Gay Rights

Quick Round Up on Straight Pride UK

This is just a quick summary for anyone coming late to this issue.

1. Oliver Hotham published a quick question-and-answer on a small grouping which pushes “straight pride”, whatever that would be.

OliverH1

2. Subsequently, they became annoyed and tried to intimidate him to remove the blog post. They even went to the extreme and sent Wordress a DMCA notice.

3. Naturally, as a comparatively poor student, Oliver Hotham, complied. He couldn’t afford the time nor the money to fight that action in a court. But he expressed his annoyance in a further blog post, The sordid tale of how I was censored by Straight Pride UK.

4. Straight Pride UK wanted that removed as well, piling on the pressure. But the Internet came to Oliver’s rescue.

5. I and many other bloggers reposted the material, invalidating any take down notice. Unless, of course, Straight Pride UK wanted to sue half of the Internet!

6. Activists on Twitter took notice of events and pointed out the homophobic sentiment underlying Straight Pride UK (expressing support for Putin’s anti-Gay laws). which led them to protecting their tweets, effectively censoring themselves! Under pressure they swapped Twitter accounts, but made the elementary mistake of leaving their old free.

Putin2

7. So Straight Pride UK was turned into a parody account with an associated web site, kindly donated by Craig T. Smith.

8. You might think that would be the end of it. Anyone sensible would lay low, lick their wounds and think about their strategy. NB: the individuals behind the original Straight Pride UK  are now using the @prideofstraight account on Twitter.

9. Instead they tried to intimidate the owner of the Straightprideuk.co.uk parody site, without success.

10. Now Twitter activists are re-tweeting with the #prideofstupid

11. The issue was picked up by various sections of the media:

The Guardian, WordPress pulls interview with anti-gay group Straight Pride UK.

Pink News, Straight Pride UK uses US copyright law to remove critical article.

Techcrunch, Straight Pride UK, A “Heterosexual Rights” Group, Sics The DMCA On A Journalist.

Gizmodo, The Most Convoluted DMCA Takedown Request of All Time.

Huff Post, Do the Rights of Straight People Need Defending?

Boing Boing, WordPress honours fraudulent copyright complaint from UK “straight rights” group, cooperates in censorship.

[This is a partial summary, may contain errors, typos or omissions so blame the author! I welcome intelligent corrections, but no DMCA notices please, as I ignore them and I am immune to libel proceedings too.]

PS: If you suffer from DNS issues, then please do visit the second parody site stupidprideuk.com

Update 1: Straight Pride seem a bit troubled and anxious, changing their Twitter account, again to @ofclstraightprd

So that is from @StraightPrideUK to @prideofstraight to @ofclstraightprd, what next week? Putin Pride?

I suspect there are some deep-seated issues at play there.

If they were not bigots I might feel sympathy for their neurotic behaviour, but as it is they need to be exposed for the closet homophobes they are.

Update 2: The plot thickens their new account @ofclstraightprd comes up with “Account suspended” on Twitter.

I can only assume that they have decided to give up social media, realising that they cannot impose their totalitarian and homophobic agenda on the rest of the Internet.

Or possibly they have retreated back to their cave, knuckles scraping on ground? Who knows?

Censored Post: It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah

[Editor's note: This is the censored post. It is available on Google cache.

I can not see Straight Pride UK trying to coerce Google, but they tried it on with a young blogger, Oliver Hotham. I suggest other bloggers re-post.

It is a polite interview with Straight Pride UK given every opportunity to make their case. A good example of freedom of speech.

But why I am reminded of attitudes found recently in Russia? Hmm. Soupy]

It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah

There has never been a better time to be gay in this country. LGBTI people will soon enjoy full marriage equality, public acceptance of homosexuality is at an all time high, and generally a consensus has developed that it’s really not that big of a deal what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. The debate on Gay Marriage in the House of Commons was marred by a few old reactionaries, true, but generally it’s become accepted that full rights for LGBTI people is inevitable and desirable. Thank God.

But some are deeply troubled by this unfaltering march toward common decency, and they call themselves the Straight Pride movement.

Determined to raise awareness of the “heterosexual part of our society”, Straight Pride believe that a militant gay lobby has hijacked the debate on sexuality in this country, and encourage their members, among other things, to “come out” as straight, posting on their Facebook page that:

“Coming out as Straight or heterosexual in todays politically correct world is an extremely challenging experience. It is often distressing and evokes emotions of fear, relief, pride and embarrassment.”

I asked them some questions.

First of all, what prompted you to set up Straight Pride UK?

