Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Pressures on women, anti – trans rhetoric and LGBTQ+ bigotry are linked. Here’s how

Group of women from various cultural backgrounds smiling and laughing together
Image: SouthWorks, iStock

Last year, people were asking one question — what is a woman? Daily Wire’s, Matt Walsh made a documentary asking people that very question.

I haven’t watched What Is A Woman? I’ve only seen a great critique from YouTuber, Jessie Gender.

Through parody, Jessie Gender explored gender norms and steretypes. She also explored the role of patriarchy.

Jessie Gender parodying Matt Walsh
Through parodying commentator, Matt Walsh, Jessie Gender explored gender, gender stereotypes and oppression

She criticised Walsh’s interview style, including using leading questions and using the Maasai tribe to enforce traditional gender roles. What Walsh failed to admit was that life for Maasai women is oppressive.

Most Maasai women aren’t educated. According to Maasai Girl Education, only 48% of girls are enrolled in primary education. Only 10% enrol in secondary education.

Even more shocking, when a girl hits puberty (11 to 13), Maasai girls are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Maasai tribe sees gender as more black and white than the West. Women are also treated as second class citizens. So ot beats me why Walsh used them to reinforce his arguments.

Dictionary expands definition of ‘woman’

Different dictionaries have different definitions for ‘woman’.

Merriam – Webster defines ‘woman’ as:

a. An adult female person

b. a woman belonging to a particularly category (as by birth, residence, membership or occupation) — usually used in combination

Cambridge Dictionary has a more expansive definition:

an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.

Don’t use motherhood as a means to exclude

One contention about the definition of woman is motherhood. ‘Women have the ability to bear children!’, conservatives boom.

People are going to be annoyed by these cliches, but:

  • What about cis women that are infertile?
  • What about women that will never get into a stable (straight) relationship to have a child naturally?
  • What about women who have fertility issues because they’re intersex?
  • What about aromantic asexual woman who never enters a straight relationship?
  • Is it still OK for lesbian/ homoromantic and other women who love women (wlw) to seek IVF to have a baby?

I think the sudden obsession about motherhood is deliberately heteronormative. Something some women will never be.

I think that’s by design…

This is an attack on LGBTQ+ people as a whole

Trigger warning: this part of the post deals with gun voilence and homophobia. Please proceed with caution or stop reading this post altogeter.

Basing gender debate on stereotypes is an attack on LGBTQ+ people. It’s no coincidence that the gender debate has coincided with fearmongering over drag queens.

It’s also no coincidence that same – sex marriage was temporarily on shaky ground in the U.S. And, while conservatives can’t be blamed, five people were gunned down at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado last November.

Yes, yes, the shooter who I won’t name) is non – binary. They also have a very homophobic father.

Like the aftermath of Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, pastors praised the murders at Club Q.

LGBTQ+ people, especially in the US, are in dangerous and uncertain territory. This is why I don’t understand how LGBTQ+ people who agree with people who are transphobic. Be careful!

I believe that there is a backlash against the LGBTQ+ community. Let’s hope it doesn’t result in LGBTQ+ rights being erased.

What do you think? What’s your view on Matt Walsh’s documentary? What about the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the West? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

A – League player condemns homophobic abuse

Image: iStock

A – League player, Josh Cavallo publicly spoke out about homophobia he experienced while playing against Melbourne Victory last weekend. Spectators abused him while he was on the field and on Instagram.

He described the events as “disappointing”.

He also attacked Instagram for not doing enough to combat abuse.

To @instagram, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages I’ve received.

He went on:

I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

Football community offer support to Cavallo 

Luckily, Cavallo has received a lot of support within the sporting community.

When addressing the bullying, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive, Danny Townsend promised that the league would “issue sanctions to any people found to be involved”. 

Additionally, Melbourne Victory also vowed to work with Adelaide United and others to stamp out abuse. 

Lastly, PFA co – chief executives Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill condemned the abuse as “abhorrent” and “illustrated their [the bullies’] cowardice”.

Professional Football’s mixed history with the LGBTQ+ community

Australian football codes has a mixed history with LGBTQ+2 rights.

NRL player Ian Roberts was the first player to come out as gay in 1995. Unfortunately, he became a victim of a violent homophobic hate crime. 

In 2010 former Western Bulldogs champion, Jason Akermanis said that footballers shouldn’t come out as gay. He said he didn’t want gay footballers hitting on other men in the change rooms. He denied that he was homophobic.

