Let's hope that with Tim Cook in charge of Apple there will now be a race to outdo each other to be the most gay-friendly IT behemoth out there!
Longtime gay rights campaigner Google has kicked off a new effort to "legalise love" in countries that criminalise homosexuality. At a Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London late last week, the web giant's European head of diversity and inclusion, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, reportedly outlined the initiative. According to Gay …
Apple, MS and Google are about the best places that you can work for equal rights, but they're not unusually friendly to gay staff, banks are particularly good as well - from my experience in working in financial services IT. What is unusual is that sexism seems to be tolerated in terms of dealing with countries where you wouldn't send a woman to do any sort of job which involves telling a man what to do. Saudi would be top of the list.
...and, speaking as gay myself, it i always nice to hear that someone thinks equality is important, but... I would be rather more keen if they addressed intellectual property rights first. I feel a greater risk with Google wanting to steal every piece of creative work not nailed down than I do the prospect of not being able to work in Singapore.
Not that I am ungrateful, but let's not get distracted.
I'd go further to ask Google to butt out.
They risk making things worse for LGBT people in places where being any of them can lead to your state sanctioned death.
Not being able to work in Singapore is a whole lot nicer than being stoned to death as would happen in many Islamic countries and possibly some of the more conservative parts of the USA.
Anon because I don't want the crew cutted American Evangelists knocing at my door (or sending me zillions of hate spam emails)
"a whole lot nicer than being stoned to death as would happen in many Islamic countries"
'Many'? Really? Not in my experience of living in a few. I think you're getting out the 'all Islamic countries are ultra-conservative' brush there, and over-using it.
Rather than the walking death sentence you assume, many Islamic countries are very (quietly) tolerant -almost expectant - of a 'homosexual phase' in youngsters. It's a side-effect of not allowing them to socialise with the opposite gender as they reach sexual maturity.
Not to mention whether a foreign company has any business getting involved in a political campaign. While most of us might agree with this one Google have no business getting involved in the social politics of a foreign country. Suppose our companies starting campaigning in the US for national healthcare? I bet the Americans would not be happy with that - same thing applies here. No matter how sane and sensible cause foreign companies should stay out of local politics.
Google is a multinational. How is it "foreign" when the affected employees live and work in those countries?
(Yes there are some more general worries about large companies lobbying in politics, but I'm not sure this is the topic to be criticising - there are plenty of examples where this does go wrong. And I don't think it's an issue of being "foreign", because they are not.)
"They risk making things worse for LGBT people in places where being any of them can lead to your state sanctioned death."
How is campaigning for better rights making things worse for LGBT people? And as to making things better, it is a very comforting thing sometimes if you are of a sexual minority in a hostile country to see that others out there are like you and maybe trying to make the world a friendlier place for you.
...stops you working in Singapore? So BEING gay is illegal there, not just the sexual act between two men? Or you mean you couldn't have sex (legally) with another guy there?
Singapore is an oppressive dump anyway, who wants to work there let alone live there? Actually I know people do, for some reason. My best mate did - is still there. Complete mystery to me but there we go. I guess same reason some people seem to think Saudi Arabia is a nice place, LOL (defintely don't wanna be openly gay there.....) to each their own.
"let's not get distracted."
Ah, the old fallacy. You can pretty much 'end' any vaguely well-intentioned (or not) thread of any kind by saying 'but there are PEOPLE DYING! let's not get distracted!'
Because, well, there always are.
A bad thing is a bad thing even when other bad things are happening. Unless you spend your _entire waking life_ doing nothing but worry about starving African children or whatever your chosen really bad cause is, pointing at anyone trying to do something about _any_ bad thing and saying 'stop doing that and focus on this other bad thing that I care about instead' is a) mean-spirited and b) downright hypocritical.
And when was Texas annexed by Poland? Just because there's people being shot in the US for their sexual orientation, doesn't mean it's happening everywhere (and it's certainly not happening over here).
