July 11th, 2005


(no subject)

Same-sex regress

Our gay rights victory sets queers back in the rest of the world

At the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association conference at U of T the morning after Pride Day, Canadian self-satisfaction hangs as heavy in the air as the summer smog.


To get a sense of the unevenness of queer progress, you only need to look around the room. Virtually all the 75 or so participants are from Canada, the U.S. and western Europe. There is one delegate each from India and the Philippines, three from Israel and none at all from the Muslim world. Last-minute stand-in Toronto immigration lawyer El-Farouk Khaki wasn't even aware of the conference when I spoke to him a week earlier. But here he is today on a panel with two Christians and a Jew pondering the question, Is God Against Human Rights? The answer is no, not even Allah, whose followers, Khaki says, are not the monolithically anti-gay crowd they're made out to be.

"Some of our panels lack gender and racial diversity," ILGLaw president Doug Elliott warns the gathering at one point. But it isn't for lack of trying. "I can't go in search of these people," he tells me.

Elliot recalls in an interview that famed gay South African jurist Edwin Cameron admonished delegates at their last conference three years ago to resist the elitist obsession with weddings and deal with the problems facing LGBT people in developing countries.


While men have sex with men everywhere, how people perceive that varies widely. Aditya Bondyopadhyay, a lawyer from New Delhi, tries to explain to his North American and European colleagues that in India homosex per se is no big deal. Who penetrates whom is what gives the act its meaning. To be the bottom in such a liaison is to take on the feminine role, to become what in Hindi is known as a "kothi."

But kothi is different from gay, he explains. "Gay is having lots of money, going to parties and being able to travel to foreign countries. It's a class identity, not a sexual one." The delegates seem puzzled by this view of sexuality from their colleague, whose work revolves around efforts to have sodomy removed from India's criminal law. India, at least, is one of those countries where it is possible to have a debate on the merits of LGBT law reform, along with neighbouring Bangladesh, where AIDS education funding has been a boon to gay organizing.


Novogrodsky sees no immediate gains elsewhere. "What I'm recognizing is a gulf between the respect for human dignity and fundamental freedom in the developed world and the right to live in the developing world. Connecting those things is difficult."

And will continue to be so as long as the peal of wedding bells drowns out everything else.

Full article here.
  • rook

(no subject)

X-posted to ethical_sluts and polyamory.

I came up with a word this weekend: transpersion. Rather than love manifested when one takes joy in their partner's happiness with another, transpersion is the empathetic anticipation of how any two others, known to the one, could derive understanding, happiness, joy, friendship and/or love with/from one another. Transpersion is X's feeling of "Y and Z would love each other" or A's belief that B will fall in love with C (just like A did) when B finally
meets C.

Transpersion made manifest in reality therefore becomes compersion. However, transpersion is internal and may not necessarily bear any resemblance to the emotional realities that the others in question experience when they meet.

What do you think? It struck me as a distinct enough state of mind in both my and others' personal experiences to warrant its own word.