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News Opinion/Commentary

Should the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair change? Here are my thoughts.

Treble clef on Australian flag
Image: iStock

Should we change the lyrics to Australia’s national anthem Advance Australia Fair?

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk  and New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berijiklian agree that we should.

The source of contention is the word “young” in the first verse:

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

(emphasis mine)

Berijiklian argues “young” ignores thousands of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

People like Berijiklian want the word “one” to replace it.

 

However, Herald Sun columnist and Sky News Australia presenter, Andrew Bolt blasted the proposal.

But the NSWPremier’s plan to change the words “young and free” to “one and free” is a con. The people she’s trying to please don’t want us to be “one” at all.

He argued that the people pushing these proposals want more division, not unity.

Proposals in the name of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion

Over recent years, people have debated a number of proposals in the name of righting past wrongs.

Every year in January, the date of Australia Day (January 26) is hotly debated. 26 January highlights the arrival of British explorer, Captain Arthur Philip in 1788.

Some Aboriginal people find this as a tragic day. It’s the day that signifies the start of their displacement and destruction.

Similarly, more and more Caucasian Australians have joined the chorus for change.

The push to change the date has extended to social media. The hashtag #changethedate has trended over the years. Activist group, GetUp! has called for the date to be changed to May 8.

Issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

To be honest, I find a lot of this to be fluff. It will change nothing. Not on a fundamental level, anyway.

There are a number of  issues facing Indigenous communities. These include:

  • lack of educational opportunities
  • poorer mental health outcomes
  • crime and domestic violence

 

Discrimination and alienation

More Aboriginal people are opening up with their experiences of racism. Some have gone to the media with numerous examples of alleged discrimination they’ve faced in their lives.

Earlier this year, actor, Meyne Wyatt did a passionate monologue on ABC’s Q & A. Wyatt described security being suspicious of him, taxi drivers ignoring him and cashiers serving him last in stores.

 

Wyatt also spoke of the treatment of former Sydney Swans footballer, Adam Goodes. A then – 13 year – old called Goodes an ‘ape’. His actions in response was hotly debated. Many praised his actions. However, others condemned Goodes, repeatedly pointing out the girl’s age.

 

When Aboriginal people bring up either domestic violence or racism, they are immediately howled down. They can’t win.

 

Surely, a step in the right direction is to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak. Let them speak about the issues affecting them and their communities.

 

I’ll say it again. None of these issues will change if our anthem does.

 

What are your thoughts? Should the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair change? Does it matter to you either way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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News Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Hugh Sheridan’s coming out and the complexity of human sexuality

Word Pride on little blocks
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Australian actor went public came out as… human.

He told Stellar Magazine why he took so long:

I’ve never felt I really knew who I was and I didn’t like the sounds of the labels that people were giving me, so I decided to say nothing.

The Packed to the Rafter’s star also talked about the pressure to keep his relationships with men a secret to make him seem ‘available’ to women viewers. This angered him.

When asked about his sexual orientation, The Packed to the Rafter’s star simply came out as “a human being”.

Love life and being outed by the media

Sheridan opened up about his attractions. As a child, Sheridan opened up about being bullied for being gay. Ironically, at the time, he claimed that he was in love with girls.

It wasn’t until he started he started his acting career that he first fell for a man. Unfortunately, the media caught on and rumours were spreading about his relationship. Sheridan said he felt outed. “It hurt a lot”, he explained.

He also exposed the catch 22 he and a lot of other LGBTQ+ celebrities risk: having to come out or thinking you’re ashamed of who you are.

Sheridan started the Renaissance Project, where people are invited to discuss issues of labels and identity.

On the issue of identity, Sheridan simply stated:

I believe labels are for clothes, not for people.

Sheridan’s coming out is met with support

There has been an outpouring of support for Sheridan. Many have written to him and thanked him. He’s also got love and support from other Packed to the Rafters co – stars.

Rebecca Gibney, who played his mother, Julie Rafter, penned an emotional note of support on Instagram.

I’ve loved this boy the moment I met him 13 years ago. He is one of the most joyful, open hearted, empathetic souls I have ever met and I couldn’t be more proud of his wonderful essay in the latest Stellar magazine where he talks about society’s need to label and how he has never fitted the labels that were given to him.

She concluded:

I’m so blessed to call you my friend. Well done for speaking your truth. Love you to the moon sweetheart.

