Homophobia still seen as a 'respectable prejudice' ?

Angelique Chrisafis in the Guardian today takes a look at the increasing levels of violence and harassment faced by members of the Gay and Lesbian community in Northern Ireland. An estimated five homophobic murders in the past six years and homophobic incidents increased by 300% in the past year in Derry, “now dubbed the “gay bashing capital” of Northern Ireland.” Gays and lesbians under siege as violence and harassment soar in Northern Ireland .

The article looks at some examples across the province ranging from spur of the moment to persistant and planned attacks, with mass cards being sent in some cases and evidence of paramilitary involvement.

One reason for the rise in the number of recorded homophobic attacks is the gay community’s growing confidence in reporting abuse to the police. Community groups and police are working to increase this. But campaigners also say attacks are becoming more common and brutal.

The gay scene is growing. Belfast’s Gay Pride march is in its 15th year and every summer it files politely past the religious protesters with their megaphones.

But parliament’s Northern Ireland affairs committee has warned that if the government and police do not improve their handling of the “rising tide” of homophobic, racist and sectarian attacks in the province, “hate crime may spiral out of control with extremely serious consequences for the pace of social improvement”.

Police clearance rates for homophobic crime stand at 22.5%, which the committee of MPs found “unacceptably low”.

James Knox of Belfast’s Coalition on Sexual Orientation said the violence was a product of the post-Troubles society. “The Catholic-Protestant situation is starting to minimise and people are just looking for another excuse to have a go at somebody else,” he said. “Ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians are easy targets.”

It looks like the silver lining of the reduction of troubles-linked violence has a cloud attached to it. And sadly I suspect that many of our politicians who complain about attitudes which led to campaigns such as “Save Ulster from Sodomy” are not terribly interested in the welfare of our gay fellow Irishmen and Irishwomen.

221 thoughts on “Homophobia still seen as a 'respectable prejudice' ?”

  1. Dr Snuggles
    Initially I was agreeing with a lot of your points, however, your condescending remarks over garrets poor grammar, greatly subtract from your argument.
    Maybe the fella isnt a great typist, I know I’m not, Worse still, I dont care that I’m not.

    Sol

  2. Dr Snuggles

    I did say: “If people could choose their sexuality then nobody would choose gay”

    However I am not so sure this is quite right. Maybe some people would choose gay, for instance those who thought that lifestyle offered a lot to them. There are good aspects to a gay lifestyle. The real point I want to make here is that I think its a pity its not a choice, since I suspect a lot of people would like to be able to choose.

    As for technologies – I have no idea!

  3. “Initially I was agreeing with a lot of your points, however, your condescending remarks over garrets poor grammar, greatly subtract from your argument.”

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I was attempting to use a bit of humour to counter what I felt was a deeply offensive argument.

    It’s a pity you feel that you can stop agreeing with my points because I used a bit of sarcasm to expose somebody’s argument as facile and offensive.

    For the record, I do not care whether somebody’s spelling or grammar (or typing skills) are perfect or not. My typing’s awful. Maybe parents will one day be able to choose children with good typing skills. This would give them significant advantages bla bla bla (That’s a joke again, btw).

  4. “makes it difficult to agree with”

    I’ve explained my use of humour to counter an offensive and bigoted viewpoint. I’m sorry if you feel you can no longer agree with me because I made a joke.

    Perhaps you feel it is less “difficult” to agree with garret’s views on all of this.

    If not, it’s very telling that you don’t say so, and instead choose to zero in on my admittedly caustic sarky comments as worthy of criticism.

  5. Sols point is right – one can often turn people off by taling about how bad their sentences are and so forth. In a debate – the points at hand are key and moving on to talk about sentence construction will always be a distraction. At least, thats how I see it.

  6. Generally if you start to talk about the person rather than his/her arguments then that is a negative sign.

  7. “Maybe some people would choose gay, for instance those who thought that lifestyle offered a lot to them. There are good aspects to a gay lifestyle. The real point I want to make here is that I think its a pity its not a choice, since I suspect a lot of people would like to be able to choose.”

    I appreciate the change from “nobody would choose gay”. But I still believe that the whole idea that that choice would be good is distasteful, at best. I could perhaps understand it if we were talking about poor eyesight, congenital disease, or some other disorder. I don’t accept that sexual orientation is a disorder, or worthy of spending any money on attempting to “correct”.

    For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for my comments on “stringing a sentence together”. I’ve re-read those comments and they were cheap.

  8. Mind you, evading the argument by running for the high ground after being subjected to a bit of sarcasm is just a bit rich.

    Garret’s contribution to which I initally responded with a joke was:

    “If homosexuals were given the choice to convert then I would recommend they all do.”

    That, to me, was crying out for a sarcastic response. With hindsight, I regret responding to it at all.

