Published in 1993 by the Queer caucus of the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, (formerly the above-ground auxiliary to the Weather Underground), this sly little bit of radical propaganda was handed out during the 1993 National Lesbian/Gay Rights March in Washington, DC. The event was far from culturally or ideologically uniform, with Sir Ian McKellen, RuPaul, Eartha Kitt and Urvashi Vaid (radical, anti-assimilation queer activist) all present.
At the time, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was becoming a high-profile issue, and as gay rights began to seep into the mainstream, the more radical queer communities began to push back with a critique of the newly “family-friendly” direction of the movement. Of course, now queer rights are almost wholly represented in mass media as naught but marriage and military service, and those who want no part of the US military or the wars they fight are dismissed as marginal malcontents.
Given the scatter-shot state of the anti-war movement at present, maybe we can bring this guy back as a new mascot?
The excellent blog Spectra Speaks reports that award-winning African artist Shishani, has just released a video for her new LGBTI Equality anthem “Minority”.
Award-winning acoustic soul artist, Shishani, has just released the music video for her latest single titled, “Minority”, a catchy, upbeat, acoustic track that calls for freedom and equality for all people despite perceived differences.
Shishani got her big break when she performed at the 2011 Namibian Annual Music Awards in the capital city of Windhoek, where it’s still illegal to be gay. And though, she says, she’s made no real attempts to hide her sexuality, she hasn’t come out as an “out lesbian artist” till now.
“I wanted people to get to know my music,” she says, “Sexuality doesn’t matter. It’s like pasta — asking if you prefer spaghetti or macaroni. It just doesn’t matter… I’m an artist first, before being a gay artist.”
Nambia is one of several African countries where Homosexuality is illegal, and “LGBTI people risk harassment and violence due to a strong culture of stigma in part reignited by religious leaders and government officials.”
As an African musician who identifies as being a part of the LGBTI community, the lyrics of “Minority” no doubt challenge the infamous meme “Homosexuality is unAfrican.” But, Shishan insists, her song is about much more than being gay.
“In Namibia, it also makes a difference what ethnicity you are. “Minority” argues for equal rights for all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds, economic status, sexuality, religion,” she says, “There is so much systemic discrimination against people, for so many reasons.”
The release of “Minority” is timely; January is the month in which outspoken Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato was bludgeoned to death in an anti-gay attack three years ago, sparking an outcry from fellow African human rights activists. January is also the month in which people in the U.S.–perhaps even all over the world–celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a powerful civil rights leader and icon. His call for freedom and equality of all people has been taken up by activists all over the world, including Shishani, whose lyrics echo his principles of love and unity.
“Homophobia all over the world comes from the same place; colonialism, apartheid, racial segregation. All our struggles are connected.”
Compiled by friend of Dangerous Minds Elizabeth Veldon, and available as a free download from the net label Black Circle, Russia’s Full of Queers is a 29 track album designed to highlight the abuse of LGBT people’s rights currently being passed as law in several Russian cities. Elizabeth says:
This album is a response to proposed laws in Russia that would outlaw any discussion of homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism.
The artists involved gave their tracks free and in many cases produced work to a tight (24 hour) schedule.
There is a wide variety of styles here from Harsh Noise through weird Jazz Cut-Ups to Hip Hop and Ambient.
We only ask that you sign the online petition against these laws and pass the word on.
Alone our voices are tiny, when raised together we can change the world.
You can sign the petition here, and you can download Russia’s Full Of Queershere.
In what has been described as “a throwback to Soviet times”, Saint Petersburg passed a law banning the promotion of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender lifestyles, last week. It is now feared that other Russian cities will follow St Petersburg’s homophobic and bigoted lead, and pass similar laws against the LGBTI community. The Arkhangelsk and the Riazan region have already introduced such legislation.
The law was passed by a majority of 27 to 1, and bans members of the public who acknowledge gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or inter-sex issues in the presence of a minor. The law is on the same level as pedophilia, and enforces fines of up to $1,500.
A petition has been launched by All Out, which aims to alert the international community to stop what is happening in Russia:
TO: WORLD LEADERS
The party led by Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin is pushing discriminatory legislation against lesbian, bi, gay and trans people that could eliminate their freedom to speak publicly and assemble.
Russia is a signatory to numerous international human rights treaties - including the European Convention on Human Rights. We call on you to urgently speak out and hold Russia accountable to its treaty obligations - and stand with LGBTI Russians whose ability to speak for themselves is under attack.
It was in 1993 that President Boris Yeltsin repealed the law against homosexuality, and in 2009 GayRussia launched its campaign for same sex marriages. However, homophobia is still rife in Russia, which can be seen by Moscow’s ban of Gay Pride rallies over the past 6 years, and Chechen authorities claim Chechnya is a gay free zone.
Amnesty International has asked St Petersburg not to enact the new law which Amnesty claims will lead to violence and discrimination against the LGBTI community.
“This bill is a thinly-veiled attempt to legalise discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in Russia’s second-biggest city.
“The notion that LGBTI rights activists are somehow converting Russia’s youth through ‘propaganda’ would be laughable if the potential effects of this new law weren’t so dangerous and wide-reaching.
“Legislation like that proposed in St Petersburg will only further marginalise LGBTI people, and must be stopped.
“Instead of seeking to restrict freedom of expression and assembly for LGBTI people, the Russian authorities should be doing more to safeguard their rights and protect them from discrimination and violence.”