 

Sexual fluidity: when coming out isn’t that simple

For a while, fluid sexuality has been researched and become public knowledge. University of Utah’s psychology professor,  Lisa M Diamond PhD did a study on women and sexuality. She discovered that women can go through numerous sexual experiences through different stages of their lives.

However it’s often assumed that men’s sexuality is largely static; either gay or straight. Male bisexuality is often erased and those who come out are often not believed.

And men without the need for a label? Well, you don’t really hear about it… until now. It turns out that complexity with sexual identity can affect people of all genders, including men.

 

I think Hugh Sheridan’s coming out is oositive. Not only are more LGBTQ+ people coming out in public, but it also shows that being unsure or without a label is also OK.

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Culture Events

20 years on, Cathy Freeman creates a legacy of hope for young Aboriginal women

Australian flag and gold medal
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Tuesday, 15 September (AEST) marked twenty years since Sydney hosted the Olympics.

I was eleven when the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000. While I wasn’t really into sport, I knew that it was a major event. I even got enthusiastic about it.

Australia claimed a number of new gold medallists; joining the history books with former swimmer, Dawn Fraser and hockey champion Nova Peris. Swimmers like Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe won Australia’s heart as well as gold medals.

So did sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

Cathy Freeman inspires generation of young Aboriginal people

According to ABC Life, a number of Aboriginal women were inspired by Freeman’s success. Author of the article, Molly Hunt described Freeman as “a legend” that “forever changed the hearts of many young black people and the nation”.

Hunt, who was an aspiring runner herself, saw herself in Freeman.

Maddie Whitford said that she felt “proud” of Freeman’s success and that she was experiencing so much media attention.

Even though Jash doesn’t consider herself a ‘sports person’, she felt inspired by Freeman’s victory sprint:

I think it was so powerful when she had two of the flags because it reinforces the statement that, firstly, she is an Aboriginal woman, and that she won that medal, not only for Australia, but for her community.

I can appreciate the impact that Freeman’s win had on young Aboriginal people. It must’ve been great to see their heritage represented on the global stage.

Torch relay

The torch took off around the world, like it is every four years. 1500 people were involved in the Oceania leg of the relay. Freeman ran took the torch to Olympic Park in Sydney where Freeman ignited the Ring of Fire.

The beginning and end of the Australian torch relay was significant. Nova Peris – Kneebone started the relay, and Cathy Freeman ended it.

It was a spectacular coincidence; two Aboriginal women both started and ended the Australian Olympic Torch Relay. Aboriginal pride was there for all to see. I’m sure for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s an event that they’ll never forget.

400 m sprint

25 September 2000: The great moment – Cathy Freeman’s 400m sprint victory.

 

At 49:13 seconds, Freeman won gold. It was just short of the world (47:6 seconds) and the Olympic record (48:25 seconds).

Even though that was a monumental achievement, Freeman told the ABC that she was disappointment at her time. She thought she could do better.

 

The Sydney Olympics were a great chapter in Australian history. I’m sure it’s been etched in the minds of most Australians. Personally, I don’t think the 2000 Olympics have been repeated. Maybe it never will.

Media coverage 20 years on

I haven’t seen one negative article on Cathy Freeman. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that her victory wasn’t marred by politics.

The ABC, Alan Jones on Sky News Australia have expressed awe at what she achieved. It’s nice to see a news story (or history in this case), not be marred in controversy.

 

What are your memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics? Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below.

 

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News Opinion/Commentary

Will toxic culture in the Church come to an end?

Image of Pope Francis
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Last Thursday (10 September), Pope Francis talked about the “divine” nature of good food and loving sex.

He told Italian writer and gourmet Carlo Petrini:

Pleasure derives directly from God, it is neither Catholic, nor Christian, nor anything else. It’s simply divine.

He was also critical of Catholics and Christians who were ‘over – zealous’ in the past in their condemnation of sex and eating.

That’s not to say Pope Francis is suddenly progressive. He still emphasised procreation. Meaning, he stuck to traditional Catholic doctrine.

That aside, does this signal change within the Catholic Church? Does it signal that Catholics and Christians can finally adopting a healthier outlook? I have doubts.

Unfortunately, it’s no secret Christian and Catholic churches have had issues when it comes to sex.

I believe toxic sexual ethics have allowed sexism, homophobia and even child abuse. Married Christians have suffered pain and dysfunction in their sex lives.

