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In the wake of IDAHOBIT, thank you, but keep fighting -repost

Rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

This post was originally written in May 17 2018.

17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Bi – phobia, Intersexism and trans – phobia. (IDAHOBIT). 17 May 1990 was the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental qaillness.

I said about a year ago about how IDAHOBIT was a great day for the LGBTQ+ community to show appreciation for those who have stood by us, fought for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and stood by LGBTQ+ people who are in distress. This is still close to my heart. Thank you again for everyone who has been a part of making our lives a little bit easier, especially last year during the same – sex marriage postal survey debate.

But, of course , the work is not done; not here and not around the world. Currently,  seventy – four countries still outlaw homosexuality, some of where the death penalty can be carried out for same – sex relations.

 

The Australian LGBTQ+ community won a major battle last year; same – sex marriage finally came legal after 61.6% of survey participants agreed that same – sex couples should be able to marry. The Act now states that two people can marry, with no mention of sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. This is monumental.

The battle for the right to marry for LGBTQ+ people is won. Where we still need to be vigilant is the reversal of anti – discrimination laws. Last year, there was discussion about whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples who want to marry on the grounds of faith or conviction. I have expressed numerous times how I think this is a potential slippery slope and how there is no guarantee that it’ll only be cake bakers or other wedding suppliers that will be exempt, but also teachers, other educators, counsellors, psychologists, etc like it has in parts of the US. I plead for our allies to be vigilant about that and, if it comes up, to vocally protest against it.

I still feel strongly about LGBTQ+ students being supported in schools. If not through Safe Schools, I don’t think it would hurt to have another program aimed at tackling homophobia, bi – phobia and trans – phobia etc. As I’ve said before in the context of education and AFL’s Pride Round, I really don’t think it’s enough for students to have to assume that they are not at risk of being rejected. It needs to be made obvious. The voices in the head of someone even questioning their sexuality can make one assume the worst; that they won’t be accepted, that they deserve to be bullied, etc.

Not all advocacy is political either. Increasingly, the issue of proper LGBTQ+ visibility in the media and pop culture comes up. There are still issues with misrepresentation or invisibility, especially of bisexual people. Negative stereotypes about bisexual and pansexual people still persist and have negative consequences on their mental health.

While things are improving for asexual people,including visbility, things can still improve. For starters, it would be great if people would get to know what asexuality is. Allow people to define their own sexuality and/ or relationships, without resorting to comments that it’s a phase, etc, (often it’s not).

 

The West have made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights. I am really hopeful, although cautious, about the future. The world as a whole has a long, long way to go. Hopefully IDAHOBIT in the future can bribg positive change where it’s needed.

Have you, your school or workplace done anything for IDAHOBIT? Also, what do you think can improve for LGBTQ+ people?

 

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News Opinion/Commentary

El Paso attack: is Trump responsible?

Texas state flag
Image: iStock

TW: gun violence

On the 3rd and  4th of August 2019, two mass shootings happened in the United States in less than twenty – four hours. One was at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; the other, outside Ned Pepper’s Bar in Dayton, Ohio.

The motive of the massacre in Dayton, where at least nine people have been killed, is unknown.

However, the El Paso massacre has been dubbed a terrorist attack, fuelled by white supremacy ideology. The gunman allegedly posted a ‘manifesto’ on social media claiming to support a white ethno – state.

Who’s to blame?

This has sparked anger. Accusations have appeared in some independent media. Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk) and Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (The Young Turks) have called out and attacked U.S. President, Donald Trump for inflaming racial tensions at his rallies and inspiring such terrorists like the one in El Paso.

Not surprisingly, some conservative commentators. Herald Sun’s, Andrew Bolt has slammed Trump’s critics for hypocrisy, referring to the Republican congressman shot at a baseball game in 2017 which was committed by a Bernie Sanders’ supporter.

 

Is the El Paso terrorist attack proof that white supremacy is flourishing or collapsing

When Trump was elected in 2016, there was a spike in anti – immigrant bigotry and white supremacy, which exploded in 2017.

Since then, many in the media have pointed at Trump as a sign of white supremacy and anti – immigrant bigotry.

But is this necessarily true? Maybe. Trump has sa8d and written some pretty inflammatory things since 2016.

