Tag Archives: lgbt

Bullying isn’t hate crime

I never got around to bemoaning the government’s plans to make homophobic attacks a new “hate crime”. Ever since the idea of religious hatred was outlawed I’ve become increasingly sceptical of this new type of legislation; in most cases it does little more than add a little more public “tut-tutting” to something that is already a crime. In some cases (though in practice not often) it can interfere with freedom of speech and the right to criticise. In many more cases it creates a culture whereby people self-censor rather than risk opprobrium and possible legal action. And even where homophobia is endemic – specifically schools and the problem of homophobic bullying – it is hard to see what such a law will do since it is an issue which affects heterosexual kids as much as young lesbians and gays. Do we lessen the sentence because the victim happens to not be gay? Is the clunking fist of the law the best way to solve what is at heart a problem of discipline in schools?

The bullying aspect raises its ugly head again in the announcement yesterday to legislate against inciting hatred against disabled people. The article refers to levels of bullying directed at disabled people appears to be on the rise, but quickly apportions the blame on “happy slapping culture”. It doesn’t seem to be a deep-seated hatred of disabled people, just a general human tendency to pick on anyone who is different. We simply can’t go down a list of differences and make incitement of hatred against them illegal. Where to red-haired people and extremely freckly people fit into all this for example? Anyone who has ever had a childhood can attest that these two overlapping groups are, one of the main, possibly the main, victims of bullying. Yet I can’t see any serious politician legislating against the incitement to ginger hatred.

Bullying isn’t about hatred; it’s about fear – of both parties – and control. I know from personal experience that the line between victim and bully is an extremely fine one: gain a couple of inches in height and you stop being the fat kid everyone picks on and transform into a walking brick shit house that no-one messes with. It’s a cycle of violence and one which I only just broke free of (I like to think). But all too often it is about lashing out at anyone rather than face up to your own feelings of inadequacy.

None of that can be dealt with by hate crime legislation and we would be foolish to attempt to do so. We would criminalise unsympathetic but nonetheless vulnerable people and lose all sense of proportion.

Those BBC values in full: paedo = gay

Another in my occasional series about the BBC (which may well have been corrected by the time you read this):

Miranda Grell news story

Now, innocent until you’re proven guilty on all that: I’m not commenting on the case itself. But since when does accusing someone of paedophilia count as a “gay slur”? If a straight man was accused of paedophilia, would the BBC call it a “hetero slur”?

Gay Rights: a shit writes

It’s fascinating to speculate the psychology behind Alan Duncan’s decision to publicly call Jo Swinson MP a “shit” for inconveniently pointing out the Tories’ lamentable record on gay rights.

As I pointed out a couple of months ago, the Conservative Parliamentary Party response to Cameron calling for his party to support the Sexual Orientation Regulations was to do the opposite. This isn’t a dead issue, it is a very much live one – particularly at a time when Cameron, via his predecessor Iain Duncan Smith, is reintroducing Back to Basics. With the appointment of Sayeeda Warsi, the fact is that when it comes to gay rights, a vote for the Tories is a vote for a pig in a poke. As we’ve seen over the last ten years, civil liberties won hundreds of years ago can be removed by a government with minimal debate – who knows what would happen to comparatively recent civil liberties outlawing discrimination on the basis of homosexuality if people like Eric Pickles were in charge?

It isn’t just legitimate for the Lib Dems to point out their voting record; as the only overtly liberal party in the UK, it is incumbent on them.

The Church of England: Sheffield is so gay…

I don’t just make this stuff up, you know:

THE floods which claimed seven lives and deluged thousands of homes were the result of “moral degradation”, claims the Bishop of Carlisle.

The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman Empire as a result of its immorality.

“We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate,” he said.

“In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as ’the beast’, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want.”

The bishop also alleged that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage.

He said: “The sexual orientation regulations (which give greater rights to gays) are part of a general scene of permissiveness.

“We are in a situation where we are liable for God’s judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance.”

More in the Mail.

This can only mean that Sheffield is a den of vice, while us Londoners are morally virtuous in comparison.

Makes me wonder who all those people on the tube waving inflatables around were on Saturday evening. Maybe they were a new prayer group.

Seriously though. The weather was great last year – it must be a judgement from God. Whatever you were doing last year, do that. Or develop and interest in watersports.

UPDATE: I mean don’t develop an interest in watersports. That is wrong. This religion lark is so confusing!

UPDATE 2: A further thought strikes me. If you live at the top of a thrusting, cock-like hill or mountain, you are immune from flooding. Yet if you live in a more heterosexually inclined, vagina-shaped flood plain, God Punishes You. Maybe He’s telling us we ought to be more gay, not less? I wonder if the finest Anglican theological minds have looked into this?