December 15, 2017

Gay Lions And The "Sex For Procreation Only" Argument

Trevor Noah killed me DED with this one. Especially the tongue-tied Hakuna Matata bit (you'll see). 

All laughter aside, I’m embarrassed for Ezekiel Mutua’s ignorance. I’m fearful for any gay person in Kenya who will be subject to his authority over any policies that might affect them. If we’ve learned anything from past atrocities done to our fellow man, they start with absurd notions, like Mr. Mutua’s belief that you will become gay by associating with gays or that therapy can cure someone of being gay or that lions’ sexual behaviour is in any way motivated by or similar to the far more complex, psychosexual make-up of humans. While Trevor focuses on mocking (justifiably so) the absurd homophobia, I want to take the opportunity to educate. So I wrote this.

rocreation is not the only natural/valid function of or use of the sexual organs nor is it the only reason sexual activity happens in the animal kingdom, particularly among the more intelligent, more socially sophisticated of the mammalian species like great apes, great cats, dolphins, canines, and monkeys. These apex/higher mammals often intentionally give and receive sexual stimulation and do so with the same and opposite sex, completely outside the breeding season. Remember, these are the same mammals with enough sentience and intelligence to enjoy play, develop friendships within and outside their species, communicate in their own way, use tools, solve puzzles and even be trained perform tasks for us. Do you really think, they have not figured out (even if not cognitively so) that sexual stimulation feels good and benefits them individually and collectively too?

Viruses, bacteria or insects only need to exist just long enough to procreate and that is all there is to their species’ survival. Apex/higher mammals of higher intelligence who demonstrate more sophisticated social organisation and culture require much more than feeding and replication to be successful as a species. In fact, there are apex/higher mammals who exist in societies where not every member of group gets to procreate, because it is neither necessary nor advantageous to the group for every single sexually mature member to be breeding altogether, all at once. Wolves and wild dogs only allow one breeding pair per group, the alphas with the best genes. All the others contribute to the society in other ways like helping babysit, hunt and protect. This ensures there are always more guardians than infants.
Lots of babysitters to look after the cub.
The cooperation, inclusion, protection and mutually affectionate relationships with others in a society are equally if not more crucial to the survival of the new life born to a selected few. How to create such a community with minimum conflict and maximum cooperation? Well, it helps if there was something that encourages social bonding, improves mood and relieves stress. Something powerful and mutually pleasurable. Something instinctive and easy to give and receive. Something like, well, sexual pleasure. Best of all the benefits occur regardless of whether the stimulation is self-induced or with the same or opposite sex. Want some examples?

Bonobos (pigmy chimpanzees) are known for being the more peaceful cousin of the chimpanzee. One of their secrets is copious amounts of mutual sexual stimulation. While their chimp cousins go on murder sprees and are constantly fighting and squabbling, bonobos are enjoying all kinds of congress. Female bonobos are renown for using sex as a way to make-up after fight by rubbing vulvas together. They also use sex to peacefully settle arguments over food. 

Dolphins in the wild, move as one in almost seamless corporation and communication. They too are known for having sex recreationally regardless of gender. They have even learned to adapt certain sexual roles to ease cohesion. For example, weaned but still, juvenile male dolphins are emancipated by their mothers and driven out of the female pod and have to go in search of a bachelor pod. However, the older males in a bachelor pod can be very territorial, unwelcoming and aggressive to male newcomers. So, when the young male dolphin finds a bachelor pod, he instinctively starts acting like a female that wants to mate. He acts playful, coy and submissive and engages in mating behaviour which tricks the older males into welcoming him into their gang. Dolphins Spy In The Pod, BBC (Available on Netflix if you have it)

Dolphins have a clear distinction between sex for procreation and sex for pair-bonding and pleasure. Breeding females come and go but one's same-sex partners are for life! 

In fact, for many species of dolphin, their bros are their “ride or die” ocean homies, hunting, roaming, playing together for life. Whether in pairs, a trio or a pod, they cooperate with each other, even helping each other mate with any visiting females who are ovulating and in the mood, instead of violently competing over them. In fact, male pair bonding and cooperation instead of competing with each over the proverbial pussy is a major survival strategy for other apex/higher mammals too.
Nothing disturbs the peace of a group; causes mayhem, maiming, and murder quite like when males go crazy with testosterone in response to a female in heat. They get violent and fight for mating rights, dominance, often maiming and killing each other and anyone that gets in the middle of their melee. Violence between males competing over females often kills more of their own than external predators. Baby seals are often crushed in the violent conflict between male elephant seals. Male chimpanzees and lions fighting over females will even target the rival male’s cubs.

