Freshly Doug Monday

Steven Damron

Ah, Monday, bloody Monday, and the laptop decides it has a bug. Norton can’t handle it, so automatically downloads some savage cleansing program. The cure almost kills the patient, but two and a half hours and innumerable restarts later, all now seems well. And so to work . . . . .

Saturday was World AIDS Day, which seems to pass with less and less fanfare, even though infection rates are rising. Not everyone is quite so insouciant, however: two doughty AIDS fighters have expressed their disquiet here on the stirrer in recent days.

Sister Mary Jane of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence over in Perth, and Dr Jim Hyde, a senior health bureaucrat here in Victoria, are both concerned at the direction things are travelling. They are in good company: in the UK, veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also deeply worried at the failure of prevention efforts.

It’s shaping up to be the Asian Century for gay rights. A thousand people turned out for a gay pride parade  in the South Indian city of Bangalore, a hub for India’s information technology sector, and eight hundred hit the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In Singapore a gay couple are taking the government to court to try to overturn the colonial-era anti-gay laws, and in Taiwan activists are hoping for a change in law to allow gay marriage.

Gay rights are finding all sorts of unexpected allies these days: former England international footballer, Gareth Southgate is confident gay footballers would be accepted. The prestigious West Point military chapel in the US has hosted its first same-sex wedding. And US campaigners says the recent wins in gay marriage ballots are thanks to their outreach to religious groups, and plan to do more of the same..

“Faith became part of the solution and not just the problem in all four states” where gay marriage was on the ballot this year, said Sharon Groves, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign. “We will never do a campaign moving forward where engaging people of faith will not be central part of that work.”

Meanwhile the US Supreme Court has still not moved on the same-sex marriage related cases awaiting their attention: observers say they could issue a statement today (Monday) US time, but more likely next week.

Lawmakers in Lithuania were not so coy: they boldly declared their intention to pass a law banning gender reassignment surgery outright in Lithuania, and requiring any citizen seeking such surgery abroad to get prior permission from the government, in defiance of an EU ruling.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)