Freshly Doug Tuesday

It’s all an illusion: pic by abbasj812

I don’t know about you, but I find those TV shows where out-gay showman Derren Brown manipulates people into believing in God/Zombies/ghosts etc. pretty disturbing to begin with. Now he’s going to try to turn a gay man straight, and a straight man gay, for a TV stunt . Is everyone OK with this?

I might be, I suppose, if the straight man was Tony Abbott . . . . . but as for the gay one? Whose ‘gay card’ would you like to revoke?

Former Leed United and US international player Robbie Rogers came out, and retired from soccer, all in one statement. Ian Herbert asks the question that’s been bothering me ever since:

Wasn’t it incredibly depressing that the former Leeds United and USA winger had to declare he was retiring from football, aged 25, before he could actually declare he was gay?

Those two announcements were not a coincidence but an acceptance, more likely, of the abuse which was bound to follow Rogers if he had pursued his career in the game.

His mates at the Seattle Sounders (no sniggering at the back there please) recorded their support for him in this video. So far so good . . . .

But if you go to the Comments on the video on YouTube, you’ll see a few probable reasons why he felt he had to leave the game. We still have a long way to go. The Yorkshire Terriers gay football club took up the refrain.

“Whilst in some ways it’s sad that a player’s sexuality should garner so much press coverage, unfortunately this is the case for trailblazers, regardless of their field.

It’s also a shame that Robbie felt that he either had to choose being honest to himself and his those close to him, or having a career as a footballer – the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”

The flatfooted Baillieu government has done it again. Yesterday they announced with much fanfare a statewide anti-violence project, in collaboration with the Victorian Police, called Go4Zero. Here’s what the Premier’s press release says:

Say NO to violence of any kind, including family violence. That is the core message of the Go4Zero campaign which was formally launched at Victoria Police headquarters today.

Minister for Women’s Affairs Mary Wooldridge said [talking about ‘women & children]. . . . “The Coalition Government is investing in a comprehensive and complementary range of innovative prevention initiatives in schools, media, workplaces and communities that will educate about and promote respectful and non-violent relationships and gender equity.

“Through this action plan, the Coalition Government is providing strong leadership and a co-ordinated and integrated approach to tackling this issue.

All very nice. But you’ll search with an electron microscope and not find a single reference to LGBTI. And that’s despite the existence of high levels of violence around our community, documented by the Anti-Violence Project, which has to stagger along on the smell of an oily rag.

Prahran Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown told me, “I understand that the project is a generic message rather than focusing on any particular groups.” The Go4Zero website, on the other hand, says:

Go4Zero is a community campaign . . . . . which aims to give a public voice to our shared rejection of violence in any form – and violence against women in particular.

Ooops! As anti-bullying educator Daniel Witthaus wrote only today, unless LGBGTI-friendly translates to LGBTI-supportive, it’s useless. Which would be a good word for this bunch. However, we must stay cheerful, even while we’re grinding our teeth, mustn’t we?

So for the good news: Minnesota embarks on the journey to marriage equality this week; the ACT is pondering new categories for its birth certificates, including transgender, intersex,and ‘indeterminate; and despite being flung in jail for trying to produce a ‘gay play’ and generally having an awful time of it, producer David Cecil says most Ugandans aren’t homophobic and the place isn’t that bad. I presume he wants his visa back.

Have a great day.

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)