Even if Akermanis didn’t intend to be homophobic, I think most people can agree that his comments were ignorant. It isn’t as if lesbian, gay, bi and homoromantic people hit on all members of the same – sex that they see. But I digress…

In 2015, the AFL premiered Pride Round. This was to commemorate the coming out of former footballer, Jason Ball back in 2012. The Sydney Swans and St. Kilda Saints battle each other in the Pride Round each year. 

The National Rugby League (NRL) have also publicly supported the LGBTQ+ community. 

On NRL’s website, they have a page openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The league claims that they are:

…proud to participate in Pride In Sport (PIS) Index; a recenlty established benchmarking instrument designed to measure and advise on the creation of inclusive and equitable environments for LGBTI players…

Is football still victim of macho culture?

Professional sport, especially football, has come a long way in LGBTQ+ inclusion. But old habits die hard. 

Even though same – sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2017, it seems some people still have potentially outdated views about football, gender and sexuality. 

The football codes still have to be wary of largely outdated views on masculinity. Yes, gay, bi and pansexual men are ‘macho’ enough to play football, regardless of code. 

Also, why is someone’s sexuality a determinant on whether or not someone can play sport? Isn’t that what critics are always saying? To keep sexuality out of the public/ work, etc?

Yet, it’s critics that complain and harass LGBTQ+ public figures. It’s the trolls and bullies that keep shining a spotlight on a person’s personal life. Leave LGBTQ+ alone! It’s that simple!

YOU keep out of other people’s bedroom. YOU stop gawking when a same – sex couple hold hands or *gasp* kiss. And mind your own business. 

If you are LGBTQ+ and are struggling mentally, you can contact QLIfe on 1800 184 527 or their web chat

 

 

 

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

LGBTQ+ Muslims deserve our support

Islam symbol and mosque (top), LGBTQ pride flag (bottom)
Images: iStock.

 

One thing I like about the broadcaster, SBS is how they often present minority and diverse communities.

Sometimes, minority identities clash. LGBTQ+ Muslims often feel this clash.

Last Thursday in the lead up to 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, SBS Pride published an article on a Muslim Pride event coming up in London. It’s set to happen on April 11 after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Unfortunately, the organisers and participants can expect backlash.

LGBTQ+ Muslims face opposition among Muslims and the LGBTQ+ community

It’s no secret that there is often hostility between Islam and LGBTQ+ people. Countries and provinces that implement Sharia law often outlaw homosexuality. The punishments for this ‘crime’ often include execution or other barbaric practices, such as flogging.

LGBTQ+ Muslims who grow up in Western countries are often ostracised and abused by their families and community. Lebanese – Australian, Hussein Hawley told the ABC his family tried to “beat the gay” out of him before kicking him out of home.

Like many other LGBTQ+ people, LGBTQ+ Muslims are at high risk of suicide.

LGBTQ+ people of colour face discrimination in LGBTQ+ spaces

Muslims are not the only people who struggle fitting within the LGBTQ+ community.

People of colour, (including non – Muslims) report being discriminated against.

According to Stonewall UK, 51% LGBTQ+ people of colour have experienced racism within the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, this number rose to 61% for black people. This is not right and needs to be condemned.

LGBTQ+ Muslims and the no true Scotsman fallacy

When I was reading some comments on Facebook, I was disappointed, although not surprised. The whole ‘let’s see this happen  in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc’, came up. As if LGBTQ+ Muslims are responsible for theocratic and totalitarian regimes. Are LGBTQ+ Christians responsible for the likes of Steven Anderson or Roger Jiminez? I don’t think so. No doubt, LGBTQ+ Muslims may face uncertainty and de – programming and find their way through their beliefs. Many LGBTQ+ people of faith face similar struggles.

Plus, there was the No True Scotsman statements, i.e. ‘you can’t be gay and Muslim’. Here’s the thing: you can’t choose your sexual orientation or gender identity. And you can’t change it. Ask any LGBTQ+ Christian pushed into conversion therapy.

However, all people should be able to freely choose their faith. Everyone deserves the right to explore their faith and relationship with the divine.

LGBTQ+ people of faith also deserve the opportunity to participate in a community. And the LGBTQ+ community needs to be a viable option if their faith community isn’t.

The LGBTQ+ community often campaign for inclusive and non – discriminatory policies. Maybe it’s time that some of them walk the walk.