    Those and other comments are also a deeply hurtful personal attack on my integrity and identity. I wonder why Sol or others didn’t feel that that was worthy of comment…

  9. “Generally if you start to talk about the person rather than his/her arguments then that is a negative sign”

    Garret, you have done little else other than talk about “the person”. You have said the following:

    • “They should be allowed treatment as and when technological advance makes such treatment available”

    • “If people could choose their sexuality then nobody would choose gay as there are no advantages”

    • “People should have the option of choosing their own or their childs sexual orientation”

    Those are all exceptionally offensive personal attacks on me (and all other gay people, and their parents). Is it any wonder I was goaded into sarcasm? I am still amazed that that sarcasm is deemed more worthy of comment than the above.

    For the record, I know of at least two parents – mine – who would not go back in time and change my sexuality. They understand that to do so would be to dispose of the son they love and replace him. They understand that sexuality is more than just what happens in the bedroom, and that happiness is predicated on more than choice of partners or the ability to bear children.

  10. It seems you took them personally but they are not intended as personal on my part, certainly they are not what I recognize as ad hominem comments.

    As for whether you would now change your sexuality it seems you are happy as you are – that is good and you are lucky to be happy.

    But you believe in denying the choice of others to change if it were possible for them to do so.

  11. “But you believe in denying the choice of others to change if it were possible for them to do so.”

    That’s nonsense and I suspect you know it. No such choice exists. You have admitted yourself that you have “no idea” how this “change” would be made. How am I “denying” a choice that does not exist?

    How do you propose to make the choice possible?

    Once again, let me quote the American Psychological Society:

    “Medical and mental health professionals also now know that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be altered. Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.”

    If you cannot tell us how you would offer the opportunity to “change”, which you “recommend”, then what on earth are you talking about?

  12. I am only talking about whether a world in which such a choice would be possible would be better than one in which it is not. I am sure that if the choice were possible then it should be made available.

    You said:

    “But I still believe that the whole idea that that choice would be good is distasteful, at best. I could perhaps understand it if we were talking about poor eyesight, congenital disease, or some other disorder. I don’t accept that sexual orientation is a disorder, or worthy of spending any money on attempting to “correct”.”

    That is why I concluded:

    “But you believe in denying the choice of others to change if it were possible for them to do so.”

  13. I am only talking about whether a world in which such a choice would be possible would be better than one in which it is not.

    I totally and utterly disagree. Why you believe such a world would be better, I cannot fathom.

    As I have already pointed out, you could equally argue that parents should be able to select the skin colour of their children. You can’t seriously think that that would be “better”.

    Your vision of a world where people can select the genetic characteristics of their children is frightening. Should parents be able to select the gender of their children on demand as well?

    Once again, how do you propose that we get to a point where this change is possible? Are you happy for your tax money to go into research for a way to “straighten” gay people?

  14. Dr Snuggles, if you don’t mind I think I will leave the discussion there. I think that we have got to a point where it would start to get repeatitive and I don’t want to do that or say anything more, other than to thank you for the discourse.

  15. OK Garret, thanks to you too. I agree that we are going round in circles somewhat now.

    I don’t think we’ll ever agree on this specific issue, but we certainly have much more in common than not. If you were here, I’d like to shake your hand and buy you a pint (if you touch the stuff, that is).

    Cheers.

  16. Dr Snuggles,

    I guess that, by the current definition of homophobia, God and the Apostle Paul are homophobes, par excellence. (Romans 1.18-32).

  17. 6countyprod,

    The meaning of the passage you cite hinges on the translation of the word “arsenokoitai”.

    There is no reason to retain the understanding of “arsenokoitai” as referring to male homosexuals in general. First of all, there is a significant doubt that Paul would have known of a term for “homosexual,” in our contemporary usage. No other ancient language had such a term, and the earliest Greek writers used a wide variety of constructions to render a
    similar idea.

    It might be argued that Paul was only concerned with a particular sexual behavior. There is no evidence that Paul condemned anal intercourse between men and women or between men, or that he saw physical affection between males as something to be avoided.

    Reading arsenokoitai as “homosexuals” is an example of eisegesis. Homophobes who want to find condemnations of homosexuals in the Bible are capable of reading their prejudice into any given passage, just as their predecessors were capable of finding abundant encouragement for anti-Semitism and racism in the Bible.

    Do we now read the “mark of Cain” as black skin, as many American preachers in the past did?

    1 Peter 2:18 says “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” What’s your position on slavery, 6countyprod?

  18. isn’t it amazing how everyone reads the bible differently and accepts all of its contradictions and then tries to add others.

    The only thing of worth in the bible is the same message that exists in the Koran and in Hindu and Buddhist teaching: respect for self and respect for others.

    This applies to everyone no matter what sexual orientation, colour of skin, and even vegetarians (boo!).

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