Thursday, 28 February 2013

Gay refugees flee African countries

I suppose it's only logical. It's also Ironic. We have a situation where gay Africans are fleeing violence, fearing for their lives, and laws which make their sexuality illegal, after US evangelicals have whipped up hatred and fear of gays. Now some of those African gays have found asylum inside the US, perhaps in the same areas where the evangelists were sent from?
Within the last decade, rancorous anti-gay rhetoric has infiltrated public discourse in many African countries. Just last week, the Ugandan parliament revived a proposal to legalize capital punishment for people who engage in homosexual acts. This is new for Africa. In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable.

 .................................. 

Homophobia is not necessarily a new attitude for most African societies. Being gay is a crime in 38 of the 54 countries in Africa. Many of these laws have been on the books since colonial times. But it’s a stretch to think, as some have claimed, that homophobia is simply a vestige of colonial times. 

However, some pundits believe that the shift to a more sinister form of homophobia in many African countries over the last decade has its root in conservative religious indoctrination. Some reports suggest that U.S. evangelical groups have had a hand in creating the venomous anti-gay attitudes and violence that have swept over the continent and pushed gay Africans out of their countries. 

“It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw Africans with the help of American conservative religious groups using this issue (homosexuality) as an organizing tool,” said Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who has studied the U.S. evangelical influence on African societies. more
I'm so glad I'm in Australia.We've got our religious nutters here too, but nothing like what's going on over there.

Anger mounts over Olympian's taking Stilnox

The knives are out for the Olympic swimmers who took the banned drug Stilnox 10 days before the London Olympics. The much loved Dawn Fraser, who has been voted Australia's greatest female sportswoman, pulls no punches.
Fraser told AAP at an awards ceremony in Parliament House, Canberra - where she was voted Australia's greatest female sportswoman of all time - that Australia was being pressured all around the world to punish known drug takers.

"And we have now come up with names of athletes who have taken drugs and swimmers in particular," the 75-year-old said on Wednesday night.

"Those people who take drugs in sport should be banned forever, not to ever be allowed to come back into sport ... especially in this example.
"They should be punished severely because they are setting a bad example for the younger generation for our country." more
Also, artist Ben Quilty has written a strong piece saying the same thing as I suggested a while back; that sports people should pay HECS fees just like everyone else. 
Everyone pays HECS: nurses, paramedics, teachers, artists; we all pay for our education. We also pay tax from prizes won: the Archibald, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, all literary prizes, film prizes, prizes for excellence in education and medical research. Even the Queensland Premiers' Literary Award was taxed, until it was axed. And I didn't whinge about being thrown into a higher tax bracket when I won the Whiteley Scholarship as a young artist until I realised that at the same time I was in Paris studying, the young emerging Olympians in Salt Lake City were there for free. In fact the prizes they would receive for winning were also tax-free, and so were their education and training. 

My Melbourne mate on radio argued lawn bowlers couldn't make a living after competing at the Olympics and therefore shouldn't have to repay any debt to the rest of us. I gently pointed out I didn't go to art school to make money, and that school teachers sure as hell weren't making much from their full HECS-incurring degree and years of hard, thankless work in the education system. Surely if Eamon Sullivan and James Magnussen studied for nothing, then my little boy's school teacher Ms O'Rourke should also have received education for free? 

I could see the headlines unfold last week as the men who embarrassed themselves in London on Stilnox and prank calls began the argument I've heard too many times before. It's always someone else's fault, the coach, team morale, always a lack of funding. When depression strikes them, inevitably someone says they need more money for therapy. Behaving well in the spotlight is a difficult thing to do for an excitable, testosterone-filled young man. Tell me about it! 

I have just finished a year of work with some of the quietest, most heroic and least celebrated young men I've met. We met in Afghanistan where I was sent as the official war artist for the Australian Defence Force. Many of them are suffering from serious depression; as many from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts. You can ask any of them if they feel they are receiving the financial support it takes to repair broken young men returning from Afghanistan and I challenge you to find one who will tell you that the Department of Veterans Affairs is over-funded. Someone needs to point out to our sporting heroes that the spotlight is harsh but that Afghanistan is harsher. In reality our sporting heroes live an overly supported, safe and often wealthy existence. It's time they found a real problem. more
Perhaps these London Olympics will be a bit of a watershed moment for sports funding? Seeing all those tax dollars converted into a bunch of spoilt brats taking a banned drug in a bonding session and whinging about everything hasn't gone down well at all here in Australia. What's more they lied about it, initially saying they hadn't taken anything. Not exactly the sort of example expected from those breathing the rarefied atmosphere of the sporting elite. I'd expect that people struggling through life against their own adversity were dumbfounded, as I was, that our Olympians were so immature and self centred. Giving them a free ride certainly doesn't help.

Their immaturity is staggering to see. Do they think that just a simple sorry is going to fix what they did over there? That we're all supposed to laugh it off with them when they say it was harmless fun? They took a banned drug FFS, at the highest level of sporting competition. Do they think a slap on the wrist will suffice?

I honestly hope the Australian Olympic Committee comes down hard on them. It would be the perfect opportunity to show younger athletes (and the world for that matter) that such behaviour won't be tolerated. Our future Olympians may actually view the Games as serious business, and not a romp in a playground. 

Update:

Swimming couch Nugent has been sacked
Two separate reviews following Australia's worst Olympic performance in two decades condemned swimming's culture and management.

They pointed to a failure of leadership and team culture when falling morale was not adequately addressed as the campaign failed to produce the results anticipated.