I know what this is about. A couple of weeks ago, a law meant to give same-sex relationships more formalization was shot down in legislation. And it was done in a pretty shitty way, since the ruling coalition has used the guise of Euro 2012 (ongoing at the time) to fizzle this and several more liberal proposals. Unfortunately, they're still too scared of the fundies. That was apparently enough to make the whole of Poland "anti-gay".
BUT this doesn't change the fact that anti-discrimination laws are embedded into the national Constitution, and there are openly gay and transsexual MPs (OK, in the latter case, only one, still that's probably one more than in most Parliamentary bodies of the "West").
On top of that, there's been a lot of sour feelings about the propaganda spewed by the BBC portraying Poland (and Ukraine, but that's not relevant) as a racist shithole. For those unaware, here's pretty much what happened:
If Google goes ahead and labels Poland as "anti-gay" on par with Singapore (where male homosexuals may still get prosecuted for what is, in essence, their owned damned business), this will be associated with the BBC fiasco, and not only will become a local PR disaster, it might also hurt efforts to extend rights relevant for LGB persons.
It's called setting precident. If you can get (relatively) moderate countries to stop with the hate, it will give additional ammunition to pressure the more extreme countries to slide to a more moderate stance. Trying to force countries that have drawn a firm line in the sand to change would not be just counterproductive, but detrimental. Hell, look at what happened when Google tried to push China on anti-censorship. It didn't exactly work out too well.
If there are any homophobes pondering a boycott of Google's search engine, advertising platform and associated products as a result of this campaign, they'll have to look hard for an alternative service: Microsoft's Bing won't be an option either given that the Windows giant's bosses back gay marriage. ®
Depending on what you mean by homophobe, being homophobic is either required or forbidden for Christians.
If by homophobia you mean being unloving, cruel, or condescending to a homosexual person, then no Christian should ever homophobic. As the theologian John Calvin, and many others, have pointed out, a quintessential Christian belief is that *each* of us is depraved and is only acceptable to God because of Jesus' sacrifice in our place.
If by homophobia you mean affirming the okay-ness of homosexuality, this is something no Christian (and I suspect no Muslim nor Jew) is to do. The Bible (and I imagine the Q'uran) is extremely clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin, a deviation from God's desire for our lives. For a Christian to tell someone that engagine in homosexuality is okay would be tantamount, from their perspective, to telling someone soaked in gasoline that it's okay to light a cigarette. It would be precisely the opposite of a loving action, regardless of how much the person yearned for it.
Note that I haven't said anything about *legislation* regarding homosexual conduct. I think that's a very different issue.
"The Bible (and I imagine the Q'uran) is extremely clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin, a deviation from God's desire for our lives. For a Christian to tell someone that engagine in homosexuality is okay...."
The OT is. Is the NT? I can't recall any mention.
And the whole point of Christianity -as I recall- is that it represents a new covenant between god and mankind, and basically throws the OT out of the window, replacing it with a rather hippy 'love everyone, hate nobody' message. 'Christians' who selectively read the OT in order to condemn others are rather missing the point of their own religion.
The essential dogma of Christianity could be summed up in about three sentences; one of which would be "Don't whine about or hate other people."
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_homosexuality
The NT indicated that some of the OT Jewish laws (food laws, etc.) were not to be a concern for Christians, but it certainly didn't delete the whole notion of sin, nor water it down to merely failing to feed the poor.
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 (Taken the NIV)
"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV again)
"8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me."
"The Bible (and I imagine the Q'uran) is extremely clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin"
The bible (particularly the Old Testament, where the "practice of homosexuality is a sin" comes from) is also very clear about a huge number of other practices being sinful, including but not limited to eating pork, eating shellfish, NOT taking your brother's widow as your own wife, working on Sundays and a whole plethora of other weird vetoes. It also promotes mindless violence, particularly against "others", but also against your own kith and kin (including a particularly charming passage where the 'hero' offers his daughters to be raped by a baying mob outside his house in order to protect a visiting angel)
ALL modern Christians, (and I guess Jews and Muslims) pick and choose sections from the holy books, the only perceivable difference to me is that the biggest fundamentalists are the ones LEAST likely to understand that they are cherry-picking diktats. In my experience the proudest 'christians' are the ones least likely to 'love their neighbour as themselves'.
