The band “Pussy Riot” invade a Christian Cathedral in Moscow
The term LGBT was invented to refer jointly to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. It connotes both a lifestyle and sexual preference. It is important to note that the term Gay has evolved to refer to a “preference” instead of an inborn trait. At an earlier stages of Gay discourse, it would appear that the term “Gay” was coined more in reference to those that showed an inborn drive for same-sex relationships, whether sexual or not. Today, the LGBT community will be critical of anyone trying to limit the phenomenon to only those who have a natural tendency, choosing instead to view it as a lifestyle choice.
LGBT has developed in six phases as a phenomenon over the past four decades.
• Being gay as a personal condition,
• being gay as a personal choice,
• being gay as a social choice,
• celebrating being gay,
• actively advocating for the mainstreaming of gay discourse and lastly,
• actively sitting in judgement those in opposition to the phenomenon.
I wish to approach the discussion on LGBT along four perspectives.
1. LGBT as a lifestyle choice
2. LGBT as a topic within a broader human rights discussion
3. LGBT as manifested in society
4. LGBT within Islamic and religious discourse.
1. LGBT as a lifestyle choice
LGBT is an emblem rather than a fully substantive lifestyle in my view. If LGBT is at its root a sexually referenced choice, then I cannot see how it can represent a complete or comprehensive comment on sexual discourse. LGBT does not provide an exhaustive frame for discussing sexuality. After all, it omits bestiality, incest and polygamy as some examples. Neither does LGBT provide a complete or comprehensive framework for any meaningful lifestyle discourse. The human experience is frightfully complex, and, reducing it to the sexual is limiting in the extreme.
What is LGBT emblematic of? Same-sex attraction and relationships have always been there. What makes it different in our times? My humble submission is that LGBT represent the most profound attack on the normative. It represents the highest form of rejection of any positivist or objectivist world view. It represents the most visible (and colourful) celebration of the break with modernity and pre-modernity. The gay movement takes the archetypal traditional human taboo topic, namely sex, and celebrates the break with traditional approaches to it. It is therefore not enough for the LGBT activist to recognize sexual deviation from the norms, but instead, chooses to celebrate it. It represents a sort of shock treatment to normative systems, with the goal of unfreezing existing attitudes. It makes a mockery of the dominant normative social paradigm, to the point of de-legitimizing it.
LGBT has grown out of post-modernity. As an activism, it can perhaps be seen as a natural outgrowth from a society where pleasure-seeking and nihilism constitute the foundation. A society un-anchored in a set of transcendent norms, where a unique personal identity becomes more and more contested, provides the compost from which the activism has grown. LGBT provides more than an identity to its proponents. It redefines a moral and ethical discourse within which the LGBT identity is not only shaped, but in fact heroically adopted as an emblem of that new ethical and moral framework. It presents moral, naturalistic and social relativism to humanity as a new code of existence, placing the LGBT community in its vanguard.
There are many other bases from which identity has been shaped; Economic status, dietary preference, mode of worship or appearance being some examples. The problem with any of these becoming emblematic of the new moral relativism is the absence of any substantive and real currency that these would have in society. If the vegans of the world were to launch a movement to make veganism the emblem for moral relativism it would simply not have enough impact. Choosing to make an economically defined category the basis has been done before within Marxist analysis, which places the human, as the worker at the heart of its discourse. In a neo-liberal, market dominated society; the money masters would simply not allow this. Variant modes of worship or non-worship, such as the neo-atheist movement and other post-modern new-age ideas have had some good impact, but not nearly as successful as the LGBT discourse. The element that these phenomena lack, and which is probably the key to the success of LGBT activism is the element of victimhood. As with Zionism, which really only received mass global sympathy after the Holocaust, LGBT enjoys a wave of popular sympathy due to the perceived victim status of gays throughout history.
A final word on the LGBT lifestyle is that it does appear to be a middle class phenomenon. The LGBT agenda is not being visibly directed by the poor, but rather driven by the wealthy middle class.
2. LGBT within broader human rights
The post-modern condition has created an obsession with individual identities. These Individual identities have had to be forged from whatever source possible. Religion, nationality, race and culture provided some useful sources where people could create for themselves an individual identity, in the new confusing pluralistic society. Nowhere was this more relevant than in societies such as in the “melting pot” USA or the “rainbow nation” South Africa. The “rainbow nation”, where each color manifests separately is a very effective metaphor of the new identity-obsessed society. In an attempt to subscribe to a human rights culture and individual rights, the new pluralistic society has virtually sanctified individual or sectional identities. LGBT, as a newly emerged social choice, has joined other sectional identities as being sanctified by law.
The problem is that the human rights emphasis on sectional and individual identities has come at a cost of an emphasis on core human and social and economic rights. Why do we hear of “Gay Rights” as human rights, “Freedom of Religion” as a human right, but never, ever, is it legitimate to express a “Living Wage” as a human right, or “Proper Shelter” as a human right or “Sound Health Care” as a human right, enshrined by constitutions and guaranteed by the state? Society has been trained to tolerate the worst forms of degradation of its citizens due to poverty and inequality, yet seems to react hysterically when individual freedoms or rights are contravened.
