Monday, March 25, 2013

“negative trends” emanating from Russia - via homophobia russia - Google News

And the demographic clincher: 81 per cent of American adults under 30 back full equality. The opposition, concentrated among seniors, is dying away.
But as Americans drive the issue home, the question of what it means to the bigger world is emerging. The answer? Perhaps not as much as hoped.
“The sheer speed of change in America is astonishing. But translating that into progress elsewhere remains daunting because the very thing that moved Americans — the argument of basic human rights and fairness — tends to backfire in many other parts of the world,” says Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA Europe, a major LGBT advocacy group.
Paradis, a Montrealer, works in partnership with grassroots gay-rights organizations in more than 40 countries, largely against “negative trends” emanating from Russia. She describes a pattern of rising support for homophobic groups throughout the former Soviet Union, aided by overseas outreach from a loose network of Christian evangelical organizations.
“In the past year we’ve really begun to connect the dots. In Ukraine last spring for our Day Against Homophobia, we saw busloads of people arriving for counter-demonstrations, chanting religious slogans and extreme right-wing political slogans from Russia. We see a similar pattern in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, of course, in Russia.”
Groups like the U.S.-based Alliance Defending Freedom, says Paradis, have established a foothold in Europe to advocate strongly against abortion and LGBT rights.
“The problem for national LGBT activists is that if they raise the human rights argument that has been so powerful in America, it gets thrown back in their faces — ‘You are just part of the western world, forcing outside values on us,’” she says.
“The human rights argument works — but it works where a culture of human rights has been built over decades and people have slowly gotten used to what the concept of equality means, whether on racism or from a women’s perspective.
“In places like Georgia and Armenia, the activists can’t talk about human rights. They tell us, ‘People don’t get it, they don’t care, they don’t understand these arguments.’
“They have much more success in getting through to people by reclaiming the language of the home country — talking about family, values, tradition and redefining those ideas as empowered national voices, coming from within, rather than from outside. That’s where we see some real hope that attitudes can change for the better.”
But gay-rights campaigners also point to glimmers beyond the grim. In Venezuela, the battle to succeed Hugo Chavez includes this pronouncement from candidate Henrique Capriles: “I believe in a society without exclusion . . . where no one feels excluded by race, creed, social status, sexual orientation.”
But nothing quite captured the shifting zeitgeist like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Mitt Romney’s old debate coach, who stunned his fellow Republicans with a full-throated endorsement of marriage equity last week, revealing in the same breath that his son Will is gay. That simple fact “prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective,” Portman wrote in The Columbus Dispatch. “That of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love.”
Portman’s declaration baffled many on the right and met with a bashing from many on the left, who labelled his reasoning “selfish.” But the Portman saga, perhaps more than any other, mirrors the million-plus points of light that have shifted so many American attitudes, sister by sister, son by son, brother by brother.
“This is a long game, but an important game. We’re not saying Canada should do this on its own. But with major partners that know this work . . . the opportunity is there to let our public servants do the good work they trained for at the precise moment it is most needed.”
Mitch Potter’s last World Weekly story was on N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

via homophobia - Google News on 3/22/13

The role of art in addressing racism, hate and homophobia
The public is invited to attend "ART TALK: engage" at the Comox Valley Art Gallery this Saturday March 23, from 2pm - 3: 30pm. Admission is free or by donation. This talk will be a community panel discussing the themes from the current exhibition ...

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Gay marriage: Why America is leading the global rainbow divide
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Paradis, a Montrealer, works in partnership with grassroots gay-rights organizations in more than 40 countries, largely against “negative trends” emanating from Russia. She describes a pattern of rising support for homophobic groups throughout the ...

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