To paraphrase Bill Hicks commenting on an encounter after one of his shows when he was satirizing about religion:
Religious fundamentalist (threateningly) - Hey man, I didn't like what you said in there. I'm a CHRISTIAN
BH - Then forgive me!
@James Metcalf: Don't also forget that the cherry-picking of what to believe is important in the Bible is not limited to Christians, it's also pretty prevalent amongst atheists who want to score cheap points against Christians.
There are some parts of the Bible which are obviously ridiculous in a modern context, I would suggest that even an ultra-authodox Jew would have problems quoting from Leviticus.
If we're going for equality...
I want Google to more emphasis on protecting the rights and freedoms of fat, beer drinking heavy-metal listening IT techies! No more the cries of, "What's that racket you're listening to?!", "You work with computers, you can fix mine can't you?", "It's your round!".
I say enough! No more requests for fixing friends and family PCs for nothing more than a thank you! I am not your slave to replace the extortionate fees PC World charge! I am not a freak because I like a little bit more aggro in my music! And I paid for a round last time you tight-fisted sods!
Why you ask do I bring all this up? Who uses Google? Joe Public! Who ensures people's PCs are still able to connect to the Chocolate Factory's servers? IT techies fixing PCs as favours during their down time!
I'm free! I'm fat! I'm proud! I do know a DLL from a DOC when I drag files to the bin! ...and it's your round this time tight-arse!
There are two problems with Google's "Legislate love" position. First, the corporation is firmly asserting, by implication, that the majority of Muslims, Chritians, and Jews in the world are wrong on a theological matter. It is claiming that a sin is not a sin, and in doing so Google is deliberately subvert parents' instruction to their children on matters of morality and of right relationship to God.
You might be okay with that, but let's certainly not pretend that it's not one genuine aspect of what's going on.
Ahh.. so because your imaginary friend tells you that discrimination is OK, no problem? The writings of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith also advocate summary homicide for a variety of minor infractions such as adultery. These are generally considered to anachronistic and you certainly wouldn't be able to use it as a defence in a criminal trial.
This, if anything, is more an issue of cultural baggage.
Many Christians are Christian only in their own minds.
Well yes. It is a personal religious conviction. Where else would it be defined except within the mind of the person who holds it? The alternative is that somebody else (you, perhaps?) gets to define whether or not a person is a Christian. As soon as you make that assumption then you are on a saddle between two slippery slopes: theocracy in one direction and religious suppression in the other.
No thanks. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a relatively secular democracy.
There's a difference between whether or not someone is a Christian, and whether or not they're able to accurately asses that detail.
We can never judge with certainty whether or not someone else is a Christian. But here's a decent summary of what the Bible says on the matter: http://www.heart-for-god.com/articles/10signs.htm
I don't really expect a thread on The Register to sort out whether or not God exists.
I think we're agreed, however, that the question of whether or not any particular act is morally acceptable is strongly tied to whether or not there's a God. Perhaps we should leave it at that.
"I know quite a lot of Christians, the number I know who are "anti-gay" is vanishingly small."
There's degrees of intolerance though. To paraphrase one Christian acquaintance of mine, "I have no problem with gays because everyone is a sinner in one way or another". And to paraphrase the reponse, "As far as I'm concerned, it isn't a sin, I won't seek forgiveness and I will certainly be doing it again".
Tolerance might look like acceptance at first blush, but it ain't.
"If a person is ashamed of what the gospel says about sin, he/she is at very least not a healthy Christian."
Theology is all about the interpretation of relgious texts, given that direct contact with a higher power doesn't seem commonplace these days.
One can easily be ashamed about the interpretation of a work, and one can be ashamed about the additions tacked on after the fact by other authors, without denying the tenets of the original work that are uncontroversial and unambiguous.
This applies as much to the hadith as to the gospels, incidentally. My familiarity with the other fruits of Abrahamic thought is limited, however.
"I know quite a lot of Christians, the number I know who are "anti-gay" is vanishingly small."
