Thursday, 31 January 2013

Russia isolated over gay treatment

Not surprisingly there is rather a lot of outrage over Russia moving towards re-criminalising being gay for it's citizens. There's various condemnations going around, but this one looks rather significant:
Germany’s openly gay foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, has told the Russian ambassador that his country’s draft bill banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ contravenes human rights and could harm the country's ties with Europe.

Catherine Ashton, the high representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs also voiced concerns and critique, today (30 January). 

In a meeting on Monday (28 January) evening between Westerwelle and Russia's ambassador in Berlin, Vladimir Grinin, it was made clear that in Germany's view the law violated the European human rights convention. 
An unidentified German foreign ministry official told Der Spiegel: ‘Such a law will hamper European-Russian relations and will harm Russia's image in Europe’. more
Once again the church influence (in Russia this time) shows itself to have barely moved out of the dark ages. Some of the stories coming out of Russia indeed sound like they're straight from the dark ages itself. Russia is IMO moving headlong in that direction.

I do wonder you know, could places like Russia where the church appears to rule with an iron fist, crumble once again as society did after the Roman Empire bit the dust? It took centuries and The Enlightenment for the human race to move beyond the straight jacket of religion. Now some countries are returning into the darkness.

I do feel for all the gay brothers and sisters over there who're being demonised for no reason other than their sexuality.

Sea foam from Queensland

The recent heavy rain in Sydney came from the remnants of a cyclone up north. Up in Queensland the sea was churned up so much all this sea foam got blown on shore. I didn't realise it was this much though:


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Federal election date announced

Prime Minister Gillard has, in a very unusual step, announced the date of the Federal election this year very early, as Sept 14th. Usually the PM will announce an election only about a month before the date.
The Prime Minister explained that she did not announce the date today to start the nation's ''longest election campaign''.

"It should be clear to all which are the days of governing and which are the days of campaigning," she said.

Ms Gillard said that last year Australians' patience was tried by "months of boiling hot political debate with most of it somewhat ironically about global warming".

"In 2013, I am determined their patience is not tried again," she said. Read more
Must say, she's looking pretty confident these days. Abbott will now have to come up with the goods instead of simply trying to tear down the gov in a bid to force an early election.

No welfare for the well off?

Finally. Is something, anything, actually going to be done about the wealthy getting welfare in Australia? I don't even understand what half of the shit is they're talking about with this:
The spending cuts, according to excerpts from her speech notes released to the media, were ''tough and necessary'' in a new ''low-revenue environment'', a reflection of flat company tax receipts after the mining investment boom peaked. 

Her speech raises the possibility that years of accumulated concessions for upper middle-class and wealthy voters, handed out by successive governments and continued under Labor, may now be either trimmed or axed. 

This could include changes to family payments, cuts in concessional tax arrangements for self-funded superannuation contributions, a further tightening of the private health insurance rebate, a decrease in the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount, and a clampdown on loopholes such as the exemption from fringe benefits tax for employees of churches and charities. 

The potentially risky strategy is consistent with Ms Gillard's conviction that Labor's best hopes for victory lie in reconnecting with its traditional heartland, even if that means alienating some comparatively well-off families. With the government still reeling from its backdown on delivering a budget surplus, Ms Gillard's language reveals a preference to get the bad news out early. 
That would clear the way for it to focus on its national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski education reforms, both premised on a budget that is coming back into balance. Read more
Years of Howard throwing money at voters. People who didn't need the money, who earned a lot, got big tax breaks and gov support. Completely absurd.

We will know more later after her speech to the press club.


Further to the previous post.....

Guess who shows up at the pub yesterday afternoon? None other than one of the "friends" who wanted a threesome with David behind my back. I told David not to worry, I'd be nice and polite and not chuck a fit at him. 

He sat at another table but must have noticed my body language (my back to him). He asked David "Doesn't he like me anymore?" which David promptly informed me of. I muttered quietly to David "Fuckin two faced prick", and "Oh, he's feeling a bit guilty then is he?" I'd take that as him giving himself away there. He wasn't joking when asking for the threesome, he was seriously trying to get it happening. Sprung.

As I said to David after thinking about it all a bit, I'm not worried about what David may do as I trust him and he's fine looking after himself. It was though the lack of respect the guy gave me; like I was a nothing.

It was also coming from him and not his partner. He was the one who said it, and his partner looked somewhat displeased according to David. David reckons his partner is the good one and he not. I said I'll trust David's judgement on this. My final comment on the matter was that he at the pub was a two faced conniving prick.

We only had a couple of beers and went after that.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

"Best thing that's ever happened to me"

He mentioned it last night that it was now three full months since we met. Seems shorter than that for some reason. It seems that the love affair has become well known at the pub, must be all that pashing. 

One thing I have noticed is that he's the pretty boy and lots of people are interested in getting him into bed. Which is fine, I mean we both know what we have and both don't want anyone else (well not unless we're both involved...). 

I know of course in the gay world how open relationships can be regarding sexual partners, so I'd expect blokes to be hitting on him even though they know he's with me. But I think sometimes they don't get just how deeply we feel for each other to the exclusion of everyone else. Couple of days ago he told me I was the best thing that's ever happened to him. I was a bit taken aback, said that's a very big thing to say to me.