The reality is clear. Sectional bourgeois identities have taken over, nay hijacked the grand narrative within the new post modern plural society. The subjugation of the grand narrative by sectional narratives is a bane and not a boon. It represents a type of fascism that denies human rights to the masses, while sanctifying them for the minority. In the wake of this subjugation, popular truisms and values have been remolded to reflect this focus on the bourgeois identity. Human rights are now the rights of bourgeois to choose their sectional pursuits and frolics. Injustice, as a universal value has been eclipsed by terms such as non-sexism, gender equality, non-racialism and freedom-of-sexual-preference. The new political correctness reflects and enforces this. The grand narrative of poverty and inequality within South Africa, coincidentally the most unequal society in the world, is not regarded at the same level of urgency and hysteria for example as the narrative around gay rights protection, and other sectional identity rights. Why?
It is time that a call for a broadly just society is revived. The poor, the humiliated and the degraded need to be placed at the centre space of liberation politics, a space that is currently being squatted on by LGBT and other sectional bourgeois interest groups. The real and urgent needs of the people cannot go on being subordinated by the agendas of bourgeois identity interests. Why would LGBT (or any other sectional agenda) feel uncomfortable in a society where justice is guaranteed to all collectively and not articulated separately for the different sections? My humble opinion is that the stratification of society into sanctified sectional agenda groupings has become the biggest tool in the broad neo-liberal assault on general human dignity. Human dignity is no longer the common collective pursuit of all people, but has become the narrow prize for the interest or lobby group. The neo-liberal project guarantees freedom to pursue one’s own agenda, but not the freedom for society to pursue the greater good. It is time to re-sanctify the call for “justice for all”, and to curtail and de-sanctify the call for “justice for the interest group”. LGBT, the nation, the culture, mode of worship and any other mode by which people shape their identity needs to seek its own justice within this broad call.
3. LGBT as manifested in society
The various components of the LGBT phenomenon seem to be the following: Legitimating, Celebrating, and Challenging.
The legitimating component has been very effectively co-opted within the broader gender discourse. It is strange to see how gender activists initially grabbed hold of the LGBT agenda. In this new merged discourse, the lesbian seems to represent the pinnacle of feminist parity with the male gender, and male homosexuality the pinnacle of the liberated male, freed from all chauvinist masculinity. The merging of these agendas has reached a point where critical gender theory has become fully instrumentalised and harnessed by the LGBT agenda. A discussion on gender equality no longer seems complete without a discussion on sexual preference rights. The LGBT agenda has therefore benefitted from both these two revisionists and critical theories.
The celebrative component of the movement is manifested in the gay parade and the omnipresent public tokens of obeisance to the agenda found in popular culture, popular media and even official communications. Gay sex is no longer regarded as an exceptional, non-normative and private preference, but is mainstreamed into movies and other popular cultural expressions. The gay parade serves to galvanize general public attitudes in favour of it, while other public expressions serve to normalize it. All of these find protection and legitimacy within a human rights discourse that places it on a par with the highest aspirations of justice in society.
Finally, the challenging component refers to the activist side of the movement. This is the LGBT attempt to stifle or silence any challenges to its claim to being a valid and even valued identity within society. By effectively merging and even hijacking the gender agenda and the broader human rights agenda, the LGBT movement has in its possession the tools to fend off any challenge. With these tools, it has managed to advance its cause to dizzy heights. In the 1970s, the movement could count as its greatest achievement, the coming out of the closet of gays and lesbians. Presently, the achievements have shifted very far beyond that. After winning the battle to sanctify gay marriage in Western societies, the new pursuit now seem be gay child adoption. Under cover of its wielding of human rights, the legitimizing of the trade in children is the latest pursuit. Society, being subdued morally, intellectually and legally to the agenda seems to stand willing to negotiate away the rights of the child in the onward gay march. In a court case in the Louisana, USA for example, an adopted child of gay parents expressed the view that she was “was exposed to overt sexual activities like sodomy, nudity, pornography, group sex, sadomasochism and the ilk.” If this does not constitute child abuse, then what does? There have been scary reports of the sexual abuse of children by non-biological male gay parents, but even these seem to be insufficient to check the onward march.
4. LGBT within Religious and Islamic Discourse
Western religions have by-and-large succumbed to the LGBT agenda. The Christian church, with its traditional dichotomizing of church and state found it most easy to let the LGBT agenda slide in under broad secular justifications. When the Christian Church decided to take a stand on the LGBT agenda encroaching and invading the Church itself, it found itself outsmarted and overcome. The Church has subsequently had to succumb to the agenda within its own order. The phenomenon of the gay priest and church-hosted gay marriages are the result. The biblical counter-narrative would seem to have been simply conceded in the process.
