Skip to content


College is voluntary love, voluntary

And you do know what voluntary means do you?

Students at Liberty University have to sign an honor code, which describes accepted and forbidden behavior – and LGBTQ students fear they have to remain in the shadows to graduate

It took one weekend to leave Tessa Russell truly exposed.

On 6 April 2019, her girlfriend Ash Ables traveled to Liberty University in central Virginia to surprise her. They had been dating for four months, but it was her first time visiting Russell on campus.

The two were eating pizza in front of the TV when Russell’s resident adviser (RA) swiped into the room, catching the couple off guard. Because same-sex relationships are effectively verboten at the evangelical Christian school, Russell immediately tried to pass the relationship off as platonic.

Her resident adviser wasn’t buying it, and ordered Ables to leave campus. Russell frantically reached out to her Liberty LGBTQ network, and the couple crashed at a friend’s apartment.

Then Russell’s cellphone rang. Her RA demanded that she return, saying the two “could not be together”. Feeling that she didn’t have a choice, she left Ables and went back to her dorm at 3am, where her adviser was waiting.

“You know, you can get counseling for this kind of thing. These relationships are sinful. I recommend you go to therapy for this,” Russell was told.

“It was just painful because it was so shameful – even though it’s something that should not be – I have a girlfriend who I love. There was nothing wrong with that, but it was just so looked down upon by my peers,” Russell, who graduated in the spring, told the Guardian.

Here’s the thing. Why would a lesbian go to a university which says that being a lesbian is a sin? There being some tens of thousands of places across the country that are willing to take the cash in return for the degree certificate.

Why would you do that?

Of course, it’s possible, on further investigation, to think that there might be a slightly different problem here:

Those folks down south are known to have had the occasional problem with miscegenation as well.

Just on this very specific point

Some people kicked back on the tweet thread asking, “Why should basic decency be applauded?” These encounters are not examples of brilliance; they are examples of good practice, and shouldn’t be held up as something special.

Because that’s how a society works. Disapproval – from physical chastisement to a raised eyebrow – of things we disapprove of and praise and celebration of those we approve of. Reinforcement of the behavioural patterns we collectively desire.

Exactly the phrasing or action used to reinforce doesn’t matter so much. Some societies use a ticker tape parade to show that approval, others just a muttered well done that man. It’s the same incentive to the behaviour either way.

Shocking words

Re this and then this.

Words that you don’t want to see can be substituted, on the fly, by your browser.

There might be some comic – or worse – opportunities here. It’s meant to be used so that “fuck” gets replaced with “gets jiggy with” and that “Nword” becomes “vilehatefulracistepithet” so as to not frighten the horses.

But with a little programming a version could replace “OwenJones” with “whelpfacedboyladdie” and “Guardian” with “Grauniad” and “Al Sharpton” with “race hustler” and the opportunities become really rather fun.

The only real difficulty I see is in being able to infiltrate it into the browsers of all people in some right on organisation. Imagine the HoC forced to read properly just for the one day even.

Interesting percentages

It makes for incredibly grim reading. On Twitter, 12% of posts relating to trans issues or people are abusive; elsewhere abuse makes up 18% of blog comments, 19% of news comments, 40% of forum discussions and 78% of YouTube comments. And that’s just clearly abusive posts. It doesn’t include dog-whistles where bigotry makes its point more carefully.

What portion of human speech an interaction is abusive anyway? Leave aside trans, leave aside even the very delicate flower definitions of abuse being used. Large amounts of human communication just are “Nyaah, Nyaah” so is it more or less in this case on these platforms?

Freedom means you’re allowed to be a bigot

We’ve come a long way in a fairly short time, but even in supposedly enlightened countries like the UK there are people who hate LGBT+ people. Those people do not always keep their bigoted beliefs a secret, wrap them in “reasonable concerns” or keep their hatred in the closet. Many of them are vocal. Some are violent. And not everyone is strong enough to come out and have to deal with that.

Liberty does in fact mean that you get to state your beliefs. Violence is, of course, creation of a third party harm and so not allowed. But voicing beliefs? What version of freedom is there where this is not allowed?

Smelling of wood smoke and anchovies

Boris isn’t being all that polite:

The prime minister has attacked the Extinction Rebellion activists protesting in London over the climate crisis, dismissing them as “uncooperative crusties” who should stop blocking the streets of the capital with their “heaving hemp-smelling bivouacs”.

But there’s a certain truth there. As with Auberon Waugh’s comment about the Greenham Common women. Smelling of wood smoke and anchovies…..

Rather fun

The complaint that WWL and Entercom filed with NOPD says that a digital forensic expert concluded that the tweeted slur directed at the openly gay host came from Dunlap’s own phone.

“The investigation discovered that the tweet was sent from an IP address associated with Mr. Dunlap’s personal cell phone,” according to the police report.

The report outlines that Dunlap was seen on video surveillance walking into his office and closing the door at the time the post was made, and then walking out of his office with his phone in his hand just after the tweet went out.

Attorney Michael Banks also claimed that while later meeting with station officials, Dunlap asked how much the company would pay and threatened to publicly attack the station through a “scorched earth” campaign.

Dunlap, meanwhile, denies he sent the tweet and alleges mistreatment.

His lawyer Megan Kiefer labeled Entercom’s allegations as “defamatory.”

In a public release, she said, “We will reveal the appalling history of discrimination Seth has experienced during his eight years at Entercom as an openly gay man.”

Kiefer alleged that Entercom has allowed an anti-gay, bigoted, and hostile work environment to flourish.