Nugent has previously said he regrets not following up complaints members of the men's 4x100m freestyle team had harassed female swimmers. more  

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Russia rejects criticism of anti-gay laws

In words that beggar belief, the foreign minister of Russia has come out whole heartedly supporting the proposed anti gay laws.


Russia’s foreign minister has rejected criticism about the proposed law that would outlaw ‘homosexual propaganda’ nationwide.

Sergey Lavrov said there are no obligations to Europe or any other country to respect gay people's rights in Russia.
‘We don’t have a single international or common European commitment to allow propaganda of homosexuality,’ he said. more
The inference reading between the lines is disgusting. What about human rights being respected? Or are gay people less than human and therefore don't qualify to have their rights respected? The foreign minister is basically giving the world the finger. Well fuck you too Russia. Slide backwards then. He goes on:
‘Russia has its own moral, religious and historical values,’ Lavrov said, warning against ‘another kind of discrimination when one group of citizens gets the right to aggressively promote their own values that run against those shared by the majority of the society and impose them on children.’ more
Oh pleeeease.... He uses the word "moral" and "values" to describe the demonisation and oppression of a minority. More like immoral and de-value a minority as fellow human beings on the planet. No surprise that he mentions religion as well. So here we have religion (again) playing a pivotal role, in the immorality of clobbering a minority, simply because of their sexuality. 

And the children! For the love of god, the children! We must think of the children! Well fuckwits, how about you think of the children who grow up struggling with their sexuality? Who may kill themselves because they feel so hated and alone? Indeed, think of the children....

It gets better

This was very well done. Only 7 minutes, certainly worth a look.


 
http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?

Rainbow crossing pics - mine

It was a lovely sunny day yesterday afternoon. I snapped a few pictures of the rainbow crossing at Taylor Square, whilst others also took pictures of it. I think it may turn into a bit of a tourist attraction. 


It's certainly very bright. Feels funny walking across it, so colourful.

Edit:

You can sign a petition to support the rainbow crossing to be kept here.
To:
The Hon Duncan Gay MLC, NSW Minister for Roads and Ports Alex Greenwich MP, Member for Sydney

Keep the fabulous Taylor Square rainbow crossing!

Lesbians and gay men were beaten and bashed on Oxford Street in 1978, and homophobic violence was rife for years. To now have our flag on our street celebrates how far we have come and is a tribute to the battles we have won.

The crossing will be a major tourist attraction and bring new life to Oxford Street. It is a colourful piece of public art as well. We don't see the crossing will cause safety risks, and many encourage road users to take more care. Please allow the rainbow crossing to remain a permanent reminder of our history.

Sincerely,
[Your name] sign
Edit 2:

Here's it being painted. Time lapse.

 

Submissions wanted - NSW marriage equality

GetUp will be handing all the submissions it gets sent, to the New South Wales parliament on Friday, regarding the marriage equality legislation currently being considered. This from the email:
As a resident of NSW, you have an historic opportunity to help pass legislation that would finally end marriage discrimination in our state. But the next four days are critical.

Five brave NSW Parliamentarians are reaching out across party lines to support a State Marriage Equality Bill 2013. The Bill would give same-sex couples the right to marry in NSW, recognising and honouring all love equally in law.

We’ve never been this close to equality in NSW. The legislation is written, a public inquiry period is underway, and the five state Parliamentarians – a National, a Liberal, an Independent, a Green and a member of the Labor Party – are all championing equality in their own party rooms. But to finish the job, they need your support.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the bill closes this Friday. Can you tell the NSW Government what passing the Marriage Equality Bill would mean to you and the people in your life?

As is suggested, personal stories about how marriage equality would effect you personally are best. This was mine: 
I've recently met a guy David and we've both fallen deeply in love with each other. To the point of considering marriage at some point; something that I never thought I'd do again. I was married years ago to my wife who passed away from illness. I love David now just as much as I loved her then. The only difference is we're both male. 

David said we could just get a ring each and sort of pretend to be married with the ring on the wedding finger. However after some consideration I said I couldn't do that as I'd been married before and I know what that means. You can't just pretend. It doesn't have the same meaning without recognition by the state. I ask that you consider David and I in your vote regarding marriage equality in NSW. Love has no sexuality.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Why do they hate us?

Well, after reading about the Mardi Gras and all the love and goodwill going around about it, it's a bit of a shock to read something out of Africa. From a Christian of course. Here he is, A Rev Ben Cooper:


Lovely smiling face, flowers behind him. Oh he looks like a fine upstanding man right? Um, well no. He's an agent of hate IMO. With all the homophobia in Africa, the last thing the place needs is some fuckwit like this getting up and crapping on.

And he has a fuckin lot to say. I'll go down the article and see what dastardly things he asserts about us gays. Firstly:

Advocacy for the introduction and legalization of gay rights and activities in Liberia is classified as total abomination as such practice is completely unbiblical and outlandish to African tradition.
 An acclaimed crusader of Christian and biblical values in the society, Rev. Ben Cooper, founder and Senior Pastor of the Leviticus Ministries rebuffed such calls and practice as detestable as it threatens to undermine the existence of human as well as the fabric of the Liberian society. more  
WTF is he implying? That gays are threatening humanity's very existence?
"My stand on the gay bill is highly negative; I do not support it because it is not biblical; it is unwelcoming in the African context, needless to talk about Liberia that is a nation established even on Christian principles. The bill is unbiblical, even the Bible speaks against the issue and its activities," he said. more
Yeah yeah yeah, bla bla... the bloody Bible again..... And of course comes the misinterpreted Bible lesson, complete with inflammatory adjectives. 
As a minister of the gospel, an ambassador and a representative of God, it is immoral for the people of Liberia to welcome such practices, he indicated, and added "though people are proffering that homosexuals have the rights to practice whatsoever they feel is good for them, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality." more
Am not going to get into Biblical quoting at all, as IMO the Bible is an outdated load of shit, mostly devoid of reality and basically telling some weirded out story about the Israelites who had some weirded out views.  But if you are interested in proper interpretation of what the Bible actually does say about gays, look here