It is more difficult to achieve the same within Islam. There is common consensus in Islam is that homosexuality to the point of sodomy is condemned in the Quran as the practice of the People of Lot. This has not prevented certain contemporary Muslim gender activists from attempting to sneak the agenda in under cover of the broader gender rights agenda. A thinker like Amina Wadud is in the forefront of this. Other Muslim thinkers such as Tareq Ramadan seem unable and powerless to mount a proper response. Instead, they choose to frame their response within a larger secular pluralistic discourse. The result is that a view is being advanced by Ramadan that homosexuality is not supported in Islam, but is left to the private conscience of the individual. This view represents a cowardly cop-out and act of appeasement. It also reveals a measure of insecurity of a thinker like Ramadan. His approach is perhaps best understood within the context of his own need to defend the broader project of legitimating his own sectional group interest agenda, in his case that of being Muslim in the West.
This brings Muslim scholars to their biggest challenge. Do they trade off the broader gains of the sectional Muslim interest agenda by confronting the LGBT agenda? Only if Islam is seen as a sectional identity can this be the case. When Islamic scholarship is on the other hand redefined as the vanguard of the human project, then this is not possible. When Islamic scholarship defines itself as the defender of all human dignity and emancipation, then this trade-off does not present itself. It therefore is required of Muslim scholarship to redefine their own mission as being key protagonists for broader truth, spirituality and social justice, instead of being defenders and champions of the Muslim identity.
A day or so ago the world experienced its latest display of homofascism with the public disciplining and humiliation of the world renowned boxer from the Phillipines, Manny Pacquiao. Within the context of his Christian religious affiliation and upbringing, he remarked that sex between the same genders was not to be found within the animal world, and that animals therefore found themselves at a higher level than humans who engage in the practice. His views sparked an outrage, which hit global headlines. It also led to his corporate sponsor Nike, withdrawing their sponsorship to the boxer. He was forced to make a public apology. The public humiliation of world figures represents an important element in the greater LGBT agenda as it serves as a lesson for any other person that their livelihood (which often means their life) can be taken away from them should they question the mighty unchallengeable LGBT colossus. The crime here is clearly not his negative views on homosexuality but rather the excessive and overwhelming response to these views.
In 2015, the University of Cape Town SRC, suspended a student leader, Zizipho Pae, as acting President of the SRC for uttering the words “We are institutionalising and normalising sin! May God have mercy on us.” in a Facebook post. The suspension took place after a group of LGBT activists staged a sit-in and pressured the SRC to suspend the student leader. What is telling about this act of homofascism is the recalling of an elected student leader that again expressed a personal sentiment borne from a committed religious belief. Personal conscience or even legitimacy by election is clearly no longer seen as a mitigating circumstances, spelling a clear move to fascism by LGBT. The expulsion also marks the subordination of religious norms and values and the will of students who elected the leader, to the LGBT agenda.
In 2012, the Russian LGBT activist band called “Pussy Riot” invaded the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow and proceeded to desecrate the place of worship, including urinating in it. They were arrested later and understandably sentenced to jail for hooliganism. The response in the Western media was telling in this case. It was overwhelmingly sympathetic to the band’s outlandish act of desecration to an institution with a long established tradition in Russia. Their actions fit in with the broader LGBT agenda to mock and to desecrate any established value system in favor of the hedonistic and nihilistic LGBT agenda. The abuse of “freedom of speech” was also very effectively employed here to provide moral cover for their reprehensible actions.
Barbwire.com (retrieved 2016) lists 300 (three hundred) additional examples in the US of homofascism. The examples they site seem to indicate of pattern that ranges from robbing ordinary people of their livelihood by lobbying for their dismissal from work, to outright death threats by the LGBT lobby.
It is time to clear the human rights, social justice and intellectual public central spaces of the LGBT squatters. The war against poverty and inequality needs to be refocused on the masses of people who are suffering homelessness, disease and degradation. The grand social justice narrative must be wrested from the sticky neo-liberal hands of the LGBT lobby movement. I sincerely hope that a party in South Africa like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) under Julius Malema will not be lured into diverting its agenda to the agenda of these petit bourgeois intellectual squatters.
Wikipedia. Pussy Riot. (2016) Retrieved February 20, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot
RDMRdm Newswire. (2016) Student leader in hot water over public attack on homosexuality – Sowetan LIVE. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2015/06/30/student-leader-in-hot-water-over-public-attack-on-homosexuality
Chris Murphy. (2016) Manny Pacquiao sparks fury after homophobic remark. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/16/sport/boxing-manny-pacquiao-animals-gay/
Barbwire.com. (Retrieved 2016) acts of homo fascism – Google Search. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://barbwire.com/2014/07/07/300-examples-read-understand-meant-term-homofascism/
Wadud, Amina. (2016) Women Imams – Amina Wadud. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJo8y-AxZHY
Ramadan, Tariq. (2016) Tariq Ramadan about homosexuality. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsaWjxkZB3w
Andy Marso, Jim Mclean. (2016) Topeka Child Abuse Case Raises Questions About Kansas Policy On Gay Adoptions. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://kcur.org/post/topeka-child-abuse-case-raises-questions-about-kansas-policy-gay-adoptions#stream/0
Last, First. (2016) Adults Raised by Gay Couples Speak Out Against Gay ‘Marriage’ in Federal Court. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/lauretta-brown/adults-raised-gay-couples-speak-out-against-gay-marriage-federal-court