Sometimes though people can be just assholes. The other day we were sitting and talking with a couple who had recently become friends with David. It was an interesting conversation about relationships and how hard it can be at times when life gets in the way of them. They'd recently split up but were thinking of getting back together. Anyway it all went well I thought, and they left after a while with David seeing them off outside the pub.

He came back and laughed a bit, I guess at the absurdity, as they'd asked him if he wanted a threesome with them. 

I was really insulted. I'd sat there and talked personally with them for about an hour or so about their life, and in the end they went behind my back like I was a fuckin idiot. It wasn't that they hit on David (he gets that all the time darlings) it was the way they treated me in the whole situation; like a nothing, going behind my back secretly. All they wanted was to get David in bed.

Fuck them. Told David they're not my friends. Friends don't do that to you.

A Bryan glut?

We think there must be a lot of packets of smokes in the shops with Bryan on the front. People have been asking specifically not to have the Bryan packets. Now though there's no choice as the Bryan ones are oversupplied and the shops just give it to you whether you like it or not.

So here is Bryan on the cover, as we sit and drink beer at the pub :s

David's place nearly flooded

There's not very good drainage there where he is, am told it used to be swampland before they built on it. We've had 2 days of very heavy rain, what's left of some cyclone up in Queensland they said. By yesterday afternoon it was starting to look like we were going under, but it eased off and finally drained out overnight. The toilet got a bit flooded, is where the door is with the water lapping. Was rolling up my pants to go in there to pee. This I took just with my crappy phone:

Monday, 28 January 2013

Bedless - when bed bugs bite

My bed got bed bugs. Ack. Have never had them before. Daughter's bed is fine, so they've been bought in by somebody's bag. David doesn't have anything in his bed, so I guess it may have been from Simon? I dunno. Think they've been there for a bit and finally got to a population level that I discovered them.

Have been waking up in the morning itching, just thought it might be something to do with the HIV pills. Then the other night I turned on the light and actually saw some. OMG I nearly freaked. Ewe! There's something really horrible about waking up and discovering that your having your blood sucked by bugs. 

They were about 3cm long the ones I saw. Think that means they were adults. Got this picture from online:

Very hard to get rid of them. Luckily the bed is old and I needed a new one anyway. Chucked it out on the street and washed all the bedding. Ordered another bed online but dunno when it'll be delivered as it's a long weekend. The online tracker thing just says it's "awaiting delivery". So I'm sleeping at David's (any excuse).

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Australian anti-smoking adds

A collection of some of the very graphic anti-smoking adds we see on the TV here. Don't watch if you're squeamish.

Richard Dawkins reads his hate emails

Dawkins reads some of the hate mail he gets from Christians. Very funny I thought.

Abbot's man Bernardi - fucks up badly

The opposition leader Tony Abbott has gotten off to a piss poor start in this, the big election year. His efforts at reinvention haven't yet become apparent, but already his party has clobbered itself over the head. Abbott's man Bernadi (none other than the man himself who was forced to resign last year over comments that gay marriage would open the door to bestiality) has really fucked up badly this time.

He has it appears, not fully disclosed his pecuniary interests on the register, designed so the public knows WTF he has an interest in, where he gets money from, and if that is interfering in his ability to act with proper judgement in parliament. 
Senator Bernardi's apparent non-disclosure on his register of pecuniary interests comes as he has claimed his party's first pick on the South Australian Senate ticket at this year's election, virtually guaranteeing him another term.
The register aims to ensure the public understands politicians' financial interests and other benefits, including sponsored travel. Senator Bernardi is chairman of the Senate committee that polices declarations. Read more
This of course is Mr Righteous, standing up against that evil gay marriage thing. It looks like his righteousness has developed a few holes, as those outside interests not declared on the register are from the far right of US extremism. It may be run of the mill in the US for politicians to have an association with the NRA and the pro-smoking people, but not here. Here rather the NRA and all are looked on as extremist wacko's.
For more than three years Senator Bernardi has acted as an "international delegate" for ALEC and member of its International Relations Task Force.

The council lists the NRA among its corporate members. The New York Times this month published an editorial saying: ''Thanks to help from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative organisation of state lawmakers to which the NRA has contributed heavily, five states now allow campus guns. Only nine states prohibit guns at sporting events, and just 26 prohibit them where alcohol is served … The NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council were behind the 'stand your ground' laws that allow people to shoot others if they believe they are in danger, which has led to hundreds of deaths while allowing killers to walk free.''

The council was also a major financial backer of the Tea Party during last year's US elections. It has spread its conservative agenda across the globe, especially on tobacco plain packaging. The chairwoman of the task force is Philip Morris International executive Brandie Davis, who drafted two letters sent to the Gillard government in 2010 and 2011, demanding Australia abandon its successful efforts to force all tobacco products to be sold in uniform drab packaging.

British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris, a major supporter of ALEC, last year launched an unsuccessful High Court challenge against the Australian laws. 

