By Emma Walker
The UN agrees, anyone with a conscience agrees, even the scum over at the Department of Corrections agree: solitary confine is torture. But change the name, call it “23-hour lockdown” and suddenly Corrections is perfectly fine with it. Well, we’re not. Corrections can pull whatever linguistic stunt they want; the meanings of words are determined by use and what they refer to not, whether those in power prefer to be known as “torturers” or not. Corrections is currently using solitary confinement to torture a trans woman in a men’s prison, her mental health is suffering as a direct result as reported her advocates at No Pride in Prisons. The prison is a violent institution for all it places within its walls. It is rotten to the core. But for trans people this is magnified even further. Systemic transphobia is present at every part of the prison industrial complex.
By Emma Walker
The word alone isn’t enough to describe the feeling as the country woke up to news of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. For three hours in the early morning of Sunday, June 12, 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen kept killing at Pulse, a popular Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub. By the time he was killed himself, 50 people were dead and at least 53 wounded–one out of every three people who had been at the club.
The response was immediate and overwhelming. Amid the shock and grief, thousands in Orlando and elsewhere turned out to donate blood (despite federal guidelines that bar gay and bisexual men from being allowed to donate blood) or offer any help they could.
In cities across the U.S., vigils took place the night of the terrible crime–drawing dozens in some places, hundreds in others, but all with a sober determination to stand up against hate.
Often, the Muslim community took a lead to push back against the right-wing narrative already taking shape–and with a plea: Don’t turn a horrific tragedy into an excuse for scapegoating and Islamophobia. [Read more…]
By Marc Inzon
I sat down to talk with a couple of No Pride In Prison (NPIP) members as they tried to get a respite from their scrum with the police. One of them tells me “pride has historically been a protest and to deny protest for the rights of queer and trans people where it began in New Zealand is ridiculous.” Behind us, we hear more chants of ‘The police are violent, we won’t be silenced.’ Another round of pushing shoving with the police had begun while the pride parade carried on. [Read more…]
We were saddened to learn of the death earlier this month of Dick Morrison, a veteran of the socialist movement in Aotearoa and a pioneering leader in the Gay Liberation movement.
Morrison was part of the generation radicalized by the movement against the Vietnam War, the struggle for black liberation in South Africa and the burgeoning trade union and Maori land rights movement in this country. Revolution was in the air, and many young radicals and thinkers – including Dick Morrison and also his sister, Meryl Morrison – were getting drawn to Marxist ideas.
I’d shed a few tears even before the final vote came through. It was not the quality of the speeches in Parliament, necessarily, although some of them were brilliant, Kevin Hague’s especially. But the sense of living through history was what felt so moving, and will be leading to celebrations all around the country tonight. This is a victory. And it is the culmination of one phase in the struggle stretching all the way back to Homosexual Law Reform.
There are signs the struggle for equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people may be emerging as a live issue in New Zealand. Labour’s Lousia Wall and the Greens’ Kevin Hague both have plans for bills raising the chance of parliament granting equal rights for same-sex couples. It’s asign of the widespread support for LGBT rights in the community that even John Key has felt pressured enough to indicate he would support a bill through its first reading.
Socialists support equal marriage rights – the right to choose marriage (or not), and to adopt children, are basic democratic demands. It’s a simple case of equality before the law for LGBT people. But, for us, just as important for us is the campaign this issue would demand. A visible fight for LGBT rights can put the homophobes on the defensive, and can advance a wider agenda of LGBT liberation.
At least a thousand people showed out today to support a bill being introduced to parliament today, which would amend the Marriage Act to allow marriage between same sex couples. While many would argue that marriage is an institution best avoided, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a right, with many associated legal benefits, denied to many couples simply because they are of the same gender.
Why march? Here’s some of the reasons from the leaflet created and distributed by the Queer Avengers:
“In 2011, after a series of queer bashings in Wellington, hundreds of people from the community came together to reclaim the streets, to paint the town pink & purple, to Queer the Night. Out of this march the Queer Avengers formed.