SBS’s coverage of Mardi Gras reflects diversity

SBS did a great job in broadcasting the Mardi Gras. I liked how they reflected the diversity within the LGBTQ+, including ethnic  and religious diversity. They’re often good like that.

 

I can only hope that all LGBTQ+ people will be able to feel welcomed in the future. I hope that Pride and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole will become a place where everyone can be their true selves and be embraced. I hope LGBTQ+ spaces become safe spaces for those who need it most.

 

Are LGBTQ+ spaces exclusionary to people of faith or colour? Have you felt excluded from an LGBTQ+ space? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Bullying and the need for primary and secondary schools to support LGBTQ+ students

 

 

CW: suicide, bullying

Jamel Myles, aged nine, came out as gay to his mother and to his peers at school. Four days later, he was found dead in his Colorado home of a suspected suicide. Bullying was believed to be a contributing factor.

Everyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about this. Bullying needs to be taken seriously and needs to be dealt with. Interventions need to happen early, and in severe cases, police and social workers from Department of Community Services and other child protection agencies should be involved.

LGBTQ+ youth, harassment and mental health

In 2013, mental health advocacy group, Beyond Blue published a report on LGBTQ+ mental health. It stated that LGBTQ+ people experience higher rates of mental health issues than the general population In 2005, research showed that LGBTQ+ people were approximately four times more likely to experience major depression at some point. Around 80% of LGBTQ+ people reported having experienced homophobic insults in public, most of it which occurred at school.

Data from the National LGBTI Health  Alliance showed concerning trends surrounding wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people. They reported that LGBTI people were five times more likely to attempt suicide and twice more likely to self – harm than non –  LGBTI peers of the same age.

 

Supporting students within and outside the norm in discovering their sexuality

Myles realised he was gay by the time he was nine. While data (at least that I looked at) was vague, it seems that Myles’ discovery was made younger than average.

It makes me wonder, whether the social workers, counsellors, teachers and other staff knew how to support the student, including validating his identity. Would they have doubted that Myles knew his sexuality? Would that have affected the way they would’ve helped him if they were given the chance?

All school staff in primary and high schools should be aware and be prepared to help children questioning their sexuality or coming out at any age. La Trobe University study that was alluded to in the above link tobMamamia article claimed that children experience their onset ofsexual awakening from ten and fourteen. However, the fact is, some don’t fit these averages. Some people who are sixteen, seventeen or eighteen struggle with their sexuality. Some only take their same – sex crush seriously when their older. Some realise ther ‘different’ very early on.

Both of these scenarios should be accepted by teachers, school counsellors andcother staff. I think that claiming that a child either doesn’t know what they are (when they do), or labelling them when they claim they don’t know are usually counter productive.

Creating a safe environment for LGBTQ+ students

Both primary and secondary schools should have policies for LGBTQ+ inclusion. I also tyink it’s important that teachers and other staff are open about this. I find it so heartening that present and former school staff support International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) and other LGBTI campaigns. I think it shows that LGBTQ+ youth are a little bit safer.

Teachers and support staff should openly condemn homophobia, bi – phobia, etc in their anti –  bullying programs and policies. Everyone has the right to be safe and supported.

Anyone who needs help, call Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636. Resources specifically for LGBTQ+ people are available here

As always, feel free to add any links or numbers for services in your country in the comments.

Were the homophobic posters fake?

Yesterday, I criticised Andrew Bolt for not criticising homophobic posters allegedly plastered over Sydney and Melbourne. Well, today, he has commented on it — to raise doubts about the claim.

To be fair, he said that he wasn’t passing judgment, just a bit wary, which I get. Maybe I should have done the same thing?

I shouldn’t be so hard on him, should I?

 

For Sydney – ites and Melbournians, have you seen any of the alleged homophobic posters in either city?

Categories
Gender/ sexuality Uncategorized

Why doesn’t Andrew Bolt condemn hateful posters against LGBTQ+ families in Sydney and Melbourne?

Trigger Warning: homophobia, homophobic language, Orlando shooting last year

A person has informed Andrew Bolt of slanderous anti – LGBTQ posters that have been seen in both Sydney and Melbourne:

Once again a simple vote for marriage equality turned into a fight for survival by Bolt and the hard right.

Still no mention of those horrible posters, Andrew?

“Nicholas” has a point. It’s the principle not the side that counts, right?

