Monday, January 30, 2012

UN Secretary General Calls Out African Homophobia

From the blog by Michael in Norfolk

American Christianists have shown themselves only too willing to take advantage of the general lack of education of the populace in Africa and the ease with which politicians can be bribed to export their vicious anti-gay agenda to the African continent. With the exception of South Africa which recognizes gay marriage and at least in theory has anti-discrimination statutes on the books, the continent is largely a place to avoid like the plague if possible. And for LGBT Africans, it's a place to leave if one values one's life. The much discussed "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda is but one example of the toxicity that has been nurtured by American Christianists and their willing political accomplices. While the United States and the United Kingdom have begun to condemn the situation, much more needs to be done. Now, the Secretary General of the United Nations (pictured at left) has begun to address the evil being done in Africa under the name of religion. Here are highlights from the Herald Sun:

"One form of discrimination ignored or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Dr Ban said speaking at the opening of a summit meeting today. "It prompted governments to treat people as second class citizens or even criminals."

Homosexuality is illegal in several African countries, and previous external criticism of restrictions imposed upon gays has attracted angry responses from African leaders, who say it is alien to their culture.

After Commonwealth leaders refused to adopt reforms to abolish homophobic laws in 41 member nations, British Prime Minister David Cameron said last year he would consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognize gay rights.

"Confronting these discriminations is a challenge, but we must not give up on the ideas of the universal declaration" of human rights," Dr Ban told the summit.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but a bill that calls for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts was reintroduced in the Ugandan parliament late last year.

The proposed law envisages stiffer punishments, including the death penalty, for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV. Gay rights activists have blamed an increase in homophobia in Uganda on evangelical preachers, some of whom are close to the regime of President Yoweri Museveni.

There's a saying that one will know Christians by their fruits. In Africa, these fruits are hate, bigotry, intolerance and violence against others. WWJD?

baby,it's cold outside

monday morning touch

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Equality by Cantero

A new gay mystery author: Scott Sherman

Kevin Connor is a successful gay hustler...and an amateur detective. Probably the soul of Joseph Hansern, creayor of privste detective Dave Brandstetter would be horrified.But Scott Shermanìs mysteroies are funny, brilliant, full of lieable characters and Kevin is a very auto-ironic hustler. He' have to be, with the typical jewish mother he has, his closeted cop boyfriend, and his best friend Freddy, who loves him but hates his profession. A joy to read!

Author's site:


Want to be cured by Doctors Sam and Dean?

the_desert_storm_by_mishlee-d4nqlh2 on Deviantart

Love Jensen Ackles!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The firelight Isle, by Paul Duffield, Artist of Freakangels

Coming through the rye


Exquisite bondage

Going surfing

Pool boys

The only fitting response to those who say: it says so in the bible (or quran)

So what?

Rid Me of God and Toxic Religion

From the blog of Michael in Norfolk

It often seems that religion - or at least fundamentalist religion in which I also categorize far right Catholics - is the number one enemy of LGBT individuals. A few minor Bible passages set the stage for a relentless war against us. And a mean and horribly vindictive God, at least according to fundamentalists and conservative Catholic dogma, often makes a flight from religion seem the best course. The problem is that often LGBT youth are not yet old enough and mature enough to make the break from toxic religion and when bullying is thrown into the mix, suicide all too often seems the best option. I know that growing up I though of suicide often since it seemed that death was the only solution to "my secret." I know I am not alone in this and it drives me to distraction that too many youths are still being literally killed by religion and the falsely pious and self-satisfied "godly Christian" set, most of whom I personally view as probably psychologically disturbed and motivated by hate and transferred self-loathing. Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, Timothy Dolan and Benedict XVI are but a few examples of these horrid people. A column in Religion Dispatches looks at the toxicity of religion. Here are some highlights:

I tried to kill myself when I was a teenager. It seemed like a natural progression for a young lesbian, growing up in the South. I kept my sexual orientation hidden until college, but that didn’t stop the taunting and the bullying I encountered in high school. I was teased relentlessly for my manner of dress—I wore boys’ shirts, jeans, jean jackets and boots or tennis shoes. I was teased for my short hair, my boyish mannerisms and, oh, yeah, my funny name.

It was torture—but school wasn’t the only place. There was also church; that good old Southern Baptist house of worship where I learned that my secret yearnings made me a sworn enemy of the God I had loved (and who I thought loved me) since childhood.

All that condemnation, from my peers, from my church, from my God, came to a head one night and I decided to put an end to it all by putting an end to me. Thankfully, my plan failed — and as the videos being produced by LGBT people who, like me, survived their childhood say, it does, indeed, get better.

I blame the religious right and their insistence on their “religious freedom” to condemn and bully LGBT people for this continuing trend of spiritual violence . . . . One young man who took his life recently was 19-year-old EricJames Borges whose “extremist Christian” parents tried to exorcise his gay demon and called him “disgusting and perverted” before kicking him out of the house. Borges had the best support around as a volunteer for The Trevor Project (the org that works to prevent LGBT suicide). He even did his own It Gets Better video.

But I fear it was finally the religious condemnation that led this beautiful young man to take his own life. Everyone under the sun can tell you it gets better, but the bottom line is this: If you believe God will send you to hell for who you love, there will be nothing anyone can say to convince you that it gets better—since God never changes, right?

