Do you hate trans and non-binary people? Traditions are not on your side

Well, some aren’t. I am certain some of you are familiar of what I am going to say below.

There are traditional cultures which recognise the third gender, in which you were assigned as either male or female at birth and then you end up identifying as the other gender, both genders or neither.

South Asian cultures recognise the Hijra.

Some Indigenous North Americans recognise the two-spirit (note: the English term for this concept is contentious).

Different Polynesian societies traditionally recognise third genders: Faʻafafine of the Samoans, Māhū of the Hawaiians and Tahitians (may be pejorative in Hawaii), Fakaleiti of the Tongans, Whakawahine of the Maoris and Akava’ine of the Cook Islanders.

The Balkans have the Sworn Virgins, people who were assigned as female at birth, identify as male later on and live a celibate life.

In the South American countries of Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname, the Warao people have Tide Wena, who identify neither as male nor female.

In Indonesia, the Bugis people take it even further by recognising five genders: Oroané, Makkunrai, Calalai, Calabai and Bissu.

Oroané and Makkunrai are males and females respectively. Calalai and Calabai are males and females who were assigned as the other genders at birth, respectively. Bissu are both male and female and they may or may not be born intersex.

In some cases, people who identify as the third (or fourth, or fifth) gender are highly revered by their respective societies due to perceived supernatural prowess. The Bissu are a good example.

No, I don’t think those third genders validate their modern (and western-centric) counterparts.

Apart from the poor comparability (I may have oversimplified descriptions or misunderstood the concepts), it is also intellectually dishonest to determine rightness based on how “traditional” something is; if that’s how we do things, we should also validate anti-LGBT+ bigotry as well, considering it is the tradition in many places.

But, at the same time, those facts demonstrate how humans have always had the ability to be fluid with genders. The rigid male-female binary is not as innate and “traditional” as you think it is.

You have to use other arguments.

And no, biology is not on your side, either. I can remind you that intersex people exist and non-trans women can also have high testosterone level in their bodies.

Even our corporeal existence isn’t black and white.

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LGBT+ culture is not the utopia

I have issues with the culture in general. Apart from the fact that it is not empowering to all LGBT+ people and yet being represented as such, it also gives the impression that equality has been achieved.

Its open celebration does indicate acceptance among the populace. But, the acceptance is not universal.

Remember, the culture exists to empower some LGBT+ individuals. If its existence is still needed, it means there are still a significant chunk who crave the empowerment, which indicates they have yet to be fully accepted.

The US and the UK have strong LGBT+ cultures and yet, anyone with brains know the bigotry is still rampant in both.

Never mind the red US states with their half-assed or non-existent protections. Even the more liberal federal government’s commitment is still half-assed; same-sex marriage legalisation does not extend to American Samoa and Indian reservations, intersex people aren’t allowed to serve in the military, there is no ban on conversion therapy (not even for minors) and there are no laws criminalising gay and trans panic defenses.

And the UK? The national government bans puberty blocker for ALL underage trans individuals simply because one person regrets her transition. Oh, and don’t forget BBC, the so-called liberal public broadcaster which prohibits its staff from making public stances regarding controversial issues, like LGBT+ rights.

This is false neutrality. They are basically saying their staff should not openly take stances when human rights issues are involved. For them, complicity is worth the impartiality.

This may explain why the BBC nominates JK’s Rowling fear-mongering, citation-lacking, anti-trans essay for an award and runs a news report which uses a person who incites violence against trans women as a source.

Both countries show how the existence of LGBT+ cultures does not mean the death of prejudice.

I have this thought after Vice made a video about how the English empire enforced anti-LGBT sentiment in their colonies. The video was not well-received by the audience. In fact, one commenter asked if the English colonies were LGBT+ friendly, why weren’t there any pride parades?

There are reasons why that statement reeks fucktardedness.

Historical denialism is obviously the most obvious. One may argue the LGBT-friendliness before English colonisation was exaggerated. But, it is also well-documented that England imposed penal code Section 377 – which criminalises “unnatural” sexual acts – upon its colonies. While England might not introduce the prejudice, it certainly helped watering the root.

