October 26, 2011 in General
So many things swimming around to write about, things I’ve been thinking about. Life, politics, HIV, horror.
Life: I turned 50 last week – that was amazing – and I celebrated with family and friends. It was a lot of fun, and I am very glad, and I am very lucky. And I was very hungover…
Politics – well the election looms, and I have opinions, but I’ll get to them in another blog. But to be clear, National and ACT and United Future are shit. Perhaps I’m getting old and grumpy, but none of the parties actually inspire me.
HIV – why are young guys not getting the message? Part of the blame must lie at the feet of the NZAF. They are supposed to be experts at connecting with the gay community, that is what they were established to do, and what they get millions of dollars in government funding for and pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries for, but they have dropped the ball here. As they have moved away from being a community organisation to a generic Wellington style bureaucracy, this was inevitable though. Infection numbers continue to rise, young people aren’t being reached by their programmes – not exactly a success story for NZAF at the moment. And part of the blame must lie with we older men not being able to pass the message down as well.But I’ll come back to that another day.
And horror – real horror. The story from Scotland this week of Stuart Walker being beaten then burnt alive is unutterably disgusting, enraging, and saddening.
Imagine the agony, the terror, and the pain of his final hours.
This was an act of pure, deliberate and unspeakable evil.
Was it an act of homophobia? It is hard to be sure, but the indications are strong that it was. The vicious and dehumanising nature of the assault suggest it was much more than just a random drunken assault. It has chilling reminders for me of the way Matthew Shepherd was slaughtered in 1998.
There is the same sadistic delight in humiliating and tormenting a gay man, and the same contempt for his body. To burn someone alive – what sort of person can do that? To pour out such contempt on his physical shell – what lies behind this thinking?
What is there about being gay, about being sexually different, that can inspire such hatred, such blind and meaningless torture? Make no mistake, there are people who feel that way in this country too. Some of them used to be in Parliament – the ACT candidate for Epsom, our former Mayor, John Banks, once famously said that shoving six inches of barbed wire up a gay man’s arse was a waste of good barbed wire. That is the kind of evil that lies behind these sort of acts.
These people have the ability to regard as something far less than human, simply because we are not straight. They see nothing wrong with torturing us, they see nothing wrong with harassing us, they see nothing wrong with killing us. We are such scum in their eyes, that we do not matter.
Yes, NZ has come a long way. But it is not hard to find blind, unreasoning hatred of us out there. I really hope I’m wrong, but I will be disugusted and enraged when something like this happens here, but I won’t be surprised.