Tuesday 30 July 2013

Thanks, Your Holiness..?

The Pope says he's cool with homosexuality. Not with anyone actually doing anything about being gay, all that icky holding hands and kissing and such, but with them having those thoughts, urges, and presumably loves. By implication, also a whole load of loves, thoughts, urges of bi people too: the pronouncements of most religous organisations on sexuality tend to be deludedly black-and-white.

It's not magnificent. Compared to where the Catholic Church was a week ago, it is a welcome improvement, but for compairson I think it only takes us to something like where the Anglicans were about two decades ago: love the sinner, hate the sin. Two decades down the line, that's still Condemn The Marriage.

Now, I'm not at all convinced that there is any sin involved, even if we were to take their movement's texts as some kind of authority, which I suppose as Pope or Archbishop you probably are expected to do. But hey, it's less sinful. If you fall in love with someone of the same sex for the first time today, congratulations: you just dodged an afterlife bullet.

It could be a good sign. The new Pope may be about to reveal progressive tendencies over a period of a few years, dragging Catholicism all the way forwards into the... I dunno, 1950s, 60s at a push. Like David Cameron trying to persuade the Conservatives of the benefits of living in the same century as the electorate, even a fiercely modernising Pope would be trying to turn around an oil tanker of conservatism and reactionary values. Maybe he's going to turn out to be a good religious leader for humanity: today he's at the "hug a huskie" stage where it is too soon to say.

Perhaps I'm seeing too much cause for optimism, as also it reminds me a little of how, about 20 years ago, a previous pontiff suddenly declared that masturbation was now OK by his god. It's progress and hope for the future, but it is a Pope merely playing catch-up with most of the faithful and not giving actual leadership.

But let's enjoy a rare moment of hope in the pontiff, even if we can't have faith.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Local Radio with a dash of purple

My local community radio station, ALL FM, had me in for an interview for half an hour or so earlier this month.  It's up as a podcasty thing to listen to, here's the ALL OUT webpage.

As well as chatting about local bi social & support group BiPhoria and assorted bi issues - from whether people who identify as bi and then go on to identify as gay or straight is a good thing to the history of "no bisexuals" door policies at Manchester gay venues - I got to pick some definitely-not-desert-island-discs favourite tunes to play. 

We ran out of time before getting them all in, which is probably good as it means I wasn't being so incoherent as to have the presenters put records on to shut me up!  It was a little bit exciting being the DJ introducing a couple of tunes though.

For what it's worth my playlist was:

Neneh Cherry: Buffalo Stance
Ani DiFranco: In Or Out
Pet Shop Boys: Being Boring
Throwing Muses: Not Too Soon
Beats International: Dub Be Good To Me

Monday 1 July 2013

"But he's a TORY!"

There's been a little media splash in the UK as we gained our third* bisexual MP (although one of the three has left Parliament) this weekend.  Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury, had  left his wife about two years ago and now decided to go public about his new male partner and not being a heterosexual.

The media have been relatively calm - he wasn't especially high profile like a government minister or what have you, which probably helped, and appears to have come out of his own volition rather than having been embarrassed out by some incident or other.  The Daily Mail misreported him as the first bi MP, and shoddy journalism repeated this unchallenged in a few other places*: a lie is still halfway round the world before the truth has its boots on.

I've picked up a few gruntles from the disgruntled about him being a Conservative MP. The Tories have - ahem - not in the past been terribly good on bi (and indeed LGBT) issues. Over the last few decades on gay and lesbian matters the Liberals led and Labour trotted along reasonably close behind while the Tories were starkly opposed; while on bi and trans matters Labour too have been very poor. How can one of us be one of them comes the cry?

But you know, I want there to be openly bi Tories. It's good for us all. The thing is, I want my sexuality to not be a party political plaything: I want to know that whoever wins the next election will broadly agree that I shouldn't be treated any the worse in employment, the media, healthcare or whatever merely by accident of my sexual orientation.  Yes, aware queer voters might look back at who had been their friend when it cost rather than won votes, but the question of who wins should not be loaded with the fear of a new Section 28 or what have you.

Sure they'll couch it in terms that suit their ideology: Tories that we should be free to be any sexuality the market can sustain, Labour that we should be able to be whatever sexuality our state records have us filed under, and the Liberals that we can call ourselves whatever we like as long as we keep the noise down because the neighbours are trying to sleep.  But getting to the point where being a bisexual MP of any stripe is no bar to progress in public life would be a grand thing.  We're still not there, it's still of note and debate that an MP has come out as bi to a degree that would probably no longer be the case if he were gay, but slowly and surely we are getting there.

* Depending on where you start counting. There's that peculiar Michael Fabricant claim, for instance...
* The BBC and the Mirror at least