The Straights Are Coming! by Paul Featherstone

This week, “12 Years A Slave” led the way in the Oscars nominations- which is somewhat appropriate as white, Christian men looked to corral another minority group into virtual slavery. I say a minority group, but really gays, homosexuals or label them as you will, are all around us. They are only minority groups in areas where they are not common place, such as the past.

The mounting and offensive nature in which the gay community is treat within not only the press, but also the wider global community is verging on the great offenses of our generation.

We stand here, as we revel in the idea of a black man as a US President and the sainthood of Nelson Mandela, as something of a great indicator of how far we have we have come as a human race. In truth, we pat ourselves on the back and turn a blind eye to what is not only in danger of becoming something of a social holocaust, we are so far back in the stone ages it is frightening.

If we are still of the belief that someone’s sexuality is their choice rather pure genetics, circumstance or fate (such as their colour or nation), we continue to enslave the people of our world in a way that is so far beyond their control, we are condemning them to the shadows at birth.

Yet, it shames me, as it does you, that is about where we stand today. Look towards the current rhetoric in society towards the gay community and tell me that if it was towards a race, there would not be the pumping of fists to resolve it?

In a short amount of time we have had-

* the blaming of the recent UK floods on gays and gay marriage

*Putin equating gays to predatory paedophiles in Russia

*the idea that gay lifestyle is linked to smoking

*Jeremy Clarkson happily tweeting a photo of him asleep with “Gay Cunt” and an arrow next to his head

and on and on…..

Yet none of it ever reported as horrific by the press, just a case of “Look at what they gone and said!”.

Clarkson himself, in his own afterbirth-of-Thatcher kind of way, semi-apologised for being asleep when the photo was taken. He of course missed the point- being that he had made the photo somewhat acceptable by releasing it to his followers. In the infantile world that he inhabits, in which he is surrounded by prepubescent over-achievers such as Richard Hammond, it is fine to use such a phrase as an affront. To be a gay is to be something of ridicule, certainly to a man like Clarkson.

One has to wonder if someone had written on his forehead “Big Lipped Fucking Nigger”, as he had slumbered, if he would have been so eager to tweet it?

I bet my choice to not asterisk the last sentence shocked you in a way didn’t it? “If he is such an advocate of censorship, why use the N-word in such a casual manner?”. Did anyone bat an eyelid at the full use of “Gay Cunt” though? Very few, I fear to tread. Maybe, none. Certainly more about the good old C-word.

Should that not be as offensive a phrase as any in the English language?

Now, lets confess shall we? We have all used homosexuality as a slur. Many as younger, less educated people. That is why Football is so straight- they are all still in school, scared to come out, for fear of ridicule. I would like to think that my offense at homophobia comes with getting older, having more gay friends but really, society just grew up. I’d always held my views on the gay community, it was just okay to say them out loud without being labelled gay and beaten in the street for it. I was a coward.

If I had waited just a few years for that voice, imagine the agony of being gay? Now imagine the slow decline of that still muted voice being muffled by the hands of those in society that have no real justification for their cause?

I respect religion. I often wish I had it’s comfort to support me through the times that defy logic in this world, but as doctrines that have elements that abuse children, women and human rights as common practice continue to point the finger at the gay community, they cannot expect legitimacy in my eyes.

I could defend homosexuality by pointing out the various ills of the religious community, but that would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Instead, let us end with the simple idea that we not be judged by anyone on this earth but the one’s in the heavens. If we are truly to be judged by them for our time on this earth, should we not be judged on the pureness of our souls?

If that truly is the case, then every gay person I know has the given right to pass unhindered into a peaceful afterlife (should it exist). None of them are perfect, nor do any of them get a free pass for their choice of bedfellow. They have faults and qualities upon which I judge them as human beings and as to how close, if at all, I involve them in my life.

Isn’t it time that we, as a collective society, chose to define people by how they treat their fellow man and the kindness of their heart, rather than the adult they choose to give their soul to?

I get married in under two months to the person I love the most in the world. I chose her without a seconds thought and with a determination unknown in my life, as did she. We are adults and we are fully aware of the huge choice we are undertaking. If that is not a basic human right and something we do not deserve to be nailed to a post for, then what is?

We cannot hail the strenuous work of the likes of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, JFK and Lincoln as they battled to redeem one element of society, whilst we refuse to learn from the lessons of history against another.

Society cannot bathe in the past waters of its river, as it continues to wash such murky waves over the face of itself in the present.