True, true, Bolt has condemned homophobia in the past, including on the assault of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce last year. He has also criticised Mark Latham and Ross Cameron for making unsavoury comments about LGBTQ people. Good on him for that. He has also spoken with compassion toward LGBTQ+ he personally knows during this debate.

Andrew Bolt expressed regret on the strains on his relationships with LGBTQ+ friends and family over same – sex marriage.

There have been other times when, at least to my knowledge, he’s missed an opportunity, such as the threats against Melbourne’s Joy 94.9 FM last year.

I know, I know I keep bringing these things up. But, what is it, the principle or the side that is important.

Even more important than that, who wants to be told (falsely) that their LGBTQ+ loved ones are more likely to abuse children? I don’t think for a second that Bolt thinks that’s true. So, why silence?

 

I think this is more that the posters are more than just a bit off or espousing an unpopular or controversial opinion. The posters used the F word meant for gay people, especially gay men. Not only is the term considered to be a form of verbal abuse by members of the LGBTQ+ community, but it is often associated with physical homophobic violence.

The myth that LGBTQ couples are more likely to or are the equivalent of child sexual abusers needs to be stamped out, too. The aftermath of the Orlando Pulse Night Club last year sparked fear in the LGBTQ+ community. What wasn’t talked about in Australia was that people —non Muslims, mind you — praised the gunman, saying that the victims should be executed. In their venom, these people equated gay people to pedophiles. One preacher said from the pulpit that Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight”Yes, he and others did receive condemnation, but it still freaks me out. It shows that words do matter. Regardless of your views on same – sex marriage or even LGBTQ+ people in general, comparing LGBTQ+ people and their families to pedophiles, as well as derogatory terms, must be condemned. And it needs to be called out by people with a major social and political influence and voice, like Bolt has.

People have scoffed at the idea that LGBTQ+ have negative feelings about the plebiscite. To be quite honest, for a while, I was in favour of it, even the postal one. Since the postal plebiscite is likely (if it passes the Supreme Court), then LGBTQ+ must be supported. Abuse must be condemned. These posters are not just a matter of “free speech”. This is purporting a dangerous view of LGBTQ+ people, which for too long justified violent attacks on people based on their sexuality or perceived sexuality or gender. In the name of ‘debate’, it’s about time people started calling this out and condemning it.

If this post has raised any issues with you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636. For emergencies, ring 000. 

Rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

 

Councils commemorating IDAHOBIT: is that such a bad thing?

IMG_0540
Image: iStock

 

 

This week, Geelong City Council raised the rainbow flag on City Hall as a part of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Good idea? I didn’t actually know this until a few hours ago, but May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental illness back in 1990. Sine then, transgenderism is slowly being destigmatised and is no longer officially being classed as a mental illness. With that, the western world has continued to make advances into ensuring the full participation and well – being of LGBTQ+ people in society. Of course, this hasn’t been smooth sailing, with continued discrimination and all out culture wars which still affect LGBTQ+ people in the West today.

Back to the Geelong City Council, like I said, I think almost any move to show acceptance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ is a good thing. However, if you watched a discussion on shows like Sky News’ ‘Paul Murray Live’ this week, you would sense a bit of ‘here we go again’. Panellist like ‘Herald Sun’s’ Rita Panahi attacked Labor again for voting down the proposed plebiscite earlier this year.

The thing is, do gestures like the ones that the Geelong City Council made win hearts? To be honest, I think the answer is no. Pushing ad nauseum, while attacking opponents of things like same – sex marriage, or even the signalling of IDAHOBIT by raising the rainbow flag on a government building isn’t winning anyone over.

So, what can we do?

First thing that comes to mind is… talk. Talk about same – sex marriage, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. We need to work together to work it out so LGBTQ+ are included and accepted without others feeling unfairly targeted and silenced.

On a similar point, let LGBTQ+ talk. This is what has frustrated me over the so – called debate on same – sex marriage. On one hand, you have groups like Socialist Alliance running amok making LGBTQ+ look bad, then on the other end, you have conservatives (almost always straight), telling LGBTQ+ to suck it  up and how we should have just had the plebiscite.

There are LGBTQ+ Australians who don’t want same – sex marriage to be legalised, and yet there are those who do and take the debate hard and did have aerious concerns. I think I’ve said before that mental health was a topic that was unfortunately not talked about in the lead up to the vote on the plebiscite until it was too late and the bill was blocked in the Senate. This isn’t about treating LGBTQ+ people as ‘special snowflakes’ or ‘precious petals’, but acknowledging that, because of their circumstances, past trauma or toxic beliefs about gender identity or sexuality, that such people may have needed support in the lead up to the plebiscite.

