Freshly Doug Wednesday

My heart leapt when I saw the headline Diversity Push for Australian Cricket:

“Australian cricket chiefs are considering implementing affirmative action at the lower levels of the game in a bid to increase diversity in the sport.”

Unfortunately it’s only about encouraging people from migrant backgrounds to play the game – a laudable aim, of course.  But once again LGBTI doesn’t enter the sporting mind, unless we insert it forcibly. There’s audio of an interview with Juhi McInerney, Diversity Manager, Cricket Australia, here.

Why, you may ask, should we want a push for LGBTI diversity in cricket? Well, bless the academics, for they shall give us reasons.

The title of this paper is a bit off-putting: Homophobia in physical education and sport: The role of physical/sporting identity and attributes, authoritarian aggression, and social dominance orientation. You may wish to plough through the jargon – you’d think a university education would teach people to write, wouldn’t you – but in case you can’t be bothered, I’ll give it to you, ahem, (relatively) straight. I have edited the following extract slightly for clarity.

Physical Education students had higher levels of anti-gay and lesbian prejudice than non-PE students. Males reported greater anti-gay prejudice, but not anti-lesbian prejudice, than females.

Authoritarian aggression was positively associated with greater anti-gay and lesbian prejudice among male participants. Among females, higher authoritarian aggression .. was associated with greater anti-gay and lesbian prejudice.

The physical identity-related constructs of athletic self-concept and perceived upper body strength were associated with anti-gay attitudes among male participants. Physical attractiveness and upper body strength  were also associated with male participants’ anti-lesbian prejudice.

In other words, there’s a higher than average level of homophobia in sport, especially among good-looking men with big muscular chests. Which is why bodies like Cricket Australia (and all the other sporting codes) need to take positive affirmative action to get rid of it.

Boxer Orlando Cruz made waves when he came out recently: among other things, he said he hoped it would make him a better boxer, now he no longer had to expend so much energy maintaining his closet. Der Spiegel has an in-depth interview which is worth the read. Perhaps I should send a copy to Cricket Oz?

In Phnom Penh,  GLBT rights groups have flatly rejected the so so-called “Human Rights Declaration” agreed by ASEAN, calling it “not worthy of its name,” and called upon the meeting to postpone it’s adoption.

[The] Declaration’s General Principles . . tear at the heart of long accepted human rights precepts. Under these provisions, the enjoyment of the rights provided in the Declaration is to be “balanced with the performance of duties” (GP 6), subjected to “national and regional contexts” and to considerations of “different cultural, religious and historical backgrounds” (GP 7).

Moreover, all of the rights provided in the Declaration would be subject to restriction on a wide array of grounds including “national security” and “public morality” (GP 8).

No other universal or regional instrument applies a “balance” between the enjoyment of rights and freedoms against duties and responsibilities. On the contrary, these instruments are founded upon the idea that human rights are the birthright of all persons, not some kind of commodity that must be earned.

International law and practice do not permit such broad restrictions that could, in effect, serve to excuse the violation of the rights guaranteed elsewhere in the Declaration.

Finally, international law imposes on all ASEAN Member States the duty, regardless of their “national and regional contexts,” to respect and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. [Dragoncastle Gay Asia]

Religion continues – in defiance of it’s own stated aims – to generate as much despair as hope.

  • The Church of England once again failed to approve the ordination of women bishops – and you can’t blame the hierarchy, it was the folk in the pews that voted it down.
  • A bunch of Catholic students in the US are circulating a petition to get all gay organisations kicked off Catholic campuses.
  • The evangelical-driven Ugandan ‘Hang The Gays’ Bill failed to make it’s expected appearance on the order paper of the Ugandan Parliament, but there’s still time: this website is maintaining a watch on events.
  • But – for once, it’s nice to write that word – in Connecticut, the Catholics United Education Fund delivered a petition with about 7,500 signatures to the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday, asking the Catholic fraternal organization to stop using its money to oppose same-sex marriage. The Knights and its affiliated insurance company have spent more than $6 million since 2005 opposing same-sex marriage.
  • Over in France, a man wants to open an LGBTI mosque. Good luck with that one.

And briefly,Brian Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, the story of the man who had to hide his love for John Lennon away, and eventually killed himself at the age of 32, has opened in Londonwhile in Melbourne, the Baillieu government intends to save $7.5m a year by closing down an early intervention program tackling youth suicide. Have things really changed that much for most of us since Epstein’s day?

Lifeline Australia runs a 24hr suicide helpline 13 11 14.


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)