Rainbow Report on Progress

David Ingram http://www.flickr.com/photos/dingatx

Progress is seldom linear. Sometimes it’s grindingly slow. Other times it seems like three steps forward and two back. Sometimes even the other way around. Tonight we’re going to look at how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve still to go, in Defence, Marriage, AIDS and Discrimination.

Last week the Australian Defence Force celebrated 20 years since gays and lesbians began to serve openly in the military. One of the beneficiaries of that policy is the ADFs most senior LGBT officer and one of my guests tonight, Air Commodore Tracy Smart, who, rather endearingly, met her partner in an online Xena Warrior Princess forum.

There seems to be little or no progress on the marriage equality front. Long-simmering disquiet at the far left takeover of the Equal Love campaign broke into the open this week, while Australian Marriage Equality appears to have gone down a dead-end, pursuing state-based marriage bills.

Local AME leader Carl Katter joins us to disagree and says we’re still moving forward.

We also seem to be marking time with HIV/AIDS. Infection rates are rising, and condom use is declining. New prevention strategies, like taking anti-retrovirals to prevent infection, are on the cards. Rob Lake, Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, joins us as World AIDS Day approaches.

And finally – as is sadly often the case – we look at progress for the last letter of our oft-used acronym, LGBTI. I – for Intersex: and a row has broken out over whether Intersex people are really covered by the government’s proposed changes to anti-discrimination law. Progress, or not? Gina Wilson of the Organisation Intersex International is our guest tonight.

My co-host for the evening is once again James Newburrie, late of Mt Isa, who once hosted a marriage equality demo outside Carl Katter’s half-brother’s electoral office.

What’s your take? Are we making progress, have we stalled, do you even care? Got any questions? Let me know. Email me before the show.

Listen at 1900hrs AEDST on Joy 94.9 Melbourne Australia, or live online/via the free smartphone app, at this link.

PS Our thoughts at this difficult time are with James Christoffelz, pioneer of Gay Dads Alliance (and a past guest of the Rainbow Report and Freshly Doug, his partner Stephen Caithness and their children. James, who has been battling throat cancer for some time, has just been moved to the Caritas Hospice in Kew. 

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)