Conversion Therapy…

Conversion Therapy is essentially a pseudoscience to which a person (either medically trained or not) sets out to attempt to “cure someone” of their homosexuality. Conversion Therapy is still widespread throughout the United States and Britain, and with no pure scientific proof that these therapies “cure” homosexuality, law makers and gay rights activists are fighting for it to be outlawed as unethical and potentially harmful to a persons physical or mental well-being.

Many organisations (including religious groups) believe that homosexuality is a disease, and like any other disease, it can be cured. Fundamentalist Christian groups use religious belief over scientific study to encourage homosexuals to endure conversion therapy.

The History

There are some key people who believe that Conversion Therapy is a tried and tested method of “curing” someone of their homosexuality, including Sigmund Freud (who believed hypnotic suggestion worked), Sándor Ferenczai (who believed that a gay man was confused over his sexual orientation but did not come up with any method – only stated it may be possible in the future), Anna Freud (who published various articles on why she believed people came out as homosexual), Melanie Klein (who believed that a man can diminish his homosexuality by overcoming the “need to adore the good penis”), and Edmund Bergler (who claimed that a child who reacted violently to being weaned often became homosexual).

America has also had a massive part to play in the popularity of gay conversion therapies. Many studies were prompted by the works of those above, and often leading to producing poor experiments with less than ideal results to try and prove that conversion therapy works. Even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (published by the American Psychiatric Association) classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Many of the psychiatric establishments across the States approved the use of conversion therapy, with various techniques coming into use which attempted to cure someone of their “mental disorder” – some with obvious consequences. It was only in the late 1980’s that the APA removed homosexuality as a mental disorder – though this did not slow down the promotion or use of conversion therapies.

It was only in the late 21st century that the United States began to disprove conversion therapy, claiming that “there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed” (Satcher, 2001). Later that year, a paper published by Spitzer stated that conversion therapy could cure homosexuality in a study performed on 200 people. He redacted his paper in 2012 after apologising to the gay community. President Obama has come forward and stated that he wants an end to conversion therapies.

Continue reading Conversion Therapy…

Before I’m 30…

I’m 30 in just under three and a half years and I’ve realised that I’ve not really done that much… Yes, I did get my degree in Forensic Computing (2:i). Yes, I did get an amazing job working for one of the largest financial organisations in the UK. Yes, I did move to Leeds without a job or any money and made something from it (thanks Layna 💖 for putting up with my broke ass for 3 months…). But that’s pretty much something that the average university graduate does when they leave university. Granted I didn’t exactly have it easy while at university, yet still made it through, so I guess that’s something to write home about.

As 30 is approaching faster than ever (remember when those 6 week school holidays felt like a week, that’s what being 26 has been like so far) I feel that I need to achieve something more, something significant, something I can write home to my mother about and tell her that I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I think one of the best ways to do that is with a bucket list, and not one of those stupid bucket lists (“Things to do before you die”); something that’s realistic, achievable, and rewarding.

  • Whistle Stop Tour of Europe – One thing that I have wanted to do as long as I can remember is to visit every European country at least once. Now doing this before I’m 30 is probably going to be far too expensive to do in three and a half years, but I can at least visit as many as possible. One idea that I had was a European Transit Challenge. The challenge is as simple as it sounds – visit as many European countries as possible in 10 days without missing the return flight home at the destination, while sticking to two simple rules: 1) Don’t run out of money, and 2) You’re only allowed to use buses and trains to get between cities.
  • Obtain at least two professionally accredited qualifications – At the moment I just have my university degree under my belt. While some people may think this is enough – the industry I am in is extremely competitive, and qualifications and experience combined often distinguish between getting the job or not. I’m currently studying for my CISSP – but this is not enough. I need an area of specialism, either incorporating my degree into a professional accreditation, or picking a new area of specialism to qualify in. Either way, I cannot rely on experience alone to advance my career.
  • Launch PridePlace – PridePlace has been one of the many projects that I’ve never been able to finish, and I feel that putting this in my bucket list will encourage me to finally get it launched. PridePlace is designed to be a social network away from the big ones where members of the LGBT community can create an account and interact in a safe environment. It’s absolutely nowhere near completion, but hopefully in the next 6 months I can get it to some form of ready state for it to be launched.

While my bucket list is not exactly huge, being able to tick off the three items above will give me a great feeling of self-worth and make me feel like I’ve achieved something more than I set out to do leaving university. Just because there’s a bucket list, I won’t feel like I am obliged to complete them before my 30th birthday, nor will I feel like I’m worthless for not being able to complete them. They’re targets, not requirements.

–K

What’s so “FREE” about an EXCLUSIVE Pride?

Over the past couple of days, I have been made aware of a website that boasts that Pride should be free for everyone. However, a couple of posts that they have made have forced me to question how “Free” their pride actually is.