It also insinuates that pride parades have been a thing since the dawn of humanity, even though the first recorded one was held in 1970. This may be a result of historical illiteracy, the western-centric idea that empowerment can only be done through LGBT+ cultures OR the belief that LGBT+ individuals are weird human beings who were born with rainbows in our minds…

…AKA fucking stereotyping. You know, something which self-accepting individuals and allies don’t do.

Not only the existence of LGBT+ cultures signals a work in progress, it also means cishet people – even the so-called allies – have more ways to stereotype us to death.

If full acceptance has been achieved and yet the cultures prevail, it means LGBT+ individuals turn our sexuality and genders into our personalities. Basically, we wouldn’t be different from the cisheteronormative cishet people who do the exact same thing.

The existence is definitely not the utopia.

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Why I – a bisexual Indonesian Muslim – despise LGBT+ cultures

They are not as inclusive and empowering as they appear to be.

The reason why we use the term LGBT+ (or something longer) is we want to be inclusive towards as many gender and sexual minorities as possible. But, in reality, we know that’s not always the case.

Who are often seen as the faces of the community? Gay men and lesbians, specifically white gay men. Are the other letters and non-whites accepted? Well, sorta.

Prejudice still lingers overhead. Racial fetishisation exists; among many white gay men, non-whites are seen as mere sex objects rather than actual human beings.

Bisexuals are accused of being in denial or being greedy cheaters, asexuals are hated for their sexual unavailability and trans people are seen as delusional self-mutilators; basically, the same shits cishet people think of them.

While rare, I also notice that the communities often demand irreligiosity and even anti-religious sentiment. A gay Danish Muslim man received online harassment by other gay men simply because he was a Muslim. Basically, if you are both LGBT+ and religious, some members will also abuse you.

So much for acceptance, eh? I still don’t get why members of marginalised groups can afford to be bigoted.

Many members also have questionable politics. No, I am not talking about the likes of Blaire White and Milo Yiannopolous; their self-hatred and extreme politics make them easy targets. I am talking about those with more moderate politics.

It is one thing to vote for fence-sitting moderate politicians because they are the lesser evil, it is another to genuinely adore them. I don’t know how they can see wishy-washy politicians and think those are the heroes we need. I don’t know whether they are stupid enough to fall for pandering OR they themselves have yet to reach full self-acceptance.

Either way, they seem willing to become tokens AKA PR tools of said politicians, unconcerned about the half-hearted and broken promises.

Oh, and speaking of cishet people, they use LGBT+ cultures to stereotype us even further.

Initially, I had the gut feeling that was the case. But, as it was just a gut feeling, I always dismissed it; maybe I was a bit too cynical. It turns out I was right.

Austria, Hitler’s birthplace, rejected two gay asylum seekers for unbelievably fucktarded reasons. One man – an Afghan – was denied asylum because he was introverted; the officials said real gay men were extroverted. Another man – an Iranian – was denied because he couldn’t recognise the rainbow flag; they insinuated that LGBT+ people were born with the rainbow imagery implanted in our minds.

It is one thing when bigots dehumanise us, it is another when so-called allies do the exact same thing. They may not want us dead. But, they certainly still don’t perceive us as human beings.

If you still see us as stereotypes, then you are still bigoted, regardless of how strong you identify as allies. How can you be allies when the point of being ones is to acknowledge your fellow human beings’ humanity?

As much as I despise those fake allies, I cannot blame them entirely. The so-called LGBT+ community loves pushing a certain image of itself; when it is the only image accessible to the mainstream psyche, it is no wonder the pigeonholing continues.

If you feel empowered by LGBT+ cultures, good for you. But, just because something works well for you, that does not mean it works for others.

The problem is some people think LGBT+ cultures are the be-all and end-all of our empowerment. In reality, not every LGBT+ individual find them liberating. If anything, the rampant bigotry and questionable moderate politics put off many of us.

On one side, we have a partially-inclusive, western-centric community who willingly become a centrist token. On the other side, we have a community of self-hating individuals who somehow believe anti-LGBT+ politicians are the only true allies. The media and the establishment rarely acknowledge those who are neither.