He goes on:
"I feel that the practice is detrimental to our livelihood as a whole in this country." more
WTF? Being gay destroys a countries ability to earn money? Where did he get that from? Oh right, he felt it.....   How very Biblical. In keeping with his Biblicalness, he then continues by getting nasty. No, he's not going to just say his opinion and let it rest as in a democracy, he's going to demand his opinion be obeyed. Fuck, what a control freak man:
According to Rev. Cooper, there would be a tsunami type of demonstration that will be spearheaded by Christian churches, as a fierce protest against gay rights.

According to the pastor, church leaders will not allow the bill to be passed in the first place but call on the national legislature to be mindful and avoid giving credence what he referred to as devilish bill.
"I promise you that if the legislature should even venture to take the bill to the Plenary for discussion as means of trying to support gay bill for its passage in the House there will be a very unfriendly atmosphere emanating from the religious circle and I am going to be one of the ring leaders to speak against that", Pastor Cooper added. more
Unfriendly eh? Yep, he's so full of Christian love darlings. Well, full of shit more like it. He can after all, apparently create a tsunami with Christians at the front of the wave. Fuck, talk about delusions of grandier. So what else has he got in store for us evil gays? Looks like more unfriendliness:
"We are going to be unfriendly; we are going to be emphatic, speaking out our minds and will continue to campaign against such an immoral act as I am going to one of the ring leaders to stand out against such bill", he said.

The clergyman added that though he trust members of the legislature but when it comes to the issue of the gay bill he will continue to be unfriendly as long as people continue to support gay rights in the country.
"I am very, very unfriendly when it comes to that and I think I will be unfriendly with them when it comes to the issue of supporting gay rights in the country," the pastor emphasized. more
That's pretty unfriendly man. WTF does he think we are? Devils with horns aplenty? WTF about Christian love then? Oh yeah, it's conditional on your sexuality right? He then goes on in his power mad nutiness:
"Liberians will beat the streets and will continue to mobilize the people to be able to speak against the very gay rights so that it does not even reach the stage as has been proffered by western donors."

"When it comes to this issue, I am a direct representative of God. I speak against it because the Bible takes this particular sin to be detestable as two cities were destroyed in the Bible as evident in Genesis 19 when God destroyed the two cities because he hated the very sin of homosexuality." more
So much for the Pope then. Oh and don't forget about tsunami demonstrations in the streets.

Yes it's easy to point out an idiot like this, but you know when Christians say this BS here about loving us but hating the sin, you know exactly what they're thinking. What's in their head probably isn't too far off from what this fuckwit is spouting. When the Australian Christian Lobby refuses to contemplate equal rights for gays, making representation to the Prime Minister, when they accuse us of wanting to "destroy traditional marriage", when they say we're not normal, they're singling us out and painting us as demons.

Yes, homophobia still exists in Australia. It's the Christian church that has caused much of that. They've opposed us every step of the way. 

Defence forces will march in full uniform

I hadn't realised, but until now those in the Australian Defence Force weren't allowed to march in the Mardi Gras parade in uniform. Now this year they'll be able to do so.


Private Anthony Wilson, Lieutenant Joshua Maher and Leading Aircraftwoman Andrea Pearce. Photo: John McRae 

They have been marching in the Mardi Gras Parade since 2008 but this year, for the first time, openly gay personnel from the Australian Defence Force will take part in the procession in full uniform – a move that will only have positive outcomes.  

Having twice marched in the Mardi Gras Parade, this year’s event will bear special significant for Lieutenant Joshua Maher. For the first time, the 22-year-old Maritime Warfare Officer will be able to march down Oxford and Flinders Streets in full naval garb. 

“Both times, the experiences were incredibly overwhelming,” he tells SX. “Last year, I got to do it with one of my really good friends. She had also come out, so the two of us, we had an absolute blast – the parade was too short.” 

But this year, he expects the procession, and their reception, to be a little different. 
“It’s incredible,” he says. “It’s such an achievement for us now to be able to do it in uniform.” more
This has to send a strong message of support and inclusion for gays, particularly those who're young and struggling with their sexuality. Gays have been allowed in the defence forces since the 1990's, can't believe it took so long to get the OK to march in full uniform. This also includes people like the police, fire fighters, and surf life savers.

Oxford St painted rainbow overnight

Oxford st crossings have been painted rainbow colours overnight. Is gonna be there for a trial period and they may decide to keep it. I think it looks marvellous, the tourists everywhere will love it. Just in time for the Mardi Gras this weekend too. 

Here's a picture from online. I'll take my camera in later when I meet David this afternoon and see if I can get a better one :)



Oxford Street has been given a bold makeover, with a rainbow stretching across the iconic strip to honour 35 years of Mardi Gras.

The colourful crossing at Taylor Square is in place in time for this year’s festival parade on 2 March, which will be the biggest ever with 10,000 participants and 108 floats.

It was painted overnight, with work completed and Oxford Street reopened at 5am to provide a brilliant ‘good morning’ for visitors, locals and workers along the iconic street. 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the rainbow would help make Oxford Street the No.1 destination for the tens out thousands of people visiting Sydney for Mardi Gras. 

