Author Archives: aidanabroad

Gay Activism and Iran: Do Western Activists Do More Harm Than Good? (Link to article by Scott Long)

Scott Long, LGBTQ human rights activist and visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, just posted an article on Western LGBTQ activists and the purported “gay executions” in recent years in Iran, which I would recommend. While the LGBTQ and even mainstream Western press has reported several high-profile cases in recent years, Long believes that the situations may have been misrepresented, in some cases making things worse, and in some cases obfuscating matters. Long writes that

No one who launched the story has bothered to follow up the facts.

Among the observations that Mr. Long makes:

It’s certainly possible that the four men in Charam are “gay” or hamjensgara, and have been framed. It’s certainly also possible that they raped an “effeminate” victim, and that he is the one who suffered for sexual dissidence. Quite possibly, in fact, that’s the pattern underlying these stories of rape. In other words, conceivably [Western activists] have spent all these years speechifying and pontificating in support not of “gays,” but of their persecutors. The point is: We don’t know.

Agree or disagree, it’s worth reading and considering. What happens when we step in to “help” without having the full story? Does queer activism sometimes do more harm than good?

-AidanAbroad

Emigrant: The Other White Meat?

I came across this delicately-worded plaque commemorating the Donner Party at a snowy highway rest stop on a recent road trip on Route 80, over the Donner Pass. Notice that it says many died…but not all. No mention of how the survivors survived. Also, “emigrant” is misspelled.
(Post title credit: The Texan.)
-AidanAbroad

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Obama Loves Queers! (Except Not)

Obama recently announced that he supports gay marriage…but what does that actually mean? According to Black Girl Dangerous blogger Mia McKenzie,

“It’s not really about equality.”

McKenzie’s compelling article examines some of the nuances of Obama’s support – who is valued, and who isn’t. She writes,

So, basically, what the President is saying is that same-sex couples who are in relationships that look a certain way (monogamous, for example) should be able to have all the rights of straight people. [...] What about those of us, queer and straight, who aren’t into monogamy but are into committed relationships?

Highly recommended. You can read the rest of McKenzie’s article here.

-AidanAbroad

Hot (the bad kind) in the Mission

A building across the street from mine (at Duboce and Valencia) went up in flames this morning.

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According to this Mission Local article, four firefighters and one resident were injured in the four-alarm fire. Many of my neighbors (and their children and pets) who had been evacuated from their buildings were just sitting out on the sidewalks all morning, watching firefighters battle the blaze. This article on SFGate reports four people injured and 37 left homeless.

The corner building is toast, and the one next door on Valencia is severely damaged. The one next door on Duboce has a giant black spot on the side and some broken windows, but my neighbor who lives there said her apartment appeared fine at first glance, other than a heavy smoke smell. At least two local businesses, Fred’s Liquor and Deli and Cesar’s Cafe also sustained serious damage and are now closed.

The cause is still unknown, but since it took them over 2 hours to put out, and flames just kept shooting out of one particular area of the building, I wonder if a gas line or something similar could have been involved.

For hours, 4 blocks surrounding the area were blocked by police cars, and traffic was diverted. Duboce has reopened to traffic, but a fire engine remains onsite, and that block of Valencia remains closed. The river of water that was pouring down Duboce is gone, but the air still smells like burnt building.

Many thanks to the firemen (and one firewoman that I saw) for their hard work this morning – they responded quickly, spent several grueling hours in precarious positions on ladders an rooftops trying to contain the flames, and 4 of them sustained injuries.

I have heard that the Baha’i Center is giving displaced people a temporary place to go – and if I hear of ways to help out, I’ll post them here.

-AidanAbroad

HuffPost Gay Voices: Liberian Anti-Gay Group Issues Hit List, Governments Do Nothing

This disturbing story from Liberia on Huffington Post reveals that an anti-gay group in the country has published a “hit list” of LGBT advocates that they would like to kill. More disturbing, perhaps, is the complete silence of elected officials around the issue. According to Huffington Post, Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vowed

to preserve an existing law criminalizing “voluntary sodomy”.

Also disappointing to me, as a US citizen, is the lack of response from the US embassy in Monrovia. International pressure has certainly been helpful in compelling governments to be accountable around human rights issues in the past.
I’m hoping Liberian LGBT advocates will comment on this issue soon – I will publish updates as I get them.
-AidanAbroad

Exotic, Fresh, and Fruity: Seen at the Asian Market

Fresh dragonfruit from Vietnam, seen at an Asian market on Clement Street in San Francisco’s Richmond district. I just read up about this fruit, and thought I’d share the highlights. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as “pitaya” and is called “thanh long” in Vietnamese, which means “sweet dragon.” Since I usually only see it in Asian markets, I was surprised to learn that it is the fruit of a cactus native to Mexico and Central America. Or, as the New York Times put it in their 2011 article about the fruit’s increasing popularity, “dragon fruit sprouts like an exotic hood ornament from the arms of a cactus.” The blossoms that precede the fruit are called “moonflowers” or “queen of the night,” because they bloom only after dark.
-AidanAbroad

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Deadly Beauties

 

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Seen at a doctor’s office in San Francisco. Deadly Beauties: could refer to the fish OR the doctor’s implements, depending on your perspective… I appreciated the juxtaposition.
-AidanAbroad

More boy love/lust graffiti in SF

 

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This one is on a traffic light post on Market Street in San Francisco near Church St.
-AidanAbroad

“I WHAT Cock?” – Construction Sign Self-Expression

 

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Seen in Hayes Valley near the LGBT Center in San Francisco. This Tow-Away Zone sign has, in my opinion, been much improved by the graffiti.
-AidanAbroad

Attempted Gay (Fake) Weddings: Valentine’s Day news from China

According to People’s Daily Online, an online English-language Chinese newspaper, two same-gender couples (who weren’t really couples) tried to get married in Chaoyang yesterday. They were turned away, but it sounds like the city employees were pretty gracious about it. Cute picture below; you can read the article here.

-AidanAbroad

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