There is currently something of a storm erupting in the cannabis law reform community. Peter Reynolds, the leader of Clear, the cannabis law reform party, is known publishing right wing and controversial opinions on his personal blog, and somewhat more dubiously, on his Facebook profile which he uses for both personal and public commentary. Fair enough, we have freedom of speech and he gets as good as he gives, generally.
Two and a half years ago, Peter Reynolds published an article on the fashion industry, in which he accused gay people of causing bulimia, “infecting” the fashion industry, and told them to leave it to people “with far better taste”.
Not good. But we all have embarrassing articles buried in our pasts, right? For me, the heart of this scandal (because it is a scandal, guys) is that when someone found this article and called him out on it two and half years later, two DAYS ago, he posted an update to the same article saying that he stood by everything he said and that “homosexuality is a perversion from the norm”.
Several senior Clear members have said that Peter’s comments are awful, but that he is fundamentally not racist or homophobic, that he has just said some unwise things. I think there’s a difference between saying “some unwise things” and then saying that there’s a gay conspiracy undermining the fashion industry two and a half years ago, and then when that gets thrown at you, adding an addendum to the same post *two days ago* stating that gay people are perverts, and then claiming that everyone who thinks this is an outrageous comment is just buying into a campaign run by some big drug dealer.
I have no idea who this drug dealer is about or what he’s getting at there, although to judge by the reaction, others do. I’m not involved in the cannabis activism community, but I am one of those perverts and I am horrified to be called the same epithets I had hoped we had dropped from public discourse back in the 90s. Along with “I don’t care what you do in your bedrooms” – great, but what is Peter going to do when we hold hands in the street or get married outside our bedrooms? What does he think about section 28? Gay rights is not about acceptance of our sex lives, it’s about acceptance of our identities as people who have minority affectional orientations.
These words are not “unwise”, they’re homophobia. On what basis can you say that Peter Reynolds is not homophobic if he says “I stand by it 100%” less than 48 hours ago? What do you define racism to be if Peter Reynolds can say there were too many Chinese people at his son’s graduation and state that international students are destroying Britain and not be a racist? I don’t understand what you believe to be the difference: I find my humanity and the humanity of Chinese students questioned either way.
Could you imagine if an MP of any party had said stuff like that? Oh right, DUP MP Iris Robinson did and 11,000 people signed a petition condemning her. But setting aside the somewhat puritanical politics of Northern Ireland, could you imagine if David Cameron had called gay people perverts? Ed Miliband? Nick Clegg? Caroline Lucas? Nigel Farage? Alex Salmond? They’d all lose their jobs in days. There’s no such thing as personal views when you sit at the top of a party. When the leader of the 450 member Libertarian Party published an anonymous article on his personal blog calling for someone to be stabbed to death he was humiliated on national television when Andrew Neil asked him about it. In fact, I think that one commenter’s take on that particular incident explains well why Peter Reynolds posting about gays being perverts is quite important to Clear members, whatever your views on homosexuality:
The views expressed at [the leader’s blog] are heinously offensive, and wilfully so. But it’s a brute fact of politics that personalities matter. If [the leader] wants people to vote for him and his party, people will have an interest in knowing what kind of people form [his party]. A natural place to look is the party leader’s blog. And if journalists go there and find lengthy rants of personalised, pornographic, narcissistic, grievously offensive invective and vitriol – well they are going to report on that. And rightly so, because before people vote for [the party], they should know what sorts of people they’re dealing with. And one of the media’s jobs is to convey information to the electorate.
“Homosexuality is a perversion from the norm and gay culture has been allowed virtually to extinguish heterosexual influence in the fashion industry. “
“The TV footage of dozens of gay demonstrators flaunting their perversions in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive.”
One was written by the leader of Clear in 2012, one was written by the leader of the BNP in 1999. Surely, you must see that there is something very, very wrong, not with someone’s editorial judgement but his general attitude, when it is possible to make such a comparison.
I left a message on the CLEAR wall yesterday, asking if it was party policy to attack critics who question or criticise CLEAR or Peter Reynolds: http://i.imgur.com/LGSIt.jpg
The post lasted for 10 minutes before it was deleted and I was banned.
I then find this in my inbox: http://i.imgur.com/Lg97U.jpg – he is threatening to make me shut up? Do leaders of political parties normally issues such threats?
