Tag Archives: mass media and popular culture

Ecuador: Tortured for Being Gay? But, Not Anymore…

The beginning of the end is finally here. That is, the beginning of the end of ex-gay torture clinics in Ecuador. While homosexuality is technically legal in Ecuador, the reality is that a dangerous underground culture of homophobia still exists throughout the country. Until recently, LGBT women and men in Ecuador were being held against their will at hundreds of so-called “clinics” that used torture and physical abuse to “cure” them of being gay. As more and more victims escaped and started speaking out, they revealed a network of nearly 200 illegal clinics posing as drug rehabilitation centers, promising to turn patients straight, and using sexual abuse, starvation, humiliation, and torture to achieve their goals.

This is where Fundación Causana’s work began. The LGBT activist group has been working for the last 10 years to deconstruct homophobia in Ecuador. Among their biggest challenges has been getting the country’s Ministry of Health to stop turning a blind eye and address the issue of gay torture clinics that are prevalent within the country.

One of the first voices to speak out was that of 24-year-old Paola Ziritti. Paola’s parents knew they were sending her to a forced-confinement clinic, but they had no idea just how awful it would be. Once Paola’s mother realized what she’d done, she tried to get her daughter back, but the clinic said no. The process to free Paola took a year. “I spent two years in one such facility and for three months was shackled in handcuffs while guards threw water and urine on me,” said Paola, who describes numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse during her “rehabilitation.” “Why is the clinic where I suffered still open?” she asks.

Now, Paola’s nightmare, and those of hundreds of young men and women who are still trapped in clinics in Ecuador, is finally about to end. This past November Fundación Causana started an online campaign on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. Within weeks, the campaign collected over 100,000 signatures from supporters across the globe asking the former Minister of Health, Dr. David Chiriboga Allnut, to take action and immediately investigate the clinics.

 

It took an international outcry to elevate the voices of Fundación Causana, but the government of Ecuador is finally listening. Soon, hundreds of men and women trapped inside ex-gay clinics will be able to return home.

Emilia Gutierrez

Human Rights Organizing Manager, Change.org

Tagged , , , , , , ,

News Way of Looking at the Word, “Ho”

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning, in the male perspective. Has the word “Ho” now become a way of dehumanizing the general population of Black women by refusing to acknowledge their individual and complex identities, and become simply another term to describe a mass of name-less, face-less, PUSSY. A term that was once given on the basis of a woman’s sexual morals can now be used in casual conversation in discussing Black women among Black men and sometimes amongst Black women, to describe women, whether familiar or unfamiliar, without any knowledge of her sexual practice or promiscuity.

 

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning in the female perspective. When used in discussion amongst Black Women, it is often used to reference the undesirable Black woman, or those deemed by the speaker as undesirable. Often said with disdain, or indifference. But when used in these type of discussions, does the word, “Ho” become a term that’s essential existence is to verbally appropriate the person with the label as morally less than, regardless of their sexual standing?

 

Has the meaning of the word “Ho” become a term used simply to dehumanize and lessen the value of the Black woman of which we currently hold in contempt when using the word OR has the appropriation of the word “Ho” transformed the term into a simple denotation of  race, gender, and class, as being  lower-class(economically), Black and Female?

 

The sexism and sexual oppression of women throughout the world is evident. However, in this discussion, analyzing the use of the word “Ho,” and the perception of Black Women as seen in mass media and popular culture, is crucial to the understanding of the term and it’s use as a controlling and oppressive image of Black womanhood and femininity, used to justify the sexual oppressive acts and behaviors that target Black women. The black woman’s experience within the U.S. is one that is unique and different from the intersecting oppressive forces amongst women of different cultures. The oppression is different, not of higher value or lesser value.Therefore, as a result, we can not minimize the differences of the African American female experience by trying to place it amongst a broad homogenous struggle of women. In doing so, we refuse to acknowledge the unique and indiviual experiences of not just African American women facing sexism, but the unique and individual experience of all women facing racism in the world.Confronting the controlling images forwarded by institutions external to the African-American community remain essential, however, it is equally important that we examine how these same controlling images are being perpetuated in the African -American community and create the appropriate solutions and acts of resistance. So the question becomes, if we do not discuss the unique forms of oppression aimed at Black women or that often effect Black women, how do Black women as a collective resist intersecting oppressions as they affect us and the communities we live in? How do U.S. Black women indentify the specific issues associated with controlling images of Black womanhood without safe spaces within the Black community where we can talk freely? And, how do we contest and resist these images if we do not first identify the language being used within their oppression?

-Dean Steed

Tagged , , , , ,