Let’s take a look at their Manifesto:

* Anti-commercialisation – Pride is for people not for corporations to make themselves look LGBT friendly and make profit off us, however, our frustration is aimed at the commercial forces at work in Pride and not the LGBTQIA+ who participate in what has become.

* Inclusivity – We want to create a safer space that prioritises the voices of the most marginalised and is accessible to all.

* Pride is a protest – From the harassment and violence levelled at the Trans community to the treatment of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, we are continually reminded that society isn’t for us and that needs to change. Pride should be a platform to demand and make that change, not just an opportunity to be sold things and promoted to.

After reading this, something doesn’t feel quite right.

Anti-commercialisation

How many Pride’s in the UK are commercialised? Out of all the Pride celebrations in the UK, how many of them set out to make a profit? How many of them are registered companies? How many of them charge people to enter the pride celebrations without giving anything back to the people?

Leeds Pride for example accepts sponsorship from local companies and runs fund raisers through the coming months up to pride. Blackpool Pride is a registered charity. Manchester Pride does require a paid entrance fee, but being a registered charity, they pump all moneys raised back into funding the next pride celebrations.

The very definition of commercialisation is to make something available on the mass-market, after moving it away from niche markets. I think the idiot that wrote this section of the manifesto is worried that pride will become a festival for everyone…

Inclusivity

Is this even a word? Pride is already inclusive. I think the only people that are generally not allowed to go to Pride events are the people that have been barred from entering the city centre by the police under court order. What makes these fools think that Pride is becoming an exclusive event?

I mean yeah, Manchester Pride has an element of exclusivity due to the fact that a wristband has to be purchased, but this is purely for crowd control. Do you think the event organisers look at someone and go “You’re not gay enough to be a part of Pride, go away” or “Do you even go here?”… I don’t think so Free Pride – your views of the Pride world are obviously jaded by experiences of time gone by…

Pride is a Protest

What are we protesting? Let’s use Equaldex (Crowd Sourced LGBT Rights Database) and see what is to be protested…

  1. Homosexuality – Legal
  2. Marriage – Legal
  3. Adoption – Legal
  4. Housing Discrimination – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  5. Age of Consent – Legal
  6. Discrimination – Illegal
  7. Military – Legal
  8. Donating Blood – Banned (1 year deferral)
  9. Employment Discrimination – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  10. Changing Gender  – Legal (requires surgery)
  11. Conversion Therapy – Ambiguous

Okay, so out of these 11 data points (collated/verified by various members of the LGBT community) it is clear that being gay (and everything attributable to being gay that straight people can do), 1 is banned with a 1 year deferral (which essentially means that to give blood you’re not allowed to engage in any sexual acts for a minimum of 1 year), and the other is ambiguous (meaning that the law is not very clear).

What is there to protest about? Being gay is legal, being able to fight in our armed forces as a homosexual is legal, being able to apply for funded housing is legal, adopting is legal, employment discrimination is illegal… Are you honestly considering protesting because we’re not allowed to give blood? This is NHS red tape that under the current management structure is likely to stay (and to be honest, I agree with the deferral – though various changes should be made to enable a strict screening process and allow people with rare blood types to give).

PROTEST AWAY….

Now that we’ve seen their manifesto, let’s have a look at what they want to do to Pride…

Their Free Pride Performance Policy Response is an entertaining read (to which I’ve had various discussions around other social media outlets about).

The first paragraph is somewhat bog standard for setting out their intentions. The second paragraph, however, is somewhat shocking…

This is why, after much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event. This does not mean that people of any gender can’t wear what they want to the event, we simply won’t be having any self-described drag acts perform at our Free Pride Event on the 22nd August. We hope people can understand and support our decision. However we feel it important to fully explain why we came this decision.

This paragraph makes it sound like Free Pride is fronted by a small group of Trans people who have something against drag artists. “Self-described drag acts” – seriously? I think anyone who lives their life as a male, and performs as a female is entitled to call themselves a drag act. They don’t claim to be a member of the opposite and recognise the fact that they are a female while under the limelight. They then move on to explain why they made the decision…

The decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable. It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke. This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth.

They claim that drag acts make the members of the trans community at Free Pride feel uncomfortable and that the drag acts make a joke of their gender and identity. I can kinda see where part of their argument comes from, but I’ve never met one drag queen who makes a joke of their gender/identity. Their gender is still male, and they still identify as male regardless of the fact that they are performing as women.

While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans. It was therefore decided that having no drag acts perform would be the best option as it would mean no-one would feel pressured to out themselves. This also adheres to our Safer Spaces Policy, where we ask that no-one assume anyone else’s gender identity, and to always ask people’s pronouns.

