Category Archives: rant

Not just “those people”

When people speak negatively of gay couples, they almost exclusively paint a picture of nameless, faceless people who have nothing to describe them except their genitals. Sorry to be crude, but there it is. They don’t see a person, they see a set of genitals. They don’t realise that these are real people with real lives who have something to offer. They just see “male genitals + male genitals” or “female genitals + female genitals”. Therein lies the root of much of the bias and prejudice.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Mum in a shop. I’d just seen that Julia Gillard had been outed and Rudd was back in, and I was excited, and expressed my excitement. The shopkeeper saw fit to comment, and a discussion about politics ensued. That was all fine and well until I mentioned that I don’t like Rowan Ramsey (local politician) because he has ignored the wishes of the people he is supposed to represent, and stated that he will vote no on marriage equality, regardless of what the voters want.

The shopkeeper (who doesn’t know I’m gay; I don’t advertise the fact) saw fit to announce that he has no problem with “those people” as long as they didn’t hit on him (I hate the assumption that gay = predator!), and that they shouldn’t be allowed to have or raise children.

I asked why. He said,
“Because it’s wrong, that’s why.”

I asked how he felt about single mothers, and he said he has no problem with that, because they’re straight. I asked how he knew that they’d be a better mother than a gay woman, and he said ‘they just are’.

I can usually respect other people’s views, but this kind of view is the reason people like me can’t marry, and the reason there’s so much stigma about us raising children. I was raised by a straight couple; my biological father raped me multiple times when I was a child. But hey, he’s straight, so he’s a better parent than a gay guy *rolls eyes*

I ended up walking out of his shop.

See, the thing is that I am not “those people”; most gay people aren’t. I am a woman who is attracted to other women, but I have a name and a face and hopes and dreams and a past and a future. I am somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. I have been a mentor to several young folk who refer to me as “Aunty” or “Mum”, folk whose own parents (oddly enough, they were straight) let them down in varying degrees. I am not just a set of genitals.

Gay people are people, just like you. Who we are attracted to does not define who we are.

Rant over.

Disabilities and the PC-Patrol

People try to rename disability as “disABILITY”, handicaps as “handiCAPABLE”, and both as “differently abled”. Of the three, the latter is the only one I don’t find utterly stupid (and borderline offensive!).

I’m sorry, but a disability is a disability, and a handicap is a handicap. If you look at what those words actually mean, and not what the average Joe thinks they mean, then they’re apt.

“Disability”; some aspect of that person is disabled, whether it be a physical or mental function. Think about a machine; it may have five functions, and one or more of them may be disabled. It just means “turned off”, “paused”, “not currently functioning”, “not functioning to full capacity”. It doesn’t mean that the machine is dumb or broken or not capable of other stuff (remember, it has multiple functions), it just means that that particular function is not available. Now think of a quadriplegic; they’re disabled. Their legs have been “turned off”. Their other functions are still active, but that part has been “disabled”. Calling it a “disABILITY” would mean that they could stand if they wanted to, but they’re choosing not to.

“Handicap”; this just means something that makes someone struggle more in a particular area to keep up. Think of a golfing handicap. I’m going to need help with this one, because I’m not familiar with golf, but it refers to the person’s average score or something. It doesn’t mean they can’t play golf, it just means they may require additional coaching or compensation (as in, using a slightly different method/modification) in order to achieve the same score as someone without a handicap, or with less of a handicap. Calling it “handiCAPABLE” means they could play better golf if they’d just TRY!

Now, differently abled, that makes sense. It means that they’re weaker in a particular area, but hey, they’re strong in THIS area. Think of the disabled guy in the wheelchair; running a marathon by foot may be out, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a genius in front of a keyboard. Or if he’s athletically-inclined, maybe he can’t RUN a marathon, but perhaps he can WHEEL it.

To me, swapping one label for another is still saying “there’s something wrong with this person”. You’re still drawing attention to the fact that they have limitations. Saying they’re “differently abled”, however, is accurate, and applies to everyone, not just people with disabilities or handicaps. The focus is on what they can do, or do well, as opposed to what they can’t do.

And don’t get me started on client vs consumer, ugh!

Enough with the political-correctness. Let’s quit focussing on which label we’d prefer to tag people with, and focus on what a person can DO, eh?

And before anyone feels the need to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, I identify as disabled due to multiple physical, mental, and cognitive issues. I don’t feel that calling myself disabled/handicapped is derogatory, I feel I’m just stating a fact.

%d bloggers like this: