Categories
Opinion/Commentary

David Leyonheljm comes under fire for offensive comments on early childhood educators

This week, New South Wales Senator David Leyonheljm came under fire for comments he made about early childhood educators on Ten’s “The Project” on Tuesday night. This came in light of the Coalition’s plan to put another 3 billion dollars into childcare subsidies for working families. Leyonheljm argues that the proposed packaged benefited the rich more than the poor. But what got people upset was his description of what childcare workers do. Leyonheljm argued:

Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker. A lot of women, mostly women, used to look after kids in childcare centres. And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to get a Certificate III in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing – you know, wiping noses and stopping kids from killing each other.

Despite the outrage, when appearing on Seven’s “Sunrise”, Leyonheljm dug his heels in and refused to apologise. One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson stood by Leyonheljm and said that he was “right”. Hanson then made the comparison between early childhood educators and her as a mother raising four children. 

 

Just to give a context of what Leyonheljm was talking about in regard to the National Quality Framework; back in 2009, the – then Labor Government overthrew the early childhood education system and introduced a National Quality Framework.  This, in part, mandated childcare (or early childhood educators), be at least Certificate III qualified to work in early childhood settings or be studying the course while working. This was to allegedly better the care and education outcomes of children who entered childcare services. The Early Years Learning Framework lists skills and awareness a child should be able to achieve by the time they start school. Some of the outcomes listed include: “Children have a strong sense of identity”, “Children are connected and contribute to their world” and “Children have a strong sense of well – being”. To read more about the Outcomes, read pages 21 – 44 here. The introduction of these new requirements have spiked up costs for childcare and neither the Coalition nor Labor have come up with a way to ease the burden on families -some of who are paying over $200 a day in fees in Sydney, with other capital cities not far behind. However, Labor have rejected the figures, according to the Herald Sun, saying the average cost was closer to $88.00 a day.

 

I have read comments on blogs from people who work in early childhood education who have said that they are snowed under with red tape and paper work. That could be looked at and it would be a benefit, I think to everybody, if that can be scaled back. But to say that they are just babysitters wiping kids noses and stopping them from killing each other is disrespectful, archaic and plain wrong. The vast majority of early childhood educators do so because they are passionate about the well – being and development of young children. They want to nurture children’s interests, culture and talents. They work tirelessly for the benefit of the children – sometimes even into the holidays. These people should be applauded, not given a smart alec comment about what they supposedly do – apparently by someone who has very little idea about what’s involved. These workers should be applauded for working along side parents (not taking their role!). to get the best social, emotional, physical and educational outcomes for the children they work with. They also work alongside specialists when children have physical or other disabilities or illnesses. They let local primary schools know if a child has any difficulties, either academically, behaviourally or in toilet training. They want nothing but the best  for the children they work with.

 

Again, the extent of the regulations in early childhood education and care can be debated and  modified to make life simpler for both educators and families. But denigrating what they do is not the way to debate or get anything done.

Categories
Gender/ sexuality

‘Clovergender’letter in the LGBTQ+ acronym

Heard of “clovergender”? There is a number of groups on Facebook and a hashtag on Twitter. What is it? According to David Reynolds of “The Advocate”, the term “clovergender” was coined by pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. He has a history of clashing with the LGBTQ+ community for outrageously hiking up the prices of HIV/AIDS medication in the U.S. Before his suspension from Twitter earlier this year, Shkrelli came up with the term clovergender. The term was defined as:

… adult individuals claiming to be “a child trapped in a man’s body who is attracted to other children’.

Fact checking site, Snopes, exposed this hoax earlier this year.

(Photo of  Snopes webpage).

Shkrelli has been since banned from Twitter after accusations that he harassed a “Teen Vogue” writer. Clovergender has also been discussed on 4Chan and 8Chan.:People involved in the “Clovergender” hoax have been known to harass and bully people on Twitter. Personally, I was warned about it. I have stayed away from any of the groups or Twitter feeds. I think it’s disgusting. The fact that it was done to deliberately demonise the LGBTQ+ and, obviously link them to pedophilia makes it more outrageous.

 

What makes it more outrageous is that this group isn’t the first to try and link the LGBTQ+ community to child sexual abuse. That’s what the North Carolina HB2 toilet bill descended to last year. Earlier this year, two “One Nation” candidates Shan Ju Li and Tracey Bell – Hensellin have both been called out and disciplined for making anti – gay remarks. Ju Lin referred to LGBT people as “patients’ while Bell – Hensellin accused LGBT people as “destroying families”. Plus, there’s all the anti – gay marriage scaremongering last year.

