Rainbow Report on Risks


pic by Stuart Sevastos

You can’t live life without taking risks. Some are completely unavoidable. Others you can do your best to avoid. The one thing you shouldn’t do is pretend they don’t exist. Take air travel, for example.

We accept that air travel is risky. But has it just got riskier for passengers on QANTAS? The airline with the gay CEO is in Dubai at the moment, celebrating their link up with Emirates airline. That’s why no spokesperson from either the Flying Kangaroo or the Flying Token Hijab was available to talk to you tonight.

QANTAS did offer to send a statement: I’m still waiting. Emirates pointed me to the reports on SBS by Joy alumnus Ricardo Goncalves. And a letter from QANTAS corporate affairs spokesperson to Sen Nick Xenophon regarding HIV+ travellers passing through Dubai is online at The Healthy Bear website, though the contents do not inspire confidence, even if you can understand them.

But for people who are gay, unmarried, carrying essential medications, have Israeli stamps in their passports, to name a few, does this funnelling of all QANTAS passengers through this extremely conservative Arab Muslim state represent a risk?

Safe enough if you don’t leave the airport, I hope, but if problems means the airline has to put you up in the city overnight? Chief Opposition Whip in the Senate, Senator Helen Kroger, is worried. She tells us why.

Sex is inherently risky, too, but it just got riskier if you’re going to New York, especially if you’re HIV+. Meningitis is spreading among gay men there. Rob Lake of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations explains what steps need to take to protect yourself.

One thing that puts you at greater risk is something you can’t avoid – getting older. It can be especially trying for LGBTI seniors, whose needs and concerns are not always understood or met. This is one of the themes of next weeks ‘Health In Difference’ conference, and General Manager of the LGBTI Health Alliance Warren Talbot has the story for you.

And last but not least, you wouldn’t have thought that we’d be at risk in the streets of Sydney during Mardi Gras, one of the few time of the year when gay takes over and we all have a great time. This year, however, some revellers were at risk from the very people meant to be protecting them – the police.

The New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL), Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG), ACON and the Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) have begun a joint petition aimed at forcing a debate in the State Parliament on establishing an independent body to investigate complaints against the New South Wales police.

Rights Lobby Co-Convenor Justin Koonin joins us to tell us why they have taken this rather extraordinary step.

Please, join in our conversation. Here’s how.

If you want to make any comments, ask any questions while we’re on air, email the studio or if you’re in Australia SMS 0427 JOY 949, or call the front desk 1300 JOY 949.

As always, the show airs 7-8pm Thursday evening on Joy 94.9 Melbourne. Click on the link to listen online anywhere in the world via the web, or to download the FREE smartphone app.

If you miss the show, you can get the podcast from the Joy website or here about a day after broadcast, via Soundcloud.

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)