This is one of the moments in which Youtube is a blessing. Thanks to the website, I am exposed to a wide range of LGBT+ content creators. Not only they include trans, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and non-binary individuals (which the mainstream media either demonise or ignore), they also have a diversity in mannerism, opinions, tastes, content creation and, most importantly, life stories.

The exposure empowers me. The fact that they are hard to generalise means I am valid despite not fitting to any pigeonholes.

Actually, let me correct that: I am valid because I don’t fit to any pigeonholes, because I am more than just other people’s expectations and preconceived beliefs.

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How to ‘feel’ powerful?

*puts on a mask*

Yes, I said ‘feel’. Let’s face it, you know you are not powerful and will never be so! You will always be a pathetic bottom dweller that the upper dwellers will feast on! That’s a sad fact you have to accept!

But, that doesn’t mean you cannot ‘feel’ powerful. You can induce the feeling by fooling others and yourself about your make-believe power. Of course, I am talking about being a bully.

Before becoming one, you have to choose your victims. It always depend on where you are.

When at schools, you can pick on students who are poor, physically unfit or just plain different. When you see yourself as a member of society at large, you can pick on the ones who belong to marginalised groups like women, the poor, racial minorities, religious minorities, gender and sexual minorities and refugees. Basically, choose ones who most likely will not be protected by the authorities.

After you have determined your potential victims, you can start bullying them. Immediately, you will feel like a much more powerful! And trust me, you would not be the only one who senses your actually-non-existing power.

Indifferent bystanders, bullying apologists and even your victims will acknowledge its existence. In fact, the more your victims’ powerlessness intensifies, the more they will acknowledge it!

Oh, and apologists are your best friends! Not only they will defend your right to bully because they don’t see anything wrong with the bullying, they will also condemn or even punish your victims for having the dignity to fight back! Trust me, those apologists tend to be influential wherever they are. Their words are often taken for granted.

But, even if you don’t have apologists to back you up, rhetoric can be your weapon. You can defend yourself by slandering your victims.

Tell everyone that the weird kids in school will grow up as serial killers!

Tell everyone that the gender and sexual minorities are perverts who want to molest our children and/ recruit them to their perverted lifestyles!

Tell everyone that the poor are the ones who hold the economies down because they are greedy animals who oppress the rich!

Tell everyone that empowering women and members of the minorities will lead to men and members of the majority becoming second-class citizens!

Tell everyone that refugees are nothing but a bunch of cowardly rapists and ISIS, MS13 Trojan horses!

Tell everyone that your victims, NOT you, are the ones who commit atrocious acts of inhumanity against their fellow human beings!

Trust me, there will be people who take your words for granted.

And yes, it is that easy to feel powerful.

*takes off the mask*

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American Democrats and moderate Indonesian Muslims: kindred in their love of not-moving-forward

I can easily draw parallels between the western far-right and Muslim extremists and I have been doing so for years. But, it took me a long time to also notice the parallels between American Democrats and moderate Indonesian Muslims.

As an Indonesian, I definitely choose the moderates over the Islamists. If I were an American, I would also definitely vote blue over red. But, that does not mean I am ideologically in tune with them. I am siding with them simply because they are the most progressive members of the establishment.

But, they are certainly not the most progressive people in their respective countries.

Frankly, I see them as nothing but reactionaries who are delusional enough to believe in their values’ mightiness in countering extremism, not realising it arises despite theirs are still entrenched in the mainstream psyche. Instead of allowing themselves to think critically, they are too busy patting themselves on the back that they don’t realise how their values are also problematic.

In Indonesia, the still-powerful and Sunni-based local version of moderate Islam does not allow the country to give room for the sacrilege; basically, non-Sunni branches of Islam, atheism, liberal interpretations of Islam and scepticism regarding the necessity of religions are big no-nos.

It also motivates people to support governmental interferences of religious affairs, making the government the only entity that can ‘validate’ and ‘invalidate’ religions; as a result, Indonesia is and has always been a religiously discriminatory country where we only officially recognise six religions, none of which are indigenous, and every citizen is obligated to choose one in our official identification.

This version of Islam is also socially conservative. While Indonesian women are very empowered for the Muslim world standard, moderate Muslims still don’t believe in complete gender equality. It also fails to discourage racism among its adherents; that’s why our Malaysian cousins have better race relations. Oh, and it also cultivates cis-heteronormativity, successfully instilling and retaining homophobia and transphobia in our collective psyche.

