Freshly Doug Wednesday

Peter Birkenshaw

Come and be saved at Manchester Pride

A timely reminder that it pays to be careful when considering where to send your Christmas charity dollars.

The Salvos – and St Vincents and most other religious charities – are capable of speaking out of both sides of their mouths, insisting they do not discriminate when it comes to helping people in need, yet at the same time refusing to grant LGBT folk full equal status in their organisations. We are welcome to volunteer, even to work for them, but membership is reserved for the ‘pure’, heterosexual and married.

May I respectfully suggest that LGBT folk have better places to employ their charitable donations than organisations that work actively against us and whose actions demonstrate that they consider us their inferiors.

Rob Harris recently wrote about his unexpectedly positive experience of coming out to his family and to his mates in sport. He has written to me at The Rainbow Report as follows:

I’ve had so much support – especially from the sporting community that I’ve worked so closely with. Country footballers and cricketers, AFL footballers and first-class cricketers and also the sports journalism community. I feel my biggest mistake was underestimating people.. [my emphasis: Ed]

I’ve even gone back to playing sport and have been embraced by my cricket team-mates in country Victoria. In fact I think they enjoy it. So many have told me they’ve never known a gay person before, which is a reality for so many people in regional Victorian sporting communities.

Many of us have found that the fear is worse than the reality, and like Rob, discover that coming out is the best thing they have ever done for themselves. It’s also the best thing we can do for each other, since the more people know us, the fewer people fear us, and the closer our day of equality draws. Well done, Rob.

Mixed messages from the USA government today: the Supreme Court may well decide this week whether to take on any or all of the equal marriage related cases before it; President Obama has appointed the first out lesbian Latina to a federal court; and a congresswoman will introduce a bill to outlaw reparative therapy nationwide.

Carnival Cruises got their knickers in a knot when they banned passengers on a drag-themed cruise from wearing drag, unless they were performing in one of the drag shows. Anyone breaking the rule would be removed from the cruise and returned to land at their own expense, and there would be no refunds. After trying to claim that this was for safety reasons – and didn’t apply to trans passengers anyway – and a after a major outcry – they eventually reversed themselves.

Good thing the boat wasn’t heading for Trinidad and Tobago. Gay Star News writes:

The law states that ‘entry into Trinidad and Tobago … is prohibited [to]:

‘(a) persons who are idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, persons suffering from dementia;‘

(c) persons who are dumb, blind or otherwise physically defective, or physically handicapped;‘

(d) people with criminal convictions;‘

(e) prostitutes, homosexuals or persons … suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes;‘

(f) persons who are reasonably suspected of attempting to bring into Trinidad and Tobago or of procuring prostitutes or other persons for the purpose of prostitution or homosexual or other immoral purposes;’

An activist has decided to sue the government to get it changed.

And a New Zealand couple who gave evidence at the Parliamentary enquiry into marriage equality were so insulted at the treatment they received that they have called for their questioner to be kicked out of parliament. I just watched Question Time. I know how they feel.

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)