them.

Solidarity: Do you think there was rolling back after the defeat of the dispute, both in the gay community and in the mining community?

Clive: The miners were beaten and most of them lost their jobs. Generally speaking in the class struggle, the defeat of the miners had a hugely bad effect. We’re still living with the consequences of it.

I doubt miners’ attitudes rolled back too much with regards lesbian and gay rights. You started to get stories of miners coming out. At reunions we get visits from miners. We often hear “it turns out my son is gay”.

Ex-miners and their families came up from south Wales for the film premiere.

In the lesbian and gay community, struggle wasn’t rolled back. You got growth of the lesbian and gay movement after 1985. Not long after was “Section 28” [the Tory law which prevented the “promotion of homosexual lifestyles”] against which you had enormous demonstrations. The pride parades in the early ‘80s were relatively small, but by the late ‘80s and certainly the early ‘90s they were enormous.

Solidarity: What do you think about the film?

Clive: It gets an awful lot incredibly right. It’s in the broad ball park of something like The Full Monty, but much more political. Over the credits you have someone singing Solidarity Forever. It takes for granted that the strike was right. It’s absolutely about the importance of class struggle and solidarity between communities. The portrayals of the real people are very close and a good tribute.

Its good that for the anniversary of the strike, this particular act of solidarity will be remembered.

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Syrian blogger ‘Gay Girl’ seized

June 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm (blogging, Civil liberties, democracy, Feminism, gay, Human rights, Jim D, lesbian, Middle East, terror, thuggery)

The brave Syrian blogger, lesbian and dissident Amina Abdallah (aka Amina Arraf) has been seized by armed men. She had become increasingly angered by the fascistic Assad regime’s crackdown on protest, writing on Sunday, “They must go, they must go soon. That is all there is to say.”

It is estimated that over 10,000 people have been detained by the Assad regime since the protests started in mid-March

Urgent call for the immediate release of Syrian blogger Amina Arraf - Online Petition

A cousin of Amina has written on her blog:

“Dear friends of Amina,

“I am Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari’s cousin and have the
following information to share.

 “Earlier today, at approximately 6:00 pm Damascus time, Amina
was walking in the area of the Abbasid bus station, near Fares al Khouri
Street. She had gone to meet a person
involved with the Local Coordinating Committee and was accompanied by a
friend.

 “Amina told the friend that she would go ahead and they were
separated. Amina had, apparently,
identified the person she was to meet.
However, while her companion was still close by, Amina was seized by
three men in their early 20’s. According to the witness (who does not want her
identity known), the men were armed.
Amina hit one of them and told the
friend to go find her father.

“One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they
hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad. The witness did not get the tag number. She promptly went and found Amina’s
father.

 “The men are assumed to be members of one of the security
services or the Baath Party militia.
Amina’s present location is unknown and it is unclear if she is in a jail
or being held elsewhere in Damascus.

 “I have just spoken with her father who is trying to locate
her. He has asked me to share this
information with her contacts in the hope that someone may know her whereabouts
and so that she might be shortly released.

 “If she is now in
custody, he is not worried about being in hiding and says he will do anything he
can to free her. If anyone knows anything
as to her whereabouts, please contact Abdallah al Omari at his home or please
email me, Rania Ismail, at onepathtogod at gmail dot com.

 “We are hoping she is simply in jail and nothing worse has
happened to her. Amina had previously
sent me several texts to post should something happen to her and we will wait
until we have definite word before doing so.

 “Salamat,

“Rania O. Ismail”

H/t: The Graun

Online petition: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/freeamina

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Argentina legalises gay marriage!

July 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm (Catholicism, Champagne Charlie, Christianity, Civil liberties, gay, Human rights, lesbian, LGBT)

Congratulations to the people and the government of Argentina – especially as their enlightened decision is one in the eye for the child-molesting hypocrites of the Catholic Church.

A lesbian couple kisses outside Argentina's congress during a rally to support same-sex marriage.

Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriage after the Senate voted in favour.

The country’s Chamber of Deputies had already approved the legislation.

The vote in the Senate, which backed the bill by just six votes, came after 14 hours of at times heated debate.

The law, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, had met with fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious groups.

Read the rest here.

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Troil and error: bad sex should at least be funny

November 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm (Champagne Charlie, comedy, lesbian, literature, men, women)

According to today’s Grauniad, the great Philip Roth has been shortlisted for the Literary Review‘s  bad sex award. This trophy (a plaster foot) was inaugurated by the late Auberon Waugh to “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”

It’s his most recent work,’ The Humbling’, that earns the great man his nomination. In one scene, an ageing actor and his lesbian friend Pegeen, pick up a girl and persuade her to join in a threesome involving a green dildo:

This was not soft porn. This was no longer two unclothed women caressing and kissing on a bed. There was something primitive about it now, this woman on woman violence, as though in the room filled with shadows, Pegeen were a magical composite of shaman, acrobat and animal. It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be. There was something dangerous about it. His heart thumped with excitement – the god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.

Pretty poor stuff, I think you’ll agree. But what really struck me was the lack of any humour to be found in this description – a startling omission from the author of the hilarious sexual comedy ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’.

But troilism and voyeurism can be amusing when described by a skilled writer – especially when things do not go according to plan for at least one participant:

‘About your idea that we all ought to go to bed, you and I and Joyce.’

‘Yes?’

‘I’ve been thinking about it.’

‘Good.’

‘Maurice.’

‘Yes?’

‘Maurice, what would you get out of it exactly? I mean I can see what I’d get out of it, at least I think I can, but where would you come in? No, Maurice, you’re not to be horrid and awful. You know what I mean.’