From my perspective as a citizen of one of the most diverse countries in the world, American Democrats’ embrace of diversity is still plagued with insincerity; more of than not, their inclusiveness has been nothing but feelgood, piegon-holing tokenism. They emit the illusion of complete acceptance.

Don’t forget that, contrary to popular belief, most Dems are actually neo-liberals, just like the Republicans are; the self-proclaimed socialists (even though they are more accurately described as social democrats) are a minority among party members. Obama ruled for two terms and the Dems won the 2018 midterm election in sixteen US states and territories. If they are really socialists, shouldn’t the US become more hostile against corporatism by now?

Do I think moderate Indonesian Islam gives birth to Islamic extremism? No, I don’t. Do I think American liberalism triggers the existence of far-right extremism? The answer is also no. If you want people to blame, blame it on those ultra-orthodox Muslims and Republicans for constantly making excuses for the extremists. I have to acknowledge that moderate Indonesian Muslims and American liberals still have a shred of human decency in them.

But, we should also acknowledge that both beliefs do have things in common with the zealotry they are enemies with. Inevitably, their dominance won’t stop the harmful values to seep in to the mainstream psyche.

It also does not make sense to fight a toxic ideology with another ideology that also share some of its toxicity. That’s like believing eating deep fried vegetables instead of fried chicken and potatoes will greatly improve one’s health. More nutrients, but one’s arteries will still get clogged anyway.

If we want to fight Islamic extremism and the far-right, we should never put moderate Muslims and American liberals on the front lines. What we need is individuals who are not only willing to fight, but also willing to ditch the emotionally-comforting status quos which clearly set us back from moving forward.

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Once beautiful, now hideous words

Sceptic

I was in love with the word. I hated how accepting proclamations uncritically is considered acceptable or even obligatory by much of humanity. I hated how ‘he said, she said’ is our number one method of information gathering. I still do.

Even though I identified myself as a person of faith (still do), its association with fervent atheists did not deter me. As I got older, due to my scepticism, I became even less hostile towards atheism, accepting the possibility of my belief being the wrong one. Unlike my younger self, I make actual efforts to be more critical-minded.

An actual sceptic won’t instantly take sides in cases of rape allegations and won’t take the words of government officials and so-called experts for granted. He/she won’t until he/she has enough solid evidences and/or he/she has diagnosed the logic of the situations (or the lack of it). Of course, that’s not the case with many self-proclaimed sceptics nowadays.

They believe the existence of false allegations proves that every accuser is a liar and all of the accused ones are innocent! They believe every single statement made by governments are lies and choose to believe conspiracy-peddling public entities! They believe every scientist that debunks popular opinions is paid by greedy corporations, unlike the so-called ‘honest’ pseudoscientists!

You are not embracing the presumption of innocence, you are just a rape culture apologist who either sees nothing wrong with rape or believes rape is a myth!

You are not someone who refuses to bow down to the political establishment, either you are just paranoid (which means you need professional help, I am serious) or you arrogantly fancy yourself as the beholder of truths!

You are not analytical of experts’ words, either you are just scientifically illiterate and do not know what science actually is or you know what science is, but you hate how it destroys your unfounded world views!

Even though many of those individuals do not label themselves as ‘sceptics’, they love to blurt out words like ‘logic’, ‘facts’ and ‘reason’ over and over again, as if doing so instantly make them ‘sceptical’. The fact that far-right ideologues have a dominant presence among them really turn me off from the word.

I am not disgusted by the words ‘logic’, ‘facts’ and ‘reason’. Yet. But, I have become repulsed by the S-word to the point where I am wary of every person who try to represent themselves as ones.

Freedom

What I am going to say will be quite baffling: the older I get, the more I appreciate the idea of freedom while simultaneously the more I hate the word that represents it!

I love freedom because it is the reason why I am allowed to be myself. Online, I have the freedom to be outspoken about my opinions, many of which are deeply unpopular and may get me into legal problems in some countries. Offline, despite Indonesian society being repressive at times, I still have the freedom to express my discontent regarding the status quo. This is why my appreciation of the concept grows along with my age.