Basically they’re putting a blanket ban on drag acts, regardless of whether they identify as their assigned gender or not (so much for inclusion… huh?). Also, their safer spaces policy? Where is this policy? Where is it published? What does it entail.. I mean they can’t mention a policy that’s not publicly accessible. Does this mean that people have to go around asking what their gender is? Because frankly this seems like it’s a bit insensitive. “Hello, are you cis-male, cis-female, trans-male, trans-female, gender queer, unsure, none of the above?”. If someone came up to me and ASKED me what my gender was so that they could use the “proper pronoun”, I’d get very pissed off, very quickly. What’s the point in having an inclusive pride event if you’re going to ask that people don’t assume someone elses gender identity? You’re effectively putting people on the spot who are UNSURE of their identity, and making them feel incredibly uncomfortable.


Honestly, this sounds like some organising committee members have had a spat with the drag queens over some bullshit politics at the event which has mean that everyone has to lose out on some potentially excellent entertainment. While drag queens are extremely entertaining (in most circumstances), many of them are impressive vocalists or world-class dancers. Just because you’ve had a spat with one of them doesn’t mean that you have to completely blanket ban potentially world-class entertainment.

I hope you have many successes in your future of organising Pride events in Glasgow, but with your current view of the world, I fear that you’re destined only to fail.

–K

 

Why do we need private communications?

Over the past few weeks, more reports of the government have emerged that they want to prohibit the use of any messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption. This means that applications like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp have to remove the end-to-end encryption or remove them from the market.

Continue reading Why do we need private communications?

Being Gay in Russia

This is fucking disgusting. Russia is one of the most homophobic countries in the world where you can be prosecuted for being gay, spreading “gay propaganda”, and in addition to being prosecuted, there’s the risk of being sexually/physically assaulted by vigilantes for being gay.

What the fuck is wrong with the world? What is the problem with two men or two women expressing their undying love for each other in the same way that a man and a woman can? I think it goes beyond religious beliefs now – and is more social/political prejudices being imposed by governments.

Yes, God didn’t create Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve weren’t exactly fucking perfect. Eve was created from Adam, and then Eve went and fucked it up for them both. If Adam and Steve were in the garden of Eden, they’d have been too busy fucking, drinking rosé, or bitching about God to notice the talking fucking snake…


UPDATE: The video is currently being sourced, the original uploader deleted their account. Will update once the video has been sourced again.

Projects

From experience so far, I’ve never been able to see a project right through to completion. I’ve started numerous projects over the past few years, invested time and money into them, and I’ve never seen them take shape and progress to the next phase.

I have a feeling that a number of factors could be responsible for this:

  1. I get distracted by something else for extended periods of time. I’m not saying that I am easy to distract, I’m just saying that if I work on something for long periods of time, I get bored of them and just want to do something else for a while.
  2. My drive isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I am a driven individual but when it comes to things that aren’t earning me money, they don’t take priority (at all). I feel most people will be in this position, but when one of the projects is something that’s close to my heart, then you think I should be putting it just underneath my day job, not underneath watching television or spending time in the pub.
  3. I don’t always have the inspiration I’d like to just sit down and brain dump my ideas. I have millions of ideas in my head, but often when I try to put pen to paper to get down my ideas, my mind goes completely blank – and I really don’t know why! :(
  4. I seem to have this thing where I pick one project and start on it, then find other projects that I could work on. Not only is this stupid, but it’s counter intuitive. I’m a one-man-band, and trying to juggle 3 or 4 projects at one time isn’t going to be easy. I’m not a project manager, I’m a developer.
  5. I would quite happily accept another coder to help me out, but frankly, I hate having to teach other people the way I build my systems. I don’t use standards, protocols, or common processes, I use my own way of working because I then know exactly how it works.

So, what do I need to do now? I firstly need to address each of the issues above in turn and find a way of dealing with them. Some may be as simple as just work on concentrating, both others will involve high volumes of personal change – something that’s not easy to do at the best of times.

Once I’ve managed to address these issues, then I feel I can finally complete one of my projects (that’s been in the pipeline for approximately 4 years now…), ideally before Christmas – realistically before the turn of the decade…

–K

Do you want to be offended?

Charlie HebdoThis is fucking disgusting. Just because your religion said to kill someone doesn’t mean you have to actually go and kill him. Plus, I’m sure your prophet Muhammed would be pretty fucking pissed off if you killed someone, regardless of what you did. I’m sorry, but anyone who uses religion as an excuse to murder someone because of their opinion or beliefs should be mocked until their own families can’t take them seriously.

I laugh in your face, Anjem Choudary, and I laugh in the face of all radical Muslims who justify murder by quoting A STORY. Anyone who condones the French murders should be thrown out of the country, regardless of your political status or beliefs. I don’t care. In Islam Law you might sacrifice your freedom of speech, but in a democratic society such as France or the UK, we do not tolerate it.

By attacking us you bring us together.
By attacking us you make us louder.
By attacking us you free our speech.

/via PinkNews: London Preacher who calls…