Monthly Archives: June 2010

NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli’s Hate Speech Moratorium Not Going So Well

First, a screencap taken early this morning. Then we’ll get into the WTF of it.

no-hate-speech-hansen

Brittney Hansen: We need this injustice to stop but the only way to do so is to put ALL gay people on an island with a weekly drop of food and supplies and let them all die off. We dont have to deal with them and they dont have to deal with us.

On Monday, Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper published a killer post concurring with me that Louis Marinelli III can reasonably be identified as an agent of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). To use Marinelli’s term, he is a “NOM Strategist,” and his rhetoric is wildly off-message for NOM.

Now that someone with a higher profile than mine has called Marinelli and NOM out on the connection, Marinelli’s been trying to hide what he’s been saying for the last few months since NOM aligned themselves with him. A few hours after the post went up, most of the group’s youtube videos, including the ones I embedded here in early May, joined the group’s twitter account on the scrap heap.

What was Marinelli trying to hide? I’ll let Jeremy tell you:

So once we had that confirmation that Mr. Marinelli is, in fact, in NOM’s inner circle, we started considering all of the eye-opening things that he had seen Marinelli tweet over the past few months. And frankly, we were shocked. Because in addition to the “gays have shorter life spans” one, there was a retweet that declared all gays to be single. There was the time that Mr. Marinelli said that Peter LaBarbera and his fringe “Americans For Truth” group merely “tell the truth about homosexuality.” There was the determination that marriage equality is “a mockery and a hijacking of the civil rights movement.” There were times when he flat-out called us an abomination, citing Leviticus. There was this one: “Deviance” describes actions or behaviours that violate cultural norms – homosexuality is far from a cultural norm. Therefore, it is deviant.” And this: “Homosexuality and gay marriage are wrong and harmful to society.” And this: “#iaintafraidtosay that there shouldn’t be any recognition of homosexual relationships because that is saying that homosexuality is OK.” There was this one, accompanied by a smile: “What they do is blantantly [sic] immoral. 🙂” There were times when Mr. Marinelli compared our unions to that which might exist between a sterile brother and sister. And other times when our very character was assaulted: “#nevertrust activists of the homosexual agenda – they are deceitful people who care only about themselves and not what’s best for society.And so on and so on.

After Marinelli tried to erase evidence of that paragraph and more, he took to his group’s facebook page and made this request (link to the thread and a screencap from about 2:00 AM EST):

no-hate-speech-marinelli

Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman: No hate speech, no derogatory comments against homosexuals. Show your support for one man, one woman marriage. That’s what this page is about. If you’ve got something negative to say, bite your tongue. Just play nice, please.

A good suggestion, even if Marinelli was just trying to save face because people were connecting him with NOM. But as I showed you at the top of the post, it’s nigh impossible to rein people in after you’ve spent so much time and effort teaching them how to, you know, go nuts with hate speech and derogatory comments.

By the way, Marinelli’s been actively involved on the NOM facebook page since this message was posted, and that usually includes deleting posts that he considers off-message. And yet we have Brittney Hansen showing the world what she’s learned from NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli III.

no-hate-speech-hansen

Brittney Hansen: We need this injustice to stop but the only way to do so is to put ALL gay people on an island with a weekly drop of food and supplies and let them all die off. We dont have to deal with them and they dont have to deal with us.

Advertisements

Update on Malawi Couple

After a few weeks off, I’m trying to get back on the blogging horse. I need to begin by wrapping up a story I kind of left hanging a few weeks ago.

Last post, I talked about the Malawi couple that had been jailed, convicted, and then pardoned by their government. Tiwonge Chimbalanga (known as ‘Aunt Tiwo’) had gone missing and there wasn’t much word on her husband, Steven Monjeza.

Since then (several weeks ago, actually), a story surfaced that answered some of the questions.

The good news is that Aunt Tiwo turned up and nothing was said about her disappearance. Either the source I cited had bad information or (more likely) she had just gone underground for a few days to process this ordeal.

Meanwhile, Steven has succumbed to the intense pressure from his government, family, friends, and culture. He has rather suddenly announced that he is scheduled to marry a woman. Whether money is involved in this arrangement is anybody’s guess. Regardless, Steven is doing his best ex-gay impression to regain his place in society.

Oh, and he says that this whole gay thing is false. He was kidnapped by some sneaky homosexuals who got him liquored up and made him do sex in orgies and whatnot, but he’s not gay. I want to be mad at Steven, but I can’t help but understand his decision, offensive as it is. The pressure to conform was intense, and he’s just trying to survive.

