Russia and Gay Marriage – Putin’s reasons

According to a new biography, ‘Cameron at 10’, Prime minister David Cameron and Vladimir Putin had a ‘candid’ discussion on gay rights late at night during a G20 meeting in 2013. According to the biography, it was more of a ‘bickerfest’ rather than a discussion.

Putin stated that should gay people be allowed to marry in Russia, the percentage of children in the country would reduce drastically, and there wouldn’t be enough children to support Russia in the future. Well…

  1. Has he never met a gay/lesbian couple and their never ending quest to have children? Being gay doesn’t generally remove your desire to have children. So this is kind of an invalid argument.
  2. Considering the number of children in orphanages (who are treated pretty badly according to research), maybe less children may be a good idea? So that they’re not just abandoned at a random orphanage. or…even better….
  3. Gay people could adopt children in orphanages. Now wouldn’t that be fantastic? Couple gets child, child gets a loving family? No? ok. I did some research, and reality is that Russia won’t let gay couples from abroad adopt Russian children. According to a newspaper article, when Malta (a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea which adopts a lot of Russian children) was discussing civil unions [which is now legal there], Russia threatened Malta that should the law pass, they would no longer let Maltese people adopt Russian children. So not only are they ‘punishing’ gay people for …. being gay, they are also punishing and neglecting babies from a loving family.

Needless to say, I find Putin’s excuse (should this be the real reason, which I doubt) empty. And like I said, it’s probably not even the real reason, if it is, then he didn’t really put much thought into it. Which I guess is even worse.

Religion and Homosexuality

Currently, the main religions of the world (I’m going with Christianity, Judaism and Islam), see homosexuality, and homosexual ‘acts’ as a sin. Each religion has its own way of punishing these ‘sinners’, but the most annoying thing is that people feel that their religion is justification for hurting someone else, regardless of if they are of the same faith.

And even if you are of the same faith, how can that allow you to treat someone else as a lesser human being? Or justify you hurting them?

I’ve studied up on various religions and philosophies, and from what I gathered, the main thing about ‘god’ or let’s just say ‘higher power’ is that this being loves all humans equally and without discrimination. So in that case, how can this higher being then be ok with the way homosexuals are treated?

In all honesty, if you are homosexual and you’re religious too, then embrace it. You are one of the few people who actually understand that your god/higher power does not hate you for being in love. Higher powers will never discriminate against love between two consenting adults.

So if higher powers don’t discriminate against it, why should we? 

What is identity?

Simply put, your identity is everything about you. Therefore, this comprises your sexuality, gender and gender expression. So what’s the difference between them?

Sexuality

Your sexuality involves what kind of people you are attracted to, sexually or just romantically (if you are only ever romantically attracted to someone, then you are asexual, which is a sexuality in itself). It also involves what stuff turns you on. Are you more into traditional stuff, or do you prefer to be more adventurous in that department. This is all personal, and as long as you are not harming yourself or the other person(s) then no one can tell you it’s wrong.

Gender 

This basically means what you identify as. Do you identify as male, female, non-binary, agender (no gender), bi-gender (2 genders), demi or whatever? All are legit. Once again this is private, and honestly, no one has to know your gender unless you tell them. Of course, it can be uncomfortable for people to just take a look at you and label you a gender or the other, but really, it’s up to you whether or not to tell them. Think about your safety first.

Gender Expression

This is basically how you project yourself to the world. For example, you may identify as male, but express yourself in more traditional feminine ways (such as being very sensitive and calming). You could also project yourself in the traditional way, for example, you identify as female and project your gender in traditionally feminine ways.

Other forms of gender expression can involve clothing – so wearing clothes which make you feel like you. 

For trans* and non-binary people who experience dysphoria, our gender expression can help us keep that dysphoria at bay. Because even if we are misgendered, at least with our clothing we are trying to tell the world what kind of people we are. Do we like cute things, or are we more hardcore, do we wear bright colours, or are we more nondescript. Even if you do not experience dysphoria, clothing and body language are the perfect ways to subtly express to people who you are…and if they are attentive, they will pick it up.