Straight Pride is a small group of heterosexual individuals who joined together after seeing the rights of people who have opposing views to homosexuality trampled over and, quite frankly, oppressed.

With the current political situation in the United Kingdom with Gay Marriage passing, everyone is being forced to accept homosexuals, and other chosen lifestyles and behaviours, no matter their opposing views. Straight Pride has seen people sued, and businesses affected, all because the homosexual community do not like people having a view or opinion that differs from theirs.

Are your beliefs linked to religion? How many of you derive your views from scripture?

Straight Pride aims are neutral and we do not follow religion, but we do support people who are oppressed for being religious. Only today, Straight Pride see that two homosexual parents are planning to sue the Church because they ‘cannot get what they want’. This is aggressive behaviour and this is the reason why people have strong objections to homosexuals.

You say that one of your goals is “to raise awareness of the heterosexual part of society”. Why do you feel this is necessary?

The Straight Pride mission is to make sure that the default setting for humanity is not forgotten and that heterosexuals are allowed to have a voice and speak out against being oppressed because of the politically correct Government.

Straight Pride feel need to raise awareness of heterosexuality, family values, morals, and traditional lifestyles and relationships.

Your website states that “Homosexuals have more rights than others”. What rights specifically do LGBTI people have that straight people are denied?

Homosexuals do currently have more rights than heterosexuals, their rights can trump those of others, religious or not. Heterosexuals cannot speak out against homosexuals, but homosexuals are free to call people bigots who don’t agree with homosexuality, heterosexuals, religious or not, cannot refuse to serve or accommodate homosexuals, if they do, they face being sued, this has already happened.

Straight Pride believe anyone should be able to refuse service and speak out against something they do not like or support.

There is a hotel in the south of England, called Hamilton Hall, this only accepts homosexuals, now if this is allowed, then hotels should have the choice and right to who they accommodate.

What has been the response to your campaign?

The response to Straight Pride’s formation has been as expected; hostile, threatening, and aggressive. Homosexuals do not like anyone challenging them or their behaviour.

We have had support from many people saying that if homosexuals can have a Pride March, and then equality should allow Heterosexuals to have one too. After all, the homosexual movement want everyone to have equality.

Why would you say that heterosexuality the “natural orientation”?

Heterosexuality is the default setting for the human race, this is what creates life, if everyone made the decision to be homosexual, life would stop. People are radicalised to become homosexual, it is promoted to be ‘okay’ and right by the many groups that have sprung up.

Marriage is a man and a woman, homosexuals had Civil Partnerships, which were identical to Marriage with all the same rights, they wanted to destroy Marriage and have successfully done so.

If you could pick one historical figure to be the symbol of straight pride (just as figures like Alan Turing, Judith Butler or Peter Tatchell would be for Gay Pride) which would you choose?

Straight Pride would praise Margaret Thatcher for her stance on Section 28, which meant that children were not taught about homosexuality, as this should not on the curriculum.

More recently, Straight Pride admire President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his stance and support of his country’s traditional values.

How do you react to anti-gay attacks and movements in Russia and parts of Africa?

Straight Pride support what Russia and Africa is doing, these country have morals and are listening to their majorities. These countries are not ‘anti-gay’ – that is a term always used by the Homosexual Agenda to play the victim and suppress opinions and views of those against it.

These countries have passed laws, these laws are to be respected and no other country should interfere with another country’s laws or legislation.

We have country wide events which our members attend, and ask people their opinions and views, on such event at Glastonbury this year was very positive with the majority of people we asked, replied they were happily heterosexual.

For the record, Straight Pride did not respond to these questions:

“Pride” movements such as Gay Pride and Black Pride were making the argument that the stigma against them meant that proclaiming their “pride” was an act of liberation from oppression. Can being heterosexually really compare?

A problem that Gay rights activists cite is the issue of bullying, and the effect this can have on young LGBT people. Do you think a similar problem exists with straight children being bullied by gay children?

I will obviously add to this if they do respond.

You can follow Straight Pride on Twitter here and see their Facebook page here.

Oliver Hotham: The sordid tale of how I was censored by Straight Pride UK

[Reprinted from Oliver Hotham’s blog after threats from the Straight Pride UK group. I would suggest that other bloggers do the same, as a direct counter to this attempt at censorship and intimidation. Soupy]

Oliver Hotham writes:

“A few weeks ago, when thinking of interesting things I could write for this blog, I remembered a weird organisation that gathered some attention on the internet a month or two ago.