This brings us back to these “gay” Kenyan lions. There are incidents where two male lions instead of fighting over a pride of females can harmoniously live together
if one agrees to submit to the other male. This is often demonstrated by one male allowing the other to mount him. This often happens when two lion brothers run a pride together. Instead of fighting and killing each other and each other’s nephews, they can both live longer and contribute to the strength of the group. Now you have two males helping protect, babysit and hunt for the group. More cubs survive and if one male sibling dies, his brother is there as a back-up that shares familial/genetic ties and can protect the pride. Now outsider males who will certainly kill his brother’s cubs are kept at bay. Everyone wins!
These animals are far less intelligent, far less complex in their psychology and hierarchy of needs than humans are. Yet they have figured out how to utilize sexual pleasure, sexual roles and sexual behaviour for their benefit in ways that go beyond reproduction. Homo sapiens, the most intelligent, complex, creative and sophisticated ape on the planet is far too advanced to be having sex just/only for reproduction. In fact, our desire for intimacy and orgasm (alone or with another consenting adult Homo sapien) happens regardless of reproductive cycles, fertility or even desire to procreate. Sexual pleasure serves other functions in our lives. More importantly, look at where we fit into earth’s eco-system.

We are not bottom of the food chain (e.g. wilder beasts or krill) that needs to exist in mass numbers, mindlessly and collectively breeding en masse to feed apex predators. Millions of krill die to feed one whale and thousands of antelope die to support one lion pride. It takes trillions of other species both plant and animal to die to support 7 Billion + Homo sapiens (and rapidly growing despite the existence of and increased rights of LGBT people) especially if we live in an urban, developed society. WE ARE THE PLANET’S APEX PREDATOR.  This natural order means our numbers should never exceed what the planet can sustainably feed. We’ve long past the threshold our planet can support. So much so, it’s not just plants and animals dying to keep us alive but other human beings are dying as well, dying in destructive food chains of imperialism, war, consumerism and greed just to support a certain standard of living. We are at the point of cannibalizing ourselves. 

At this current juncture, our survival on this planet does not depend on increasing QUANTITY OF HUMAN LIVES to feed into this destructive food chain. Our focus should be on humanely and with ecological responsibility increasing QUALITY OF HUMAN LIFE for existing Homo Sapiens and the 360,000 new ones born every day. Yes, 360,000 new human beings were born today! Do you really think that number needs to go up or down? Well, ask yourself, of that number, how many were planned for, welcomed and born into a society where they have sufficient guardians putting their best interest at heart? How many will have all their human needs (food, shelter, clothing, education, health) met and experience peace, inclusion, safety, cooperation, contribution, affection within societies living in balance with their eco-system? This is where our obsession and vigilance should be directed. Not in the bedrooms of consenting adult humans or lions. 

December 06, 2017

Post Surgery Playlists Instead Of Painkillers

My troublesome and unnecessary uterus is finally gone! The surgeon also took the fallopian tubes as that's where ovarian cancer starts, so it's always good to remove them if the opportunity is there. My ovaries are still there and I look forward to my usual hormonal balance returning after three months of chemically induced menopause.

Part of being emotionally prepared for this hysterectomy was being grateful for it and looking forward to life after it. 
Hurray! No more crippling anemia, so bad that not even returning to a meat diet helped. No more violent expulsions of blood and golf ball-sized clots that thankfully, occurred mostly at home, except for those two embarrassing times in my boss' office. No more pain! Pain so intense you wanted to vomit. Every month, those two days, having to call in sick. Done! Finito! Since 
I never wanted kids, nor is motherhood right for me, I had no need to put up with a malfunctioning womb any longer.  The only two things that scared me the most was my post-surgery body and rumors of a hysterectomy belly bulge, a fear which some research and finding recommended exercises alleviated. The second fear was how to get through two months of sick leave. I'm a restless, person who does not do well having to sit or lay still or be bored.
Sick leave is only fun when you are just healthy enough to move around and do fun stuff. Which is why, like any Virgo control-freak, I drew up a post-surgery survival strategy for being genuinely hold up in bed, recovering from two back to back surgeries and not going insane. It was a strategy that involved among other things, an elaborate set of playlists of carefully selected music and movies designed to be my Healing Soundtrack. It’s a good thing I did as I underestimated just how debilitating it would be. Diversion from the pain and the general lameness of the situation was crucial as dwelling on it really takes you into a depression. Actually, my strategy to stay in as good a mood as much as possible was so successful that I did not have to utilize nearly as much of the opioid and anti-inflammatory painkillers prescribed to me. I have an entire box of it unopened. Now I'm wondering why did the doctor prescribe so much! There are constant reports on the opioid crisis in the USA being caused by doctors being far too cavalier about prescribing highly addictive painkillers. I wonder if these addictions start because of not being prepared for the emotional pain and effort involved in healing and self-medicating for it. Anyway, my paranoia about taking the full course of opioids was also another reason for my Healing Soundtrack.