You are free to use these images by the way Sarah.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your message Stuart. Yours is not the only message to have gone missing – I notice that Sanj Choudhary posted on the Clear wall that there is going to be an emergency executive meeting about this issue, and that has gone missing as well.
Thanks Sarah for tackling this dictatorial man with a well written reposte of his homphobic and racialist views. He is proof that racialism and homophobia is still a massive issue in politics, nevermind the police and other institutions. Peter Reynolds, according to some recent email exchanges, has always had good relations with police men, far better than the relations he has with his membership and once people get to realise this, he will be ousted from Clear, I’m sure of it.
Thank you for your comment, Ingo. It’s not an issue for me, but something that I think is probably more important to the reputation of Clear than their stance on gay rights is the allegations that Peter Reynolds has been exposing cannabis growers for disagreeing with him. I have not seen the evidence that you referred to about his links with the police, but if they’re true, I think that is very worrying for people who grow their own and place their trust in their community not to rat them out.
a great lesson on how to take written words out of context to use for their own advantage. i like the way the blog page is just blurred enough so it cant be read and therefore have to rely on your misquotation.
all that PR is poss guilty of is using the wrong words but that was kinda the point of using them as he did.
i understand how you might be upset Sarah if your just skim reading. so lets look at it deeper
1)’accused gay people of causing bulimia’
no PR didnt what he meant was that they may not necessaraly have the models best interests at heart. not due to their sexuality but heartlessness.
2)’homosexuality is a perversion from the norm’
yes very harsh words but PR is not saying gays are perverted but a perversion of the norm. no different to this can be said about left handed people being a perversion of the norm or disabled people are a perversion of the norm. yes it is harsh sounding but the use of the term is gramatically valid although validly upseting at first glance.
3)’I don’t care what you do in your bedrooms’
this is a term that mean do what you want in your bedrooms but elsewhere is off limits. its a term that means do what makes you happy aslong as everyone is happy.
4)’I stand by it 100%” less than 48 hours ago?’
he is standing by what is meant not what has been misrepresented. PR is not in anyway saying he is standing up for homophobia in this quote but his personal concerns that have been diliberastly written to provoke conversation by using provocative words.
5)the 2 final quotes
there is a clear difference between the two. the 1st is a statement of a norm the other is a declaration of repulsiveness. they are very different and i find it hard to believe you wouldnt be able to tell the difference. what is far more likly is the effect of relating anyone to a extremist group and public relations.
the images are the size they are because of the size of my monitor. I can read them. If you can’t, you are still able to read my direct quotes from his blog and to visit the pages themselves, as I have linked to them.
I would reply to your comments in detail, but they are obviously all just apologetics for what are homophobic, hateful words. Retreating behind the niceties of English grammar does not hide the fact that “what you do in your own bedrooms” is a phrase nearly always used by bigots to justify social repression of sexual minorities – you may flaunt your sexuality on the street and in the media, but mine must be kept to my bedroom. This is bigotry, pure and simple.
People who justify the phrase “homosexuality is a deviation from the norm” mistake “norm” for meaning “majority”. Homosexuality is a minority sexuality – but it has been a minority sexuality just this side of forever, there have been, are, and always will be, gay people. We are thoroughly “normal”. To say that homosexuality is a deviation from the norm is to imply, in any case, that there is something wrong with being a minority, that being a minority is deviant – regardless of your understand of English, it cannot have escaped you that deviants are considered a bad thing in our society. Again, this is indicative of Peter Reynolds’ attitude to pretty much anyone who doesn’t share his perspective on the world, details of which are beginning to be exhaustively detailed elsewhere.
I’m sure you honestly believe what you have written, but that simply means that you are homophobic as well as Peter Reynolds. I do not see a difference between the words of Peter Reynolds and the words of Nick Griffin – both are men who are obviously deeply uncomfortable with the idea of gay men having a place in our public eye. Both are men I am deeply uncomfortable with having access to our media so they can continue to say these things.
I should point out that this isn’t just a problem for LGBT drug law reformers. We have heterosexual friends, parents, and children who are equally as against our marginalisation as people. It is not just us that Peter Reynolds is offending, it is them as well. I think you should think about the impact of Peter’s words, not just on people such as me for whose feelings you evidently have no regard, but on them as well. Because they won’t be joining Clear if their leader habitually comes out with shit like that.