Paul FeatherstonePaul Featherstone is 32 years old and lives in Hull. Most people call him “Fev.” He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of football and music and uses the word “c*nt” far too much in everyday conversation. He spends a lot of his time blagging his way into celebrity parties. He is to be commended for once meeting Jo Whiley and refraining from beating her to death with a big stick. You can read more of his vitirolic comments on http://twitter.com/FevTheRevoff

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Sexessive Behaviour by Kelly Brown

I hate sexism. It’s still a very real problem in society, one that needs to be dealt with head on. But if there’s one thing I hate more, it’s the people who claim EVERYTHING is sexism. You see them out there, picking everyone’s behaviour to bits like some kind of radioactive-hyper-feminists. It drives me mad. Everything is not sexism, and not all men are sexist. Some women are also sexist…probably more than you think.

I work with the public on a daily basis, I speak to an awful lot of people, from all different backgrounds. Most people are nice, some are indifferent, a few are arseholes. Of these unfortunate few (unfortunate for the rest of us, anyway) what you really need to remember is that these people are not arseholes because they are sexist, they are sexist because they are arseholes. Just as many women have the potential for acting like utter c*nts as the men do. Proportionally it’s a fairly even split.

Inverse sexism is often the worst, because nobody seems to see anything wrong with it. As an example I posted something on my facebook wall, detailing a situation that happens fairly frequently in my line of work. It goes something like this:

*man and woman walk into shop*
Woman: “I’ll take this please” (hands me bag/dress/t-shirt)
Me: (rings it through the till) “that’ll be £24.99 please”
Woman: *looks at man with big moony eyes*
Man: *sighs* *gets out wallet*

Eleven people liked that post (which is a lot for me). Ten of them were women. TEN. They’d missed the point entirely – I posted it because I was getting a bit annoyed, they just thought it was funny.
And THAT’S the point. Why is this deemed acceptable, even expected behaviour?
It manages to both put the woman in a position of power and dependency, while reinforcing the typical male stereotype as provider AND making him look the ‘under the thumb’ (another classic stereotype). Brilliant. Well done girls. Free stereotypes all round! Let’s all eat chocolate and giggle about how guys can’t empathise.
Joking aside though, this kind of thing sets a real double standard, and I for one silently despair every time I’m faced with it.

Accusing people (well, men. Obviously) of sexism all the time is very damaging too. Bias is very easily projected on to others if you are actively seeking it out. There is a major difference between mentioning that someone happens to be female, and acting negatively toward them BECAUSE they are female. Doesn’t everyone know this already? I know this. I am female. I know of at least one guy who became disheartened with his whole career after being accused of a sexist remark. That should never have happened, yet the atmosphere of distrust caused by these so-called ‘equal rights’ activists is such that if you happen to be male, everything you do will be subject to this kind of scrutiny. That doesn’t seem very equal to me.

Apparently Steven Moffat is a sexist because Amy can’t have kids (no…it’s the ONLY thing that could have caused her and Rory to split. They could have made him have the problems, I guess, but it would have been harder to work into the storyline, and I still don’t think he would ever have left her). I have never at any point felt degraded watching Doctor Who, but there are women out there that inexplicably do. Maybe he is a big misogynist in real life, but it doesn’t come across in the shows. Unless you look really, reeeally hard.

It’s all about intent. Holding a door open for someone is not sexist. It’s polite. I hold doors open for people all the time; sometimes I get thanked, sometimes I get ignored, but I’ve never once been accused of being sexist. Or racist. Or any other -ist. So why, when a guy does it, does that suddenly become a feminist issue?

I remember one incident with a male friend of mine, a fair few years back. We were walking back from somewhere after a night out, and I was lagging behind due to a wholly inappropriate choice of footwear. There was a bit of ribbing going on because of this, when some absolute stranger decided the best thing to do was to interfere with this interaction, and started berating my mate for ‘being sexist’ and ‘unchivalrous’. I tried to explain that I was, in fact, having fun, but he was having none of it. He was on leave from the army, he said, and believed that women should be treated with more courtesy. My mate’s response was to turn around, throw me over his shoulder, and carry on walking. The look on the guy’s face was priceless.

And isn’t that the crux of it? I don’t want be put on a pedestal. Do my male friends treat me differently because I’m a girl? Occasionally, yes. Because I am. They also treat me differently because they know what music I’m into, that I’m a big science nerd, and that I tend to overthink things a lot. Do they treat me negatively because of any of this? No.

Real prejudice exists in plenty of forms, and any unfounded prejudice is just plain wrong. But the idea that we are all perfectly equal is wrong too, or at best misguided. I’m probably not much like you…or him…or her. So why should we expect to be treated the same as everyone else? The true key to equality is to accept that everyone is different, we all have strengths and weaknesses, we are, each of us, unique and wonderful, and this diversity should be celebrated. The sooner we all look around and realise it, the sooner we can create a better, kinder world.

kellyKelly Brown is never-you-mind years old and lives in a different city every couple of years. Since her late teens she has changed her hair colour an astonishing fourty-seven times. She likes all things to do with space and spaceships and this was before Brian Cox got on the telly.