A sister pro-tobacco lobbying organisation and corporate member of ALEC, the Heartland Institute, paid for Senator Bernardi's accommodation and travel to the US on four separate occasions in 2010 and 2011. The institute recently ran a two-day conference in the US entitled ''Can Tobacco Make You Healthier?'' Read more
It's all looking very bad for Bernardi. It couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke...

HIV pride? Coming out about HIV

I've thought about this in the past at times. The way that I'm much more at ease these days when it's appropriate to disclose my HIV status to someone. Sometimes it's at the same time as telling them I'm gay. It got me wondering about why I felt so OK about it, even something akin to pride at my status?

That may sound extremely strange to someone who's negative. How the the hell could anyone feel pride about being HIV+? Certainly it's something that I've found it hard to get my head around. However it's more about the stigma surrounding HIV than the HIV itself if I feel ashamed of it. In fact HIV is simply a disease, and once that stigma is removed from it it's actually much easier to understand feelings of pride about it.

Yes it's a life threatening disease. Yes perhaps it could have been avoided if my mental health at the time was much more accomplished. But life happens doesn't it. Things go wrong sometimes. It's not all a bowl of cherries, and why shouldn't I be proud of the life I've lived, warts and all? This explains it beautifully:

“Being Gay Is Something Positive.” Because the word “positive” also implies HIV, this image can be read many different ways. Ultimately it serves to demonstrate that HIV is nothing to be ashamed of, that it’s a part of our every day lives, and that HIV-positive gay men can live out and proud about their HIV, just as they do with their sexuality. 

The notion of ascribing pride to someone who is living with HIV can often ruffle some feathers. Maybe there isn’t a perfect word to describe someone who isn’t ashamed of their disease. Could you call them confident, empowered, or triumphant? It’s perfectly reasonable for someone to be proud of the life they have lived and the struggles they have overcome. So there’s no reason someone shouldn’t take pride in themselves and affirmatively declare their HIV status. 
Coming out about HIV is one of the best tools we have to fight stigma. If stigma is reduced more people will get tested, access care, and the quality of life for all gay men will improve. Our community will be a better place if stigma is significantly reduced. more
What is there to be gained by regret and shame? I look now at HIV as being part of who I am. We're all the product to a certain extent of what we've gone through in life. Often there's no place to lay blame when shit happens, it's simply life happening and it's no one's fault. No one is right or wrong.


This is from Jade's blog, after he told some friends of his status. 
I felt so much better. I do not feel shame or guilt any more. I do not feel damaged. My friends assured me that they would always be there for me and my condition does not change who I am, which I agree. I am still the same person. Actually I am a better person now. I know how precious life is. I know how important it is to live my life. I know how grateful it is to have such great friends around me. I am happy. I feel loved. more

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Russia votes for repression

Russia has moved further backwards into the dark ages. It's going ahead with legislation that will, among other things, ban gays kissing in public (fuck David and I would be bloody doomed over there). Evidently a gay kiss isn't in fact a gesture of affection, but part of an evil gay propaganda plot to corrupt the Russian society. How fuckin pathetic can these idiots get?
The push to agree the law on a federal level has dismayed rights activists who see the legislation in the latest in a sequence of repressive legislation against civil society to be debated by parliament.

But the Duma's family affairs committee chair Yelena Mizulina said she backed a nationwide law that "protected minors from the consequences of homosexuality." 

"The unbridled propaganda of homosexuality anywhere you look effectively limits the child's right to free development," said Mizulina in televised comments to journalists ahead of the bill reading. more
I mean seriously, you couldn't make this up.

Happy pill reduction - day 7

I feel revolting. Last 3-4 days have been waking up feeling sick in the morning, before even taking any pills. Other day very nearly threw up all my pills whilst sitting on the bed. Fuck that would've been a disaster. Fuck knows how much had been digested or how much more to take. 

The only thing I can think is that it's from coming off the happy pill dose. I take them in the morning so perhaps by the next morning there's less in my body than before, hence feeling sick. I dunno.

It's pretty awful though. Was going over to David's later but at this rate today will have to stay home in bed or something. Pissed off about it. Just finished the nausea with getting used to the HIV tablets, now this.

Dick Smith add banned

This is Dick Smiths add for Australia day. It has been banned showing on TV. Very funny.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Church agency told to stop gay discrimination

An interesting case which has particular relevance with the current debate in Australia. Scotland's charity regulator has told a Catholic adoption agency that it has to stop discriminating against gay couples or be stripped of it's charitable status.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has ruled that St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow is directly discriminating against LGBT people by excluding them from becoming adopters. 

The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society. 

The Scottish Charity Regulator's head of registration, Martin Tyson, was quoted as saying on the BBC: 'We acknowledge the valuable service provided by this charity, but the fact is that all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010.


Alistair McBay, spokesperson in Scotland for the National Secular Society, said: ‘After the ruling in England by the Charity Commission, backed by the courts, that Catholic adoption agencies there were in breach of the Equality Act by denying their services to gay couples, it is logical that the Scottish charity regulator has reached the same decision about St Margaret's. 

‘This kind of crude discrimination is no longer acceptable in our society – and that goes double where the discrimination is, in effect, being largely financed by the public purse. 

‘If St Margaret's wishes to continue to provide services, it must remove these provisions from its constitution – this will be in the children's best interests. 