Never have I witnessed the kind of censorship exacted upon disgruntled members of a so called political party until I encountered this vile extremist Reynolds! He has infuriated me so much that I have been literally shaking with furious anger! I think he wants to make the UK like China or some other communist state where free speech and opinions are banned!
CLEAR will never represent me, my opinions or anyone I call a friend. I would not associate with anyone who supports his vile views on a marginalised group of people like homosexuals, how dare he say they infect the fashion world! The only thing infected here is his sick hate filled spiteful little mind!
CLEAR members and leaders have no business defending the indefensible this so called political party must be closed and each and every one of the leaders (not just Reynolds) must be held to account! They are every bit as responsible as there Fuhrer and no sympathy should be shown towards them!
RUN WITH THE CROWS GET SHOT WITH THE CROWS! OR IN THIS CASE RACIST HOMOPHOBE!
Thank you for your comment, but please don’t call people Nazis or suggest they should be shot on my blog.
hi Sarah, thank you for having the decency to reply i have no doubt in your integraty however i do have several issues to your comments.
the image comment was more of a sarcatic one you do have links to all and arnt hiding any info. soz if you saw this more seriously then intended.
in no way am i being apologetic to the actions of homophobia. any kind of hatred to and humunkind sickens me, but then i suppose you wd expect anyone to say that, but it does. there is no hinding behind grammar going on your reading the same grammer your just interperating it in a very different way and reading, incorrectly, what is between the lines. when we use our eye to see something that image in our brains is processed through the emotional before the logical this can lead us to concluded without looking into all the data. an easy way to work through this is to remember no what is said(written) but what actions are done. can you show me where PR has physically been homophobic or racist or what ever he has been falsly accused of an action? like ive mentioned it is deliberatly written provocativly so why fall for this provocation?
im not getting mixed up between norm and majority. a norm in the social sense are rules of certain behavior. a majority is who is the most. no one is saying homosexuality isnt normal other then you. as long as everyone has consent you and all others can do what the hell they wanna do. so please dont bring something in that is not there.
deviance is not a bad thing, progress comes through acts of deviance. if you see deviance as a bad thing then that says more about you as it implies you believe all deviance leads to criminality. that very predjudice of you. as long as consent is there then there is no sexual deviance no matter what kind of sex your talking about.
i have a very different attitute to PR. im left-wing and have very different views and opinions to him. and PR has been more then welcoming to me. ive always been open to ask him questions and he has always been respectful when i dissagree. if you think the about PR then it shows you dont know him and are making wild assumptions once again.
i would assume you would think i am homophobic as you believe i am standing up for someone who is this inclined but once again your making assuptions without knowing the facts nor do you ask for info before making assuptions.
if you think PR and N griffin words are the same then i suggest you remember to look at actions rather then words plus id look more into racist manifestos and CLEAR’s manifesto they are very different.
thats great LGBT includes everyone, so does CLEAR and by what you write by default your offending everyone at CLEAR. but this would be petty tit for tat name calling. you seem far too intelligent to play school ground games.
but remember the shit that you think came out didnt it is just an assumption in your mind.
there isn’t a distinction to be made between written homophobia and physical homophobia, as you put it (actually acting on your homophobia, which I think is what you meant, is discrimination, the attitude behind it is homophobia). It’s not ok to just call homosexuals perverts if you wouldn’t beat one up – Peter Reynolds wrote those words, he defended those words, and they are homophobic. I’m not assuming anything, I am reading what has been written and made public to view. If he wrote them to provoke, then that simply means that he wrote homophobic words knowing that they are offensive and unacceptable in public discourse, and set out to piss people off anyway. That in itself is homophobic. Nakedly, unabashedly, homophobic. If you don’t think that then I suggest you go and take a poll of all of your gay friends, because I did with mine and they’re unequivocal about what they think of people who go round saying that there is a anti-heterosexual conspiracy in the fashion industry.
