Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Politics of Grief: On the Orlando LGBTQIAphobic attack: What should bloggers do next?

"I would rather be a rebel than a slave" Emmeline Pankhurst

In many ways the atrocity committed in Orlando has made the LGBTQIA community and our allies realise just how far we need to go to spread awareness and to try and educate those who wish to cause us actual bodily and emotional harm both domestically and abroad. It would be naïve to automatically contend that we can change the mindset of all members of a creed or belief community that has an engrained negative attitude towards homosexuality. The mahoosive outpouring of condolences, prayers and a plethora of Love hashtags on Twitter is certainly welcome, and I endorse emphatically any attempt for LGBTQIA members to improve their own self confidence by showing others how they are enjoying life and trying to live an authentic existence; something I've advocated throughout my life having been a follower of Sartrean existentialism. As the great man Jean Paul Sartre himself once said, "Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

However these sorts of actions generally appeal to "the converted"; it is not enough for us to take defiant selfies, light candles, and play "It's Raining Men" on repeat and expect everything to be alright for us a few months down the line! These actions are meaningless if they do not try and help change the mindset of the haters, whatever their creed, religion or individual prejudices. It's like saying that Hitler would have stopped his personal vendetta, the Holocaust just because he saw a range of lovely portraits of Viennese socialites, and a bunch of cringeworthily upbeat comments and likes from the top Jewish businessmen of the day in his In tray.

That does not mean we can't convince those communities to abstain from attacking the LGBTQIA in any sustained, prejudicial and discriminatory way. We bloggers and particularly LGBTQIA bloggers have to help challenge all examples of ideology frameworks that are behind such attacks.

Here's a few suggestions as to how we can do it:
  • We can do make sure we inform our followers about hate crimes, using statistics and cases to make it easier for them to connote instances that have happened to instances that may be happening in their own life situations. Contacting local law firms or the police is a good starting point on this and it's something I shall be doing myself as I continue to find out more about hate crime in my local area in Lincolnshire, England.
  • We can also promote awareness of the LGBTQIA lifestyle in religious communities and emphasise what makes us similar as well as what makes us different from their “mainstream” society. Gay clubs and bars should not be places to be feared; indeed it may be a great idea to try and get religious leaders to enter a gay club to see how normal a building it looks! It may be quite a different matter to get them to attend an event but if I'm a great believer in the old "don't ask don't get" maxim; if you don't ask, you'll never know how positive a response might be!
  • We can and indeed need to assist in promoting equal rights and opportunity principles in the education system, to let all children know that it is their (God given) right to be an individual. We need more than gay, lesbian and bi teachers in the classroom; we need LGBTQIA issues to be taught in  national curricula around the world. I never knew that there were lesbian and gay people who helped the miners in their struggle to stop the closure of coal pits in the 1980s until I saw the film "Pride". It was a very empowering experience and one area of LGBTQIA history that should definitely be taught at secondary school level in the UK, whether it be in History lessons or PSHME lessons or even RE lessons. Bloggers can help create materials that can be used in local classrooms to help teachers to engage and inform students without patronising or denigrating their initial beliefs. The experience would be rewarding for all parties concerned believe me!
  • Finally we need to help everyone realise that they don't have to blindly follow a theological doctrine or creed without questioning its validity. It doesn't matter what age they are, what sexuality or gender, nationality or ethnicity; they need to know that they have the choice to follow a peaceful, constructive creed or doctrine over those that call for wars and genocides that apparently serve to appease their “deities” but only end up in ludicrous, useless self-sacrifice that benefits no-one.
Christian hermeneutics shows us that we can interpret Biblical verses differently and it's the same with any established religion. No religion should be immune from intensive, methodical interrogation and scrutiny. It also has to be the case with any creed or belief or way of life, including my own. That's why I believe it is essential that I understand exactly which verses are being used to empower those who wish to cause harm to the LGTQIA community, feminists, Jedisexuals, whoever come to think of it! That's why I was so interested in Religious Studies at school and studied it with such fervor, and then went on to study Philosophy at the University of York. I even studied an atheist and agnostic module which challenged my Lutheran Protestant beliefs and made me think how to make sense of those who have no belief in a divine entity. I learnt that words are more powerful weapons than guns or nuclear bombs can ever be when it comes to challenging and defeating ideologies. That's why we must continue to fight with rhetorical dexterity and sheer might, even if it may seem futile and makes us furious at the best of times.

It's easy to find analyses or even quotations online that help haters to rationalise their bile and to indoctrinate others to help their cause. There's no excuse for CJWs to say they can't deal with reading these articles in a rational and methodical way. They should be pleased to find the loopholes needed to defeat the hate narratives used by ISIS and other hate organisations on Twitter and Facebook.
 
In fact here's an example of such an article that needs to be read in earnest which deals with the varying attitudes to homosexuality in Islam :


If CJWs are in doubt as to how to interpret such articles, there's no reason why they can't go to their local mosque and ask for the Imam's advice, or if they feel too inhibited to do this in person, reach out to the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who use social media to communicate every day, many of them in a peaceful and law abiding manner. If they can't be bothered to do this, it shows a whole new level of moronic stupidity but then if CJWs are advocating for every LGBTQIA person to carry a gun for their own protection so they can be justified to use it at will whenever they feel threatened, that really is a whole new level of stupid!

I still don't understand why the USA has such a fascination with guns and probably never will. If I was Hillary Clinton I'd just advocate to scrap the Second Amendment; in the UK we don't have a constitution so it'd be relatively easy to achieve this result. All I hope is that it won't be long before other senior politicians will follow Hillary's line on banning assault weapons!
 
A Final Thought:
 
Hateful attitudes don't just exist within one particular faith, and it is wrong to demonise a whole religious group for the actions of one individual, even if most of them share his general distaste for the LGBTQIA way of life. If you don't know what I mean by that, take a look at the Book of Mormon. Shooting bullets through thin air won't destroy the think bubbles associated with ideology. A person may die but their ideology will live on. Unless you're prepared to exterminate a whole populous. Then that makes you no better than that hypocrite Hitler who thought he could do the very same thing and get away with it. "The pen is mightier than the sword" after all?