'In England, some of the Catholic agencies complied and are now providing their services to everyone without prejudice. more
This is further confirmation that the current draft bill before parliament here in Australia is out of step with what's going on elsewhere. Indeed, when churches do follow the same laws as the rest of us heathen, the world doesn't in fact end. I like too the mention of them being funded by the public purse, which is exactly what's happening here in Australia. Threatening to remove a churches charitable status and cut funding unless they obey the law is what the Gillard gov should be doing here.

A different view

Spent the day at David's place yesterday. Only came home for about ten minutes. We were planning to stay at mine last night but ended up not being too excited about getting the bus after the pub and ended up staying at his again.

Took this photo. I think it's sort of interesting as it shows a very different view of Sydney than what you'd see in travel magazines of the inner city. It's just sitting in the little backyard looking up. 

And this one is his latest cactus creation.

We've been together about 3 months now.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Happy pill reduction - day 4

I have successfully completed 3 days of a lesser dose of the Efexor. Quite an accomplishment I reckon. Although it's a small reduction of only 37.5mg/day, as it's going OK it therefore gives me a way forward to slowly come down a lot on these pills. I'd like to get to only about 150mg/day, down from the 300. The current dose is at 262.5mg/day.

I've not noticed much so far. Yesterday was feeling a bit flat all day and getting a few negative thoughts. I dunno how long to stay on this dose before cutting another 37.5mg/day off it again. I thought about a week, but nurse David reckoned a month. Has to be very slowly after such a long time on that high dose.

Dunno if it's related but this morning I felt very ill. Nearly spewed. Not so bad now though.

Russia devolving as churches assert themselves

This is what happens when the Christian church has it's way. In Russia the gay rights movement is going backwards in the face of new legislation that makes it criminal to be gay. This kiss saw people fined:

MOSCOW - Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia's parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of "hooliganism." But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal "homosexual propaganda" and bring a fine of up to $16,000. more
With the churches supporting the anti-gay bullshit, this is what's happening there:
But in this case, the move has been met mostly with either indifference or open enthusiasm by average Russians. Levada polls conducted last year show that almost two thirds of Russians find homosexuality "morally unacceptable and worth condemning." About half are against gay rallies and same-sex marriage; almost a third think homosexuality is the result of "a sickness or a psychological trauma," the Levada surveys show.

Russia's widespread hostility to homosexuality is shared by the political and religious elite.

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia's already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled. Orthodox activists criticized U.S. company PepsiCo for using a "gay" rainbow on cartons of its dairy products. An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried.


When a dozen masked men entered a Moscow night club during a "coming out party" that campaigner Samburov organized in October, he thought they were part of the show. But then one of the masked men yelled, "Have you ordered up a fight? Here you go!" The men overturned tables, smashed dishes and beat, kicked and sprayed mace at the five dozen men and women who had gathered at the gay-friendly Freedays club, Samburov and the club's administration said.

Four club patrons were injured, including a young woman who got broken glass in her eye, police said. Although a police station was nearby, Samburov said, it took police officers half an hour to arrive. The attackers remain unidentified.

On the next day, an Orthodox priest said he regretted that his religious role had not allowed him to participate in the beating.

"Until this scum gets off of Russian land, I fully share the views of those who are trying to purge our motherland of it," Rev. Sergiy Rybko was quoted as saying by the Orthodoxy and World online magazine. "We either become a tolerant Western state where everything is allowed — and lose our Christianity and moral foundations — or we will be a Christian people who live in our God-protected land in purity and godliness."

In other parts of Russia, gays feel even less secure. Bagaudin Abduljalilov moved to Moscow from Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where he says some gays have been beaten and had their hands cut off, sometimes by their own relatives, for bringing shame on their families. more
I've no doubt that the level of gay hatred that exists in the Russian community is a direct result of Church hatred of gays. 

Seriously, WTF? This shit's straight out of the middle ages. Cutting hands off, burning/burying their hearts after death. Does Russia actually consider itself a modern country? Their society is devolving into one run by the churches, who according to Rev. Sergiy Rybko, sees it quite OK to violently bash gays. This isn't a modern society at all, it's mob rule.

BTW I didn't realise that kissing in public was "propaganda". I just thought it was expressing how I feel. Evidently I've been deluded into thinking that, when really I'm brainwashed by the Western propaganda machine! I know the western media has it's problems, but FFS Russia accusing the West of propaganda? Oh please....... 

Independent's concerned about anti-discrimination bill

It appears the cacophony of public criticism against the gov's proposed anti-discrimination bill has gained the attention of two Independent MP's who hold the balance of power in the lower house. 
The federal government's embattled anti-discrimination legislation is now facing scepticism from crossbench MPs.

While both are reserving their position, independents Andrew Wilkie and Tony Windsor have picked up on the attacks being made against the controversial draft legislation.

Mr Wilkie said the legislation ''has attracted a remarkable amount of criticism from a very broad range of people and organisations''.

