Now Playing Tracks

In a recent BBC report on homosexual Muslims in the UK, one interviewee described an experience she had at a gay pride rally. She says, “‘There was an occasion at gay pride once where one of the marchers turned around and quite crudely said, ‘we didn’t know pride was allowing suicide bombers on the march’ –– it was really shocking to hear it from a fellow gay marcher.” The intersection of an affirmative declaration of gay and Muslim identifications runs into the ascriptive identification of all Muslims as terrorists.
Hussein Rashid, The Name Game: Understanding Tensions in Identity and Muslim Homosexuality, in Muslim LGBT Inclusion Project (via ace-muslim)

Unchallenged by craven Labour, Britain slides towards ever more selfishness


George Monbiot explains the global shift towards conservatism, and why the Left should stop chasing the ‘Centre’.

"Any political movement that fails to understand two basic psychological traits will, before long, fizzle out. The first is shifting baseline syndrome. Coined by the biologist Daniel Pauly, it originally described our relationship to ecosystems, but it’s just as relevant to politics. We perceive the circumstances of our youth as normal and unexceptional, however sparse or cruel they may be. By this means, over generations we adjust to almost any degree of deprivation or oppression, imagining it to be natural and immutable.

The second is the values ratchet (also known as policy feedback). If, for example, your country has a public health system that ensures that everyone who needs treatment receives it, without payment, it helps instil the belief that it is normal to care for strangers, and abnormal and wrong to neglect them. If you live in a country where people are left to die, this embeds the idea that you have no responsibility towards the poor and weak. The existence of these traits is supported by a vast body of experimental and observational research, of which Labour and the US Democrats appear determined to know nothing…”

Saving the world should be based on promise, not fear - George Monbiot


An important point.  Language and emphasis matters.

"We’ve tended to assume people are more selfish than they really are. Surveys across 60 countries show that most people consistently hold concern for others, tolerance, kindness and thinking for themselves to be more important than wealth, image and power. But those whose voices are loudest belong to a small minority with the opposite set of values. And often, idiotically, we have sought to appease them.”



Book Burning Memorial

'In the center of Bebelplatz, a glass window showing rows and rows of empty bookshelves. The memorial commemorates the night in 1933 when 20,000 “anti-German” books were burned here under the instigation of Goebbels. There's a plaque nearby that says something like “Where they burn books, they will also burn humans in the end.” '

Interesting but rarely mentioned: most of the content burned that night came from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (institute for the science of sex) headed by Magnus Hirschfeld. The institute and Hirshfeld himself were some of the first to openly campaign for the right to have sex with someone of the same gender, the right to transition if you did not identify with your birth sex and for the general acceptance of queer people. The team had already performed the first SRS operations in Germany and in addition, the institute advocated sex education, contraception, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and women’s emancipation.
Photographs of the night of the book burning are plastered across history books world wide, but the queer movement that was destroyed that night often goes unmentioned.

(Source: Flickr / kca)


Something awesome recently happened in Istanbul, Turkey. As a city with many hills, Istanbul is home to lots of long staircases that intersect its centuries-old neighbourhoods, enabling pedestrians to avoid streets filled with heavy car traffic.

Last week Huseyin Cetinel, a retired forestry engineer, decided to paint the stairs connecting the neighbourhoods of Findikli and Cihangir all the colors of the rainbow.

"He told the local news media that his original motivation for applying a fresh coat of paint to the stairs was not activism, but the desire “to make people smile.” Mr. Cetinel said he spent nearly $800 on paint and devoted four days to sprucing up the stairs, with help from his son-in-law.”

Public reaction to the colourful stairs was overwhelmingly positive. People turned out in droves to pose for photos on the cheerful staircase. Some decided it was a gesture of support and call for equal rights for the city’s LGBTQ community.

But then sometime strange happened. Just a few days after Huseyin finished beautifying the staircase, residents woke up to discover that overnight the city had hastily re-painted the rainbow steps a dull, disheartening gray. The gray cover-up was so secret and sudden that locals took it very personally. It was interpreted as “a sign of intolerance and a lack of respect for their right to claim public space.”

Speaking to Turkish television reporters after the stairs were painted over, Mr. Cetinel pointed out that all of nature — “cats, birds, flowers, mountains” — is brightly colored. “Where does this gray come from?” he asked. “Did we have another Pompeii and got flooded with ash?”

What happened next is what’s really awesome. Residents began to organize with each other via twitter and soon, not only were Huseyin Cetinel’s stairs returned to their rainbow glory, but - as a sign of solidarity - entirely different stairways all over the city, and eventually in other Turkish cities as well, were painted too.

Click here to view more photos of Istanbul’s new rainbow staircases.

[via Street Art Utopia and The New York Times]


Elton John stood up for LGBT folks at a concert in Russia last night, calling the country’s anti-gay laws inhumane and explaining why he visited in spite of its increasingly homophobic climate. He dedicated his performance to a 23-year-old gay Russian who was murdered earlier this year after coming out. Madonna and Lady Gaga were each fined last year for making similar statements in Russia; we’ll see if the government dares to go after Elton, too. (via The Advocate)

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union