Meanwhile, too often, predators have infiltrated the Church. Often, they have climbed up the leadership ladder. They become untouchable. Male victims have been shamed by their sexuality. They wrongly think they may be gay because of the abuse. Obsession about virginity and ‘purity’ in the Protestant Church has left female victims feel dirty and broken.

Is this about to change? Unfortunately, Pope Francis didn’t go into such detail. I suspect not.

Emphasis on procreation

I guess it’s no surprise that Pope Francis mentioned procreation in his speech. Yes, procreation is often a result of sex. It is the goal for some couples.

What about non – procreative sex? What about sex (even in the context of a monogamous straight relationship) just for pleasure? Where does that leave single people? What about acts other than intercourse?

Of course, the marriage – only narrative is exclusionary. Single and LGBTQ+ people need a healthy sexual ethic too. And no, abstinence – only doesn’t work. Literally 99% of the population desire sex. They have physical urges. They have the emotional need for intimacy. These don’t just appear in a heterosexual marriage. This is where the Church has fallen short.

Singles and result of sexual shame

What about people who are single? They have sexual desires, too. Catholic and Protestant churches have been infamous for putting single people in impossible situations. Demonising masturbation and deliberately spreading misinformation about sexuality has had a disastrous effect on countless people.

Anxieties about the ‘dirtiness’ of sex don’t just disappear when someone is married. Both men and women have suffered sexual dysfunctions. Men have been unable to experience erections, while women have suffered severe pain.  This can make sex unbearable.

Protestant churches are most associated with purity culture. However, it wouldn’t surprise me that many Catholic couples have faced similar issues. In my view, Catholic teachings around sex have been equally toxic.

 

Both Catholic and Protestant Churches need a more scientifically accurate view on sexuality. It needs to include married and non – married people.People should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and sexuality. Now that’s ‘divine’.

What do you think about Pope Francis’ statement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Queensland becomes the first Australian state to ban conversion therapy

Bible held by rainbpw - coloured hand with cross in a rainbow - coloured background
Image: iStock

 

CW: LGBTQ conversion therapy. This content may be distressing to some readers

Last week,  Queensland has made a historical leap  and introduced laws against LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

It will be illegal for health professionals to suggest ‘therapy’ to change a patient’s sexuality or gender identity.

Medical practitioners suggesting or performing the practice can face up to eighteen months in jail.

Criticisms of the Bill

The bill has been criticised from both ends of the political spectrum. Of course, there is ‘concern’ about how it will affect the counselling of trans and gender diverse children – pushing the idea that children are forced to take hormones and surgery prematurely.

Other critics say that the bill doesn’t go far enough Anti – conversion therapy advocate, Chris Csabs expressed disappointment that only the medical community was targeted in the bill.

Csabs claimed that 90% of conversion victims have experienced the practice in non – medical settings.

It makes sense. All major medical and psychological bodies worldwide reject the notion that sexual orientation and gender identity can be ‘fixed’. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

Since then, conversion therapy has been condemned for LGB+ and trans youth.

Should conversion practices be illegal for religious communities?

The only context that ‘conversion therapy’ most likely happens is within religious groups. While churches like Hillsong has shied away from conversion practices  years ago, other organisations probably still do it.

There are most likely young LGBTQ+ people still at risk of being subjected to the harmful practice. Should this also be outlawed? Ideally, yes. But do you run the risk of pushing it underground? What if that makes the practice even more dangerous? What if physical abuse becomes apart of the ‘therapy’?

 

Ultimately, conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when people realise that LGBTQ+ people can’t change. And that they shouldn’t have to. Conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when LGBTQ+ people are welcomed and included in all aspects of society. That’s up to religious groups, families, schools and the medical communities.

 

Update

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has also seen a bill to outlaw conversion therapy.

The Sexuality and Gender  Conversion Practices Bill is targeted at not just medical practitioners, but also parents who push their children into it.

The bill differentiates between conversion therapy and counselling aimed at gender diverse youth before medical transition. The Bill allows the latter.

 

Another update

The ACT’s Sexuality and Gender Conversion Practices Bill has been passed. Vagueness has been cleared up.

Religious groups have also been assured that they won’t be penalised because of their views on sexuality or gender identity.

Let’s hope it works and that people will realise that LGBTQ+ people are who they are and can’t change that aspect of their identity. It’s honestly the only way that conversion practices will finally become a thing of the past.