The organisation is called Straight Pride UK. It’s a strange group which believes that the tide of Gay rights has gone too far, and that now heterosexuals have become the oppressed minority. Essentially their philosophy is spun from the same reactionary cloth as “Men’s Rights activists” – the notion that, having essentially run Western society for most its existence, progressive demands that Christian white straight males share some of their total grasp on power is somehow a removal of their rights.

Anyway, I wrote to Straight Pride asking that they answer some questions. Stipulating that I was “a freelance journalist”, I sent them some questions, about what they do and what they believe.

About a week later they responded with an attached document with the title “press release”. I went through the questions, corrected the horrendous grammar, and organised it so it coherently answered the questions I’d posed. I also noted that two rather pointed questions I’d asked, regarding the problem of the bullying of LGBTI youth and the nature of other “pride” movements, had not been answered. I sent them an email about this, saying that I’d give them the opportunity to respond but, if they didn’t, I’d “make it clear in the article” that they avoided the questions. They didn’t get back to me for 2 days, which I thought ample time to write two sentences.

Fully satisfied that my journalism had made them look like the arses they are, I hit the publish button, and sat back, feeling all together really pleased with myself. I called the article “It’s great to be straight… yeah”, too, which I thought acutely summed up their philosophy and referenced a mid-90s dance album I rather like.

The article gained a lot of traction, too. A friend and I put it on Reddit, and I got thousands of hits. In my short career of attempting to become a respectable journalist, it was one of the most successful things I’d done.

Then came the email from Straight Pride UK’s press officer, Nick Steiner:

“It has been brought to my attention that you have published the email that I sent you to, you did not state this in your email request, nor you did have consent to do this.

I therefore request that you take down the article that you have placed on your blog.

You have 7 days in which to do this, failing this I shall submit a DMCA to WordPress to have it removed.”

I laughed this off, and responded to the email arguing their case was absurd:

1) There was no indication on the “press release” they sent me that it was copyrighted material. (I’m no expert on copyright law, but I do know you have to make clear on the material that it is protected). Nor did they make any mention of the fact that anything they gave me was copyrighted.

2) I wrote “I’m a journalist and I’d like to ask you some questions” in my first email. If you’re a press officer and you don’t know what this means, then you really aren’t qualified to have your job.

3) In my email about the questions they didn’t answer, I made reference to “the article”. If that isn’t an indication that I’m going to publish something then I really don’t what is.

I thought this was a good enough defence, and I assumed this would all be swept under the carpet, and that their rather sad attempts to remove my article because it made them look stupid were all for naught.

I was wrong – within a few days WordPress caved to them without question, removing my article and telling me if I tried to publish it again I’d be suspended, but that I could challenge the takedown of my article. I responded that yes, I very much would like to, and was emailed a form I’d have to fill in. One of the requirements was that I “consent to local federal court jurisdiction, or if overseas, to an appropriate judicial body”.

I’m a student. I don’t have the money, time, or patience to go through with potentially having to go to court over this. All in all, I just could not be bothered to challenge the decision.

So I accepted the takedown, feeling thoroughly shit about myself.

Then I get another email from Straight Pride UK, which pissed me off even more. They demanded I take down the material (which I had) but also that I:

“…remove all references to Straight Pride UK, The Straight Forward Project, along with images, and links, from your Blog.”

Ok.

So not content with forcing me to eat a shit sandwich on dubious grounds and making me take down my work, they now demand that I never write anything about them again. Are these people kidding? Who the hell do they think they are that they can simply demand that I not write about them again, in an email with the pointedly sinister name of their solicitors at the bottom?

This, for me, was the final straw, and why I decided to write this article.

Because I find it absurd that this silly little group can simply demand that remove all my references to them because it makes them look bad. What are they afraid of? Their views make them look stupid enough, why the need to so aggressively bully and harass me? Why do they care so much?

And are they so cowardly that an article criticising them is enough to attempt to pursue a tenuous legal case against the author?

It really boggles the mind.”

Peter Tatchell, Routledge And Western “Anti-Imperialists”

Peter Tatchell has, justifiably, extracted an apology from Routledge, the publishers:

“The UK publisher Routledge has issued a public apology to Peter Tatchell for 20 “misrepresentations and distortions” and “inaccurate allegations” made by the former Human Rights Watch programme director, Scott Long.

The full and unreserved apology to Peter Tatchell and the LGBT human rights group OutRage! has been made by Roger Horton, the CEO of Routledge’s parent company, Taylor and Francis.

Routledge acknowledges that “substantial inaccuracies” appeared in Mr Long’s essay on Iran which it published in its journal Contemporary Politics. “

There seems to be some question as to whether or not this is a one-off,  an exception or how Peter has been treated by many Western anti-imperialists.

