Freshly Doug Thursday

Sharona Gott

First up today, a short farewell. Before there was the stirrer, there was a blog called Current Affairs, but I’m about to close that down. For a nostalgic look back, for some not-that-great writing, and just to see how far we’ve not come in many respects, take a look before it goes. RIP.

Right. Down to business. Very serious business. Hanging business.

Sadly, I was a bit premature yesterday: the ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill has now appeared on the Ugandan Parliament’s order paper and may be law by the time you read this. There’s a last minute petition to the President to put a stop to it: please hurry on over and sign it.

Also in Africa, police in Cameroon arrested a man on homosexuality charges after a mob seized him and delivered him to the police station. If convicted he faces five years in jail.

If you’ve never lobbied anyone in your life, if you’re passionate about ending your second-class status, if you want to do something and do it effectively, check out these how-to videos from Queensland’s Phil Browne and his quick guide here. With an Abbott government possibly on the horizon, we’ll all need get get our lobbying shoes on.

Meanwhile another equality campaigner is hanging up his rainbow shoes. Queensland Psychologist Paul Martin is off to work with a company called Sentis doing organizational consulting. Paul said,

“I will be mentoring a new generation of psychologists to take over my role so we don’t lose the accumulated knowledge I’ve gained over the years.  I have a great love for LGBTI communities and want to thank everyone who has encouraged me and stood by me through the years when the going got tough.  Special thanks to my colleagues including Rodney Croome, Alex Greenwich, Dr.Kerryn Phelps & Shelley Argent.”

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Rodney Croome, said Paul had made a crucial contribution to the marriage equality campaign by highlighting the mental health impacts of reform.

Rodney also got in touch, wearing his Tasmanian Gay & Lesbian Rights Group hat, to let the stirrer know that the Tasmanian parliament is going to have a second look at passing a bill for marriage equality.

Premier Lara Giddings tabled a motion in parliament noting recent marriage equality victories in the US, the commitment of other states to move forward on the issue and the desire of Tasmanian Labor and Green members to also move forward ” as soon as possible”.

Her motion reads:

That this House:-
  • Notes that the TasPride Festival is running from the 16th to the 24th of November and the festival aims to celebrate the contribution, courage and vitality of the Tasmanian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community.
  • Notes the majority support for same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota during their recent elections.
  • Notes that these results mean that same-sex marriage will soon be legal in nine U.S states which is further proof that the time for change has come in Australia.
  • Notes the work of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law which estimates that the new same-sex marriage laws in Maine, Maryland and Washington will generate at least $166 million in wedding spending and see 18,000 same-sex couples marry in the next three years.
  • Notes that the NSW cross-party marriage equality working group, made up of members of the Labor, Greens, Liberal and National parties, has announced that it is drafting marriage equality legislation that will be introduced into the NSW Upper House early next year
  • Notes that the new ACT Government has given a written commitment to introducing marriage equality legislation early in 2013.
  • Commends former Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, for endorsing marriage equality.
  • Recognises that there is no compelling reason for marriage discrimination to continue.
  • Notes the commitment of members of the Labor Party and the Tasmanian Greens to achieve, as soon as possible, this inevitable reform that is supported by so many in our community.

The Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are calling for volunteers willing to help provide a safe sex message at Perth Sexpo 2013: “because once again it looks like the Australian and WA State Governments are more than happy to have safe sex education undertaken not by health professionals but by a volunteer group of gay men dressed as nuns!”

The Sisters also say the WA Government would be financially and morally capricious not to adopt a commonsense move recently reported in the LA Times::

Nearly everyone ages 15 to 64 should be screened for HIV even if they’re not at great risk for contracting the virus, according to new guidelines proposed by an influential panel of medical experts. If the panel ultimately adopts those recommendations, Medicare and most private health insurers will be required to pay for the tests.

To help the Sisters stop AIDS by taking the message to Perth Sexpo, please email them  to volunteer.

We all know, as I reported yesterday, that mens sport is the most homophobic area of society, right, dominated by anti-gay men with big shoulders. No, really. At the same time, it is also the most homoerotic. All kinds of gay sex happens – as I know from my experience with rugby clubs in the past – but so long as it’s called ‘horseplay’ or ‘initiation’ or, in the USA, ‘hazing’, it’s OK.

Only it’s not OK, because all too often it’s non-consensual sexual assault. Apparently with the connivance, or at least the knowledge, of the coaches and the school principal.

American Foundation for Equal Rights boardmember and former Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman pens an Op/Ed in the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall, but you can read parts of the conservative case for conservative dudes marrying conservative dudes here.

And speaking of conservative dudes, the pope, in a kind of roundabout way, admits in his new book that most of the bible is fairy stories  – except for the virgin birth and the resurrection. Those are proven historical events, apparently. But not the massed shepherds or the animals in the manger, though we can keep them if we like, because he thinks they make pretty nativity dioramas at Christmas..

And finally, please enjoy the story of a person who made the decision to be true to herself and transition to female rather late in life:

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)