So with all of these things (and other stuff, like likes and dislikes etc) comprise your identity. For this reason, no one should look at one aspect of you (say your sexuality) and judge you – because it is not all that there is to you. So if someone actually does judge you because of one aspect of who you are, then they are not worth it. People should get to know your full identity first before they can make a judgement of how nice you are as a person.

Keeping my Identity

One of the joys, and also pains, of knowing open-minded people, is that when you inform those people of your gender then they are more likely to accept you. The price for this acceptance, particularly for those people who don’t understand/never knew about non-binary or genderqueer etc is that they will be asking you questions. Which you should generally answer, because lets face it, at least they’re trying to learn more. And it’s way better to learn from you, rather than from a clap-trap source online.

Recently, I made friends with someone with quite a scientific mind. This means that this person is open minded, but even logical. And as most of us know, gender is not the most logical in the world, it’s a personal experience which we present and express in our own way. But I wanted to try teach this person about gender, because in this person’s field of work, chances are they would meet someone who is gender variant.

The issue is that this person has been following stereotypes. For example, if you like pink then you’re a girl, if you like wearing dresses you’re a girl. If you enjoy ties and fast cars you’re a guy. And then this person got more complicated. This person knew of women who for example: did not like pink and enjoyed playing sports, and so concluded that possibly I was more this way.

Naturally, I explained that no, my hobbies and interests don’t affect my gender, my gender is internal. Yet, this is still something which needs to be explained further.

This got me thinking about my gender and identity. If we look at the stereotypes, women and men generally perpetuate these stereotypes, and even if say, a woman enjoys sports, there’s still something feminine about her. So I started to reevaluate myself.

I evaluated my expression, my hobbies, likes and dislikes. And yes, there are some things which are effeminate, but there are others which are masculine too. However, since I am AFAB then instead of viewing these as masculine, then they merely view it as a sign of lesbianism. Which means that till this day, people still confuse sexuality and gender. And that is not a mentality which is easy to change.

In the end, I once again reached the acceptance that I am, in fact, non binary. Despite my likes and dislikes, the way I express myself, the way I walk and speak. None of that matters, cause my core is non-binary.

The rest is just me expressing myself. 

Being Valid


  

To be honest, I’m terrible around the LGBTQ community (I’m not going to speak about the I – Intersex part of the community because I’m not intersex).


At first I always put it down as me being awkward around people. Until I realised that I could actually interact with people who were cis or non-heterosexual with ease. I could also interact with people whose gender identity or sexual orientation I was not aware of.


But put me in a room of LGBTQ people and I freeze. I feel awkward. 


Did I look up to them? after all, they were people who came out. I’m out too for the most part, but I would automatically assume that these people came out before me. So maybe I saw them as my heroes, but after spending time with them I would be able to calm down.


That never happened.


I tried joining my local LGBTQI group but I just could never interact. I didn’t contribute with my opinion on issues I could contribute on. So what was going on? 


I didn’t feel *gay* enough. I didn’t feel *queer* enough. And I feared their judgement. 


Was this way of thinking my fault, or theirs? I would say both.


It’s my fault that I feel like I’m not a valid member of the community. I need to learn that the way I feel and express myself are good ways, so long as I’m myself. I need to learn that just because I don’t identify as trans* it doesn’t mean that I’m not non-binary. 


But it’s also the community’s fault for being so aggressive. I can understand the need to fight for one’s rights, to have to justify one’s emotions because the *normal* people can’t get it. But it’s this aggressiveness which makes it so hard for someone to join that community, to say ‘here I am, in all my glory’.


It’s also the community’s fault for not fighting against the stereotypes which they themselves can perpetuate. Am I expected to look and act gay? and is there a point where I become *too* gay or queer to be accepted?


I’ve realised that I could never be part of the queer or pansexual community, and I’ve accepted that. But it’s still a very difficult thing to accept, after all, we’re all looking for our place in this world. 

Historic Gender Identity Law

How many of you know where Malta is?