However, according to Simon Copland, the truth about white supremacy may be the opposite than what you think.

Copland argued that the El Paso shooting actually signified of the collapse, rather than the rise of the white supremacist movement in the U.S.

He also argued that existing groups are splintering and, unlike controversial far – Left groups like Antifa, white supremacists are not as organised with the same identity. This may have frustrated the El Paso shooter enough to carry out the massacre.

The horrific decisions these men [who committed both shootings] made were not those people who saw themselves as a part of a large fascist or white supremacist group within society. If such a feeling was mainstreamed to the extent that is often claimed to be, it’s possible neither would have seen the need to attack in the first place.

(Simon Copland, ‘El Paso tells an uncomfortable truth about U.S. mass shootings’, Herald Sun, 5 August 2019).

Maybe the condemnation of Republicans, despite Trump’s crude rhetoric is misplaced. Reports on the El Paso shooter’s alleged manifesto suggest that he hated both the Democrats and Republicans. Instead, inspiration came from the Christchurch mosque shooter earlier this year and 1995 Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

 

I’m willing to believe that Trump may not be to blame for the shooting in El Paso. But is white supremacy still an issue that the U.S. needs to face? Yes, I think it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s been weakened over the years. The fact it still goes on is troubling. And, I think it would be wise of Trump not to add fuel to the fire through toxic, anti – immigrant/ anti – people of colour rhetoric.

 

Categories
Politics

Barnaby Joyce calls for raise in Newstart in a bad way

Centrelink/ Medicare building
Image: iStock

Former Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce has become more “sympathetic” to those on Newstart. He “knows what it’s like to struggle”.

He is now calling for the Coalition to raise Newstart.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has rejected the idea.

The kicker? He currently gets over A$211,000 salary per year.  His ‘struggles’ that he has are nowhere near those on Newstart.

 

It’s good that Joyce has had a change of heart over Newstart (six years too late, but still). But cry me a river. Joyce made his bed, now he has to sleep in it! It’s insulting to those struggling to survive on Newstart to have Joyce compare them to himself on over A$211,000.

Current Newstart rates

According to the Department of Human Services website, single people on Newstart get A$511.70 a fortnight.

Other recipients and the eligible  andidates and amounts are:

  • Single parents with one or mor dependent child: A$601.10
  • With partner (also receiving Newstart): A$501.70 per person
  • Single 60+ who has been unemployed who has for nine months: A$601.10
  • Principal carer of a foster child, looking after a child granted by the court, has large family, has children who are homeschooled or receiving distance education: A$776.10

 

The amounts hasn’t changed since 1994.Newstart hasn’t kept up with inflation or to reflect cost of living.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted it was “modest“.

 

The irony of Newstart rate

A number of politicians argue that Newstart is only meant to be a temporary safety net between jobs.

The tragic irony is they’ve made the Newstart payment so low that many recipients can barely afford to live, let alone pay for transport, clothing for work, or fees for further training. Surely this defeats the purpose, unless locking people in poverty is the goal.

Joyce’s ‘struggles’ vs the struggles of someone on Newstart

Over the past few days, media outlets have been awash with reports and opinion pieces on realities of living on Newstart.

Mamamia posted an article yesterday by student, Shelley Cheng about trying to survive on Newstart. Unlike Joyce’s choice on whether or not to use a dishwasher, Cheng has had to make really tough choices.

Cheng claimed after rent, bills, transport and a number of medical expenses, she is left with less than A$10 for food and other expenses.

News.com.au did an article suggesting some Newstart actually skip meals in order to make their budget stretch. This is beyond apalling.

The tragic irony of the jobs defense

People who protest a rise in Newstart often give one of two arguments: one, that the Coalition Government can’t afford to raise it. The second argument is that Newstart was, and is only meant to be temporary for those in between jobs. It isn’t meant to be a comfortable alternative to working.

The irony to the second argument is that the government has made Newstart payments so low that many recipients can’t afford to look or prepare for work.

 

By many accounts, Barnaby Joyce should be praised for his change of heart. Unfortunately, he has turned the debate into a farce due to his narcissism. Hopefully someone else can make a slightly more convincing argument that will win over the government soon.

What do you think about the Newstart? Feel free t9 comment below?