It doesn’t matter what your political views are, you can be fascist, anarchist, or liberal and be both consciously and unconsciously prejudiced against gay people. It is NOT acceptable to say that its ok to say homophobic things in the public arena as long as you wouldn’t actually sack a gay person or shout at them. I have no evidence whatsoever that Peter Reynolds has ever been physically or verbally abusive to someone because of their sexuality, but that doesn’t matter compared to what he has written and defended right in front of me. Creating an atmosphere of suspicion and dislike of gay people makes it possible for active discrimination to take place – Peter Reynolds’ Daily Mail esque views on homosexuality make it possible for people to feel comfortable enough to prevent gay people from adopting, being represented in the media or even been taught about to kids in schools. I really don’t know what I can say to you if you’re willing to play mental linguistics with the word “deviant” in an attempt to defend his writing, but I assure you, I’m not reading anything into what he has written – it’s already there for me and everyone else to view. Like I said in the article itself, name me a party leader that could come out with someone like that and get away with it by explaining that he was really just using the technical meaning of the word “deviant” and he doesn’t really think homosexuals are perverts. Except of course, Peter Reynolds hasn’t even done that.
Even if you disagree with me, some of the Clear leadership realise the gravity of what is going on, and I congratulate them for that. Because it is nothing short of unbelievable to me that in 2012 someone can publish numerous and lengthy comments bashing gay people, women, people from Pakistan, China, and to praise the BNP, and to have those views defended by others. I recommend that you have a good lengthy browse of Stonewall’s website so you realise that equality (or liberation, which is what I prefer) is just my right to be gay in my bedroom, its my right to be gay anywhere, and to not be told I’m a deviation from the norm for it.
Can you clarify exactly what you mean by ‘the right to be gay anywhere’? Because really, homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is just a sexual preference. So are you saying you want the right to find whoever you want attractive anywhere? Because everyone has that right already. Or are you saying you want the right to engage in sexual relations anywhere? Because I frankly think that, regardless of sexuality, we shouldn’t be able to perform sex acts anywhere and everywhere. Or do you mean something else?
what I usually think of when thinking about what it means to be gay in public and not in my bedroom, is holding hands. Is it possible for me to walk down the street holding hands with a woman and not be stared at or commented upon? The experience is variable all over Britain, in some places you can do it, and in some places you can’t, and in some you will get beaten up.
It’s very easy to reduce the experience of being LGBT to just sex, but being LGBT isn’t just about sex, it’s about the way you live your life with a specific orientation. Can I hold hands with whom I want, can I go to synagogue with whom I want, can I marry whom I want, can I adopt children with whom I want? All of these things require greater thought and acceptance within our society than a snide, “do what you want in your own bedrooms” with the implied corollary “but keep it away from me”. See Stephen Fry’s thoughts on the matter as well: http://www.sarahmcculloch.com/stuffilike/moab-is-my-washpot.php
I think you’ll find that in Britain you have the right to hold hands with whoever you want in public and pretty much everywhere else. You seem to be saying you should have the right to dictate how other people react to that action, which I don’t think anyone has or should have. Though I agree people should accept these things, the simple fact is not everyone does. That doesn’t mean your rights are lessened. If someone beats you up for holding hands with someone of the same sex, then the hand-holders are within their rights while the violent offenders are not.
I don’t think people should be arguing for the right to marry who they want. I think people should be arguing to abolish marriage. The whole thing is a joke. What the hell do governments and other organisations have to do with who you choose to spend a chunk of your life with? I think it’s intellectually dishonest to campaign for gay marriage.
Adoption is hilariously difficult even for the ‘perfect’ heterosexual couple, and I would say this is a good thing to an extent, but I agree that sexuality shouldn’t be an issue.
Regarding the synagogue, I think most religious establishments frown upon displays of sexuality regardless of orientation, and I don’t see why anyone would want that right, it seems absurd.
Lastly, I am not reducing ‘the experience of being LGBT’ to just sex, but the simple fact is, you do have the right to be gay in public, because being gay doesn’t mean you somehow act differently to heterosexuals in public. Are straights allowed to have sex in public where gays are not?
I understand that there are a myriad issues facing the LGBT community that don’t affect straight people, but that is different to ‘having the right to be gay anywhere.’ There aren’t magical barriers that stop homosexuals from entering certain locations.