If this post has raised any issues for you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 

For people under 25, there is also Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.

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Media

ABC Life set to change and 250 jobs are to be axed

ABC studio entrance
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For a while, Australia’s ABC  has been dreading the reality of having to cut back on its content. There has been no funding cuts from the Morrison Government. However, due to past cuts, particularly from the Abbott Coalition Government, the ABC in it’s current form has become unsustainable.

One of the platforms that is going to change is ABC Life.

ABC Life was launched in August 2018. It’s aim was to attract young adult audiences to the ABC. It’s set to be called ABC Local with more an emphasis on regional and rural areas.

Rather than politics, the site focused a range of topics such as well being, work,  family, sex and relationships.

Stories that were published on the site was of that of 20 – something and 30 – something Australians. Types of post include personal narrative, opinion and recipe advice.

Unfortunately, 250 jobs are set to be cut.

ABC Life and disability activism

One of the great strengths of ABC Life is their disability advocacy. Back in June, they published an article

Filling  the void left by collapsed magazines?

Personally, I can’t help but compare ABC Life to collapsed magazines Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo. While the site doesn’t embrace topics like fashion, as a former Cleo and Cosmo reader, I can see some overlap.

ABC Life, Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo covered relationships, sexuality and work frequently. I guess they were all aiming to attract the same age group.

Media collapses, especially in regional areas

ABC isn’t the only station in Australia that’s facing job losses. Channel 10 have also faced job cuts. Kerri – Anne Kennerly, Natarsha Belling, Tim Bailey and Mike Larkin will reportedly lose their positions. Perth and Brisbane will lose their bulletins. All news will be aired from Sydney or Melbourne.

Albury/ Wodonga have also lost so much of their media over the years, with radio stations, 104.9 Star FM and 105.7 The River being largely broadcast in Melbourne.

I don’t like this at all. Why should Sydney and Melbourne have all the media? Why shouldn’t a young person from Albury or Wodonga have the opportunity to study and work in journalism?  La Trobe University only offers Bachelor of Communications and Media in Melbourne.

 

Is this a chance for independent content creators?

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Anyone who has read this blog know that I’m passionate about independent content creators and alternatives to mainstream media. I especially love The Young Turks and Secular Talk from the US.

I would love Australia to have something similar. Will this happen now? I guess only time will tell. I think we need more voices in the media landscape. Will Glycerine Queen Media be a part of it? (hey, I can dream can’t I?).

 

Personally, I will miss ABC Life when it changes. I might give  ABC Local a go, but I’ve got a feeling that the change will be noticeable.

Do you read ABC Life?  Do you find it useful or good to read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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News Opinion/Commentary

Oprah Winfrey, wealth and white privilege

Oprah's OWN billboard
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Talkshow and media mogul, Oprah Winfrey has come under fire for comments she made on white privilege. She was hosting her show Oprah’s Conversations.

When asked about white privilege and her status as a billionaire, Winfrey insisted that white people “still have their whiteness”.

 

The comments came in light of Black Lives Matter protests worldwide. The protests were triggered by the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in May this year.

Republican Senator, Ted Cruz took to Twitter and condemned Winfrey’s comments as being “BS”.

Newscorp columnist and Sky News Australia host, Andrew Bolt claimed that Winfrey’s comments were “less about principle and more about power”.

Exactly what is white privilege?

So, what is ‘white privilege’? White privilege was a term popularised by Peggy McIntosh. In her 1988 essay, White Privilege; Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, McIntosh bemoaned men for not realising privileges they have over women.

Then, she listed fifty ways in which white people had an advantage over people of colour in Western societies. These advantages, she pointed out, are often ignored by white people themselves.

Advantages McIntosh listed included:

  • Being able to spend time with people of her race comfortably
  • Being represented in history
  • Being sure that neighbours in a new residents will be pleasant
  • The assurance that white people will avoid being racially profiled in society
  • Being able to be an individual and not be pressured to speak for entire race (to be honest, I kind of agree with this one).
  • Being able to find representation in pop culture
  • Have freedoms in regards to activities and advantages at work without race being an issue.

More recently, a number of people of colour have claimed to have been victims of disadvantage because of the colour of their skin.

Earlier this year, Indigenous actor, Meyne Wyatt did a monologue on ABC’s Q & A about issues Aboriginal people face.