Personally, I think the case is fairly clear, based on the evidence.

Having followed Peter Tatchell’s activities, off and on, for over three decades I have been astonished at the bile aimed at him. But no one needs to take my word on that they can simply search Google and feast upon the links.

Employing theese Google keywords: Peter Tatchell, Islamophobia

Will reveal any number of defamatory comments against Peter, below is a small, and by no means, definitive selection.

[I apologise to Peter for dragging up this nonsense, but I think the extent of the abuse that he has  suffered needs documenting.]

Peter Tatchell not only encourages Islamophobia – he defends the right of homophobes to incite hatred against the LGBT community. from Islamophobia Watch dating from June 16, 2011.

There are numerous entries dating back to 2004, which can be viewed via this search string.

Rational Wiki explains the background.

The SWP affiliated Lenin Tomb’s has been active over the years, from November 23, 2005: Tatchell and pink-veiled Islamophobia and October,24 2009: OutRage!ous Censorship of “Gay Imperialism”.

Even Indymedia UK ran this piece in 2007, Peter Tatchell the anti Muslim campaigner.

These criticisms might be dismissed as coming from the fringes, politically speaking. Yet even Labour Party membership or holding high political office is not a guarantee against hyperbole or venom towards Peter.

We shouldn’t forget Ken Livingstone’s poor contribution, as Peter commented in 2008:

“Despite my record of support for Ken, he singled me out for particular denunciation over Qaradawi. The mayor condemned me as anti-Muslim, and even suggested I was a pawn of the Israeli secret service and US neocons.

The mayor’s far left supporters waged a vicious, year-long hate campaign of lies and disinformation which, even to this day, has resulted me being branded as a “racist” and “Islamophobe” by sections of the left. Consequently, I am no longer invited to speak at some anti-fascist, anti-war and trade union events.

The mayor and his allies were wrong to smear me as Islamophobic. Everyone knows that I have done a huge amount of work campaigning for the rights of Muslim prisoners, asylum applicants and those falsely accused of terrorism. I have reserved my fire for Muslim fundamentalists, not Muslims in general. Moreover, I have long supported the human rights of the people of Iran, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Darfur and the Western Sahara – who are mostly Muslim.”

Elsewhere, the Socialist Unity blog, run by a Labour Party member, decried Scott Long’s apology in June, 30, 2010: Did Peter Tatchell Uses Libel Laws To Delegitimise Criticism? and The Intersections Between Homophobia And Islamophobia from 5 November, 2009.

Those would just a small selection, not the worst, and rather distressing to Peter, given his excellent work over the years highlighting human rights abuses from Russia to Zimbabwe and in Britain. He’s had to suffer this abuse for  years, at least 8 by my quick tally, but it’s probably longer.

However, there is a wider point here.

By falsely attacking Peter Tatchell as Islamophobic his critics have misused the word, demeaned its meaning. They have diminished its impact. They played with its meaning for political purposes and detracted from the very visible racism that hides under real Islamophobia in Britain.

Peter deserves apologies all round, and to be congratulated for his sterling work for gay rights, human rights and antiracism over the years.

In short, these Google searches reveal that Peter Tatchell has been unjustifiably maligned and attacked for  years. Inexcusably, he has been labelled as ‘Islamophobic’ by various Western “anti-imperialists”, some on the periphery, others not so.

Ken Livingston’s attacks on Peter show how it was not just the fringes. By employing this false criticism Peter’s critics have diminished the meaning of “Islamophobic”. It is they who have devalued the word and the very necessary struggle against this form of racism. It is they that should apologise.

Anyone genuinely interested in combating racism towards Muslims should follow Tell MAMA and in the event of any racist incident contact them: Phone MAMA on 0800 456 1226. Text MAMA on 01157070007. Mmail MAMA at info@tellmamauk.org and Tweet MAMA @tellmamauk.

That Letter to President Obama

Elections are often dirty affairs and politics rarely brings out the best in us, but this letter is delightful:

“Dear Barack Obama,

It’s Sophia Bailey Klugh. Your friend who invited you to dinner. You don’t remember okay that’s fine. But I just wanted to tell you that I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other. But at school kids think that it’s gross and weird but it really hurts my heart and feelings. So I come to you because you are my hero. If you were me and you had two dads that loved each other, and kids at school teased you about it, what would you do?

Please respond!

I just wanted to say you really inspire me, and I hope you win on being the president. You would totally make the world a better place.

Your friend Sophia

P.S. Please tell your daughters Hi for me!”

Update 1: Huff Post has some background on this story.