 

I do any council or other institution who work to make LGBTQ+ people feel secure and included in their area. i do think LGBTQ+ need to be heard. Whether putting a rainbow flag on a government building, even for a week is a way to do it is I think questionable. Let’s hope it doesn’t have the exact opposite effect.

 

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Magnum ad, LGBTQ+ visibility and a plea against dehumanising LGBTQ+ people

Reading about the controversy over a Magnum commercial  hit a nerve with me. They way both same – sex marriage opponents and supporters have conducted this “debate” on same – sex marriage has been pathetic.

The reaction Cooper’s beer being featured in ‘Keeping it Light’ same – sex marriage debate by both supporters and opponents was overall childish, especially the backlash after Cooper’s back – pedalled and expressed support for same – sex marriage.

The meltdown over Airbnb campaign where staff members were given an incomplete ring was also ridiculous. If there was any evidence that staff felt intimidated into wearing it, then that’d be wrong. But a quick Google search suggests that hasn’t happened.

Now, the Magnum ad. Two women who are in a relationship (could be lesbian, could be bi, or could be homo – romantic) was feathred sharing a magnum before getting married to another. This sparked a complaint to the Advertising Standards Board, with an accusation that it was ‘promoting lesbianism’ and shouldn’t be featured in children’s viewing timeslot. *Sigh*. These sort of complaints have been rightly condemned as a push to make the LGBTQ+ community invisible again.

 

People may have moral objections towards those in the LGBTQ+ community. But how about you change the channel when the Magnum ad comes on? If you want to drink Cooper’s then do, if not, don’t. It’s a beer, for crying out loud!

From same – sex marriage supporters, no one should have a (figurative) gun put to their head in a bid to get employees, etc to support same – sex marriage. This is not going to win supporters, in fact, it may do the opposite. Just take a chill pill and let people breathe.

 

On the Magnum ad, I think the controversy has sparked a long – worn and potentially harmful belief about the LGBTQ+ community. Make that two. First is the idea that the LGBTQ+ community should have no representation in the media – unless it’s to fulfil a male fantasy, I guess. The second, which I think is more harmful – is the idea that being LGBTQ+ is about genitals and sex rather than fully human. I believe this is what gets LGBTQ+ harassed, raped or murdered around the world. It’s these limiting ideas that have driven – and continue to drive – hostility in some religious communities.

LGBTQ+ people are people. They are more than their sex lives (or lack of). A kiss by a heterosexual/ hetero-romantic couple is just a kiss. So is a same – sex kiss. If either offends you, look away. But please do not reduce LGBTQ+ people to your stereotypes and caricatures. They are human – your brothers, sisters, siblings, friends, sons, daughters, etc. Well, they could be. This is what makes homophobia, bi – phobia, trans – phobia, etc so toxic – the way it leaves young people homeless, the way it breaks up families and even can lead to domestic violence. Regardless of your views on same – sex marriage, or even relationships, please look beyond the stereotypes. They are real human beings. It’s time they started to be treated as such.

Extending 18C the Racial Discrimination Act is a bad idea

 In the midst of debate on changing 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Labor Party have said they wanted the law extended. They want the LGBTQ+ community, people with a disability as well as racial minorities to be protected. So, it would be an offence to offend, insult, humiliate people on basis of race, ethnic background, disability and sexual orientation.

As someone with a disability and someone who isn’t straight, I have one thing to say on the proposal – GOD PLEASE NO!!!!

No, no, no, no, no. i can’t say this enough! The way 18C has been used already has proven to be disastrous: the students from Queensland University of Technology and the case against the late The Australian cartoonist Bill Leak suggest, while defendants were not prosecuted, the law does more to destroy people’s reputations rather than actually making Australia a safe country for racial minorities – the original intent of the law.

 

One of the fears is that if 18C was extended, it will silence opponents of same – sex marriage. I get that this is an emotional issue to many in the LGBTQ+ community. But this isn’t the right way to go about it. This extension will not stop homophobes or racists. In fact, I fear it will only aggravate people, not win support for the people that are meant to be protected. Anti – discrimination measures brought into law by the Obama Administration in the U.S. has already backfired with anti – trans laws (e.g. HB in North Carolina), being put forward by hard-line Republicans across the country.