But, at the same time, I have also become more and more exposed to the raw, unromanticised depiction of the western ‘civilisation’ and I am frustrated by how deeply misguided many of its citizens are in their approach to freedom.

I hate how they believe in the absoluteness of freedom in which they can do anything they want without experiencing deserving consequences. Even the most level-headed constructive criticisms are too repressive for those privileged snowflakes who have never experienced a single day living under an actual authoritarian regime. In fact, I don’t think every single one of them believe in absolute freedom. They may claim they do. But, their actions say otherwise.

They accuse marginalised groups of being oppressive as their demand of humanisation rob bigots of their freedom to be bigoted. If that’s how you genuinely perceive life, you are just a bigot who exploits something you never believe in the first place.

If you are sincerely not bigoted, but you still take sides with bigots instead of their victims, you probably think freedom was fought for by unhinged individuals who wanted humans to be more arseholes towards each other. Basically, you are an edgelord who know nothing about the thing you supposedly believe in.

Besides empowering individuals who are afflicted with hatred, this mental retardation may have an effect outside the west. While I cannot speak for other countries, I can speak for Indonesia specifically.

Many Indonesians dream of the old days when free speech was a luxury. Why? Because we are tired of Islamists who constantly regurgitate infectious diarrhea out of their dirty mouths! We literally believe taking away freedom is the only cure!

Just imagine if those dictatorship-apologist Indonesians hear about westerners making a martyr out of Alex Jones (whose punishment I believe was not harsh enough). They would have a wrong idea of what freedom actually is: an entity in which unsavoury beings are perceived as the upsides, NOT the downsides.

That’s like promoting a pharmaceutical drug by citing cancer as its benefit, NOT as its side effect!

Tolerance

This used to be one of my favourite words ever! As an individual of a multicultural upbringing, who grew up in two very multicultural cities, who still have many foreign Facebook friends, who fortunately does not end up as an Indonesian Islamist, I love what the word ‘tolerance’ represents! Well, supposedly represent. Now, I hate it, possibly more than the two previous words.

As an Indonesian who is heavily exposed to the things going on in the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK and Australia, I constantly read and watch about individuals who preach about tolerance. Naive, younger me was easily dazzled by such positivity. Then, I experienced something called ‘growing up’.

Yes, I have encountered bigots, both Indonesians and westerners, who assert how their bigotry should also be tolerated. But, surprisingly, they are not the reason why I end up hating the word. I blame it on the so-called anti-bigotry warriors.

From my perspective as an Indonesian, the support for diversity in the west seems deceitful. Tokenism, feel-goodism and exoticisation are rampant in its practice of multiculturalism. So, every time I hear a westerner says he/she embraces tolerance, I am often suspicious he/she means he/she merely tolerates the existence of the ‘others’, whom he/she still refuses to perceive as fellow human beings.

Either that or he/she tolerates their existence simply because he/she likes their foods… or he/she wants to have sex with them. Just because you love Chinese foods or you fuck people with darker skins, that does not mean you are not a racist.

In Indonesia, the support for diversity seems far more sincere. Unlike westerners, our history allows us to embrace multiculturalism more organically. Our inter-ethnic relations are very good. Even though we may openly dislike the other cultures, ethnic differences barely define whom we befriend and marry.

Yes, we do have cases of extremely violent ethnic tensions. But, if you take a close look, they occur among rural citizens who had very homogenous upbringing and suffered cultural shock when they had to interact with the ‘others’. For cosmopolitan urban dwellers, this is almost never an issue. But, this is the extent of Indonesians’ so-called tolerance.

Whether contemporary or historical, the state of religions in Indonesia is not as good as advertised. While we are indeed different from Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, we are still far from a multi-religious haven. Of course, we can go straight to talk about the rise of Islamism. But, I believe also lies in the establishment.

Indonesian government only recognises six religions; compulsory ID cards have religious columns in which we must fill with one of the officially-recognised ones. To make it even more infuriating, indigenous beliefs aren’t included! Oh, and while I praise moderate Muslims for their opposition of violence, they still can be quite hostile to relatively more liberal and more reasonable interpretations of Islamic teachings and the lack of religiosity in general. How can you say we have religious tolerance when we embrace a caste of religious beliefs and try to silence reasonable dissenting voices?