Since the definition of "a Christian" is not very strict, this doesn't mean much. I AM a Christian and the majority of people in my church hold to the 'old fashioned' view that same-sex relationships are wrong. However I don't necessarily equate that with being anti-gay - there is a massive difference between disapproving of what a person does, and who they are.
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Lovelly though it is that Google are defending equal rights (and I'm all for equal rights), I think they miss the point that different cultures have different opinions and that's the whole point of having different countries. If every country has the exact same beliefs then the phrase "if you don't like it you can leave" becomes meaningless.
Surely what we should campaign for instead is to ship all of the homophobes to these countries and all the gays out of them, giving us a nice tidy world where everyone is happy. This is working well for Brighton, so why not do it on a global scale? (appologies to Brighton, that was uncalled for!)
How is that the UK doesn't have gay marriage and that the US government and that the vast majority of US states don't recognize gay marriage or even civil unions? Gay marriage is being fought tooth and nail by Xtians in both the UK and the US. Many US hospitals prevent the life partners of gay people to visit them in the ER or intensive care because they are neither blood relatives or married spouses -- even if they are in a civil union.
As a transgendered woman I applaud any initiative to strive for LGBT human rights anywhere in the world.
It’s a huge task though. Even here in the UK, I stand a better than average chance of being ‘made redundant’ when I inform my employer that I am transgendered and will be transitioning in the near future; thereby joining a large number of transgendered people on the unemployment register.
those sort of attitudes are slowly being pushed down the chain to the more 'uggish' employers - never seen an obvious gay or trans at my any of my local tyre fitters for instance (not many brown faces either for that matter). My (large) employer has a very rigorous and proactive anti-discrimination policy, because they lose talented potential employees otherwise.
I know a trans with similar experiences, but the same could have been said about gay people 20 years ago, and black people 40 years ago. It just takes some people (Sun readers, mostly) a little time to catch up.
As has been said, just be grateful we don't live in a backward east European or Asian country (or, god forbid, the Bible Belt in the US), but even there many people don't share the views of the extremists and loudmouths.
Pining for a drink (on antibiotics, harrumph).
Likewise, agree Google are to be applauded for drawing attention to these examples of antediluvian attacks on basic human rights around the world.
I don't need to tell you but transgender issues are very different to the rest of LGBT largely I think because a lot of people know gay or lesbian people through their work or social lives but transgender is much less commonplace, more diverse, so to most people its unfamiliar ground except through media caricature. For what its worth, from personal knowledge expect you'll find a reasonable degree of tolerance in the UK as far as employment goes.
However the question of human rights such as the 'right' to officially reassign legal gender birth certificate/passport etc. m2f or f2m is much more problematic I'd rather think we'd be better served by a more open minded society where trans is accepted in its own right. Not a popularist view but though I may be middle-aged boringly straight male myself, its a view formed by trying to understand the experiences of friends.
Might sound harsh but its not just about ignorance in the world at large, theres a lot among those directly involved. One acquaintance who has completed social transition to female lifestyle and work but refused access to hormonal program on NHS is now buying the drugs directly. All without having even so much as spoken to anyone who has been through the procedures to understand what its really about, she really believes its a route to being totally female.
So not convinced in this instance Google is doing more than following what it thinks western people want to hear on trans.
I should have expected an outburst of Daily Mailism around here. Jeez, please be less predictable.
As to the protoclarkson ranting on about the lack of a role for homosexual behaivior in evolutionary biology, many special engage in same sex acts, whether or not they pairbond with a same sex mate. Actually, "hetrosexual that performs homosexual acts" is remarkably common in other species, unencumbered by the brain damage of religion and the like.
(..and sounds quite fun, I might add, ahem)
Anyway, far be it from me to interrupt, if you're summoning Melanie Philips, I hope you used fresh chalk for the pentagram.
...I have to say the comments here are most entertaining.
I should point out that homosexuality exists in practically all facets of nature and there is evidence that it has existed prior to the creation of all world religions. Humans are the only species that seem to have a problem with it and those problems are religion based.
