Freshly Doug Weekender

T J Sengel

Today Friday is Intersex Awareness Day, a day when we travel to the oft-forgotten/ignored end of the LGBTI acronym. the ‘I’ is for Intersex – what we used to call ‘hermaphrodite’ – when a person is born of ‘indeterminate’ sex. That is to say, they have both male and female characteristics. It’s not a condition, or an illness, and it doesn’t need ‘correcting’, but doctors often pressure parents to send their newborn intersex child for surgery to try to stuff them into either the male or female category. Check out the Organisation Intersex International Australia website for more – and a lot more accurate, too!

I don’t quite know what to make of this article – except that I think it’s wrong. It’s one of those coded pieces where language is used to obscure, rather than clarify, the topic under discussion. The author seems to be telling me, as a gay man, not to get upset when people call me ‘evil’, because I don’t really understand the true meaning of the word. I suspect he’s just a Roman Catholic apologist out of ecclesiastical drag.

Hosted a fantastic Rainbow Report on Joy 94.9 last night on the extent of the attempted Christaliban takeover of secular government schools in Queensland. Chrys Stevenson has written extensively – and very well – on this on her blog. You should take a look. And have a listen to the podcast of last night’s talkfest, which will be available on the Rainbow Report podcast page from later this afternoon (Fri). There’s an extensive archive of past shows and interviews there.

While you’re there, you might like to checkout the archive of my former show, which bears the same name as this column – Freshly Doug – on which I once had the somewhat dubious pleasure of interviewing the Mad Monk himself, Tony Abbott.

I have been hearing rumours that the AFL’s much-vaunted anti-racism program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s the same with soccer in the UK. The Professional Footballers Associations plans a new drive to combat racism, after concerns were raised about the effectiveness of the efforts of the sport’s peak body, the Football Association, in that direction. But the British Gay Football (soccer) Supporters Network (GFSN) is disturbed by the proposal.

On top of that, GFSN is worried about the FA’s attitude. GFSN “proposed hosting a “round table” to come up with a common understanding of the phrase “homophobia and transphobia in football” and [is] alarmed by the unwillingness of some to conduct this discussion.”

Yesterday Jason Ball, the gay amateur AFL player who is pushing for our own AFL to tackle the issue, wrote on his FB page “Today I’m catching up with the CEO of the AFL Players Association – really excited about the prospect of working with them to tackle homophobia in footy. Next stop, catching up with the Victorian Human Rights Commission & No To Homophobia to plan before meeting with the AFL – plenty in the pipeline and promise to keep you in the loop where I can!” 

Let’s hope the AFL is a lot more willing to conduct this discussion than their UK soccer counterparts.

Also in sport, the Americans continue to streak ahead, with more calls for gay athletes to come out, and promises of support. And the thinking man’s straight NFL footballer Chris Kluwe continues to fight for gay rights with this radio commercial in support of marriage equality.

They say there’s nothing new under the sun, but I’m willing to bet that this is a first, as the Hollywood Reporter publishes a piece about the scientific nomenclature of nineteen types of fern. That’s because they’re all being named after Lady Gaga, the resident genius loci of The Stirrer. Some of the names include Gaga germanotta, and, probably the most appropriate, Gaga monstraparva, which translates to “monster little.”

Kathleen Pryer, director of the Duke Herbarium and Professor of Biology, deadpanned.

“Like most ferns, the Gaga group is ‘homosporous.’ They produce tiny spherical spores that drift to the ground and germinate into heart-shaped plants called gametophytes. . . .  Lady Gaga is an amazing champion for equality and compassion, and we wanted to give her a scientific namesake that characterizes the struggle we have in biology for understanding diversity in humanity, in all of biology, and even in ferns.”

Members of the new genus have a DNA sequence that spells  . . . . . GAGA.

Here in Oz the interminable death-throes of the ALSO Foundation continue, as the director publish an online survey calling on community members to say what they want for the organisation’s future. You don’t need a survey, dears, we can tell you in one sentence. Dear ALSO, hand over any remaining assets to another GLBTI organisation with a record of integrity, and then just die. Enjoy your weekend.

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)