“The City is determined to support local businesses along Oxford Street. This time of year is a vital opportunity for the cafes, shops, galleries and other small businesses and we want to make sure all eyes are on this iconic strip,” the Lord Mayor said more

Cat and dogs diary

Daughter sent me this, very funny. A day in the life of a dog and a cat (click to enlarge a bit).


Monday, 25 February 2013

"Respect the relationship"

David got a text message a couple of days ago, from the two faced prick who wanted David to have a threesome with him and his partner. All behind my back of course. David told me next time he talked to me that it had came. Unbelievably, two faced prick has tried it on again. Has this guy got no fuckin shame?

He wanted David to come over to their place (which is quite a way from here anyway) "for dinner", and he could "stay the night" if he wanted. Fuck I laughed when David told me. He said straight out he wasn't going anyway as two faced prick hadn't invited me.

I said WTF? How fuckin blatant can you get? Two faced prick might as well have just texted "do you want to come over and have a fuck tonight?". At least it would've been more truthful. And once again, he didn't mention me. Which David picked up on of course, and he told me he's not going to have anything to do with people who don't respect our relationship. 

I mean FFS, this guy's treating me like I don't even exist. Two faced fuckin prick he is. I bet if I see him at the pub again he'll smile at me and pretend nothing's happened. He just doesn't understand how close David and I are at all. Either that or he's a dumb two faced prick.

Cops & Mardi Gras - 35 years later

Looking at this is an indication just how far gay people have come since 1978. Back then the parade was broken up by police who bashed them as well. Today we have this.

Last parade I went to they had a cop float as well. Yes darlings, there's even gay cops. Why anyone would want to become a cop I don't know, but hey the gay ones can march alongside the rest of them now. 




As the days edge closer to the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, ACON will team up with police from a number of local area commands to take part in a high visibility operation that will focus on community safety and encourage LGBTI people to access support and report homophobic and transphobic violence.

Officers from Surry Hills and Newtown police stations will join Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs), staff and volunteers from ACON's Anti-Violence Project and other community groups for the operation taking place from Wednesday, February 27 until Friday, March 1. 

Surry Hills Local Area Commander Superintendent Anthony Crandell said the upcoming initiative will reinforce the commitment of ACON and Surry Hills Police in ensuring that members of the LGBTI community feel safe and enjoy the Oxford St precinct, especially in the lead up to the Mardi Gras Parade. 

“Surry Hills Police and the ACON encourage and welcome all members of the community to approach the Police command buses and Police officers patrolling the Oxford Street area,” Crandell said. more

No more peacetime presidents?

Will the United States ever have another peacetime president? It may sound like a stupid question, but this is now exactly what some people are starting to ask. Even state categorically that there won't be. Micah Zenko makes several points on this at a "Foreign Policy" blog. 

Of course it's not rocket science that, for whatever reason, the US gov hasn't a fuckin clue on foreign policy. Armed to the teeth, they careen around the world like a bully demanding countries do as they say (certainly not as they do - Gitmo anyone? Abu Ghraib?). If it doesn't go their way, they can declare anyone they like as an "enemy of the state" (like Julian Assange). Now, they can even bomb defenceless communities in foreign countries without even declaring war on them. Even though they kill many innocent civilians, the excuse is simply that we are at war and the dead are "collateral damage". They can lock people up for years without trial, just by applying their own label to a person as being an "enemy combatant". I mean anyone with half a brain can see that the US has gone a bit nuts here, to say the least. 

So it comes to the question, why? Especially as Obama is supposed to be some kind of leftie or something (yeah right... BS) how can a president like that endorse such policies? Abandon the principles of freedom and democracy to continue a never ending vague war against "terror". No need to point out the similarities between this and Orwell's 1984, with the never ending war with Oceania.

Micah Zenko gives a brilliant insight into this:
Since September 11, 2001, the president has been able to threaten or use military force to achieve a range of foreign policy objectives with few checks and balances or sustained media coverage -- to an extent unprecedented in U.S. history. Anything short of deploying large numbers of U.S. ground troops is tolerated, and any executive branch justification for using lethal force is broadly accepted, including the notion that such military operations can continue in perpetuity. more
Well you can't argue with that. He goes on:
The primary reason for this stems from how policymakers in Washington perceive the world -- a perception that bridges partisan divisions. According to most officials, the international security environment is best characterized by limitless, complex, and imminent threats facing the United States. Those threats require the military to be perpetually on a wartime footing and the president to frequently authorize the use of lethal force. As a Pentagon strategy document first noted in 2010, the United States has entered "a period of persistent conflict." more
I think there's a word for that, um, paranoia. Anyway.... 
Supporting the increased use of drones, special operations, cyberattacks, and other covert military programs has been the tremendous growth in the size and cost of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). In 1998, the intelligence budget was $26.7 billion (based on an accidental leak from that year). In 2012, the IC will spend $75.4 billion for all of its national and military intelligence programs, the scope of which is astonishing. As Dana Priest and William Arkin reported in 2010: "1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States." This sprawling U.S. intelligence apparatus is estimated to require 210,000 governmental employees and 30,000 private contractors. 