 

You know what, it’s people like Ju Lin and Bell – Hensellin who destroy families. People who continuously and falsely dehumanise the LGBTQ community, falsely equate them to predators, falsely claiming that if gay marriage will be legalised that pedophilia or bestiality – it’s these people that are destroying families. It’s these attitudes and rhetoric that leads to LGBTQ youth homelessness and them turning to prostitution and drugs as a survival mechanism. Regarding LGBTQ homeless youth no exact figures on LGBTQ homelessness are available in Australia. According to the Washington Post, the rate is believed to be 43% – that means that LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to be homeless than non – LGBTQ youth. I wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics are similar here. Many transgender youth find it particularly difficult – especially when trying to find emergency accommodation – with many of the services dedicated to one sex. People who identify as transwomen are rejected by women’s shelters and due to their identity, don’t feel safe in a men’s shelter. That is the real cost of all this anti – LGBTQ hysteria. It’s ridiculous. Everyone just grow up! This endless fear mongering and rhetoric are leaving too many LGBTQ+ youth vulnerable to homelessness and worse. YOU grow up!

 

When ISIS is discussed in the media, especially by conservative commentators and politicians, ideology and its potential danger is always bought up. Well, anti – gay/ anti – trans/ anti – queer ideology is evidently dangerous. It’s about time to realise how dangerous it is. It needs to be called out and condemned. In fact, I’m thinking it could be covered under anti – defamation laws, but I’m not sure about that. Either way, there needs to be a crackdown on it.

 

I don’t begrudge anyone for being against same – sex marriage in and of itself. To be honest I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit on. I can understand why people want it, but I do worry about the perception that same – sex marriage will infringe on other people’s rights to freedom or speech and religion and the backlash against the LGBTQ community. But I am no longer going to stay silent while LGBTQ people are unjustly vilified and slandered in the media and by politicians. I am no longer going to stand by and let the dehumanisation of the LGBTQ community continue and further contribute to the escalating homelessness and suicide rates of LGBTQ youth. I’m not sitting around waiting for someone to carry out a threat like the one that Melbourne’s JOY 94.9FM faced. While nothing happened and no one was hurt, 30 of their staff were evacuated from the premises.

 

So, can I ask you all a favour – politicians, the public and journalists, commentators and the general public – do not tolerate any speech that aims to dehumanise LGBTQ+ people, that aims to falsely paint them as predators. One it’s not true, and two, it destroys lives. Enough is enough.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Silencing debate will not help the LGBTQ community

TV talk show host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres has  disinvited gospel singer and preacher, Kim Burrell after a video of a controversial anti – gay sermon went viral. Burrrell and Pharrell Williams were meant to perform together on the show. She confirmed the cancellation of Burrell’s invitation on Twitter:

Degeneres can have whoever she wants on her show. She can invite – or not invite – anyone she pleases. In one way, you can understand why she did it. To come out so publicly must be real hard, also, considering the backlash she received afterwards.

Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, especially gay youth. She spoke out after a number of LGBT teens committed suicide in 2010, one of which was Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after a video of him kissing another man went viral.

LGBTQ+ community and allegations of censorship

Degeneres isn’t the only one who’ve refused anti – LGBTQ people a platform. In fact, it seems to be common for the mainstream LGBTQ community and supporters to silence opponents, or at least give them less space/ advertising to spout their views. Australia has seen a similar phenomenon. In 2015, channels 7 and 10 refused to air an advertisement by conservative group Marriage Alliance.

Controversially, the same year, SBS pulled an anti same – sex marriage advertisement from Australian Marriage Forum during the airing of the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Channels 7 and 9 ran the advertisement. SBS copped criticism from MPs and a commentator.

More recently, publisher Connor Court refused to publish a book by Australian Marriage Forum’s Dr. van Gend, which argued against same – sex parenting. To me, this goes too far.  Why couldn’t Connor Court publish it, have it on shelves, have it read by prominent commentators and have it discussed on  The Morning Show, The Project and Studio 10,  etc. I doubt that any of the hosts on those shows would agree with the content, but what’s the harm of them expressing that and offering a chance for the public to respond?

