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3 min

Curbing the spread of queers

When in Rome or Riyadh or Crawford

On Apr 25, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited US President George W Bush at Bush’s ranch and extended vacation destination in Crawford, Texas.

The president greeted the prince with a passionate kiss on each cheek. The two held hands as they strolled through the dappled sunlight and shared a moment together gazing at a bed of bluebonnets-Texas’ state flower.

No, really, it’s true.

It’s a wonderful part of Arab culture that men show that kind of affection for each other, and while in Rome or Riyadh or Crawford as the case may be, one ought to do as the Romans or the Saudis or the Texans do. It’s protocol. It’s just polite.

The potentates’ conversation quickly moved from flowers and frilly things to the more pressing issues of war and oil and how best to manipulate and dominate world supply and price.

The White House released a mutual love letter between the two that same day that outlined their most sincere desire for world peace and universal love.

The statement read in part: “Both countries agree that the message of peace, moderation and tolerance must extend to those of all faiths and practices. The two nations reaffirm [their commitment to] fostering values of understanding, tolerance, dialogue, co-existence, and the rapprochement between cultures… [and] for fighting any form of thinking that promotes hatred, incites violence, and condones terrorist crimes which can by no means be accepted by any religion or law.”

It’s so nice to know that even as these two world titans wade through the stinking morass of international politics, they can cut the rhetoric long enough for a few tender us-moments in which to enjoy each other’s company and smell the flowers.

On the very same day, Apr 25, the US Food and Drug Administration implemented regulations to ban any man who admits he’s had sex with other men in the previous five years from anonymously donating sperm to US sperm banks.

They say the move is supposed to curb the spread of HIV, but all anonymous sperm bank donations in the US are already tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and mad cow disease.

US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show as far back as 2001 that heterosexual contact and intravenous drug use combine to outpace men who have sex with men as prevalent HIV vectors in the US. CDC numbers also show African-Americans are almost 10 times more likely to be HIV-positive than ‘white’ people.

If the US wants to curb the spread of HIV, then by extension of their own dumb-ass logic they really ought to consider banning African-Americans, straight people, people with blood in their veins and mad cows (or bulls I suppose) from sperm donor programs too.

In reality though, it doesn’t seem likely the Bush administration is interested in curbing the spread of HIV, rather it looks more like they want to curb the spread of queer people.

Five days prior to George and Abdullah’s tip-toe through the bluebonnets, the lower house of the Texas legislature voted to remove foster children from queer households in that state and place them either into straight foster homes or orphanages.

As for Prince Abdullah, Human Rights Watch reported Apr 7 that authorities in the Saudi city of Jeddah arrested 100 men in March and charged them with deviant sexual behavior.

Al-Wifaq, a state controlled Saudi newspaper, reported that the men were attending a gay wedding party and that they were dancing and behaving like women.

The men were tried in a closed-court session in which defence attorneys were excluded. Thirty-one of them were sentenced to prison for six months to a year and 200 lashes each, while four, presumably really queer ones, were sentenced to prison for two years and 2000 lashes each.

I don’t know if it’s even reasonable to expect someone would survive 2000 lashes, but I do know there are more and more examples every day coming from the United States of the continuing conservative war on queer people.

Every day we Canadians are getting closer to a federal election in which a conservative party with a religious and socially conservative leader and agenda, like the one infesting the US right now, might actually form a government.