Criticisms and problems with white privilege theory

The theory of ‘white privilege’ has come under a lot of criticism. Canadian clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson has slammed the concept of white privilege as “absolutely reprehensible” and that there’s “nothing more racist” than collective guilt.

Even supporters of Black Lives Matter are critical of it. In The Guardian, Kennan Malik argues that the focus on white privilege and ‘white guilt’ distracts people from the institutional causes of racial inequality.

My opinion on ‘white privilege’

Personally, I think emphasis on ‘white guilt’ only alienates people and makes them apathetic. It gives people the excuse not to combat racism.

The articles on white guilt have only left me frustrated. Very few, if any, of those article have offered any solutions that people like me can implement. Saying that all white people benefit from society or whatever, to me, doesn’t do anything to benefit people of colour.

I think ‘white guilt’ only paralyses people. What are you supposed to when you are the beneficiaries of a system because of the colour of your skin? You can’t change who your ancestors are.

The problem with white privilege also doesn’t offer solid solutions. Going on and on about it without providing solutions doesn’t help anybody.

 

What do you think about white privilege? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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News Opinion/Commentary

Meghan Markle speech: fluff, no substance

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Meghan Markle made a video speech at the United Nations’ Girl Up Leadership Summit.

This speech has been criticised. The YouTube video has received more dislikes than likes.

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Being the curious cat I am, I listened to the speech myself. I get why the video received backlash.

The upside

I guess it’s good that Meghan Markle has encouraged young people to think about their own impact in the world. It’s always nice to get encouragement to follow what your passionate about.

Whether what she said is reflective of people’s reality is another thing.

Speech not based on reality

The speech reminds me of me in my early 20’s. It was all about dreams. All about big ambitions, with no real insight to what was going to happen or how.

I’m sorry but phrases like “…demanding to own the conversation” and “changing the world” is only going to go so far.

If someone is struggling to pay the bills, keep a roof over their head and buy food to eat, that person is not going to be thinking about these grand goals and visions. That is probably more true now than ever.

If someone is struggling with depression or bipolar and struggling to keep their own heads above water, the last thing they’ll have the strength to do is to transform the mental health system, no matter how badly it needs it.

While I do think police brutality is an issue to discuss, I kind of get some of the criticisms against Black Lives Matter. What are they hoping to achieve by destroying (mostly black.- owned) businesses through rioting? This is during a pandemic that has already smashed economies in the West.

Speech alienates people further

Going by the like/ dislike ratio already, it looks like Meghan Markle’s speech hasn’t won many hearts. In fact, I think it’s done the opposite; making Markle look like an entitled celebrity that barely anyone can relate to.

Unfortunately, I think the speech only dampened Markle’s reputation. It made her seemed more privileged, more entitled and more unrelatable as ever.

 

Alice Springs Councillor, Jacinta Price has made a comment on her speech and the Black Lives Matter movement. She isn’t impressed.

She is a woman of great privilege who is completely removed from reality and circumstances on the ground. Her lending her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement is silencing the voices of those of those people who are vulnerable to black on black gang violence.

Price is an Indigenous woman who’s family has been rocked by violence. A number  of her relatives have been murdered, or gone missing under suspicious circumstances. According to The Daily Telegraph, Price was visiting another relative who had been bashed.

 

Ultimately, this is a lesson to all progressives. Being relatable is important. Addressing issues that matter to the average person matters. No fluffy language will win hearts and minds otherwise.

 

What did you think of Meghan Markle’s speech? Did it resonate with you at all? Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Asexual people need the police. Here’s why.

Asexual ityflag
Image: iStock

 

Content warning: this post mention# sexual assault. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution.

Last week, LGBT+ Police UK put out a statement supporting asexual people.

This has caused a stir, with some journalists complaining.

So, is it important that police publicly support asexual people? Actually, yes, it is. Asexual people have faced a number of social issues that are rarely acknowledged.

Asexual people and sexual violence

Statistics have been hard to come by when researching this. However, some asexual women have reported being raped or sexually assaulted. Known as ‘corrective rape’, asexual women and lesbians, have been raped in order to ‘fix’ their orientation. According to Sarah Doa Minh, corrective rape happens in different parts of the world, including the U.S.

In her 2014 book, An Invisible Orientation, An Introduction to Asexuality, Julie Sondra Decker, recalled being indecently assaulted at the end of a date when she was nineteen. The date proceeded to kiss her without her permission.