Leaving in good spirits!
It started right after surgery, in the hospital, in fact. I began hearing the Flaming Lips “Do You Realize” while still in my anesthesia haze (my partner Nick was playing it for me, much to the confusion and bemusement of our doctor and the nurses as she later related it to me). I remember fully awakening from the first surgery to the sounds of “Empire Ants” by the Gorillaz featuring Little Dragon playing from the headphones in my ears. After I was released from the hospital, awaiting me at home, were all my pre-selected feel-good music and favorite films that I have not seen in years. I'm going to share my Healing Soundtrack with you. This is not so you copy it exactly as making your own will be a personal exercise. But who knows, you may find some new stuff in mine or remember some songs you have not heard in a while. This is also not an exhaustive list of everything I listened to or watched but just the stuff I really enjoyed or was really beneficial.

Some Of My Favorite Music Herb Alpert- Rise Spyro Gyra- Morning Dance Massive Attack- Mezzanine, Protection Thievery Corporation- Richest Man In Babylon, Saudade, Temple of I & I Radiohead- (Live From The Basement) In Rainbows, Hail To The Thief Gorillaz- Gorillaz, Demon Days, Humanz I was fortunate to find a Youtube upload as well of their live concert in Cologne which was just boss!
Angelique Kidjo- Greatest Hits Ravi Shankar- Greatest Hits Mungal Patassar- Assorted Hits. David Rudder- Greatest Hits
Kes (KTB)- Fallin, People, Incredible, Lion, Voice- Far From Finished Machel Montano- Assorted Songs but Leave Me Alone with Calypso Rose especially DJ Private Ryan Soca Mixes Fleetwood Mac- The Chain Red Hot Chili Peppers- Californication, By The Way, Stadium Arcadium and The Getaway Some Of My Favorite Video Channels It's Okay To Be Smart Kurzgesagt Trini Trent Wisecrack
Jubilee I've not even gotten to the writings, films, documentaries, and cartoons I gobbled up. I don't think I can, although I am doing a write up on one of them, which sparked some creative revelations for me. It was quite something just allowing so much positive media into my space. Wow. I really do recommend it. You don't have to buy into every aspect of holistic healing to know it is rational to believe that your mood plays a role in recovery. So, if you are going under the knife or are ailing, I say, surround yourself with glorious, energetic, joyful, pleasurable experiences as best you can. Unlike painkillers, it is a habit you can continue after you've healed.

February 25, 2015

Are You Anti-Gay?

“I’m not anti-LGBT! I just don’t think they should get married!”
“I’m not anti-LGBT, I just believe that is not God’s way and if they don’t turn from their wickedness they will go to hell.”
“I’m not anti-LGBT, I just don’t want to SEE it in my face!”

Of late, the trend has been, “PLEASE ALLOW ME TO DO AND SAY HATEFUL THINGS TOWARDS A GROUP OF PEOPLE, BUT DO NOT ASSOCIATE ME WITH ANY LABEL THAT CASTS ME AS A BIGOT.” In other words, people want to be racist, sexist, homophobic and bigoted (which is totally their right by the way) but they want to be free of any negative commentary by others (totally not their right) about it. They want to say ignorant, irrational things and promote injustice and people should just smile and never be called out on it.

Well, I’m sorry that words do have meaning. Being against something is being “anti” something.  So if you are against LGBT people being LGBT; against LGBT people openly and honestly living their lives free of fear of stigma, violence and discrimination; against LGBT people being accepted or and their talents admired; against LGBT enjoying the same citizen’s and tax payer rights you enjoy then I’m sorry to say it but you are indeed anti-LGBT.  

