Out and about the LGBT web

pink triangleIn this week’s news, Julia Gasper, a former UKIP parliamentary candidate has written a paper questioning whether gay people sent to death camps during the Holocaust were only sent there because they were also Jewish. (For those reading this blog and not in the UK, UKIP is a right of right political party.)

Holocaust denial makes me really angry but, over the years, I’ve forced myself to read pieces by holocaust deniers to ensure that I haven’t missed anything and that they don’t have any evidence to back up their outlandish theories. This is the first I’ve read of “homocaust” denial and, like many holocaust deniers before her, Gasper treads a clever line. She’s not denying that homosexuals were sent to concentration camps but that only Jewish homosexuals were sent. The non-Jewish homosexuals were imprisoned by the Nazis.

If what Gasper is saying is true, why did the Nazis make a distinction between homosexuals and Jews in the camps by labelling them with a pink triangle or a yellow star? If the greater crime was being Jewish, why do you require the pink triangle at all, surely everyone would be wearing a yellow star?

I’m rather of the opinion that when those in the public eye start denying something happened it means they’re worried and the something they’re denying is bound, therefore, to have happened. I’m not sure where Gasper is going with this (except that she has a history of denying modern day gay persecution) because, at the end of the day, even if her theory is true, does it matter? Even if non-Jewish homosexuals were sent to prison, does it mean we shouldn’t honour them as victims of the Nazi cleansing machine because their suffering was a little bit less than those sent to concentration camps? The game of comparing war crimes is invidious and pointless.

If anyone has a right to deny homosexuals their place in history alongside Jews, it is the state of Israel. Tellingly, the state of Israel doesn’t agree with Julia Gasper and has this week announced it will be erecting its first memorial to gay victims of the holocaust.

On the subject of Jewish support for LGBT issues, this YouTube video has been doing the rounds this week. Duncan McAlpine Sennett took the opportunity of his Bar Mitzvah speech to speak about the freedom to marry in his home state, Oregon. Duncan is only 13 but speaks eloquently and passionately about his topic.

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Religion and gay marriage continues to be hot topic in the UK, too. This week, the Methodist Conference followed the Church of England Synod and opened up the debate to their members with a consultation on equal marriage. This is good news and hopefully will produce positive results. Having a brushing acquaintance with Methodism through my family, I have to say that the Methodists have always seemed more open to change than the Church of England or the Catholic Church so there is a good chance that things might begin to move on this issue.

You may have noticed that I have tendancy to pick up on news about religion and gay issues in this blog. This isn’t just because I’ve written a book on the subject and it’s not because I’m religious; even though members of my family are believers, I’m not. It’s because, whether you are religious or not, the church still has a massive amount of influence in your life particularly when it comes to sexual matters. I’m reading a great book at the moment called Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality by Darrel W Ray, in which Ray demonstrates that even the most secular countries’ cultures and laws are still guided by one of the major religions, which has a subconscious effect on the whole populous when it comes to sexual morality. So, even if like me you’re not religious, religion still effects you.

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Someone seemingly untroubled by any old fashioned, out of date morality is British Olympian Tom Daley who came out this week as… well, nobody’s quite sure what he came out as. Suffice to say, he’s in a relationship with a man and very happy. Tom’s long been a gay pin-up so the gay press jumped on this announcement with undisguised joy, claiming their errant son back into the fold, and then realised they had been a bit premature. Here’s Pink News’ apology, for which I am awarding them a H.A.C.K. this week.

I’m rather pleased that Tom didn’t label himself as anything in his YouTube video. This, to me, represents progress. How many times have we all said that we wish we didn’t have to come out, that coming out should be a thing of the past, and that the world should just accept you as who you are – gay, straight, whatever? By not attaching a label to himself, Tom has done exactly that. He’s said, I’m in a relationship, it’s great, and my partner of the moment is male.

Tom’s young. He was born in 1994. He was three when Ellen Degeneres came out. In his lifetime, in his country, it has been okay to be gay. He doesn’t have the hang ups about being gay that generations before him had.  Maybe things are moving on. Maybe this is how those in the public eye will now make announcements about their personal lives. So, let’s stop speculating about what this announcement makes him and just be happy for the guy.

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Whether it is Duncan advocating for gay marriage or Tom being open about his relationship, I feel very positive about the healthy attitude of the next generation and their ability to put people like Julia Gasper in their place this week. We hear so much about the use of the word “gay” as an insult in school playgrounds and the struggle to educate young people about the detrimental effects of bullying and homophobia, it is great to hear stories about young people who “get it”, are doing something about it and, in Duncan and Tom’s case, doing it better than many people who’ve been at this gay rights business for a lot more years than them!

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