The only exception I would put is if van Gend deliberately went out of his way to vilify the LGBTQ+ community. That should be off limits, period. Other than that, this is only a bad look for same – sex marriage supporters and the LGBTQ+ community.

Personal limits and mental health

Late last year, I listened to Mia Freedman’s podcasts where she aimed to “burst her bubble”. This was after the U.S. Election and the announcement that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States.

Throughout a number of the podcasts, Freedman expressed how she had to stand back and not read or expose herself to anything about the U.S. Election because of how it affected her emotionally. I get that. In the context of same – sex marriage, it is a very hard – hitting and emotional debate for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes, you need to sit back and not read or listen to anything about that topic. I felt that way a bit last year, actually. But generally, I think we – the LGBTQ+ community and supporters, need to let other people speak and be heard.

 

We should be  willing to challenge false assumptions if need be. Listen to people’s concerns about issues like freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Confront and argue against absurd misconceptions. But banning speech, airtime, etc from same – sex marriage opponents is not going to win any hearts. In fact, I think it’ll do the opposite.

 

I’m not saying agree. I’m not saying that we should sit back and let ourselves get abused by others. All I’m saying is let others speak. And be willing to challenge. At least then, if, or when, same – sex marriage is legal in Australia, the other side can say that it was a fair fight and, hopefully, the LGBTQ+ community can continue gaining acceptance without backlash.

 

What do you think?

Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Australian Christians to apologise and reconcile with the LGBTQ community

According to Buzzfeed News, a group of conservative and former Christians have come together to offer an apology to LGBTQ people who’ve been harmed by churches.

Equal Voices aims to confront the failures of Christians to respond to LGBTQ people justly and “be reconciled with one another in the Body of Christ”. An apology is a top priority.

The apology

The apology covers the following points:

  1. For being too slow to acknowledge that we need to say sorry to you.
  2. For not speaking up
  3.  Speaking about you, without listening to you.
  4. Not creating safe environments within our churches where people can speak openly and honestly about their struggles and understandings
  5. Perpetuating stereotypes, and for not taking full account of your actual lived experiences
  6. For talking to you or about you in a way as to suggest that sexual and/ or gender differences are not a part of your true identity as creatures made in the image of God, but are simply a result of brokenness or sin.
  7. Churches have told LGBTQ+ people that they can change their orientation/ gender identity.
  8. For not acknowledging that Christians who are seeking to be faithful to their Lord and to the Scriptures are coming to different conclusions on matters of gender, sexual orientation and marriage

One member has committed to:

  1. Honour and support LGBTQ people in any way possible
  2. Be open to gentle correction and guidance
  3. Hold others to account for harmful words or actions
  4. Resist efforts to “other” or exclude LGBTQ people
  5. Engage in genuine conversation to gain perspectives of LGBTQ people

In March, Equal Voices will post a letter to their website that people can sign.

 

These points, especially number six, are huge. Finally, LGBTQ Christians will feel safe, regardless of whether they attend a progressive or Evangelical church.

 

What’s the next step?

While this is a great step forward, I wonder what it’ll mean for Christians politically. Many Evangelical churches have closely aligned themselves with conservative political parties and lobby groups, including the Australian Christian Lobby. Recently, Activate Church in Adelaide separated themselves from Australian Christian Churches (formerly Assemblies of God) to fully support the LGBTQ community. The pastor of Hillsong Church, Brian Houston has come under fire for not allowing openly LGBTQ people to serve in the Church.

I don’t think anyone should expect all conservative Christians to jump on this. No doubt, the ones that have raised their voices do so knowing that they’ll pay a great price. Many Evangelical, and former Evangelical Christians, such as America’s Rob Bell, have paid greatly when coming out in support of the LGBTQ+ community. So this is no small feat!

I think this is so positive. Soon, LGBTQ people will be able to worship, rest and be a part of a church community without their identity being a barrier. Finally, people in church will be able to enter, knowing that they don’t have to hide. They won’t have to sit through a sermon feeling like they don’t belong, that, despite their belief and their heart for God, that they are not enough.

I believe that this will clean up Christianity’s reputation a bit. The Church may finally be seen as a beacon of hope, rather han harm. So, for those involved in the EqualVoices movement, good on you for having the courage to speak up.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

New year – a marketing dream

 

 

So, all the partying has stopped. Chances are, you have eaten or thrown out the Christmas lunch and you’ve gotten over the hangover from New Year’s Day.