You are also anti-LGBT if you:

  • Reject what medical science has to say about the natural complexity and diversity of gender and sexual orientation.  You believe that it was God’s/Nature’s intent that every single human on the planet be cis-gender/heterosexual, reproduction must be the be all and end all of love, relationships and sexual intimacy and must abide by strict gender roles according to some gender hierarchy system within your culture/religion.
  • Believe that any orientation outside of cis-gender/heterosexuality and/or any attempt to fulfill the human need for self-actualization, love, relationships, family life outside of cis-gender/heterosexuality, is unnatural, “fallen” and/or a deliberate sinful choice, right up there with murder, rape, lying, stealing and oath-breaking (e.g. adultery)
  • You consider those who are not cis-gendered/heterosexuals to be abhorrent human beings and believe the public laws should reflect that and be enforced even on those who do not share your religious beliefs on the matter.
  • Belong to and support anti-LGBT organizations and believe that if any LGBT person wants to join your organization they must be celibate for life or preferably (because celibate LGBT people are still treated as suspect) try to become cis-gender/heterosexual or act like it. 
  • If a LGBT person goes through the debunked, psychologically damaging and medically denounced rigors of ex-gay therapy and fails (as most do) to live as a cis-gendered/heterosexual, even if they kill themselves trying, you believe it was the fault of the LGBT person for not trying hard enough.
  • You completely deny that attitudes such as your own have been hurting and continue to hurt LGBT people. You completely deny the role of beliefs such as yours in promoting and excusing violence and inhumanity against LGBT people.

Step up and claim what you truly stand for and what you truly believe. You might as well just be honest about it.  There is no need to try to present yourself as a loving, humane and tolerant person towards LGBT people, when you are not. Even worse, stop with the “token LGBT friend” thing. Nobody is truly a friend of someone who feels that way about them.

January 17, 2015

"Don't Flaunt It In My Face!" The REAL Reason Behind Opposing Gay Marriage

If gay marriage threatens your marriage, it's probably because one of you is gay and your gay spouse is thinking, "What the hell am I doing hiding in a sham straight marriage when gay people are finding lasting love and legal recognition? Let me go find my true happiness and soul mate before I croak!"

If both of you are straight, it probably won't do a damn thing. Except increase the likelihood you will run into an gay person or couple at your PTA meeting or company barbecue. Which you always used to do by the way. You just didn't realize they were gay because they were hiding in a sham straight marriage or were the perpetual bachelor whose love life was a mystery in large part because they took care not to get too attached to anyone for too long, going instead for multiple partners. Something happens when you fall in love, stick to someone and place them above all others, in your life. That's when it gets really hard to be closeted. Living together, being seen together all the time and getting into situations where you have to speak for the other are going to raise certain questions. You will be outed! Ask a heterosexual, married couple to try and hide their relationship and spouse from the world, if they think it is so easy to do. Why do gay marriage opponents want LGBT people to hide from the world? Why their constant refrain of, "Just don't flaunt it in our faces."

Because VISIBILITY makes something become common-place and accepted over time. You know, like how you don't bat an eyelash anymore at an interracial couple. We forget it wasn't even that long ago when an interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Uhura on prime time television caused a rain of hate mail to the studio from these "Godly" folk, claiming to be the protectors of tradition.

"The CHILDREN! Think of the CHILDREN, they were watching for goodness sake! How dare you show this filth on television!"

Viability of something that contradicts a tradition also challenges that tradition. It makes people start examining more closely what exactly are the sources of certain traditions and are they actually GOOD? The late 19th and 20th Centuries saw people starting to test and challenge the assertions of the "white", the "male", the "Judeo-Christian" powers that be. Then in the 21st Century it picked up momentum and another set of assertions by the "Arab", "male", "Islamic" powers that be, started to be challenged more rigorously as well. I know they prefer times when they were taken at their WORD about what they said is right and wrong. If they said miscegenation was wrong and the black race was inferior and backed it up with scripture they expected to be BELIEVED and their directives on that matter FOLLOWED. If they said the woman was created for the use of the man and is subservient to him and used scripture to back it up, they expected to be BELIEVED and their directives FOLLOWED. They long for their respective golden ages of supremacy, forgetting that it was not a golden age for any other demographic. They prefer times when the people they relegated to second class citizens STAYED IN THEIR PLACE! They prefer those days when the victim-less crimes they concocted to oppress people made law-breakers hide and sneak around in shame and fear of bigotry and violence.

Giving visibility to people who are rebelling against them and challenging their so-called "authority" and flouting how flimsy and false their legalities and assertions are, is like a slap in the face! It is like a salesman telling you there is no other model like his on the market and you see one drive past, proving him a liar. It is causing people to want to broaden their understanding, ask a lot of tough questions, expose contradictions and poke large holes in previously held beliefs! The powers that be have no way of dealing with their loss of dominion if this process of enlightenment were to happen. So, they are resorting to the time old method of tyranny and censorship. If something challenges their supremacy, they call it obscene and offensive or dangerous! It was exactly this kind of tyranny and censorship that gave them their power and authority. Their claim to power cannot survive an age of critical thought, widely available information and free expression. It cannot survive if gay people are living happy, healthy, honest lives, fully-integrated into society and actively making a public contribution or what they call, "Flaunting It!"