''Going by the criticism to date, I assume the bill will be significantly amended or dropped altogether,'' he said, adding that he would wait for the final version before adopting a firm position.
Mr Windsor said he had some concerns about what was being proposed, and had mentioned the issue to Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Read more
I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that Australians have been shocked to find out just how extensive these existing laws are that make it OK for churches to discriminate against somebody in a way that would be completely illegal for the rest of the community. I didn't know that at all. If someone had of asked me if a church could fire you because of your sexuality I'd have said no. I'd guess the discussion about it all has been very surprising for a big part of the population.

If it's put in the new legislation and enshrined in law federally, the consequences will be far reaching, not just for gay people but for all people on a church hit list who don't measure up. This gives an indication of the level of absurdity.
Dear Prime Minister, 

Senator Penny Wong is one of Australia’s strongest Finance Ministers, yet under the proposed federal anti-discrimination bill, she could be fired from a tuck-shop in a religiously affiliated school. Despite being Prime Minister, as a declared atheist, a school could ban you from providing leadership training to young girls. 

A church-run hospital in an isolated indigenous community could reject the expert knowledge of former AMA President Prof. Kerryn Phelps. 

Not only does discrimination directly affect those discriminated against, it affects entire communities. Religiously affiliated service providers are able to deny a community the best possible teachers, doctors, nurses, and counsellors, on grounds totally unrelated to to their ability to perform the job. 

As I am sure you have, my office has recently been inundated with stories of discrimination. One teacher told me she was fired in case her “gayness” infected students and patients in regional hospitals have told me they are nervous about seeking sexual health advice for fear of being thrown out. more
Anyway, without the support of the opposition and the independents, the gov has to rely on the Greens to get it through and I can't see that happening at all. Understandably, this thing's starting to look rather dead in the water right now.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Simon explains, Tim busted

Sat at a table at the pub yesterday as David was meeting me there later. I didn't notice, but who was sitting at the next table? None other than Simon, back from the wedding in the Cook Islands.

So he came and sat down and we talked. He was here for only a day and was leaving for Lightning Ridge the next. He appeared oblivious as to the events after his text (calling David a "control freak"), so I blurted out something related to it. He was horrified that Tim had passed it on to David, asking me "why did he do that?". I don't know, they've been a couple for 15 years and you're bound to end up with some sort of familiarity after that even if the relationship is over.

There's more to the story though. To David and I it looked like the text had come right out of the blue, and after only meeting David twice he'd, for some reason beyond comprehension, decided that David was a control freak. Most unfair David thought, who had become rather angry about it. However.......

Tim is schizophrenic. And he doesn't take pills. Schizophrenics often feel threatened by everyone; that they're out to get them. He'd been telling Simon that David was ruling his life and that he was afraid of him. WTF? Simon, not knowing Tim's mental condition, took what he was saying as true. Hence the "control freak" text. He was very apologetic that it'd been shown to David.

Further to this, Tim said nothing to David about what he'd been telling Simon, and chose to only show David that one text without any explanation as to why Simon may have sent it. There's a word for Tim here, I believe it's "shit stirrer". He has a lot to answer for in this whole situation. He seems to have manipulated us all.

I ask Simon to sit elsewhere as David was there shortly and I just couldn't be bothered with a confrontation. Told David the full story when he got there, and he confronted Tim about it when we went back to his place. To sum up Tim's reaction, I think you could use the word "busted".

"Same love"

"No freedom until we're equal".....


This sign is "offensive"?

Here it is:

Turns out Parramatta council in western Sydney thinks it is:
Parramatta's Lord Mayor is facing a social media backlash after a gay and lesbian youth group invited to a council family fun day was asked to remove its ‘‘offensive’’ signage.

Council staff told the group that a banner promoting its "support services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, same-sex attracted and gender-diverse young people, their families and communities" was inappropriate at last week's Rediscover the River festival, its acting managing director, Terence Humphreys, said.

Fearing "a potentially toxic environment", Twenty10 – which had been invited by council to set up a kite-making stall – decided to pack up and leave instead.

Twenty10 apologised on Facebook to those who may have noticed its absence, but said it could not support an event if the sign displaying ‘‘who we are and the services we provide’’ had been ‘‘deemed to contain offensive language’’.

"We had school-aged clients there, volunteers and staff who were very distressed by the incident," Mr Humphreys told Fairfax Media.

"It sends a really horrible message to the people of Parramatta that it wasn't OK to be same-sex attracted, gender diverse in a family event like the Rediscover the River."

Council has been inundated with complaints as news of the January 17 incident has spread. Read more
WTF?The article goes on citing one of the council members saying that the sign was "semi-political". Again, WTF?

How the hell is providing support service information to vulnerable groups in danger of depression and suicide in any way political, other than in the minds of the Parramatta council members? They weren't there to push some political agenda FFS, simply to provide information to people it was relevant to. 

And how the hell is a sign like that "inappropriate" at a "family fun day"? Is the inference to LGBT youth that they're not actually in a family? Or being gay means you're not allowed at a family event?

A petition has been started and appears to be taking off. It states:
Parramatta City Council recently asked Twenty10 to remove their banner at a community event on the grounds that it contained 'offensive language'. The banner was simply offering support for the LGBT community, and provided a URL to find out more information. LGBT youth need to know that there is help out there for when they need it. This is 2013, surely we're beyond the point of stifling basic human rights and the freedom to express individuality. sign
You can sign it here.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Happy pill reduction - attempt 2

Have embarked on attempt number two in trying to come down off some of the happy pill dose. The last attempt was aborted on the first day when I tried to reduce it by 75mg a day. Turned out that was too much of a drop, so I'm now trying a smaller pill and a reduction of only 37.5mg/day. Yesterday was the first day that I got up enough courage to do it.

