We will be the losers this election, we must stand for ourselves at the next


Pink Triangle Memorial San Francisco: maverick003

For as long as I can remember, people, straight and gay, have been saying to me, “Why do you/we have to have gay this and gay that? Let’s get rid of the labels and the separate organisations and just all be people!”

Yes, and then we can all skip happily off into the rainbow bright future, hand in hand with the Care Bears and Barney the Dinosaur, to play with the unicorns in the magic forest.

Hopefully there will be a day when no-one will care who’s straight and who’s gay, who’s cis and who’s trans, who’s fixed and who’s fluid. But there’s no sign of it happening in the merry old land of Oz any time soon.

The Star Observer reports that, barring the arrival of a small girl from Kansas during one of our increasingly frequent tornadoes, Tony Abbott will be the next Lizard of Oz, and parliamentary supporters of same-sex marriage will be reduced to an impotent rump, a fate I wouldn’t even wish on Alan Jones.

The Lizard himself has recently made it very plain that he and his party will endorse marriage equality around the time Disney finally manages to make a successful Oz-themed movie.

It’s time to heed the wise words of our brothers and sisters across the ocean. To make real progress, more gay Americans must run for political office, says the fashionably single-named Touré, a co-host on MSNBC’s ensemble show “The Cycle.”

  . . . . . in the real world gay rights groups are massively outspent by their opponents . . . . I believe victory is inevitable for the gay rights movement, but justice delayed is justice denied. We may be about to enter a the long slog phase where progress slows to a crawl. So what is the way forward?  . . . . . gays and lesbians lack political power and this is because they are underrepresented in the political process.

He estimates that we represent 3.5% on the population. And then you can add on all our supporters, families, friends, employers, employees . . . surely we could muster enough votes to build a significant presence in Parliament? And it’s the presence, not the numbers, along with the loud and proud commitment to LGBTI rights and equality ahead of all else, that would make the difference.

We are slowly building a presence, but it’s split across parties, and those scattered few out gay parliamentarians are loyal to their party first, and us second. Or third. Or wherever their Party puts us. Before the next election after this, we should look to build our own party instead of shoring up other people’s.

History has a grim lesson for those who forget what happens to ‘tolerated’ minorities who play ‘go along to get along’. Who rely on others for their representation. Who only want to blend in and be the same as everyone else. Let’s not forget that there was also once a Gay Holocaust

In 1928 there were an estimated 1.2 million “out” homosexual men living in Germany. As Adolf Hitler rose in power, gay organizations were banned and scholarly books regarding homosexuality were burned.
. . . . police drew up “Pink Lists”, and embarked on a vicious crackdown on homosexual men and women. Many were sent to mental hospitals, others were castrated by court order, and 100,000 of these men were sent to concentration camps. . . .An estimated 55,000 were executed

No-one who reads the comments sections of websites, listens to talkback radio, attends Margaret Court’s  cash machine church, or simply watches what is happening in Queensland, can be in any doubt that there is fertile soil for extremists to cultivate. The gains we have won to date are fragile and could easily be reversed.

We have a hard road ahead where losses are more likely than gains: surely it would be better to travel it together than divided by outdated political loyalties?

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)