Freshly Doug on Thursday

More GLBTI news from around the web. Click on the headlines and/or highlights to see the sources.

Roll Up the Map of Tassie

As I write the Tasmanian Upper House has still not finished debating the bill to legalise state-based marriage. But it looks like it’s going down to defeat after one former supporter – Jim Wilkinson – turned lukewarm, saying the bill wouldn’t provider equality.

Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor, Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney and the aforementioned MLC Jim Wilkinson will all have to support the bill today, or it’s doomed. It seems the dream of state-based marriage is about to go up in flames, because no state wants to go first and face the possibility of a lengthy and expensive High Court challenge.

In my view, state-based marriage, like civil unions, would only create a road-block to full citizenship. We need to get this back on the federal agenda asap, and with pollies on all sides determined to bury the issue, the time for polite lobbying may be over. The arguments against equality make no sense.

The two-pronged approach has failed. The Equal Love Campaign needs to climb out of its student-led left-wing cul-de-sac, hold it’s politically-correct nose, and get into bed with Australian Marriage Equality.  Start building alliances with middle-class organisations like doctors, lawyers, and seniors as well as unions. Forge a broad coalition that can bring 30,00 or more on the streets at every rally. Build an activist inner cadre that, like ACT-UP, uses civil disobedience to push the case.

No minority ever won anything by being nice. Time for the gloves to come off. A Pussy Riot in St Patricks?

Romans Complaining

The Vatican representative at the United Nations is complaining that people with anti-gay views are not treated with respect. Well duh. Respect is a two way street. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi says they – meaning him, his colleagues, and that bloke in Rome –  are stigmatised, vilified, and prosecuted.

Hi Silvano! Welcome to the world we have lived in for the last 2,000 years or so. Not fun, is it? Read your own book. The one you’re always throwing at us. If I remember rightly, Jesus said that if someone asks you to carry their burden for a mile, carry it for two. You’ll understand better what they go through.

Think of this as God transferring the burden to your shoulders for a while, Silvano.  Maybe, say, a millenium? And get moving. On your knees.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . . More Roman moans from the US Catholic hierarchy – you know, the world’s largest and oldest pedophile-enabling institution. Right on San Francisco archbishop-elect Salvatore Cordileone  told sexually active LGBT Catholics they’re not fit to receive communion.  Newark Archbishop John Myers has expanded that diktat : he says all pro-marriage-equality Catholics – gay or straight – are unfit to to receive the bread and wine.

Honestly guys, really? See above. Pick up your backpacks. Get walking.

Better on Swiss

The Swiss town of Bienne (Biel to the German speakers) has become the first European city to be ruled by a GLBTI majority council, joining West Hollywood, California and Wilton Manors, Florida.

The town, which straddles the border between the German and French speaking areas of Switzerland, is described as bi-lingual and bi-cultural. But when it comes to local government, it’s full-on gay.

Munchin’ in Munchen

Maggie Hoffman, over the border in the reag Germany, the Munich Oktoberfest is about as German as you can get. Beefy Teutonic types in thick leather shorts, playing tubas, and downing vast quantities of the national amber fluid.

It used to be rampantly heterosexual, but now incorporates Pink Oktoberfest, with a Gay Sunday. Like Gay Day Disneyland, only butcher.

Gay rights activists believe more visibility is the key to forcing change. Conservatives, especially the ‘religious’ variety, are alarmed at the prospect of German joining the other eight European countries where gay marriage is legal. So the ‘pinking’ of this international icon of German ‘kultur’ has them worried.

“No one would want to see Oktoberfest become officially political, but just the fact that gays and lesbians can go there in lederhosen, can hold hands and kiss, does have political meaning,” says Thomas Niederbühl, a longtime Munich city council member and a member of the local Pink List gay rights party. “We are playing more of a role in German society. By being at Oktoberfest, people recognize that we are no longer some small group on the fringes of everyday life.” [Christian Science Monitor]

Invisible Gays

Like their German colleagues, American ‘religious’ conservatives are also alarmed – at the prospect of finally losing a ballot to ban gay marriage. They’ve won all 32 held so far. But upcoming ballots in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington have them worried.

Naturally, pro-marriage campaigners are even more desperate to win. The polls look good. But their tactics seem odd. Apologetic. The latest TV ads  have no gays in them. Neighbours, friends, in-laws, parents . . . anyone but gays!

Bil Browning, an unimpressed gay activist and writer, told the Associated Press, “Maybe it’s time to reevaluate these strategies and include our families, actual LGBT people. We’re never going to win if we can’t show our faces. It looks like we have something to hide, and we don’t.”

Adam Lambert was a tad more upfront in Maryland: check out the video.

China Rising

In China, where the mainland is now more relaxed about gays than Hong Kong, visibility is rising.

“Beijing – 24-year-old Lu Zhong and his partner posed for a pre-wedding photo in Quanzhou in China’s Fujian Province. They fell in love 2 years ago and their recent engagement in Dongguan caused a big stir in China. They plan to hold their wedding ceremony in their hometown of Ningde during the 1 October National Day holidays.” [Dragoncastle Gay Asia]

Medical Matters

The doctor who told candidates to ‘tone down the gay’ if they wanted to get good jobs has hit back at criticism of her stance. She says you have to pander to the prejudices of senior doctors on interview panels if you want a job. And she reveals that she wasn’t getting interviews herself until she took the advice of a colleague and took her maiden name off her CV. It was ‘Choi’.

The ACTU says your boss wants to see your doctor. They say they’ve received complaints reports about employers insisting on accompanying sick employees to medical appointments, pressuring doctors to send employees back to work sooner, and insisting employees see company doctors rather than their own. Can it be true? Would you let your employer come with you to see your GP?

Know Your Doctor, says the excellent blogger BiPolar Bear. Make sure they’re expert in the appropriate field, and beware any doctor who doesn’t like you researching their history.  I agree. Don’t get dazzled by medical mystique. Check doctors out the way you would any other tradesperson you plan to employ. Your life is in their hands.

And the rest

Agitate Agitate Agitate? I’ve been asked why the front page of this site says Agitate Agitate Agitate. It’s a quote from Frederick Douglass. From the outbreak of the Civil War until his death, Douglass was the premier African American leader and spokesman for his people. A young man one day told Douglass how inspired he was by a speech he had just heard and asked, “What can I do? How can I help?”  Douglass slowly replied, “Agitate… Agitate… Agitate.”


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)