I haven’t made any comments about having sex in public spaces, you did so because you do appear to be strongly correlating being gay with having sex. I did not say that being able to go to synagogue with your partner entailed shagging them in the aisle – a lot of worship-goers will look at you very disapprovingly if you go to a service with your partner – not for having sex with them but for doing the things that couples do: standing very close together, kissing each other on the cheek goodbye, adjusting the other’s tie, touching them on the arm. Very chaste things, but which clearly signal “I am with this person”. It’s not any different, at all, to what heterosexual couples do, but it is different for many because it’s two people of the same sex doing it. And people have problems with that. And we as a society should have a problem with them.
The fact is that you are flat out wrong that you can hold hands anywhere in Britain and not get confronted about it: one of my closest friends was holding hands with her girlfriend at Aigburth railway station just three days ago and got glared at by people on a different platform. My flatmate refuses to hold hands with his boyfriend in public anymore because they got confronted in a park and had a knife pulled on them just last year. Maybe you think I am trying to dictate how people should react to gay people: I believe that what I am saying is that I, my friends, my flatmates, my family members and my extended community in which I live all, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, trans and asexual, should be able to relax and walk around any part of Britain without having to worry that they are going to get crap because of who they are walking with. It is not, to my mind, an excessive demand or a cry for special treatment, it is asking for the “right to be gay in public”. It’s not different from heterosexual couples; bigots, however, believe it so.
I also didn’t actually make any statements about marriage as a state institution either, I believe in it as a religious institution separate from anything to do with the state. But again, different denominations hold varying degrees of homophobic views – I can marry a woman in a Liberal synagogue, but not an Orthodox one. These are the sorts of things that LGBT people need to continue to challenge. You are right, there aren’t magical barriers that prevent gay people from entering certain location, there are very real, human-built ones. The death penalty is applied to gay people in seven different nations around the world. Every year, hundreds of gay people are thrown out of their homes by the very real physical threat of violence. I support a Manchester based charity that places homeless LGBT people with host families because there are so many of us being disowned and threatened by our own families: http://www.akt.org.uk/
The fact that you don’t think that there are barriers to being openly gay in today’s Britain is absolutely great, because it means that our message is getting through and a lot of people just don’t see it as an issue anymore. But it is, and LGBT people are being disowned and attacked and threatened and being marginalised and our efforts to live lives that look no different from heterosexual couples are being hampered by people who think we’re perverts and sinners – and people like Peter Reynolds telling us that we should just keep it to our bedrooms makes it hard to just be ourselves.
Well he’s definitely right that homosexuality isn’t normal, if you take the narrow view that ‘normal’ corresponds to ‘average’ and pretend that ‘normal’ is somehow a useful word, and of course he’s totally correct that ‘those damn homos’ have no fashion sense and dressing women up in nice clothes is best left to straight men, but he’s totally wrong about most of ‘us’ having a healthy interest in seeing women in beautiful clothes. I don’t give a shit about clothes, what the dick!?
“not ok to just call homosexuals perverts” knowbody has done this and thats the point. you cant get past provocative words. he has used such language not to promote homophobia but the abuse of innocent young women who are driven to anorexia just because it makes them more approachable to some fashion designers. thats the point not the sexuality. i understand it seems to you an attack but it is not but i also understand when you feel attacked your fight or flight reaction is triggered making you stuck in defence but you need to see it as that.
“It is NOT acceptable to say that its ok to say homophobic things”
NO ONE HAS SAID THIS. stop making things up. no one is saying these things are justified, you have a lot of build up anger but your aiming it in the wrong direction. no one has insulted you your merly seeing an insult that isnt there. there are so many injustaces in this world do you really think directing your energy like this is counter productive when you pick innoccent targets. if anything it undermines your own personal cause.
PR has made clear his views on ppl sexuality which is he doesnt care. ok it seems sexuality is much more important to you in a person then the individual themselves and seems you dont take the time to look beyond this. not that theres anything wrong with that thats your personality trait. but you need to accept that people are individuals and theyre not always gonna fit your personality. thats what makes life great, and fresh. its sad you arnt the same but thats fine, its your life.
no one is doubting the gravity of the situation. you are obviously offended and thats never nice or fair but thats no different to you accusing his homophobia or racism or sexism.
in fact what you are writing is far worse and more offensive.
Frankly I find your comments disgusting. Anorexia is a heterosexual conservative conspiracy designed to destroy civil rights one demographic at a time. To say that all homosexuals destroy the lives of heterosexual fashion models is frankly offensive.