Aunt Tiwo only found out about the upcoming sham marriage through the press, by the way. She seems to be taking it in stride, at least publicly.

Is this the end of Aunt Tiwo and Steven’s story? I can’t help but feel that another shoe is waiting to drop, and I’m hoping it’s not a deadly one. Looking past the couple and their relationship, it’ll be interesting and perhaps a bit scary to discover the effect of this ordeal on the LGBT community in Malawi.

One thing’s for sure: It’s getting harder and harder, even on an international scale, to put people back in the closet. Even when they do retreat, is anyone even fooled by their slap-dash gunpoint retractions?

Tiwonge Chimbalanga Missing After Malawi President Pardons Couple

First the good news: Tiwonge Chimbalanga* and Steven Monjeza, the Malawi couple sentenced to 14 years of prison for recognizing their relationship, were pardoned and set free last Saturday by Malawi’s president.

A gay couple in Malawi sentenced to 14 years in prison for “unnatural acts” was pardoned Saturday shortly after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations met with that country’s president.

“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws,” President Bingu wa Mutharika said at a news conference in Lilongwe, the capital, before adding that he nevertheless was ordering the couple’s unconditional release on “humanitarian grounds.”

In announcing the pardon, the president emphasized that he was not condoning gay marriage. “It’s unheard of in Malawi, and it’s illegal,” he said.

The news of the couple’s release has been greeted by (most) of the world as an unexpected blessing, whatever the political reasons. Both were beaten in prison, and Chimbalanga was refused medical attention in prison, so their conviction was clearly a death sentence.

Steven Monjeza (left) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (right)
Steven Monjeza (left) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (right)

But as most of us guessed, this is not the end of Tiwonge and Steven’s story. From the same New York Times article:

Late Saturday, Ms. Chimbalanga, who has said she considers herself a woman in a man’s body, and Mr. Monjeza were released from custody.

The police escorted Ms. Chimbalanga back to her home village in the remote hills of Thyolo District. She stayed for a reunion with family members, and planned to return to Blantyre early Sunday.

“I’ve been under so much emotional stress that I need to find somewhere to rest,” said Ms. Chimbalanga, speaking by cellphone through an interpreter. “I still want to marry Steven. But I don’t know what he is thinking any more. We’ve been through so much.”

She said: “I think it is going to be hard to stay in Malawi. I am afraid of what people might do to us. We probably need to seek asylum in some other country. Is there a place for us? I don’t know.”

Tiwonge Chimbalanga was reported missing two days after that interview. The Zambian Watchdog (an apparently reputable news source based in neighboring Zambia) filed this report Tuesday evening.

One of Malawi, gay partner pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika from a 14 year jail, Tiwonge Chimbalanga also well known as ‘Aunt Tiwo’ is reportedly missing.

Chimbalanga was released from prison on Saturday after President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned the gay couple on “humanitarian grounds”.

Malawi Prison chief, Macdonald Chaona told Nyasa Times that Aunt Tiwo was taken to her home village in Thyolo on Saturday night, some 36 kilometers from Blantyre, after being released.

But since her release, Aunt Tiwo has been at large.

Her brother-in-law, Maxwell Manda, who works at the High Court, said he had not seen Aunt Tiwo and pointed out that she wanted to leave Malawi upon her release.

“I have not seen her. I don’t know where she is. But she wanted to leave the country after the being released,” said Manda.

Her uncle, village headman Chimbalanga said Aunt Tiwo arrived in the village at 9pm on Saturday but since then she has not been seen around.

Let’s hope that either this report is wrong or Tiwonge is safely out of the country. The comments on that article are a horrific example of the violent environment in which she finds herself.


* The question of Tiwonge Chimbalanga’s gender identity has been cause for discussion throughout LGBT blogs since this story broke. If you look closely you’ll see that I avoided personal pronouns altogether in my first post on the Malawi couple. I also refrained from referring to the couple as gay, since that might not strictly be the case.

Since then, I have found indications that Chimbalanga specifically identifies as female. Therefore, she will be recognized with feminine pronouns on this blog. Out of respect for Ms. Chimbalanga, I have also corrected pronouns in the news articles above.

For more of this discourse, see Autumn Sandeen’s spot-on article for Pam’s House Blend and Jim Burroway’s commentary at Box Turtle Bulletin. Be sure to read through the comments as well; there’s a fantastic and important discussion taking place.