Congressional oversight of presidential war-making powers has further dwindled. There are a few libertarian leaning congressional members who raise the War Powers Resolution during hearings with administration officials, although only when the serving president is of the other political party. Sen. Byrd attempted to rally fellow legislators by waving his pocket Constitution and reminding them, "Congress is not a rubberstamp or a presidential lapdog -- obedient and unquestioning. Oversight, oversight, oversight is among our most important responsibilities." Sen. James Webb, who is stepping down in January, cosponsored a bill in May that would require the White House to formally request congressional approval before using the military in humanitarian operations (it would require a vote within 48 hours). Webb noted: "Year by year, skirmish by skirmish, the role of the Congress in determining where the U.S. military would operate, and when the awesome power of our weapon systems would be unleashed, has diminished." Predictably, the bill went nowhere. more
Surely this isn't representative of what Americans really want? Surely they'd rather have money spent on things like schools, hospitals, welfare, etc. than to see their money blown to smithereens as another lot of civilians die in another country?

Where is the alternative political parties? Is the US simply bound to both major parties who are in effect very similar to each other? Where are the voices of discontent? Or are they just drowned out by a media compliant to both parties? Perhaps some of the politicians over there could stop the rhetoric and go live under the drones in Pakistan. Maybe then they'd see for themselves the absurdity of calling a drone attack a "surgical strike", and that all they're doing is making more enemies. But that's what the politicians want anyway it seems, more enemies, more wars, because it's a good way to keep the domestic population compliant.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Melbourne petition to dump St Petersburg

The email was in my junk :s

Anyway, here's the petition to sign for Melbourne to dump it's sister city status with St Petersburg.

And this is what came in the email. The petition was started by Carl Katter, the gay brother of Bob:
Melbourne doesn't stand for harsh anti-gay laws -- let's suspend our "Sister City" status with St. Petersburg immediately. 

Started by: Carl Katter, Melbourne. 

It's one of the most homophobic cities in the world, with laws that ban any kind of public support for LGBT equality -- yet Melbourne is still an official "Sister City" with St. Petersburg in Russia despite their harsh new anti-gay laws. 

It's now illegal to even mention the word "gay" in public in St. Petersburg. If you do, you can be jailed for 15 days or fined 500,000 rubles. The laws enacted last year actively discriminate against LGBT people and legitimize violence against them. 

Several of my Russian friends have spoken of the fear they feel when they leave their homes in St Petersberg and how such laws have been the fuel for hate and violence directed to their gay and lesbian friends. 

This isn't the kind of city that I think Melbourne stands for. But by keeping St. Petersburg as an official Sister City, it's giving credibility to these vicious anti-gay laws. 

Finally there's something real we can do to help our friends in Russia fight against these disgusting laws. Help me call on Robert Doyle to do the right thing and suspend St. Petersburg as an official "Sister City" of Melbourne until these anti-gay laws are repealed. 

Momentum is building in other Sister Cities to do the same too -- Milan has just dumped them and petitions are getting going in Florida, Paris, Barcelona and others. We can send a clear message from around the world: we won't stand for these anti-gay laws any longer. 

Please sign my petition and share with friends and family. 

Thanks for your help. 

Carl Katter.

The '78ers - first Mardi Gras parade

GNN (Gay News Network) has an interesting report interviewing some of the people who took part in the very first Mardi Gras parade. That was of course when the police arrested and bashed people to break up the parade. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like back then for gay people. Here's some of what Ron Austin had to say:
“It was almost like there were all these underlying emotions and a release of tensions – tensions that had been held by people for years. People who wouldn’t walk down the street holding hands, and all of a sudden they were doing it. This was the incredible psychology going on.”

Ron, who had also played a major part in setting up the Gay and Lesbian Telephone Counselling Service in 1973, says the police brutality on the night particularly when the crowd reached Kings Cross’s Al Alamein Fountain most likely had the ironic effect of ensuring Mardi Gras would continue for years to come.

“They blocked us in and caused anger, fear and apprehension while making arrests,” he says. “If the police hadn’t done that, we would have gone home and there would have maybe been no more Mardi Gras’.” more
And regarding the police brutality, this from Sandi Banks:
Sandi ended up being one of those who got bashed, or thrown into a paddy wagon and harassed by the police.

“I was in Darlinghurst Road and basically I saw one woman who was a teacher at the time and the police had just grabbed her. I was in the Lesbian Feminist collective and she was a member of that collective too and I knew that if she got caught she would lose her job,” she says.

“I decided – as one would sensibly do – to go and help out and try and get her out of the grips of police. In so doing that I got myself entangled and I was arrested and then physically picked up and thrown into the paddy wagon.

“I had a leather coat on at the time and the sleeve was totally torn out of my right sleeve. I had black and blue bruising right across from chest. A distinct hallmark of the police – all that manhandling.”

Injured and arrested, Sandi was thrown into the old Darlinghurst cells with others who had been taking part.

“Most of us were young and most of us were students. We were thinking who was going to round up the money to get us out. We were up in the cells in Darlinghurst and I think there were 24 women in my particular cell,” she says.

“It was freezing cold and they threw in a few blankets but not enough for 24 people, more enough for six. And they also put a few buckets of water in there. This was really late at night.”

The police nastiness didn’t end there, with Sandi and the others then moved to Central cells at the back of the old court premises in Liverpool Street during the middle of the night. 

“People who refused to get fingerprinted – they were pretty much forcing you – were actually put away in a cell by themselves and bashed. By the time we got to the Central cells, we knew at least one guy who got a good thumping from the cops. He was only a tiny guy – believe me – and we could hearing him yelling,” she recalls. 