‘I think so, yes. Well, seeing that it’s so much fun to go to bed with one beautiful girl, it ought to be twice as much fun to go to bed with two, if not more. More than twice as much fun. Worth trying, anyhow.’

‘Mm. You want to watch us at it, kind of thing, too, don’t you?’

‘Yes I do rather. I’ve never been able to see anything wrong with the idea of watching people at it, provided that’s not all you’re doing, and that won’t apply in my case, of course. And provided, as far as I’m concerned, that neither of the people is a chap, and that’s not going to apply either’… ( a few days later)…

The two girls looked communicatively at each other then at me in the same way they had done in the bar before lunch, preparatory to accusing me of interrupting their chat. I smiled at each of them while I tried to sort out priorities in my mind..

‘What do you want us to do?’ asked Diana, with just a hint of impatience in her voice and demeanour.

‘Let’s all take everything off for a start’ I said.

A woman can always beat a man to the state of nudity if she puts her mind to it, and here were two women evidently doing so. Despite earings and necklaces, Joyce and Diana were embracing naked beside the bed while I was still working urgently on my second shoe. By the time I was ready to join them, they had thrown the covers back and were lying side by side in an ever close embrace. I climbed in behind Diana and started kissing her shoulders and available ear and the back of her neck, none of which seemed to make any special difference to anybody. I found it difficult to slide my arm round under her arm, because Joyce’s arm was thereabouts too, and impossible to touch more than the outer side of Diana’s breast, because Joyce’s breast was against the remainer of it. When I tried the same sort of thing at a lower level, I came across the top of of Joyce’s thigh. After that, I tried to alter the girls’ positions with a view to setting up one of the triads of lovemaking Joyce had mentioned the previous evening in her unvarnished way. That meant her thigh would positively have to shift, but it stayed where it was. To get Diana on her back was not even worth attempting, with her inner thigh between both of Joyce’s. It is never easy to move people about bodily unless they co-operate a bit, and neither of these was doing so at all.

What were they doing? Kissing repeatedly, in fact almost continuously, pressing themselves against each other, breathing deeply, though not particularly fast. What more? I had a totally obstructed view from where I was, but both Joyce’s hands were in sight, one behind Diana’s head, the other at the small of her back, and anyway their embrace had been so tight from the beginning that neither could could have been caressing the other in any way; they would have had to draw a little apart for that, which would have afforded me an opportunity, but I doubted very much whether either of them had bothered to think of such a point. I told myself I was not going to give up, said so aloud, said a lot more things, managing to stay just this side of whining and abuse, moved round the bed to behind Joyce, and got no change there either.

There it was, then. I stood and looked at them while they went on exactly as before, neither speeding up nor slowing down, like people unable to to foresee ever doing anything else, even of the same general sort. How well I could remember that feeling! Just then Diana’s hazel eye opened, moved across the drawn curtains and me and more of the curtains without the least self-consciousness in paying the same attention to me as to the curtains, and shut again. The thought of two women making love can be an exciting one, but let me tell you that, when they are totally absorbed in each other, the actuality is sedative. Indeed, for the moment I felt calmer than at any time during the past few days. I blew them a kiss, rejecting the idea of kissing each of them on the shoulder or somewhere as more trouble and no more likely to be noticed, picked up my clothes at leisure and carried them to the bathroom.

Author? Book? No prize this time, I’m afraid.

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Urgent appeal from Iraqi LGBT

April 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm (anonymous, Civil liberties, gay, Human rights, iraq, Jim D, lesbian)

Faz V forwards this most worthwhile appeal:

URGENT – Dear Friends and Donors of Iraqi LGBT

 

Dear Friends and Donors of Iraqi LGBT This is an urgent appeal for donation to all our friends and supporters all around the world to help us with our new campaign and demonstration and to continue the fight for lgbt rights in Iraq .

 

Donations helps activist inside Iraq to continue monitoring, reporting the situation for our lgbt community all over Iraq .

 

With over 24 activists around the Iraq putting their lives at risk to help, support the lgbt rights movements.

 

We need to pay for their phone calls, transportation, and accommodation and food.  

 

Thank you for your support and kindly ask that you pass the word around that if anyone wishes to make a donation to help Iraqi LGBT in its work to maintain safe houses and work that we coordinate from London .

 

You can choose to use the paypal method, our paypal email address is Iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk or you send a check in GBP no other currencies please payable to (Iraqi Lgbt) and send it to:

 

Iraqi Lgbt

22 Notting Hill Gate

Unit 111

London, W11 3JE

United Kingdom

 

Also Read:

 

Independent 13/04/09
“Dozens of young men and boys killed by death squads in Baghdad”:
http://www.independent.co. uk/news/world/middle-east/ iraqi-leaders-attacked-ove r-spate-of-homophobic-murd ers-1668013.html

Daily Telegraph 13/04/09
Iraqi leaders ‘ignoring murder of homosexuals’: http://www.telegraph.co.uk /news/worldnews/middleeast /iraq/5147219/Iraqi-leader s-ignoring-murder-of-homos exualsira.html

BBC 13/04/09
“Fears over Iraq gay killing spate”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi /world/middle_east/7996487 .stm

NY Times 7/04/09
“Iraq’s Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder”: http://www.nytimes.com/200 9/04/08/world/middleeast/0 8gay.html?ref=middleeast

Denver Post 12/04/09
“Killing Gay Iraqis shouldn’t be ignored”: http://www.denverpost.com/ opinion/ci_12110664

Denver Post 9/04/09
“Polis takes Iraq to task over attacks on gays”: http://www.denverpost.com/ news/ci_12103017

 

Ali Hili – Iraqi Lgbt
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
United Kingdom
Mob: ++44 798 1959 453
Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/
 

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