It’s basically this gorgeous tiny little island under Sicily. Its constitution declares that it’s a Catholic State.

So why am I mentioning it today?

Cause yesterday Malta passed a law called the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC). This law is groundbreaking on a global scale. So what does this new legislation comprise of?

1. Transgender people no longer need to a) divorce, b) go through sterlisation/surgery or c) be diagnosed with a mental illness to change their gender and name legally on all their documents.

2. For babies born Intersex, parents can put an ‘X’ marker on the child’s birth certificate up to the age of 18! Yes! That means that Intersex people will no longer have to go through invasive surgeries and/or hormone treatments without their informed consent. So when the child is certain of their gender, then they can change their documents. AMAZING

3. Minors who are trans* can ALSO change their documents legally. Naturally, given their young age they would need to be seen by a board of experts, made up a psychiatrist, social worker etc. NOT to classify the child with a mental illness, but to make sure the child is aware of what it wants.

4. No employer can reject a trans* person from employment just because they are trans*. Everyone must be respected, and should this law be infringed then there would be a fine.

To make all this even better, Malta is working on an education policy for schools to become more accepting and understanding of diversity and for students.to become accepting of their peers, but also if they themselves feel that they may be trans*, then they would be given the needed support.

And another cool thing for us non-binary and genderqueer etc folk? Malta is working to get the X marker permanently on legal documents. That’s right. Should this succeed, Maltese people would no longer have to choose to become part of the binary! They can choose to just be listed with an X marker.

This stuff is so cool.

KUDOS MALTA!

Mind your language

This should come as no surprise, but language is a very strong tool. You can use to make someone feel great about themselves… or you can use it to break them. Most of the time, you may do the latter without even realising it.

This is especially true for people with gender identity disorder, also known as gender dysphoria.

Let’s take someone who was born biologically female and thus raised that way, but who does not identify as female. This person may identify as male, or non-binary or whatever. It doesn’t really matter at this point. The point is that that person’s gender identity does not correspond with the identity people keep trying shove down that person’s throat. [from here on I will use ‘she’ as a pronoun for simplicity’s sake]

And here I expect people to gasp and say, ‘I don’t do that!’ or ‘I’m very accepting!’ Well I’m sure you are. But say this person, for some reason or other, cannot be open about her identity. So instead, she tries to keep dysphoria at bay by dressing as androgynously as possible without people realising the truth about her gender.

So instead of binding, she cuts her hair short, she wears baggy pants and baggy shirts to cover up the curves she hates so much. And all is ok for a while. Until:

‘You would look so pretty in a dress!’

BAM! dysphoria. People are imagining her in a dress, she ends up imagining herself in a dress…and it’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and wrong.

She laughs it off and says ‘No, I prefer my pants’.

then:

‘Why don’t you wear make up?? You’d look so pretty!’

Again, dysphoria strikes back, and she wonders, why don’t I have facial hair? Why do people want me to wear make up? Isn’t the way I look enough?

then:

‘You should let your hair grow out, it would suit you more!’

She touches her shaved hair, and reminds herself why she doesn’t let it grow. Because long hair, flying in the wind makes her feel feminine, makes her look feminine.

You may be saying these things innocently. Maybe you *Care* about her, and you want her to look ‘pretty’. The thing is, you’re assuming that your view of what would make her attractive is the same as hers. Every time you ask her to wear a dress, or put on make up, you’re saying ‘you are not enough, the way you look is not something I like. Please change’.

You may not realise it, but every time you make a person feel inadequate, not only is that verbal bullying, but if it’s a trans* person then you’re basically triggering off dysphoria. Stop obsessing over these makeover shows, you have no right to dictate how a person looks.

So the question is, but how will I know if I’m going to cross the line ? Fair question. You’ll know if you pay attention. Is your friend always in pants? then assume that they’re not gonna wear a dress. If they want to wear a dress, then they will. They don’t need you to tell them.

Same with make up, same with skirts, same with contacts vs. glasses, same with hair length.

Unless the person comes to you for advice, don’t give it.