“When we were down at Central cells what the police did was have lights shining upon us – and this was 3am or 4am. This is the middle of June in winter and we’re in these huge old cells, made from really solid brick or sandstone. We were freezing and we weren’t happy chappies.” more

Olympic swimmers took banned drug

It was pretty obvious from even here on the other side of the globe, that our Olympians in London had a real problem. There was shooter Mark whining about not being able to sleep with his wife, the rower who got blind and smashed windows at a local business, Dumb and dumber D'Arcy and Monk, D'Arcy being a bankrupt to get out of paying compensation to the swimmer he bashed, and Monk who fell off his skateboard and told the cops it was a hit and run, amongst other things. Many here were scratching their heads in a collective WTF?

And now, although it was obvious last year but nobody would admit it, Australian swimmers have admitted to taking a banned substance in a "bonding session". Stilnox had been used in the past but was banned by the Australian Olympic Committee weeks before, as previous athletes had been in the news saying that when they left swimming they were addicted to Stilnox. But still, they went ahead and took it, claiming that it was just "childish behaviour".

Which confirms my assertions about them at the time; that they were acting like a bunch of schoolies who'd failed to grow up, not highly trained athletes at an Olympic event. It was an abysmal performance before they'd even gotten in the pool, particularly considering the amount of public money that had been spent on them. In doing this they showed a lack of respect for the public money and efforts of people around them that had gotten them to this point.
Eamon Sullivan apologised for being a ringleader as he and five other top Australian swimmers admitted lying about taking a banned drug before the London Olympics.

All six men's freestyle relay swimmers, including world champion James Magnussen, could be banned from future Olympics for their abuse of the banned sedative Stilnox.

Sullivan, Magnussen, Tommaso D'Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy and Matthew Targett all admitted on Friday they took the sedative during a bonding session at a pre-Olympics camp.

A sixth member of the relay squad, James Roberts, denied taking Stilnox.

But he was present when the five other swimmers each took one pill of the sleeping drug about 10 days before the London Olympics began.

Sullivan and Targett provided the Stilnox and all swimmers knew the drug had been banned by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just weeks prior.

The five swimmers took the drug in what they thought was "harmless fun" and the continuance of initiation rituals into the relay team. more

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Melbourne pressured re Russian anti-gay laws

I didn't know, but Melbourne (here in Australia) has a sister city status with St Petersburg in Russia. Being as Melbourne is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the world, there is now pressure on the Lord Mayor to ditch the sister sister status citing the current laws in St Petersburg that ban gay "propaganda". These are similar laws that Russia is considering nationally.
LORD mayor Robert Doyle has requested an urgent meeting with Russia's ambassador and a briefing from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to discuss new anti-gay laws in St Petersburg. 

The move follows a petition by Carl Katter, half-brother of federal MP Bob Katter, to have Melbourne City Council dump its sister-city relationship with St Petersburg because he said the Russian city had enacted ''horrific'' anti-gay laws. 

More than 4800 people have signed the petition at Change.org. 

The Russian city has introduced broad laws banning ''homosexual propaganda''. 

''It is referred to as the gay propaganda law, but it is all-encompassing,'' said Mr Katter, a campaigner for marriage equality. 
''Melbourne is one of the most progressive cities of the world … and our mayor and council should be proud of that and stand up to such blatant homophobia,'' Mr Katter said. more
I wonder if the homophobic zealots in Russia would have ever envisaged the reaction they would get from overseas with these new gay laws? Now we have a city on the other side of the world which wants to ditch it's ties because of these laws. 

Senate review to anti-discrimination draft

The Senate has released it's review of the anti-discrimination draft bill, which left churches free to discriminate against anyone it liked. It has mad recommendations in keeping with the howls of protest across the country. GetUp sent this email:
Hi Peter, 

I have some good news, and quick, urgent action you can take to help protect Australians from discrimination. 

What's at stake? 
1 - Protecting people from discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex. 
2 - Making religious organisations follow the same discrimination rules as everyone else in many areas (so religious schools can't expel gay students or refuse welfare services to pregnant women). 
3 - Preventing discrimination because of irrelevant criminal records, which particularly impacts Indigenous communities. 

Late yesterday, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommended extending Australia's anti-discrimination protection to include these measures and more. Tens of thousands of GetUp members either made submissions to the committee or contacted their MPs about the review. You made an impact! And against all expectations, the committee recommended every measure we fought for. Now it's up to the new Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, and your local MP, to pass what would become the strongest protections from discrimination in Australia's history. 

Please take 30 seconds to sign this urgent petition before we deliver it to the Attorney-General on Tuesday -- and if you have another 2 minutes, follow up by contacting your local MP using our quick and easy tool:

Let's hope the new Attorney General will welcome the recommendations of the review and adopt them all.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Why religion sucks

This isn't somebody who is any great authority on religion, but he does have some very interesting views. I don't agree with all of them, but I was struck by the accuracy of his comments on religion. From Dave Gunn:
The awful part of people “believing in something” is that they rarely keep it at that. Very few people are merely theistic: they have to prescribe to an organized religion, go to buildings dedicated to cultist worship and indoctrination, send their kids to private schools that teach only their religious point of view, have their deity on our currency, have it on their cars, have their books in every hotel room, try to get prayer in schools, omit lyrics from songs by John Lennon when they’re sung at baseball games, stand outside of Planned Parenthood and yell at women, lobby against homosexuality, place little propaganda pamphlets at every payphone around the country, et cetera, et cetera. If you want to believe in some vague higher power and keep it to yourself, go for it. But let’s be honest: most believers aren’t doing that. And, again, even if you aren’t directly part of some of the examples I just listed, you are complicit in this insanity just by being one of the majority who hasn’t overcome this outdated belief in archaic mythology. 