I am Native-American. I am spiritual. I am at one with Nature as I do my best to communicate and co-exist peacefully with it. My Native-American spiritual roots go far back beyond any organized religion today. Prior to "white" contamination, two-spirit persons (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) were highly respected and revered individuals in our communities. I find it fascinating when some use their own designer religion as a tool to make them feel superior or better than others, and I find it equally fascinating when they use it to condone their own hatred or ignorance towards those who they deem unfit or unnatural basing it all entirely on scriptures that for all we know were written to try to control and brainwash the masses in to subservience.
I do not hate christians, muslims, etc. The vast majority that I personally know are very loving, compassionate, caring and open-minded people. I'm happy that they're happy in their attempts to peacefully co-exist with one another.
I giggle when I hear the likes of the U.S. based "religious" Phelps family speak and demonstrate publicly. They are the modern-day sideshow freaks and I thank The Creator for them because they are helping hold a mirror up to everyone's face to show exactly how ugly religion can make you. Intentional or not, they are single handedly a powerful driving force in changing the attitudes of the public to actually be more sympathetic of gay rights.
I love watching people squabble. I find stupidity to be highly entertaining.
But that's my point. In saying what you did you prejudge the entire issue. In fact it's not indefensible, it's rationally solid.
And if you read the comments carefully you'll discover a nuanced, generous, tolerant attitude towards all people, regardless of their particular points of view.
In what way is it "indefensible"
In my country, gay civil unions are totally acceptable even down to the inevitable arguing in court over who gets to keep the dog when it all goes bad.
That said our leftist media is constantly banging on about "gay marriage equality", whatever that means.
This is all well and good, but I have yet to find a gay activiist who is able to explain to me what extra, actual, rights "gay marriage equality" would provide that are not currently provided by civil unions.
What the entire argument seems to be about is redefining the meaning of the word "marriage" so that it includes homosexuals.
If Google was so strong about rights and freedoms, they where the hell are they while theists are deliberately false flagging atheists in to oblivion? There is a false flagging WAR going on in YouTube and after all my e-mails to them ... they don't f-ing care that the freedom of speech is being obliterated on their own doorstep.
If Google can't even succeed at this, which is happening on their own soil, then they're only going to fail in their other endeavours.
If you want more information, then Agent Of Doubt is your man in the know - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skqHSFLLtHo
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Follow the link Mr/Mrs Coward. You will see, in the comments of AoD's link, just a handful of the people who had their accounts closed in the last week alone.
Long story short - there are a number of whacko theists who regard anything that disagrees with their view point as being blasphemy. They then "flag" other peoples videos under the tag, "hate speech" and after so many flaggings, the poor victims account gets closed, they lose their channel and all the videos they've uploaded on it.
All this is automatic and at the moment, there are no repercussions for the cowardly bas**rds who are doing this; ganging up and using sock accounts to deny people their rights to free speech.
I have written a letter to Google HQ, as this kind of attack on their home soil is way out of whack with what they are trying to do abroad. They've got a mess on their own doorstep that they should be cleaning up first.
And if you're from the press and want to pick up this story, then AoD will probably not be adverse to talking with you, as this has been going on for some considerable time.
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"Gay at Facebook" (well, Facebook Europe realistically - I doubt the social group had the cash) was the title sponsor of Dublin Pride this year, it having been Google for a number of years beforehand. Microsoft also had involvement as per usual. There definitely seems to be a tech industry gay-off in the offing.
Now, if only I could find a firm that pays a premium for staff who'll never want paternity leave...
Cultural imperialism is not evil. True or false?
Who will defend the right of children to be raised in a natural family?
Will Google and Bing defend equally vigorously the rights of those individuals unfortunate enough to have been born with a predilection to paedophilia, bestiality or necrophilia?
What is a "natural family", and when was there ever a "right" for children to be brought up in one? The idea of the "natural family" is cultural, and changes across time, class, and borders.
What is the problem with bestiality and necrophilia? No consent issues are raised (assuming the dead body wasn't made so by the necrophiliac!)
