Tuesday, 24 September 2013

To Hell With Tolerance!

On the face of it, tolerance is a good thing. After all, tolerance is meant to be a virtue, isn't it?
Surely it's not a good idea to get into an argument with someone just because I disagree with what they say? Surely, it is better to tolerate differences of opinion?
Well, not really. What if that opinion was that all Muslims in the UK should be deported? Tolerating that would not be virtuous.
What if that opinion was that all children should get a good education? I could hardly tolerate that because toleration is a frame of mind formed from allowing disagreement to occur. I do not ever recall thinking, "That's good but I wish it were bad but I shall tolerate it anyway"!
So tolerance is always about allowing things we don't agree with to happen.
How is that a virtue? Bad things - whether we or anyone else is the originator of it - need to be challenged.   
So why are we taught different?
To my mind, there is only one reason why a society needs to be tolerant - to allow the bad people to get away with it.
So it may seem odd that I, as someone who wants to make a better world, am now calling for society to be intolerant but I hope the above explains why.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

I Am Not A Penguin

Dear reader,
If I were to tell you you aren't you, you would probably correct me and state that, yes, you are you.
Somewhere deep inside you, you know who are, don't you? You don't need proof of who you are. You just know it! Certainly, the least likely of all scenarios is that you would agree with me that, indeed, you are not the person you know yourself to be.
For example, should you happen to identify as a penguin then you are a penguin. Just because you are not my idea of what a penguin is does not automatically make you not a penguin. Perhaps I am misinformed or simply don't have enough knowledge to recognise you as a penguin?
So who am I to argue with you? You are you and I am I and we are not the same. So who am I, when we have two separate brains, to argue and attempt to force my opinions on you?
Our knowledge of who and what we are is what defines us - not the knowledge of any other person.
And that, I feel, is the deep flaw within the NHS's "gender reassignment pathway".
Far from allowing the psychiatrists to assess whether they're suffering from a mental illness or not, a patient will be required to justify their identity.
And, yet, we know deep within ourselves that this is just intrinsic knowledge. And how on earth do you convey intrinsic knowledge when a person does not share that knowledge?!!
Thus a psychiatrist does not share my intrinsic knowledge of who I am any more than a bus driver does! And, yet, a psychiatrist's opinion of who I am is given credence because of what exactly??
Because they judge me sane??? Well, perhaps they can judge me sane but they can not judge me a liar (without, perhaps, a lie detector test which, as far as I know, are not used at Gender Identity Clinics!).
They can even judge me insane but doing so holds no sway over what my gender is. I can be an insane woman just as easily as I can an insane man! 
Thus, it baffles me why psychiatrists are used to judge a person's gender. More so, it baffles me how any psychiatrist feels qualified to argue with any patient's self-definition of who they are!
But this is exactly what is happening. There is ample evidence that psychiatrists in the UK's Gender Identity Clinics regularly: 
  • Decide for you what your gender identity is and argue how you succeed or fail to fit into their perceptions of that gender identity.
  • Decide for you what your sexuality is and argue how that succeeds or fails to fit into their perceptions of your gender identity. 
  • Argue how your name does or does not fit into their perceptions of your gender identity.
  • Deny the existence of non-binary gender identities even when there is ample, worldwide, evidence of their existence.
  • Argue that anyone who disagrees with them is in denial/delusional.
And I suspect that there are many who think this is reasonable behaviour. After all, a psychiatrist is an expert on the way people think. So who better to judge transgender people than a psychiatrist?
Well, when the population as a whole feels it acceptable to allow a psychiatrist to judge their gender and/or sexuality perhaps I will feel it acceptable for them to judge mine.
Until then, for the reasons I give above, I can only conclude that to single out transgender people for this treatment is prejudice with the cloak of acceptability that the psychiatric profession gives it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

"It says so in The Bible"

Thanks to this video, "gay marriage" is once again being debated.
Now, although R.E. was one of my strongest subjects at school, I'm no theologist and my knowledge of The Bible is limited but it has occured to me that Christians overstep the mark if they use The Bible to justify their homophobia.
To explain what I mean, here follows, in my experience, the most quoted Biblical texts used to decry homosexuality and defend prejudicial acts against it...
Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Romans 1:27 "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."
So, using popular interpretation of those texts, it looks pretty clear that The Bible has some pretty grim opinions about homosexual acts.
Those opinions are:
  1. A homosexual act is an abomination.
  2. The expected outcome of a man commiting a homosexual act is for that man to be put to death.
  3. A male homosexual act is unseemly.
  4. Males commiting homosexual acts shall be punished.
However, nowhere in those texts does it encourage any action towards homosexuals.
Those texts merely state opinion - divine opinion, perhaps, but opinion all the same.
So no person, Christian or not, can use those texts to justify their action(s) towards homosexuals.
Leviticus 20:13 does not say that it is justified for us to put a man who has committed a homosexual act to death and neither does it encourage any of us to put a man who has committed a homosexual act to death. It merely states that this is the expected outcome and, because The Ten Commandments forbade us from killing, presumably God is the one to carry out the action rather than ourselves.
Similarly, Romans 1:27 does not justify nor encourage us to punish any male committing a homosexual act. It states that such a person shall receive in themselves punishment for their act. So, again, we are required to do absolutely nothing towards homosexuals.
In fact, if any Christian were to look a little further they would find sandwiched in between Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 the following instruction...
Leviticus 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself."
and if we looked a little further past Romans 1:27 we would find this instruction...
Romans 13:8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another"
Now, I am not a Christian and nor do I believe in the Christian God and so The Bible is all words to me. Some of those words form sentences I agree with more than others but, really, they're all just words. However, none of those words justify homophobic action and so I can only conclude any homophobe claiming to be Christian is a heretic.
I don't want to be a doom monger but it stikes me that a heretic pining for the times of Christ is a bit like a turkey pining for the times of Santa Claus. Sure, Santa Claus may bring them lots of presents and general happiness but others may want them at the supper table for another reason.