Glad to say I didn't feel anything like last time. In fact I'd not have known the dose was reduced as I felt fine. Am doing it again today. Suppose I'll do that for a week or so and try another 37.5mg drop. 

The HIV pills are much better now. Must be about a month and a half by now. Not sick at all or just a bit queasy, other than that fine. The biggest challenge is remembering to take them. I'm not exact with the twelve hours apart between the morning and night pills, but I seem to be getting a lot more used to taking one in the evening rather than completely forgetting and having to take it the next day with the morning ones.

Ke$ha - Take It Off

Human rights court - no to church discrimination

The European court of human rights has come out against churches being able to discriminate against people using religion as an excuse.
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled religious beliefs cannot justify discrimination against same-sex couples. 

The tribunal in Strasbourg, France, ruled against two British Christians who claimed their employers unfairly discriminated against them because of their opposition to relationship recognition for gays and lesbians and homosexuality.


LGBT rights advocates in the U.K. and across Europe quickly applauded the decision. 

“With this ruling, the court has established that freedom of religion is an individual right,” Sophie in ‘t Veld, vice-president of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, said in a statement. “It is emphatically not a collective right to discriminate against LGBT people, women, or people of another faith or life stance. Religious freedom is no ground for exemption from the law. The court showed conclusively that the principle of equality and equal treatment cannot be circumvented with a simple reference to religion.” 

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the British LGBT advocacy group Stonewall, agreed. 

“Today’s judgment rightly confirms that it’s completely unacceptable in 2013 for public servants to pick and choose who they want to serve on the basis of sexual orientation,” he said. “Gay people contribute over £40 billion annually to the cost of public services in this country. They’re entitled to nothing less than equal treatment from those services, even from public servants who don’t happen to like gay people.” more
I sincerely hope that this doesn't go un-noticed by the gov here in putting together the final draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012. These court decisions come at a particularly good time with the debate currently in Australia about churches being able to discriminate against gays, using religion as a reason.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Pink - Dear Mr President Live

This song has been going in my head the last few days. Dunno why. This is a live version.


Man takes guns into JC Penny

OK I think I'm over the shock. Wow, far out man. If I saw someone come into a shop like that there's no fuckin way I'd be hanging around to take pictures.


Nigeria - get real guys

Further to yesterdays post about Uganda, this news describes the reality of being gay in Nigeria.
Three Nigerian men have gone into hiding after suffering a gruesome assault where they were stripped naked, paraded in public and endured savage beatings for allegedly having gay sex.


‘Throughout Nigeria there are extreme anti-gay sentiments due to lack of information and exposure to sometimes fanatic religious ideas. 

‘Such sentiments not only lead to verbal and physical abuse but strike fear into gay people and cause them to take risky behavior, driving them into hiding and often getting infected by the HIV virus. 

‘Then there is absolutely no support here for them once they get ill they simply drop dead, its appalling. 
‘The National Action Committee of HIV/AIDS Nigeria doesn’t help LGBT people, when it should raise awareness on how homophobia is not only wrong but harms society as a whole by increasing HIV transmission. more

I note the use of the words "fanatical religious ideas". My assumption is that these ideas come from the fanatical religious US fundies over there stirring up hatred towards gays?

It's tragic too that they can't get any support being HIV+. I mean how stupid can people be as to think if they ignore the problem or punish the afflicted, then HIV will go away. It won't. Gays exist everywhere, even in Nigeria. No amount of ignorance or hatred is going to change anyone's sexuality. If they're driven underground then they'll have no access to education programs aimed at reducing HIV infections (if one even exists there?) or medications to reduce their viral load and thereby the infection rates. I predict Nigeria to have an increase in those with HIV.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

"God loves Uganda" - gay hate exported

I've wondered at times what the hell is going on over there in Africa? Why on earth are they coming out with laws taking back gay rights 100 years? Why is Uganda currently debating a law that could see people jailed for life for being gay?

This film has the answer. It's debut is around now at the Sundance Film Festival. It shows how evangelical Christians from the US are spreading gay hatred over there. In short, the US churches are exporting their gay hatred to Uganda. Here's a short little interview about it:



From film-maker Roger Williams:

“The more I learned about religion in Africa, the more intrigued I became. It was as if the continent was gripped with religious fervor. And the center of it was Uganda. I began to research; I took my first trip to Uganda. Uganda, I discovered is the number one destination for American missionaries. The American evangelical movement has been sending missionaries and money, proselytizing its people, and training its pastors for a generation; building schools, manning hospitals, even running programs for training political leaders. Its President and First Lady are evangelical Christians, as are most members of its Parliament and 85% of the population.