There’s nothing wrong with hope. But religious people aren’t just hoping; they believe they’re knowing with all certainty. Most people who worship and believe not only think they’re right and that their book/deity is 100% infallible, but they believe wholeheartedly that everyone else is 100% wrong. This is where hope becomes faith, which is literally believing in something without reason. It’s this social acceptance of ignorant bliss and lack of reasoning that has in many ways stunted our growth and evolution not only as a society but as a species. It puts planes through buildings, causes attempted genocides on certain groups of people, gets people killed over who they’re in love with, scares women into having babies they aren’t prepared for, traumatizes kids like me into fearfully obeying, gets children molested by priests and those priests protected, keeps Africans without contraceptive and rife with HIV, gets an entire population of people enslaved based on color, has people more concerned with predicted last days rather than the today and tomorrow. The list of atrocities committed in the name of religion goes on and on. 

In a world with such a vast amount of complex beauty and information to explain that beauty without devaluing it, we as a species have long-since surpassed the necessity for fairy tales and beliefs in invisible higher powers. We should be worshiping something more tangible and involved in our everyday lives, like nature or science or each other. Until religion and naive, irrational beliefs like that in gods have been erased, we will continue to stand still as a people. more
He's obviously thought about this a lot.

Finally feeling better

Improvement in the dry retching zombie condition today, which has been plaguing me of late. Today I woke up feeling un-sick, I nearly fainted. Have tried taking the pills after I'm up and properly awake, with some toast maybe or other light thing. Does seem to help a bit. Yesterday though was another one of those days. Hoping I'm past that now though. Am putting it down to the second drop in the happy pills. Too much of a coincidence as I felt really ill last time as well for a while.

Before I'd even looked at a pill I started retching. At least I didn't have to worry about spewing pills up. I went and spewed in the toilet, but it wasn't food. This sort of yellow bile stuff, quite a bit of it too. WTF? Anyway I felt sick all day after that. Aching all over as well. Spent the afternoon with David but wasn't much of a conversationalist. Had to go to bed for a while felt so bad, lying down seemed the best position (hmmmmm.... that came out wrong.....).

Needless to say darlings I was not exactly inspired. Is a bit hard to concentrate when your whole body is aching and you want to throw up :s 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Dental hospital appt

My doctor told me that the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme may be re-introduced next year but with greater restrictions on who can access it. I guess that depends on whether the Gillard gov is re-elected or not. In the meantime if there's anything wrong I have to go to the public dental hospital in the city.

I have loose front teeth, was going to get something done about them but the old scheme ended and I was left in the lurch. So I decided to ring the dental hospital and make an appt. Over about 5 days I rang, each time the phone was busy. I even looked again online to make sure I'd written the number down right. Tried again yesterday and miraculously it started ringing, at which time I was promptly put on hold. For 20 minutes. With entirely excruciating elevator music.

Eventually I got through and spoke to a very nice lady. She asked for my pension card number, and what I was needing to be seen to. She said that it required an "emergency" appt, and booked me in. And when is this "emergency" appt? Next month, on the 8th. *sheesh*

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A gay wedding in Sydney

This is from the GetUp petition site for the coming vote in NSW re gay marriage. A wedding, albeit not officially recognised, in eastern Sydney.  
 

Here's what Clinton wrote to GetUp about it (from the email from GetUp):


Hi there,


My name is Clinton, and I am 29 years old. On November the 16th 2012 I got married to Callum Mathieson at Dunbar House in Watsons Bay Sydney. While we know that technically we did not get ''married'' nor will we be ''husbands'', this day was treated as such ever since we got engaged.


When Callum proposed we originally were going to wait until it became legal. There is just something special about exchanging vows that has more impact if they were legally recognised. Though the thought of waiting for 5, 10 or even 15 years for legalities to catch up with social opinion was just not an option. The thought of someone else deciding when we were ready for this next chapter in our lives didn't seem to sit well with us. Why should politics dictate when we feel that we want to get married, or at all?

So we decided to do it anyway. And on the 16th of November Callum and I walked down the aisle accompanied by our mothers and witnessed by our fathers.

Our wedding is an example of what a modern day wedding looks like. It's not a man and a woman, a man and a man or even a woman and a woman. But two people, standing in front of the most important people in their lives expressing their love and devotion to each other. Witnessed by family and friends and recognised by law.

We are so very lucky to say that we had our mothers walking us down the aisle, our fathers signing the witness certificate. My brother was my best man, our sisters did a reading in the ceremony and our nieces and nephews made up the wedding party as our page boys and flower girls.

To our friends and family this day was not a wedding between two men or even a civil ceremony as it is most commonly called. But simply a Wedding.

Kindest regards,
Clinton Bryan

Australian Christian Lobby - called out

A voice of reason. Finally. 

A Sydney MP is introducing a motion in the New South Wales parliament, condemning the Australian Christian Lobby, and more pointedly it's vile  Jim Wallace. He has continually imported far right crap from overseas, distorted statistics for his own advantage, and made his views over-represented at the highest levels of gov in Australia. Now MP Alex Greenwich wants to call him out on it.
Sydney MP Alex Greenwich will later today introduce a motion in NSW Parliament that “condemns” the Australian Christian Lobby’s attacks on the gay community which he hopes will lead to more politicians distancing themselves from the right-wing, anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian group. 

The motion to be introduced into the lower house by Greenwich will take particular aim at ACL chief Jim Wallace’s bizarre and unfounded claims last September that the “gay lifestyle” was more dangerous to one’s health than smoking. 

“I give notice that … I shall move that this house,” the motion reads. 

