Freshly Doug Tuesday

IndyDina w Mr Wonderful

We all cheered the fall of Ghadaffi, but it hasn’t been good news for gay men since. Puritanical fanatics abound in all religions, and they take their hatred out on us every time.

Turkey, once a secular state with religion kept in its proper place, appears to be catching the bug, too, with proposals to make homosexuality grounds for instant dishonourable discharge from the military.

In Uganda it’s the Christians, funded by American evangelicals, rabid with fury at their drubbing in the US elections and now cheering on their African proxies and puppets.

You might think that the UK is a shining beacon of progress and tolerance (despite the huffing and chuffing of some Conservative backwoodsmen), but it’s not all sweetness and light. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling plans to bust up any prison romances, but there’s no suggestion that he’ll stop the supply of condoms to prisoners, which makes preventing lovers from sharing cells seem particularly vindictive and mean-spirited.

However, there is also good news from the Old Dart: there’s never been a better time to be gay and working in the City of London, apparently. And if residents want to mount a campaign against gay hate crime in Manchester, the local council will stump up some funds. Memo to Robert Doyle: how about it, mate?

Here at the stirrer we’ve been discussing the parlous state of gay politics right now: losing on all fronts, it seems: the aforementioned puritans irrational and unjustifiable religious exemptions (which are aimed principally at us) set to remain in anti-discrimination law – which doesn’t even cover intersex people; and marriage campaigns drowning either in left-wing extremism or dead-end state-based marriage campaigns.

Unless new fire can be breathed into the campaign for marriage equality in federal law, equality seems lost for a generation – certainly the next couple of parliaments. This should be a major issue in the upcoming general election: we should be working to deselect or unseat every MP, from any side, who has voted against us, and offering to campaign for any, from any side, who publicly support us.

And if we can’t even shoot down the religious exemptions while their principal promoter, the Roman Catholic church, is weakened and distracted by its own corruption, then we never shall.

It seems campaigners have written off the current generation of gays and lesbians, as they wait for the new generation of LGBTI allies in the mainstream to grow up and become the majority. Thanks for abandoning us (apart from a few crumbs), people, we really appreciate it. At least we have the satisfaction of knowing that one day you may win. If the other side haven’t rebuilt the citadel in the meantime.

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)