Oh, and I should also mention the racism!

Many of us are still staunchly anti-Chinese. We are still suckers to the fear-mongering (not unlike how reactionary white Americans view Hispanic immigrants) and conspiracies (not unlike how anti-Semites view the Jews). We also love to neglect the Indonesian Papuans to the point where their region is arguably the most underdeveloped in the country while simultaneously suffering from very high living cost; we only care about the ‘exotic’ Papuan cultures and the Papuan gold mines.

Okay, I admit that my claim about anti-Papuans racism seems baseless as it is not a public discourse (I think). But, I base it on three observable facts about the Indonesian life: 1. Papuans are culturally and biologically distinct from Austronesians who form the majority of Indonesians; 2. Our beauty standards only include light skin colours, Austronesian and/or Eurasian facial features; 3. Jokes about dark skin colours are too rampant to the point where being born with them is seen as a personal defect. Those evidences are indeed circumstantial. But, can you blame me for having such thought?

Oh, and of course, don’t forget the classic homophobia. Even back when we were a so-called moderate Muslim nation, LGBT rights were not a thing. In fact, we have become more and more homophobic as years pass by.

Of course, despite everything, we still have the gall to get outraged by Chinese-Indonesians’ (allegedly) lack of nationalistic pride, to get outraged by the Papuan separatist movement, to get hostile every time someone refuses to romanticise the Indonesian life!

We still have the gall to call ourselves a bastion of tolerance! You cannot call yourself tolerant when your tolerance is selective!

Yes, there are some things we should never tolerate (e.g. Wahhabism). But, Indonesians also harbour intolerance towards anyone that are trivially different from them, like the aforementioned Chinese-Indonesians and Papuans, social and cultural liberals, sexual minorities, socialists, Jews, atheists and adherents of indigenous or new religious beliefs.

Yes, their differences are trivial. Their existence can be hurtful, but only to retards whose undeservingly high social status is being challenged.

So, every time I hear an Indonesian says he/she embraces tolerance, it is most likely he/she is a bootlicker who is only tolerant of anything approved by their beloved establishment.

For some of you, it seems I am being misguided by attacking individuals who fight prejudice. No, I am not attacking them. I am actually attacking people who claim to fight prejudice when their words and actions clearly reveal the complete opposite.

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Believers as queer allies

religion-praying

Believers can be ones. Yes, you read that right. In fact, you need them. As homophobia is often religious, it makes perfect sense.

Non-believers may understand the soul of religious communities. But, believers can reach out to it. They can transform it to a kinder one and hence, kinder believers. Self-accepting LGBT believers in particular can aid closeted fellow believers and encourage religious homophobes to humanise their fellow human beings.

Of course, you may think religiosity is inherently homophobic and I’m just an apologist. Of course, everyone has their own thoughts. But, I want you to admit three things:

First, you’re already lost. You fight for LGBT rights against religious bigots. Then, you find believers who share your cause! They can help encouraging change in the bigots’ hearts. But, you blow it by refusing their alliance. You cripple your own activism.

Second, you support the bigots. You’re theologically in tune with them. In fact, you also support the notion that they are the truest of all believers. The strengthening of their existence isn’t the fault of progressive believers. It’s yours.

Third, you were never a right activist in the first place. You only care about non-religious queers. More anti-religious, the better. No matter how much they are hated by the religious communities, they will always have strong supports. Lucky them.

The religious ones? After the hatred from their fellow believers, a support would be more than morally delightful. Theological agreement optional. But, being heartless you are, you regurgitate almost equally inhumane animosity to their faces. Upgrading their misery and isolation with such innate virtuosity. You must be so proud.

My advise? Stop calling yourself an LGBT right activist. Instead, call yourself a loving person for some …and a heartless enemy for the rest. Unleash your true gangrene self. Don’t be shy! Honesty and self-acceptance, they are good for your soul.

Well, I’m not sure if they are. It takes a lot more to heal yours, if you actually have one. But, at least, you’re no longer a fraudulent angel. You won’t double-cross anyone with that deceitfully sweet mask of yours.