Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shame on Star World

If you happen to live in Asia, and if you happened to watch the 68th Golden Globe Awards on Star World, you may have noticed something.

During Jane Lynch's acceptance speech for winning best supporting actress in a comedy series, Star World muted out a word she said.  What was this awful word that Star World found offensive and necessary to protect us from?  Something dirty like "f**k" or "s**t"?  No, the word Jane Lynch said which terrified the Star World censors was the word "wife."  That's right:  wife.

Jane Lynch and her wife, Lara
For those who may not know, Jane Lynch, who plays the highly entertaining character Sue Sylvester on the smash American hit Glee, is in real life a lesbian and is happily and legally married to her wife.  During her short speech at the Golden Globes, she wished to thank her spouse for the support she's given throughout her career, just as every other married person who receives an award does.  But Jane's situation is different and "scary" because she's a woman married to a woman.  Oh Star World, your ignorance and bigotry betrays you.

Clearly this is offensive and crudely discriminatory.  Jane Lynch has just as much a right to express her gratitude to the person she loves as does anyone else.  To rudely and unabashedly mute out her use of the word "wife" was amazingly immature, prejudiced, and ignorant of Star World.

It is made even more offensive by the fact that, in 2010, Star World aired a very decent commercial in the Philippines around the time of the presidential election.  It was an advertisement for civility, was created by Star World, and it called upon peoples' better angels to hope for a better tomorrow, strive for a future without corruption, and see an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Really, Star World?  Are you that hypocritical?  To say in 2010 that you hope discrimination against LGBTs will end, and then turn around and engage in blatant discrimination in 2011, is the very definition of being a hypocrite.

SHAME ON YOU, Star World.  Please grow up.  It's not 1952 anymore.

I encourage each of you reading this to send an email to Star World Asia to express your disappointment, which I have done as well.  They need to know that this type of behavior is not okay.

Main email address:  world@foxinternationalchannels.com
Email address of their PR department:  finawong@ngcasia.com

Addition:  Star World's hypocrisy goes on and on.  They recently (early March) aired a 30-minute program called The Making of Katy Perry's Firework, and in it they completely clipped out the section where Katy talks about the scene in which a young gay man works up the courage to kiss the guy he likes.  Katy also talked about how strong of a supporter she is of gay rights, and, of course, Star World put that on the censorship chopping block as well.  To add insult to injury, when the full video was shown at the end of the documentary, the network completely cut out the moment when the two young men kiss in the nightclub.

Star World, your ignorance and prejudice make me sick.  I feel so sorry for LGBT Asians, that any reference of them or acknowledgment of their existence is immediately censored, blurred, clipped, and deleted away.  You, and every other network in Asia, promote the idea that their very existence is shameful and threatening; something to be hidden and denied.

You're unprofessional, discriminatory, and, in the opinion of this heterosexual European, you're disgusting.  YOU are what's shameful; not the millions of LGBT Asians whose oppression you actively support.


Friday, January 7, 2011

According to the Brain: Love is Love

Gay or straight, female or male -- the brain activity connected to romantic love is the same.

A new study out of UCLA shows that love doesn't discriminate... at least not when it comes to brain activity.  In the study, 24 volunteers were connected to an fMRI machine and asked to look at pictures of their sweethearts.  They were then shown pictures of people of the same gender as their partner, but no romantic connection was shown.

The participants ranged in age from 19 to 47, and the study was conducted half and half between men and women, some gay some straight.  The common denominator was that all reported to be very much in love with their partner.

Measurement results showed that all groups had an identical pattern of activity in the brain.  Especially active areas were the hypothalamus, the ventral tegmental area, caudate nucleus and putamen -- areas of intense neurotransmitter activity stimulated by dopamine.

Dopamine has varying degrees of significance in the regulation of emotions, and how we relate to others. Love not only enhances the activity in key areas of the brain, but it also disables most of the cerebral cortex.  Among the areas which calm down when you look at your significant other, are sections of the temporal lobe, parietal lobe and frontal lobe.

According to Professor Semir Zeki, one of the researchers behind the study, "Passionate romantic love is usually triggered by something visually, and is an immersive and disorienting state.  Previous studies have shown that no matter how complex this feeling is, it appeals only to a few areas in the brain.

This enabled Zeki and his colleagues to conclude that it would be easy to spot any differences between gender or sexual orientation -- differences they did not find.

Yet another example, thanks to modern science, that the brain sets sexual orientation, and that the romance experienced in same-sex love is identical in strength and innateness to opposite-sex love.  According to the brain:  Love is love.

Ref. report on www.forskning.no


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Optimism in 2011

The equality glass is certainly half full, and things are getting better all the time.  Here are some key places on the equal rights front to watch in 2011:

NEPAL.  Upon completion of its new constitution by 28 May, 2011, same-sex marriage will become legal for the first time ever in an Asian country, in Nepal.  Fingers are crossed that they will actually have the constitution ratified by that time; they missed their last proposed deadline for completion, which was supposed to be June 2010.  I always thought progressive Taiwan would be the first in Asia to have marriage equality, but sorry Taiwan, you're getting passed over by Nepal!

FINLAND.  Finland, which has already had a strong civil partnership law since 2002, has announced it will be submitting a marriage equality bill in the Eduskunta -- its national legislature -- after the April 2011 elections (for the autumn 2011 session).  If all goes smoothly (and it likely will because a majority of Finnish parties support the measure), marriage equality will be signed into law by winter of 2011 or early 2012.  Finland would then join its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, which already have marriage equality.