And clearly you don’t understand the irony of being ironic. If someone uses provocative language to make a provocative point, and people get offended, then the people taking offence are clearly in the right and should have every opportunity to demand an apology. Not understanding irony is a disability and bigots like you need to come to terms with that.
your correct the lack of irony understanding is a true disability. its like worse then assburgers. i shall be more charatable from now on
Well, Ravehat, the reason that the Catholic Church is having such a public relations disaster is not because they have pedophiles in their ranks, all churches do, but because when it came to light that priests were abusing children, they justified it, hid it, and attacked the people who exposed it instead of dealing with the problem at hand. Such is the case with clear now. Telling me that I care more about a sexuality than an individual and that I’m writing this out of a fight or flight response is all very well but it doesn’t hide the fact that Peter Reynolds has made homophobic comments, and they remain homophobic however many words you spill trying to justify them or undermine the standing of people who don’t have much truck with bigotry.
I am not sitting at this computer exploding in anger, I am annoyed, yes, and I am going to keep pointing out why I am annoyed in a detailed and evidence based manner until people stop writing me comments about why I’m too excited about my own sexuality to recognise when someone is being homophobic and when they are just being homophobic in order to make a point about the fashion industry. Both are wrong.
I can’t reply to the actual post but I think it’s clear which chain of replies I am taking part in here:
By definition, sexuality is defined by who you have sex with, nothing else. This is the only reason I mention having sex. I strongly correlate being gay with wanting to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex because that is a huge chunk of the definition of homosexuality and really the only other part is wanting a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex. And having romantic feelings isn’t legislated against, in public nor in private. And if it is, it’s entirely unenforcable, so such legislation is irrelevant.
A lot of worshippers looking at you strangely does not infringe your rights. Being confronted in public by some dickhead because they think you are gay does not infringe your rights. Once, I was walking down the street, and some moron started insulting me for wearing glasses, even threatened me with violence. This in no way affects my right to wear glasses.
I have had a knife pulled on me several times whilst by myself, and I have been robbed in a few other ways as well; this has nothing to do with my right to walk down the street by myself, which I certainly do have, even if other people think I don’t.
Being able to relax when you’re walking down the street is a state of mind. The fact is you face risks all the time regardless of your sexuality. You have a nice dream, but it is not as if you are expressing a ‘gay dream.’ It is a human dream. It is not the case that straight people don’t get harassed on the street or that the only reason a homosexual is ever harassed is due to their sexuality.
You are completely confusing what your rights are and what the attitudes of some people are. I have already agreed with you that some people have shitty attitudes; please don’t tell me I’m wrong when I am actually correct about what people’s rights are (In England at least, and probably most or all of the modern world. I mean we’re talking about hand-holding).
If you read what I said about marriage, I claimed it was disingenuous to be pro-marriage regardless of sexuality. It really doesn’t matter if it’s state-sanctioned or not.
I don’t give a shit about your ‘message,’ don’t be so pretentious. The simple fact is, humans are humans, and for your part, I think it’s entirely dishonest to claim I am ignorant and yet somehow state this is a good thing. That’s offensive to anyone with a basic sense of logic and/or reality. You want people who don’t know enough to side with you and support you? You want people like me, who you say are flat-out wrong, to be part of your cause? I can’t approve of such lunacy.
Lastly, you keep mentioning various ways LGBTs get treated badly. I agree this is wrong, but the fact is, so does the government. You talk about rights but really you’re talking about universal social acceptance, so as far as I can see, your position uses dishonest language and is completely unrealistic. No-one is universally accepted. I agree that there should be more acceptance, and I agree in some countries people have less rights, but that’s true regardless of sexuality anyway.
I really don’t know what point exactly you are trying to make. Rights aren’t just matters of laws, they are “a moral, ethical, or legal principle considered as an underlying cause of truth, justice, morality, or ethics.” Sexuality is much broader than just who you want to have sex with, it’s about who you’re attracted to, who you want to have sex with, who you want to be in a relationship with, what you want to do with all of those people, when, where and why. For some reason, you keep ranting at me for not using the narrower definitions you use.
You say that there should be more acceptance, and then say that you’re not on board with my “cause”. So what, exactly, are you trying to tell me in such a hostile manner?