"Will Google and Bing defend equally vigorously the rights of those individuals unfortunate enough to have been born with a predilection to paedophilia, bestiality or necrophilia?"
There always has to be a posting in these sorts of threads by someone comparing homosexuality to <insert assorted evils here>, either because they are too stupid to work out the difference, or they are simply homophobes trying to push their agenda by smear to others too stupid or willfully ignorant to work out the difference. Utterly predictable, but refreshingly uncommon around here nowadays.
In some parts of the world adultery attracts the death penalty. Death by stoning has been reported in recent years e.g. in Iran. In the western world, true the law only tends to apply financial penalties in divorce suits and similar. More complex than the 5 year olds comment above.
So let me get this right, people around here are entirely happy that a huge American corporation is using it's weight to push it's own view of morality onto other countries ?
You're all happy with that idea ?
You'd be happy if Google started putting up stuff about Israel's human rights record ?
...or pictures of women stoned to death under Moslem laws ?
Joyful at the idea of pointing out that nearly all rapes by priests are homosexual rapes ?
Given that a large % of Americans believe in some form of Creationism, you'd be happy if Google supported that ?
If you're OK with corporate activism be clear that it will not always be for things you support.
I personally have no problem with Google supporting gay rights, personally I think it will have zero effect since the reason that Gays are persecuted in some countries is because the majority of people in those places are OK with it. No government can long do things that the majority of its population regard as bad, independent of whether it is as democratic as Sweden or as oppressive as Syria, in fact dictators are at least as populist as any politician trying to get re-elected.
"You'd be happy if Google started putting up stuff about Israel's human rights record ?" Yes - oh, yes! It is about time.
"...or pictures of women stoned to death under Moslem laws ?" Yes.
"Joyful at the idea of pointing out that nearly all rapes by priests are homosexual rapes ?" Yes.
"Given that a large % of Americans believe in some form of Creationism, you'd be happy if Google supported that ? " Absolutely not!
Why the difference? The first three are reportable issues regarding the oppression of people, and there is a chance of getting to the facts. The last one is about something that flies in the face of facts, and which is used to oppress people. Worlds of difference, don't you think?
What so many keep doing trying to compare gay coupes to pedophilia and bestiality and rape keep leaving out is, two consenting adults. End of story, not victims, not animals, not corpses, not children.
Two consenting adults who love each other and want to live together for the rest of their lives. No Crime, no fraud, no hurting others. Two people who want the same lives as their neighbors and the same shreds of happiness than anyone else wants out of life.
And No, civil union does NOT carry the "same" privileges as marriage. I cannot speak for other counties, but most US states that have banned gay marriage have ALSO banned civil unions as well. Some have gone so far as to ban you from leaving your own estate to your same sex partner. As apparently leaving your money to the church is perfectly reasonable. But leaving it to your partner is a "benefit of marriage" This is not a defense of marriage, it is a religiously oriented attack on citizens.
You don't know how few rights you have till the person you love is in the hospital and unconscious, and you are not allowed to visit because you are not "family". I've been there. We owned the same home, we had been together for 15 years, but I wasn't allowed to know how she was doing, as I was not "family" and had "no interest". I wasn't even able to find out what hospital she had been moved to. "A nurses aide finally risked her job to tell me secretly or I might have had to wait days"
There is an organization in The US state of Minnesota called Project 515. It is named this for the 515 "and counting" ways gays and gay couples are discriminated against in Minnesota, We are a progressive state and Minneapolis has civil unions. Yet it is still as bad as that. Now they want to write the discrimination into our states constitution.
There are a lot of us. We are people, and we are "married" in all but the paperwork. And we will not go away no matter how many laws try to make our relationships illegal. Take our rights, take our legal protection, claim we or our relationships don't exist or are "disorders" and we will continue to exist. And in the end we will prevail. I'd like to believe than love is stronger than hate. And in the end that's what it is about. We love each other and the people who have nothing but hate want us gone, by legislation, by violence, or if nothing else by defining us out of existence. But in the end we have one argument they can never counter. We love each other. And they hate us for that. And in the end the hate and fear is all they have.