Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Queensland becomes the first Australian state to ban conversion therapy

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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.

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Categories
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.

Categories
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.