Sexuality is not only defined by who you have sex with. When I’m attracted to someone I don’t JUST want to have sex with them, there is a multitude of other feelings and desires that go along with that. And yes, having romantic feelings is not legislated against but that’s not the point that Sarah’s making. It is not only laws and the government’s opinion that are barriers to people living lives free from fear and discrimination. It is also the actions (including writings) of other groups and individuals that create and maintain these barriers, especially when they are in the public sphere where they can reach a wide audience. And so when people like Peter Reynolds call gay people ‘perverts’ they are adding to a culture that demonises and others non-straight people which in turn creates barriers to them being able to live their lives as free from fear/discrimination as heterosexual people. I think Sarah’s example of being unable to show (non-sexual) affection to a same sex partner without being made to feel uncomfortable or even physically hurt is a good example of this. Now, this isn’t me saying that we should have a law enforced that says that giving people dirty looks when walking around with their same sex partner is prohibited. That would be ridiculous. What I am saying is that homophobic actions/speech/writings (such as the two posts by Peter Reynolds that I have just read) have a real negative impact on the lives of LGBT people and that they should be openly challenged by anyone who comes across them, which is exactly what Sarah’s been doing here.
Also, I am incredibly shocked that anyone is actually denying that his posts were homophobic. I read them and was very disturbed by his views but frankly I’m far more deeply disturbed by many of these replys as it makes it clear that thinking that this sort of offensive bullshit is acceptable isn’t just localised to one person. After having read what he wrote I know that I am personally going to steer well clear of CLEAR and anyone who affiliates themself with this man.
Thanks for the post Sarah, it was very well written and unfortunately more needed than I had thought before reading people’s replys. Also, respect for so patiently and calmly replying to comments that are often both homophobic and also some of the most ridiculously illogical comments that I’ve ever come across on the internet (and that’s really saying something!)
I posted a comment which I thought was pretty reasonable on peters blog (copied below) stating my concerns and suggeting how they might be remedied. He didnt publish it but posted about it, dramatically rmisrepresentiing what i said. Very dissapointing. Im concerned this will all end in tears from CLEAR which would be a great shame.
he states that my comment was not published because of the “quite disgusting language and abuse contained” and “This from people who accuse me of abuse in the most hysterical and rabid terms”. the final comment on it highlights precisely the point made in the unpublished comment re self awareness: “These hypocritical, politically correct fools aren’t just bigoted, they’re also lacking any sort of objectivity or insight into their own prejudice.”;
here it is:
Quite aside from what anyone else has been posting about you, reading your earlier linked posts Im afraid they do come across as homophobic and racist . They do, and they are. Objectively, in both the language used and in the sentiments expressed. Just saying that you are not homophobic and racist does not change the content and sentiments expressed, or how they can and will be viewed by others.
I sense a particularly troubling lack of self awareness in your response to the former one (and the latter above) – which has made the situation still worse. CLEARS internal politics are a quite seperate issue from your personal profile which is, Im sorry to say, gravely tarnished by what *you* have written. On the offensive blogs issue specifically, this isnt about anyone else.
I suggest that you speak to some relevant organisations who deal with BME or gay rights issues and ask them what they think if you want an independent view. Each and every one will tell you that you have crossed a number of lines that go some way beyond ‘political correctness’.
Publicity around this presents a real threat to all the excellent work you have done with CLEAR. If you have people who seek to attack you or the organisation you handed them the perfect ammunition.
My suggested course of action would be immediately take down the blogs in question, apologise for any offence caused and make a clear and contrite statement that you are seeking education on minority rights issues having had concerns raised about your views by various readers that you take very seriously. Honestly, if you dont do this people will soon be deserting you and Clear in droves, which would be a tragedy for the organisation. As someone who is personally shocked and offended by what you’ve written I certainly dont feel I want anything to do with CLEAR whilst you remain in charge, particularly whilst failing to understand what you have done wrong, show contrition or any willingness to change and learn.
Well done for exposing such disgusting behaviour. I look forward to the court case, as I am certain that you have reported these ” Hate Crimes” to the Police.
Good on you Sarah for highlighting bigotry! I was a member of UNCLEAR for about a month but resigned my membership in disgust at PR hideous views. Cannabis and bigotry do not mix. The cannabis community must have tolerance towards all, if we expect others to be tolerant towards pot. It should have been the leader who resigned and not me! PR wil come a cropper coz e is a rotter!