Meanwhile, in Australia, I fear that the Left and so – called LGBTQ+ allies should embrace for a similar pushback. The latest events, such as the Cooper’s Brewery/ Bible society backlash, I believe that would have only confirmed to opponents exactly why LGBTQ+ people SHOULDN’T get legal rights. They won’t be won over if they feel their rights to freedom of speech, conscience, etc are being threatened. Also, there will be an increase – not decrease – support for policies such as multiculturalism.

 

Personally, I say scrap 18C altogether and replace it with an anti – hate crimes Act. This can be used to combat things like Antisemitism, which seems to be at alarming levels around the world now. There is likely going to be a case in Canada real soon where an Imam is going to be charged when he preached that Jews should be killed, (by the way, the controversial Imam has  also received condemnation from other Muslims). Along with anti – defamation and possibly anti – discrimination laws in regarding services, (well, that’s another can of worms for another day), that’s all minorities should need. I think the majority of liberals and conservatives can agree with anti – hate crime measures. Nobody has a right to physically harm or threaten another person.

 

While safety does need to be considered, stifling thought and speech has proven to do more harm than good. Too often, laws like 18C have left people feeling silenced and frustrated, rather than help people its allegedly supposed to protect. Maybe it’s time for a rethink.

Do you support a change to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act? Do you think such laws should be scrapped or extended to protect other groups? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free speech and the responsibility to speak out

Last week and today, Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt condemned cartoonist Larry Pickering for anti – Muslim and anti gay slurs. He also slammed former Coalition member, Ross Cameron for not calling Pickering out.

Well done, Mr. Bolt.

No, really I mean it. It means a lot for a respected columnist/ commentator to use his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community, and especially gays that have been persecuted in one of the most brutal regimes. I also applaud him for confronting South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi for his controversial comments on same – sex marriage back in 2012 while he was a guest on Sky’s ‘The Bolt Report’ last Monday night.

It is great that Bolt is being consistent in calling out homophobia, racism, etc when it occurs. I hope he – as well as other journalists – CONSISTENTLY continue to call homophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination when they  occur. As I wrote many times last year, I was very disappointed when Bolt and most other journalists didn’t call out and condemn the threats made toward Melbourne’s only LGBTQ radio station JOY 94.9FM last year during the plebiscite debate. Since it’s a new year, (well another year since that event), I’m willing to believe that Bolt and others are willing to turn a new leaf and call out homophobia when it happens and not excuse it. So far, I have been pleasntly surprised with Bolt and his support for members of the LGBTQ+ community – at least condemning abuse. I hope he keeps it up. I also hope others follow in his footsteps.

In the posts that, Bolt was talking – as he often does – about free speech and not having anti discrimination legislation such as Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to deal with it and instead, have racists, homophobes, etc, have to face criticism by the wider public. This can only happen if people are willing to speak out. This only works when people refuse to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to what’s happening. People who call out racism or homophobia, including slurs, should be able to do so, without having everyone on their backs. Members of the LGBTQ+ community and racial minorities NEED to be able to tell of their experiences. Some things that are said maybe uncomfortable to hear. Tough! If free speech is the way to comat racism and queerphobia, then members of racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community need to be able to speak and be heard!

 

Lastly, I think there needs to be an overall community effort to eliminate homophobia and racism – in schools, health and the widercommunity. Generally, I think we’ve done this quite well in Australia, with, for example, the Pride Match between St. kilda Saints and Sydney Swans last year. At the time, I said that I thought it was great for such a major, traditionally macho, pastime and cultural icon in Australia to open their arms out to LGBTQ+ players and spectators.

Of course, the mainstrem media has played a major role in embracing members of the LGBTQ+ community and rallying behind their causes. Over the years, I’ve written about the media’s increasing reporting on asexuality and I think that most of them have done a decent job. I still continue to see articles, most which are pretty well written. They mostly validate the experiences of asexual people, which I think is important. This month, Cosmopolitan has released a special LGBTQ Pride issue. I want to talk about it in more depth at a later date.

 

Maybe with all these advances and perceptions slowly changing around ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ + community, things like 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 won’t be needed. But I  believe that is going to put greater onus on all of us to not accept, and more importantly, call out racism and queerphobia. Are we as writers and a community willing to harbour that responsibility? Are YOU willing?