Sunday, 6 June 2010

Beyond the Circle

A wonderful book by Jane Fae (published under her old name of John Ozimek) has now been published. I've ordered a few copies for the University of Sunderland Law library and I'm sure other academics will find it an asset to include in their own libraries. It's written in a very accessible style and is aimed at the 'lay-reader' rather than an academic. It's a bargainous £6.50 and you can order it here. The book summary is pasted in below:

This book argues in no uncertain terms that the entire approach to sex and sexuality in Britain today is discriminatory, in that it presumes a normal and “correct” (heteronormative) way for individuals to conduct themselves - and therefore sees all alternative forms of sexual conduct as needing to be subject to strict legal "safeguards". The latter may carry the stamp of outward respectability from an essentially white, middle class and male psychiatric profession: however, they are little more than old-fashioned puritan morality dressed up as rational standards.

As religion's hold over society fades away, so the modern pseudo-science of psychiatry tightens its grip on the law-making process!

Were this the case in any other field of human endeavour, there would be a national outcry: but because the discrimination under scrutiny is in respect of sexual conduct, and the British attitude to debating sex and sexuality has rarely raised its head above the level of seaside postcard humour, almost all attempts to engage in discussion of this issue are met with polite put-down.

Nonetheless, discrimination victimises against individuals for doing no more than engaging in perfectly legal and consensual activity with other adults. This book documents cases where individuals have lost job, home life and family as a direct result of societal prurience.

It highlights how the current approach to Equal Rights - about to be strengthened through the Equality Bill - does little to protect anyone who falls outside recognised minority groups. As one academic comments: "Equality is the framework that makes discrimination possible".

It proposes an alternative and radical Human Rights-based approach, in which discrimination itself is redefined not in terms of groups affected, but relative to the harm done to innocent individuals.

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