I began meeting in Uganda – and in America – some of the missionaries who have helped create Ugandaʼs evangelical movement. They were often large hearted. They were passionate and committed. Many of them were kids from Americaʼs heartland. And they were, I began to discover, part of a larger Christian evangelical movement that believed that Biblical law should reign supreme – not just in peopleʼs hearts – but in the halls of government. This movement, fueled by American money and idealism, had produced a noxious flower – Ugandaʼs Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which made death as one of the penalties for homosexuality. Committed to the idea that God wanted all forms of “sexual immorality” eliminated from the earth,” it was the reason why Uganda had dismantled its successful AIDS program in favor of an abstinence policy. more
Edit 2:

This is a very good trailer for the film:


GetUp - against church discrimination

The whole row going on right now over churches being able to discriminate on who they employ, using sexuality (among other things) as reasons for denying a work application, is all part of draft legislation that's been put on the table by the gov. The  Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012

The Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, has the power to change the legislation to something that the majority of Australians would find much more acceptable. For example, the bit allowing religious organisations to freely discriminate against gays. 

GetUp has organised an online emailing campaign to write the following to the Attorney General here
I support and welcome the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.

However there are four things that need to happen to set a new standard for protection from discrimination:
1. Remove the exemption that would allow religious organisations to legally discriminate.
2. Adopt a definition of gender identity that would protect all people of diverse sex and gender.
3. Make criminal record discrimination a protected attribute where that record is not relevant.
4. Pass the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill before the Federal election.
I encourage you to strengthen the human rights protections in the bill and pass the bill through parliament as soon as possible. Send the email here
Or you can write what you like.

I'd encourage anyone who feels strongly about this to take part in this. It's not only gays being discriminated against either. Those heathen that churches wouldn't want to hire could also include a range of people. From the GetUp email:
You might have already read about the teacher who, after deciding to have a child, was fired by the school she taught at just because she wasn't married.[1] She's not alone. If you or someone you care about is a single parent, gay, divorced, transexual or have ever been accused of a crime then you could find yourself being discriminated against with no legal right to fight back.  

Friday, 18 January 2013

Disclosing depression

Got into a mood the other day. The usual crap. I'd spent some time during the day feeling that sort of stunned feeling again. Like shell shocked. Sitting and staring into space, nothing on, no TV or PC or music. Sometimes it all seems too much, I can't believe everything that's happened to me. The memories haunt.

So I met David after his work as usual, and told him straight out that I wasn't feeling so good in the head. The mood had settled over me for the evening by that stage. Wasn't crying or anything, just quiet and reserved, not exactly the life of the party.

I know what Simon would've said in such a case; "You should be feeling happy now that things are going good". Said to David "Why am I feeling like this? Is there something wrong with me?". 

His response though was of understanding. He made it clear that he understood how I was feeling and that he was there for me. No pressure to be feeling happy, just him there knowing what it's like to feel like I was feeling. 

This continued through the evening, and later on in bed when holding each other it was amazing to have him there.

I suppose I might be having doubts about telling David when I'm feeling depressed, I mean we've not known each other for that long. As with all depression though, simply being able to tell someone without shame or guilt, and to have that person simply be there for you and hold you, knowing how you're feeling.....   

People can be afraid of saying so. People might think they're silly, or there's some severe mental problem. Or even that friend who rang me the other day asking if he'd be taken away from his family over being depressed. It's better if you tell someone how you're feeling. There's nothing wrong with being real with your feelings to someone who cares.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

James Blunt - Wisemen

Walking wounded

Am a bit injured at the moment. 

My wrist has started turning a bruised colour from the end of my arm to the start of my fingers. The swelling isn't so bad anymore but it's still very painful. Had to take strong painkillers this morning just for that.

There's also my left back muscle that had those really bad muscle spasms. It's still quite sore despite having been settled down from the painkillers.

I've also found more injuries from the hot water cylinder fall; a big mark at the bottom of my back from the milk crate, and another one underneath my right forearm. 

All in all feeling battered and bruised. Luckily David has had some painkillers he didn't need, otherwise I'd have had to go back to the doctor for more. Nurse David also bandaged up my hand yesterday which helped with the bruising and swelling. He's also given strict orders not to try and rescue the cat again!

Yesterday I opened up the pill drawer next to the bed for the painkillers. Got a bit taken aback for some reason. Man, I got a lot of shit in there:

Actually it's worse than it looks. There's 3 different mg's of happy pills in there as I've tried to get a dose small enough to come down with. So that all looks a lot. Haven't tried a second time yet, better psych myself up for that one I think.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Church discrimination - that's OK?

Seems it's one law for churches and another law for the rest of us.

That utterly vile Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby (well known here for it's obsession with anti-gay marriage and anti gay generally) has been meeting with Prime Minister Gillard, over concerns that churches may have to give equal opportunity to everyone when hiring people, including gays. Oh the humanity! Being as they don't even want us gays to have equal marriage rights, it's hardly surprising that he doesn't want gays to have equal rights in employment either.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has assured religious groups they will have the ''freedom'' under a new rights bill to discriminate against homosexuals and others they deem sinners, according to the head of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Under current law, faith-based organisations, including schools and hospitals, can refuse to hire those they view as sinners if they consider it ''is necessary to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities of adherents of that religion''.

Ms Gillard has met Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace several times, and he says she assured him ''she has no intention of restricting freedom of religion'' when it comes to religious groups' legal rights to discriminate in hiring and firing.