I have seen too many in my community struggle with God—and the image of the bullying God they have been given by their churches and their families. This image of God as a loving destroyer, whose acceptance is conditioned on your strict adherence to “His” rules, has ruined too many lives. What needs to change is not the LGBT child, but this horrible and terribly wrong image of God as a holy bully that is being purveyed by religious institutions and believers.

The trouble is, though, this image of God has worked very well for those in power.

It is exactly this vision of God as “backyard bully” that puts LGBT youth on the path to suicide, and it must stop. But, it won’t as long as the GOP and anti-gay religious right groups can raise cash using this image of God as divine bully. This is why the “religious freedom” debate is so important; and why it highlights the hypocrisy of the religious right. They can certainly crow all they want about how they condemn LGBT people out of “love” for them, but one surefire test of true love is that it leads to life—not death.

It is these religious undertones—and outright blatant anti-LGBT preaching—that makes children choose to end their own lives no matter how many role models and videos they have telling them it gets better. It’s hell for them right now, and that’s all that matters to them.

The problem lies not with the child, but with the messages they are receiving from authorities like parents, preachers, and politicians. When money and power become more important than the lives of children, then God is truly and finally dead. It was the 15th-century mystic Meister Eckhart who prayed: “God, rid me of God.” If we are to have true religious freedom for everyone in this country, that must be our prayer as well.

The column's author is 100% on point. Religion has truly become one of the great evils of this world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hate Speech Isn't Free

I'm all for Free Speech. I mean, a quick trip around my blog and you know I'm all for Free Speech. But Free doesn't have to mean stupid, ignorant or hateful...or even hate-filled.
Up in Tennessee, which seems to have a firm grip on irrational homophobia these days, there is a bill proposal by some state lawmakers to allow students to speak out against homosexuality, if that's what their religious beliefs call for.
You know, "Fags should die."
"You're gonna burn in Hell queer."
That kinda religious conviction.
Supporters say this is about protecting the Free Speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality, but gay rights groups are calling it a "license to bully."
And that's what it is.
See, if you are a religious person, isn't here a little something about not casting stones unless you're free of sin? And then you couple that with the religious conviction that everyone is a sinner and, well, by that logic, you should never say anything negative about anyone.
Including, "Filthy fag."
And, um, Tennessee, if you want to legislate that people can say whatever they want under the guise of religious conviction, remember it works both ways.
Like, maybe, "Die Christian."
Or "There is no God."
People have the right to believe what they want and say what they want, but they need to choose their words carefully, and realize that Free Speech is a two-way street. You put out the negative and the hateful, you just might get it back.
So, Tennessee, how about legislating that bullying is wrong, whether aimed at the gay kid, the fat kid, the allegedly gay kid, the skinny kid, the black kid, the Jewish kid, the Muslim kid, the Christian kid.
How about that, Tennessee?


What is this?

Tatooine the Sequel: Kepler Finds Two More Exoplanets Orbiting Binary Stars, from Universe today

by Paul Scott Anderson on January 12, 2012

Artist's conception of the Kepler-35 system. Credit: Lynette Cook / / Nature

For exoplanet fans, this week has been an exciting one, with some amazing new discoveries being announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas – our galaxy is brimming with planets, probably billions, and the smallest known planets have been found (again), with one about the size of Mars. But that’s not all; it was also announced that Kepler has found not one but two more planets orbiting binary stars!

The two star systems are Kepler-34 and Kepler-35; they consist of double stars which orbit each other and are about 4,900 and 5,400 light-years from Earth. The two new planets, Kepler-34b and Kepler-35b, each orbit one of these pairs of stars and are both about the size of Saturn. Since they orbit fairly close to their stars, they are not in the habitable zones; Kepler 34-b completes an orbit in 289 days and Kepler-35b in 131 days. It’s more the fact that they orbit double stars that makes them so interesting.

This is now the third planet found in a binary star system. The first, Kepler-16b, was nicknamed Tatooine as it was reminiscent of the world orbiting two suns in the Star Wars films. Until recently, it was unknown if any such star systems had planetary companions. It was considered possible, although unlikely, and remained only a theory. But now, the view is that there may indeed be a lot of them out there, just as planets are now apparently common around single stars. That’s good news for planet-hunters, as most stars in our galaxy are binaries.

According to William Welsh of San Diego State University who participated in the study, ”This work further establishes that such ‘two sun’ planets are not rare exceptions, but may in fact be common, with many millions existing in our galaxy. This discovery broadens the hunting ground for systems that could support life.”

Eric B. Ford, associate professor of astronomy at the University of Florida, stated: ”We have long believed these kinds of planets to be possible, but they have been very difficult to detect for various technical reasons. With the discoveries of Kepler-16b, 34b and 35b, the Kepler mission has shown that the galaxy abounds with millions of planets orbiting two stars.”

The hope now is that Kepler will continue until 2016 to be able to further refine its findings so far. That will require a mission extension, but scientists involved are optimistic they will get it.

According to Ford, “Astronomers are practically begging NASA to extend the Kepler mission until 2016, so it can characterize the masses and orbits of Earth-size planets in the habitable zone. Kepler is revolutionizing so many fields, not just planetary science. It would be a shame not to maximize the scientific return of this great observatory. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the mission will continue.”

Yes, indeed.

The study was published January 11, 2012 in the journal Nature (payment or subscription required for access to full article).

See also for a good overview of the new findings.

Tagged as: binary stars, Extrasolar Planets, Kepler