Let me ask you something – how are those resolutions going? You may still have stuck to it…. it’s only the 2nd of January, after all. I’ve read some blog posts and it seems that there is a backlash aginst New Year’s resolutions as a whole. Mamamia founder, Mia Freedman has ditched new year’s resolutions and instead, has suggested focusing on a single word to focus on throughout the year. Nice idea. When I tried it, I thought of about ten words. Hmmmm, might need a bit more thought. Gemma Hartley of Ravishly believes that a better way is to focus on self love rather than abberation Michaela MItchell, also from Ravishly has rejected the ‘new year, new me’ mantra. Which is the thing I want to talk about.

New year, new me.

Sounds like a bit of a jingle, doesn’t it? An advertisement slogan. It’s short, easy to remember and has repetition.

Last year, marketing manager of Fitness First, Samantha Bragg told news.com.au that the number of people signing up for a gym membership rose 15% over the new year period. Also, take a look at what I found while scrolling through a tag on Ravishly:

First link – an ad for Tony Robbins.

 

A few days ago, I watched a bit of Todd Sampson’s show, Body Hack. He stayed with the Hazda tribe in Tanzania – one of the last surviving hunter – gatherer tribes in the world.

I remember when Sampson was watching a funeral of one of the grandparents who’d recently died. He said something that struck me. Unlike us in the West, the Hizda tribe don’t have the same concept of time like we do. When I heard that, I realised that they wouldn’t have a new year. Anything like that would be completely foreign to them. Why? Maybe it’s because they aren’t exposed to mass media and marketing. They would not be told for months that Christmas is coming, New Year is just days away. No posters displaying Boxing Day and end – of -year clearance sales. No TVs with Jenny Craig ads. When you think about it, we are reminded daily about time; dates and events coming up.

Reassessing priorities

I’m not against New Year’s resolutions. I get sucked in most years. However, last year, I left it late and did a rough goal list for the next two years. But I have made resolutions in the past, a big list of them. Have I kept them? Like most people, no. I do think the end of the year is a good time to plan, dream and reflect. Then again, that can go pear- shaped, too. I like Mia Freedman’s idea. A year focussing on a single word. Now to think of the word…

Discipline?

Love?

Family?

Friends?

Relationships?

 

I can think of one that I’d most likely stick to – writing. Yeah, that sounds good. If I can focus on this blog and the writing course I’m enrolled in. That would be great. Now, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Categories
Uncategorized

New year, new blog and reflections of 2016

Happy new year!

I hope this year will be good for you. I know there were a few sour notes for many in 2016, and some downright tragedies. It was a year that saw fear, anger and sadness. It held some largely unpredicted events, like Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Election. I’ve got to say, the reaction from some Hillary Clinton supporters has been appalling, and, if anything, hasn’t done progressive/centre -Left politics or causes any justice.

The backlash against centre Left extended to Australia, with conservative parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation winning major influence in the Senate. Things went pear – shaped when Pauline Hanson refused to help Rod Culleton pay personal legal bills. Culleton later resigned.

The same – sex marriage debate dominated the political landscape for a few weeks. So – called ‘respectful debate’ ended up in intimidation against Mercure motel staff in Sydney, and a bomb threat against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, 94.9 Joy FM that caused thirty staff to be evacuated. Unfortunately, the second event got minimal coverage in the mainstream media, and little condemnation.

2016 in summary

The world had been rocked by terror. The Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida hit the LGBTQ+ community hard.It did bring people together and many people did stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. I hope the solidarity continues. Please continue to support and love your LGBTQ+ family members and friends. And, when safe to do so, speak out against queer – phobic violence. That includes media personalities.

2016 saw a continuation of one of the worst human rights and humanitarian disasters in living memory. Reports have claimed that the conflict in Syria has caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The reports, images and footage in the mainstream media and on – line have been absolutely horrific. There wascalls for a cease -fire.

The future

So, what about this year? Who knows. I hope to hear less about culture wars. Even though they are good to blog about, they can be emotionally draining. I really don’t know what else to say about Syria. It’s such a tragedy. I don’t see it ending any time soon, to be honest. I’ll just leave it at that.

On a more personal and a lighthearted note, I’m so glad to be starting this blog. I can’t wait to see what happens with it. Surprisingly, I had moderate success in the three blogs that I wrote before, which I’m grateful for. But I think it’s time to move on. Plus, I have study and other stuff I’ll be doing throughout the year.

 

What are you up to this year?