The Prime Minister said through a spokesman: "We don't comment on discussions with stakeholders.''

Discrimination by religious organisations affects thousands of Australians. The faiths are big employers, and the Catholic Church in particular is one of Australia's largest private employers.

They rely on government funding but because of their religious status are allowed to vet the sexual practices of potential employees in ways that would be illegal for non-religious organisations.

Labor often claims to represent progressive values and is led by an atheist, but the government has gone out of its way to placate religious organisations on this issue.

The woman who will be steering the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill through the Senate, Finance Minister Penny Wong, is a committed Christian and a lesbian.
Senator Wong said this week that Labor was ''seeking to balance the existing law and the practice of religious exemptions with the principle of non-discrimination''. Read more
Gutless Gillard however has met him a number of times to placate his concerns. Meaning that the church will still be free to discriminate against us. I didn't know about this actually. So does this mean that if say, a lawn mowing company applied for a contract to mow the churches lawns, then if the owner of the company was gay (or even the actual lawn mowing person was gay) does that then mean the church can deny this company the contract simply on the basis of their sexuality/lifestyle? What about cleaners? Plumbers? Is there a clause in the contract that asks about your sexuality? 
And what about Christian gays, such as Finance Minister Penny Wong?

That's so fucked up man. Priests can fuck kids and remain in the church, but someone who's gay and has sex with consenting adults isn't even allowed to work for the church. 

If the church is to accept gov funding, then the gov surely should have some sway over how the church behaves. If Gillard had any guts she'd insist on this. Threaten to pull funding unless the church complied with gov regulation. What happened to obeying the law of the land? How about this little quote from the Bible? Romans 13:
1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due. 8 Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law. 9 For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting -- and any other commandment -- are all summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements. source

Bloody hypocrites. 

You know, as far as morality goes, I'd put the secular world up against churches anytime. Secularism doesn't condone discrimination. 

Kevin Donnelly argues here that faith based schools should be allowed to discriminate. He uses only the example of schools, no mention of the various other faith based organisations around who would need to employ people for various duties. He writes:
That such is the case shouldn't surprise. Under the new Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has assured faith-based organisations they will maintain their ''freedom'' to discriminate against homosexuals and others who do not adhere to their faith. As publicly stated by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria: ''Our schools promote a particular view of the person, the community, the nation and the world centred on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, and they form an integral part of the church community in which all generations live, worship and grow together.''

Those seeking to work or those seeking to enrol children in such schools can be in no doubt as to the religious nature of such schools and that there is a requirement, as members of the school community, to live according to the tenets on which the school is based. Read more
Well, my position is simple. Why do churches want one law for them and another for the rest of us? Don't accept gov funding then if you don't want to follow the laws they make. Private schools across the country get $billions of taxpayers money given to them. If parents want to send their kids to a school that discriminates against gays, then why should the gov be paying for that?

But it goes much deeper than that. Why is it that Christian organisations feel that it's within their religious right to discriminate against people like me? How very bloody Christian eh?

Update 2:

Well I wasn't expecting this one. Joumanah El Matrah is executive director of the Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights, as said in her opinion piece at the end. Imagine that, Muslims arguing to not discriminate, while the Australian Christian Lobby wants to.

The piece is very well written and much worth reading it all. Perhaps just a couple of quotes:
This view of religion imagines an intolerant, misogynist and homophobic God at the centre of faith. This strikes at the very heart of the long and honourable history all religions have of working and caring for the disenfranchised. I believe the vast majority of people of faith do not want their religion used to estrange people from our society and affect their livelihood.

It seems to me that refusing people employment on the basis of their identity when it bears no relationship to the job they are applying for is a deeply punitive measure to take in the name of protecting religious beliefs. It targets people in an intensely personal way, to the very core of their identity.


But if the purpose of the organisation is education and/or welfare provision, and public funds are used in the administration of that service, then the right to discriminate must have significant limitations and should be subject to oversight. It should not be easy to deny someone a service or potentially a livelihood because of who they are.

To banish people from religious institutions because they do not comply with our view of who belongs in our religious flock should be deeply troubling to us and should not be done with any ease of mind or heart and, most certainly, should not be done on our behalf by the state. Read more
Update 3:

Jeff Sparrow writes. 
It's a statement that homophobia is still OK; that gays and lesbians can still be bullied and harassed, in a way that wouldn't be tolerated in respect of anyone else.

As David Marr has noted, this is not simply a symbolic matter. Religious organisations run major institutions, particularly in the health sector, with the Catholic Church one of the biggest private employers in Australia. Gillard's deal means that workers in state-funded hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and charities can be disciplined or even sacked, not because of their performance in the workplace but on the basis of what they do in their own beds.

The Labor Party defends the deal as protecting 'freedom of religion'. But that's self-evidently a non-starter. You might personally believe that prayer heals cancer; if so, you're perfectly entitled to treat your own metastasizing tumour through incantations and sprinkles of holy water. But when you're running a tax payer-funded hospital, you can't offer faith healing as the frontline treatment in your oncology ward. If you're treating others, you're held, in other words, to certain standards. Why should employing other people be any different? more