Asexual people who get married also need to know they are protected as well. Marital rape is a crime in Western countries (as it should be). Asexual people need to know that they have a right to not be coerced and/ or raped by a spouse.

I haven’t found any data based on asexuals in Australia, which in itself, I find problematic. But going by what has happened overseas, it’s something that people need to be aware of.

Queerphobia and LGBT asexuals

Some asexuals are are attracted to the same – sex and/ or are transgender or gender non – binary. These individuals can face similar, if not the same prejudices and discrimination that other LGBT people face.

Asexual people with a same – sex partner may face the same issues when in public with their same – sex partner. Some may be harassed or violently attacked, like gay, lesbian and bisexual counterparts.

Other services need to get onboard

While it’s good that police departments are supporting asexual people, other community groups also need to get on board.

Too often, asexual people are disbelieved by mental health services. They may even have their lack of sexual attraction pathologised. As a result, real mental health issues may be minimised or ignored.

Mental health workers may not be sinister. They could just be misinformed, thinking it’s a fad, a symptom of a problem, or a phase that people ‘grow out of’. While not always malicious, these assumptions are unhelpful and asexual people looking for mental health support do not these misconceptions to add to and exacerbate real issues.

Homoromantic, biI ro mantic, pan romantic and transgender and gender non – binary people need to be able to find mental health services that can assist them too. I find it scary that since same – sex marriage has been legalised, state and federal politicians and lobby groups have pushed to have anti – discrimination laws back-pedalled. While it’s the argument has been used to protect, conservative cake bakers, there has been some push to allow counsellors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.

 

Like everyone else, asexual people will need access to different services. This means health, social services and law enforcement. The fact that a police department is willing to protect asexual people is quite comforting.

If you’re in Australia and you feel you need to get support, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Or you can call 000 (or national emergency number) for emergencies.

If you’re from another country, feel free t9 comment with any contact details of services. In your area.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

People with disabilities and chronic conditions felt vulnerable during COVID-19 lockdown

COVID-19 image
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Over the last few months, we’ve been inundated with news and commentary on COVID-19 and the restrictions.

People have missed going to pubs, restaurants gyms and hair salons. I get it. It sucks. It’s inconvenient. Before the COVID-19 restrictions, I enjoyed going to the gym twice a week. It was a great social outlet for me, as well as a great way to work out.

But what if you have a serious disability or chronic health condition? For these people, the last few months have been hard. And the next few months won’t be any easier.

People with disabilities feel forgotten and vulnerable

The ABC  talked to a number of people with  disabilities and chronic conditions for an article. It exposed fears of becoming infected, nerves about the relaxing of social distancing and going without essential services.

El Gibb told the ABC that she had trouble getting shopping delivered at the start of the lockdown. This included groceries. This is not acceptable. Frankly, it’s outrageous. It’s a massive failure of both governments and businesses.

A few months ago, major supermarkets came under fire for mishandling extreme bulk buying and letting essentials run out. Many elderly and people with disabilities were forced to go without. Sure, Woolworths and other supermarkets tried dedicating an hour specifically for vulnerable people, but it was too little, too late. Many supermarkets couldn’t keep up supply.

For the last three months, people have also gone medical services for pain management. Emily went without cortisone injections during lockdown. I could only imagine how horrible that would have been.

Being vulnerable to contracting COVID-19

In all the debates over easing restrictions, one issue hasn’t been properly discussed: the protection of people with compromised immune systems.

It has left people with some disabilities nervous to enter public life. Sadly, isolation seems like the safest option.

There’s fears that there’ll be a lax attitude on social distancing. I personally think that the more restrictions are eased, the more likely social distancing will become a thing of the past. This has caused some people to isolate even more. This is really sad. It can’t be good for people’s mental health.

It’s sadly ironic that the people that should’ve been protected from COVID-19 are the ones facing most hardship. The lockdowns should have been implemented with the care of the most vulnerable at the forefront. Disappointingly, as with many other things, they have been left out of consideration.

Note: While I’m writing this post, things have already gone backwards in Australia. Due to a number of outbreaks in Victoria, restrictions on public and private gatherings have been reintroduced. Easing on restrictions of the number of people allowed in restaurants has been wound back.

Also, Coles have announced restrictions on purchases of some essential items in Lavington, Albury, Deniliquin and across Victoria. Hopefully, things will be better handled this time.

How have you found the restrictions? How do you feel about restrictions being eased? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.