“1) Condemns the Australian Christian Lobby for stating that smoking is healthier than being gay and comparing Gay and Lesbian advocates to Nazis; 

“2) Notes that the majority of Christians support equality for gay and lesbian Australians; and 

“3) Notes that Australia is a secular country which separates Church and State.” 

The Independent MP and former Australian Marriage Equality convener, who last week became the first sitting NSW politician to fly a pride flag inside their parliamentary offices, told SX that his motion would provide his colleagues with a good opportunity to consider the aims and goals of an organisation fast resembling a fringe group. 

“I hope my colleagues support this motion and use it as an opportunity to distance themselves from a group that has become increasingly extreme and alarmist,” he said. 

“The Australian Christian Lobby has misrepresented the views of Australia’s Christian community for far too long and it is time their credibility was challenged.” more
A "fringe group" indeed. Jim Wallace doesn't deserve the airspace on TV or radio to preach his hatred, let alone being in negotiations with the Prime Minister (re church discrimination). I suspect the media is happy to have his sensationalist BS on the airwaves as it gets an audience.

A sad death

David was leaving his work yesterday, and just outside the hospital he came across a man lying on the road, apparently just after falling off his bike. He wasn't breathing. He stopped and started CPR, and fellow staff from the hospital also leaving work, came to help. They even ran out with a defibrillator to get his heart started. The guy came back 3 times and his heart and breathing stopped again 3 times. When the ambulance arrived he was still doing CPR on the guy. The ambulance officers tried adrenalin and whatever else. Unfortunately the guy didn't survive. Seems he had a pre-existing heart condition.

David was very upset about it last night. The guy looked about 50-55 he reckoned, with a wedding ring on. Looked very fit, not the sort of bloke you'd expect to die of a heart attack. But he reminded David of his father who died early last year, and all he could think about last night was the police going around to his family and telling them he was dead. Someone who'd simply gone out riding a bike for a bit, and dies. It seemed so unfair that he should go with no family or friends around him, lying on the road. The death was so meaningless.

People were ringing and texting David from his work last night asking if he was OK. Must say I'd not considered before the trauma that health workers can go through when trying to save a life. I was saying to him that he'd done all he could, exactly as he should, but sometimes when your number's up, it's up. Not to feel guilty about it as that was destructive sort of guilt.

He has his own views on life and death of course. My position though was that there's no rhyme or reason to it, but simply the chance of the universe. One person my die out of the blue, their life taken almost at the drop of a hat. Another person, like me who was dead for all money, appears to be some sort of mutant cat with nine lives. There's no good or bad to be applied anywhere, no moral imperative attached to it. I'm no better than the guy who dropped dead on the bike, yet I live and he dies. Why? There's no why. The same as there's no reason for a dice rolling to a six or a one. Life and death is a game of chance.

We talked about that last night. I related how after surviving near death, since then I've felt like I'm on borrowed time or something. Would ask myself why did I survive? But there was no why. I simply had some good luck so to speak. Even meeting David at the pub was a chance meeting. Now I sometimes wonder about how such a good person and I could meet who are so in love with each other. We finally lucked out.

David was saying he's going to appreciate to the most every day. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A bad day

I dunno if it's got to do with the second drop in happy pills or not, but I do remember feeling ill for a while on the first drop. Today though was the worst so far.

The dry retching started this morning, and suddenly a big mouthful of watery spew came up. Ugh, I hate spewing. Unfortunately I wasn't at the toilet and had to go running for it. By the time I got there it sort of exploded out my mouth into the toilet, also out my nose. OMG it was absolutely horrible. Must have been some stomach acid in it as it stung the inside of my nose, to the point I suddenly got an extreme sinus type headache. blew my nose like mad for about half an hour, it was very irritated to say the least, and lots of runny fluid came out. 

Meanwhile the dry retching continued. Fuck! I didn't want to lose all the fuckin pills! Managed to keep it down despite the extensive discomfort. My back fired up with pain as well, dunno why. Finally went to bed and stayed there all morning. The headache slowly dissipated and I put the Voltaren cream on my back which helped. Felt exhausted and eventually went to sleep for a bit. At the moment my back's still aching, still a slight headache, but at least the stinging in my nose has stopped. Hopefully there wasn't much of the pills in the water that came up.

Days like these I start wondering if I should just give up the drop in pills for a bit, but then remind myself to be patient. Has been a busy time with pills in recent months; starting the HIV meds again and now trying to drop on what has been a huge happy pill dose. I hadn't anticipated all the side effects involved. 

Last night stayed at David's again. Was going to go home, but felt fragile and told him so. Felt I needed his company in the night. I dunno if I could do all this without him you know. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Dry retching zombie

Yesterday was the first day that I've reduced the happy pill dose again. It's such a small amount to do it by you wouldn't think there'd be any effect at all, but last time I felt sick and was sort of spaced out for a week or two. This time again I'm feeling sick in the mornings and have taken to staring into space at times again. Walking around the house in a bit of a daze.

David asked yesterday how was I feeling. My answer was, sort of vacant. Like nothing seems to be happening much up there. Maybe the feeling sick wasn't the pills but dinner last night? We had meat pies from the new Pieface store nearby. Very nice, not at all mass produced stuff, made on the premises. Sometimes the pastry can be a bit high in fats though which can be a bit unpleasant for the stomach. Will see tomorrow I guess. Dry retched a little this morning.  

So there it was; dry retching zombie again. I assume this will pass as I get used to the lower dose.

Where are you now?

"Gotta ask yourself a question, where are you now?"