“Entercom as well as its corporate lawyers were aware of instances of homophobia and discrimination and did nothing to protect Seth or its LGBTQ+ employees.”

Truly appalling discrimination he suffered if he was allowed to remain on air for 8 years – and if he chose to remain there 8 years.

But it is Honey

The BBC’s misguided response suggests that reacting to racism is worse than racism itself. All I saw was another woman of colour calling out racist remarks for what they were, and describing her own experiences. The clear message sent by this ruling is that whether or not something is racist is purely subjective.

To complain about Europeans gong to South Africa to dispossess the indigenes is to be right on, just and laudable. To complain about Bantus from West Africa doing the same is to be appallingly racist.

Racism is thus subjective, isn’t it?

Any approach to impartiality needs to clearly acknowledge that racism – particularly of the blatant “go home” variety – is a violent and illegitimate standpoint.

By whose standards then? By those you wish to impose on everyone presumably. At which point you can fuck off Honey.

Because it’s not called racism when someone says the descendants of the Voortrekkers “should go home” but it is when second generation immigrants here are told to do so? Subjectivity rather depends upon your point of view, doesn’t it?

How in buggery can this be true?

The High Court in England has ruled that Guardian journalist Freddy McConnell, a trans man, cannot be named as the father of his child on their birth certificate.

McConnell is his child’s dad, and as he has a gender recognition certificate he is legally a man.

Riiight. But then this:

And QCs for McConnell set out the implications: Previous legal protections for trans people, could be unpicked. Reforms to surrogacy laws will be halted. Same-sex parents would be blocked from birth certificates. Fertility clinics will not be able to offer treatment to trans ppl.

Xe got pregnant with the aid of fertility treatment…….

Seems logical

“Being a ‘mother’ or a ‘father’ with respect to the conception, pregnancy and birth of a child is not necessarily gender specific,” McFarlane concluded after McConnell requested a judicial review.

“There is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent. Being a ‘mother’, whilst hitherto always associated with being female, is the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.

“It is now medically and legally possible for an individual, whose gender is recognised in law as male, to become pregnant and give birth to their child. Whilst that person’s gender is ‘male’, their parental status, which derives from their biological role in giving birth, is that of ‘mother’.”

If the word “mother” is to have a meaning that seems to be about it, no?

Not sure this is quite the right word really

Duchess of Sussex’s historic moment as she tells South Africa ‘I am here as a woman of colour’ in heartfelt speech

Coloured” means something a little different in South Africa, doesn’t it?

I’ve even got the impression – quite where from I’m not sure, just something vaguely in the back of the head – that coloureds are considered by some of the more excitable Black power types to be interlopers themselves.

Libruls is different because reasons

Justin Trudeau’s brownface scandal is bad. But voting him out isn’t the solution
Moustafa Bayoumi

Obvious, innit?

Why? Because racial pantomimes are not really about costumes or humor but are about power, the power to degrade the people of another race, the power to ridicule the manners of another ethnicity, and the power to make racism look like it’s all just good fun.

So hang him, right? The answer, amazingly, being no. Because different, see?

So we hound him out of public life, right ?

Justin Trudeau has apologised over a photograph showing him wearing “brownface” make-up at a private school party.

The Canadian prime minister, who began his re-election campaign a week ago, is seen in the 2001 photo attending an “Arabian Nights” themed costume gala at the West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver.

Mr Trudeau, who was a 29-year-old teacher at the time, is shown wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened.

Or doesn’t that happen to lefties because reasons?

Munch, munch, munch

Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has been accused of promoting a “toxic” internal environment of bullying and harassment, making it the latest high-profile charity to come under fire over its workplace culture.

That sound of political autophagy.

What does colonial actually mean these days?

I left Iran to pursue an academic career where I could have better access to knowledge and collaborate with international scholars. Instead, I feel increasingly trapped in Germany. My political identity defines my role as a scholar, even in the seemingly democratic, liberated environment of academia.

Projects which depict an oppressed, exotic other – for instance, through examinations of topics such as physical violence in Islamic rituals or the persecution of women in the middle east – tend to be well-received by lecturers and students. But these projects play into deeply problematic expectations of colonial narrative. My friends have joked that I should take my camera to a village and film a strange ritual, and my career would be solid as a rock.

It’s not just academia where the colonial gaze drives how we work.

Germany? Iran? Colonial?

Actually, Iran, colonial? Well, maybe Arabs, Turks, Mongols, but that’s not usually what we mean, is it?

So, so, stigmatising

President Donald Trump described a weekend of two mass shootings — one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio — as a “mental illness problem.”

“We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment but when necessary involuntary confinement,” Trump said during a public address on Monday.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”

Yet mental health experts, including representatives from the American Psychological Association, have called it “unfounded” to blame mass shootings on mental illness in place of considering other possible factors, such as hate, bigotry and access to assault weapons.
Calling every mass shooting a mental health problem is “inaccurate and it’s stigmatizing,” said Arthur Evans, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.

You know what? It might indeed be stigmatising. It’s even true that not every nutter pulls the trigger, but it’s still nutters pulling triggers, isn’t it.

Poor little dears

Pink lights that highlight children’s acne to disperse them from public places and anti-loitering sonic sirens only children can hear should be banned, says the children’s commissioner for England.

Anne Longfield told The Telegraph the devices were “cruel and demeaning” as it emerged that increasing numbers are being deployed by councils, businesses and residents to disperse groups of young children congregating in public.

They’re supposed to be cruel and demeaning Love.