Freshly Doug Thursday

Ultra-Orthodox Jews by Barry Pousman

As some of you may know, I have had a show on a community radio station for more than 10 years now. So the future of community broadcasting is of considerable interest to me. And the future, increasingly, is digital. But the costs are considerable – we can’t do it without government help. And that’s been cut. So please consider signing this petition to get the funding restored. It only takes a moment and will make a big difference. And when you’re done, share the petition will all your contacts. Thanks.

Sadly, child abuse is not confined to Catholic institutions. There are problems in the Jewish community too. Medical emergency service Hatzolah has issued a statement in which they say they have experienced “the impact of sexual abuse in Melbourne and welcome the establishment of abuse advocacy group Tzedek. Sunlight is finally penetrating all the dark corners.

Christian Youth Camps, the Brethren-run youth holiday camp on Philip island, mustered 14 barristers in an attempt to overturn a ruling that it discriminated against gay youth group Way Out when it refused their booking. They don’t deny the discrimination: they say it was allowed under the religious anti-discrimination exemptions. The previous judge said the exemption didn’t apply since the camp was not a religious facility, but could be hired by more or less anyone, and fined them $5,000. With 14 silks they must be spending that much a day in an attempt to get the ruling overturned.

AFL footballer Brock McLean continues to campaign against homophobia in the AFL: he says he wants to pave the way for gay footballers to feel safe to come out. Meanwhile the AFL have gone silent on the issue, preferring instead to concentrate on drugs. As old ex-footballers, it’s hard for them to walk and chew gum at the same time. All those concussions, probably.

Rob Mitchell and the RJM Trust aren’t letting them off the hook, demanding that the Human Rights Commission use their powers to crack open the football code with this radio ad..

This is not a light business: as this piece on The Conversation pointed out,

“Surprisingly, given all [the] evidence for heightened risk, very little has been done in terms of specifically tailoring mental health campaigns (let alone suicide prevention initiatives) to minority sexuality and gender groups. One intervention carried out in Utah in the 1970s, in which individuals in a gay community were trained as advocates and staffed a 24-hour crisis line, saw emergency room visits due to suicide attempt fall from an estimated six to ten per month to just three over a seven-month period.”

The AFL and the VEOHRC must get off their butts and get busy with this now – not in some mythical future.

Would that they – and Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon and his Canberra counterpart Peter Garrett were as proactive as the Irish Education Minister.  Opening the first ever EU-level conference on homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, he said

“Education plays a key role in supporting LGBT young people and also tackling the underlying prejudices which can lead to homophobic and transphobic bullying”.

The Irish Department of Education has recently published a national Action Plan on Bullying that fully integrates measures to tackle prejudice, including homophobia and transphobia which are the root causes of much bullying

And finally, abandoning his homeland and alienating his family, a gay Afghani has come out, and written a book about it. Now he can never go home. Such is the price we pay in too many countries of the world.

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)