Freshly Doug Thursday

While France moves, however fitfully, towards marriage equality, Germany has rejected a reform to the tax code that would have treated gay couples more like married ones. Mexico has gone in the opposite direction, with the Supreme Court striking down a ban on marriage equality.

Catholic bishops in New Zealand continue to toe the Vatican line, pumping out letters condemning gay marriage the way the Reader’s Digest spews out lottery tickets and special offers – with about the same success rate.

Uganda’s Parliament continues to play cat and mouse with its anti-gay bill: is it for real, does it have the death penalty, or is it just a smokescreen and diversion to stop people looking too closely at the rampant corruption, especially in the matter of oil reserves? Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu has urged them to drop it altogether.

There are some brave people in Uganda: Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is a gay rights activist: watch as she tells what it’s like in her country now.

Unspoken, but underlying the hysteria around the Ugandan Bill is the stark impact of HIV/AIDS. The country has huge numbers of children orphaned by the disease, and it’s no coincidence that one of the churches most closely associated with supporters of the bill, the US-funded Kampala Pentecostal church, runs a huge project to rescue AIDS orphans.

Although the vast majority of AIDS transmission in Africa is heterosexual, gays are blamed for bringing in the disease. The same argument is being used to crack down on homosexuality in Tanzania.

The high rates of HIV infection among gay men is an argument used by both sides: it’s also a strong argument for bringing homosexuality out of the shadows, for decriminalisation and for equality. This argument appears to be winning in Hong Kong.

With contradictory rulings from two judges, California doesn’t know if  so-called reparative therapy, aka ‘pray away the gay’, is currently legal or not. The matter will have to be decided by a higher court.

And to end on a light note ( or ‘fluffy duck’, as it’s known in news parlance) it’s good to hear that Welsh gay rugby player Gareth Thomas thinks that coming out is the best thing he’s ever done. In other news, he’s about to open in a pantomime. The jury’s out on the wisdom of that decision.

Don’t forget The Rainbow Report on Joy 94.9 tonight, talking again about LGB T experiences in sport: you can listen online or download a smartphone app.


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)