To those who think that biphobic abuse at Pride is ok… (again)

It’s 2016, bisexuals in some form or another have been marching at pride since at least 2006 (that’s when I was first aware of them marching, I wasn’t able to attend).  With the exception of 2 marches in that period, we’ve had abuse yelled at us from the crowd.  Sure it’s only a couple of people, but seriously…

IT IS TIME TO STOP DOING THIS

If you think that bisexuals are confused, not choosing to be fully out, making the gay and lesbian communities look bad (though you’re doing a good one of that yourself), or something else – DON’T TALK TO US.

If you think that yelling abuse at any group at Pride is acceptable – DO NOT COME TO PRIDE.

I was having a really great walk down Fitzroy Street with bisexual people and the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (yes, I know), being distracted by ManHunt behind us, smiling thanks to the cheers, waves and the general positive mood… until you decided that we needed to be told to choose a side.

Listen, the only people who need to choose a fucking side are those that think that biphobia is bad and didn’t actually say something to those arseholes.

This is my request.  If you cannot restrain yourself from being biphobic in public, don’t come to Pride or any other LGBTIQ+ community event.  Stay home, stay amongst your friends who tolerate your biphobia (though why I don’t understand), limit your exposure to bisexuals (and/or the other groups that upset you), just keep your toxicity to yourself

Every time you are biphobic you add to the poorer mental health that bisexuals have versus gay and lesbian people.  You add to the higher rates of violence against us, and to the higher rates of suicide versus gay, lesbian and straight people.  STOP being an awful person. (source)

We really don’t care why you do or do not like bisexual people.  We care about the effects that your toxic behaviour has on us, and we want you to stop.  If you can keep your mouth shut and say nothing, then we’ll all be much happier.

Without bisexuals, you wouldn’t have Pride marches anyway.

Brenda Howard is known as the “Mother of Pride”, for her work in coordinating the march. Howard also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June. Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT Activists Robert A. Martin (aka Donny the Punk) and L. Craigt Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word “Pride” to describe these festivities. As LGBT rights activist Tom Limoncelli put it, “The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why [LGBT] Pride Month is June tell them ‘A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.'” (Wikipedia)

 

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2016 Australia Day Honours – another sausage fest

Congratulations to everyone who was awarded Australia Day Honours this year.  This post in no way is to take away from the awards and the good work that has been done (and is still being done for the most part) by these people.  This post is to look at the stark gender disparity in these awards, to draw attention to the fact that despite women making up half of Australia’s population, we are recognised at a significantly smaller proportion than men.

This is really a data post, there will be graphs and tables, and links, and it will be short, because apart from pointing out the obvious issues, it’s a bit hard to say much else apart from NOMINATE MORE WOMEN EVERYONE.

I pulled the list of awardees from the ABC website, pasted them into Excel and then started noting their gender.  This is problematic for anyone who doesn’t identify as male and female, and may have resulted in me misgendering someone who is gender queer.  I am unaware of any genderqueer people being honoured in the very quick research I’ve put into this, so if I have made a mistake, please let me know.

Where I was unable to identify the gender of the honouree at first glance, I went and looked them up.  The Sydney Morning Herald listed the titles of the awardees, sometimes making it easier, and where they had a gender neutral title, I went looking for them online, until I found a biography or photo.

So, the data breaks down as follows:

Women Awarded Men Awarded Total Awards % Women
AC 3 7 10 30%
AM 46 128 174 26%
AO 15 30 45 33%
OAM 117 258 375 31%
Grand Total 181 423 604 30%

Half the population, less than a third of the awards in total.

Inga Ting at the Sydney Morning Herald has written:

Even if every woman nominated for an Order of Australia award this Australia Day had been successful, women would still have taken home only 40 per cent of awards, figures from the Governor-General’s office show.

Women are more likely than ever to succeed when they are nominated, but they remain no more likely to be nominated than a decade ago, according to historical data.

This year, 75 per cent of women nominated in the general division of the Order of Australia Award made the Honours List, compared with 72 per cent of women nominated in the five years to 2016 and 59 per cent in the five years to 2006.

What can do you do to help?  Think of the women in your life, communities, schools, workplaces, etc that do amazing things.  Nominate them for an award.  Work with others to put them up in lights for the great things that they do. Let’s start recognising each other and winning these awards which we clearly deserve for the work we do.

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Invasion Day

I’m a white Australian.  I live a much easier life, thanks to my skin colour, than my Indigenous brothers and sisters in Australia.  I grew up sheltered from much of the truth about how Colonialism and racism resulted in the decimation of Indigenous Australians.  I was taught that Australia Day was both a public holiday, and a day to celebrate being Australian.

And I slowly learnt better.

Today I don’t celebrate Australia Day.  I listen to the Triple J Hottest 100, I celebrate my anniversary with Scott, and I read about what Indigenous Australians are thinking about or doing today.  I appreciate a public holiday, but we can have public holidays any time of year.  There is nothing to celebrate in the invasion of this country and the resulting decimation of the Indigenous inhabitants. Today should be a day of mourning.

And enough about me, read some great writing from Indigenous people about racism, Invasion Day, and survival.

Pekeri Ruska who is hosting IndigenousX this week, writes for The Guardian:

The true nature of the Frontier Wars is rarely taught in schools and most our massacre sites go unrecognised by the mainstream. Yet Anzac Day is made a public holiday so the country can commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought a foreign war on foreign shores. This is a prime example of white Australia’s denial and guilt. Maybe it’s just too close to home, too unsettling for them to acknowledge that the land they stand on was stolen, drenched in the blood and suffering of our Aboriginal ancestors. The longer they exclude or sugarcoat the whole truth from the curriculum, the longer non-Indigenous Australians will remain ignorant.

Australians can take responsibility for what their ancestors did and maybe find a true meaning to their identity by firstly encouraging the teaching of real history pre- and post-1788. They could go further to understand that not all Aboriginal people want to be recognised in the Australian constitution, and that voting in any election on this issue is an assertion of their privilege.

Luke Pearson (whom I hope that one day I will actually get to meet and buy a drink/meal for) writes at IndigenousX (which he also founded):

If we ever do change the date of Australia Day, it will most likely just become another such ‘moment’.

What words can I write that will have an impact on this? What ‘moment’ can I create for people that will make you realise that ‘moments’ are not just worthless, they can actually be dangerous? What can I say to make people want to give up the benefits of white privilege, and the good feeling that comes from being a good white saviour? How can I help make people see that the reason I write is not for them to have a moment, but in the hopes that it will help bring about change?

But how deep down the rabbit hole are people willing to go? All those people who signed the pledge or who tweet the slogan ‘Racism it stops with me’, how willing are they to make that slogan a reality? What happens when they are told that doesn’t just mean standing up to other people but might also mean taking a look inside themselves? This is what we will need to happen to bring truth the idea that ‘it stops with me’. Because at the moment, from where I am sitting, it never stops.

The awesome Celeste Liddle writes at NITV:

This reinforcement of Australia Day as a day of jingoistic pride was, in my view, a product of the Howard years. In his time as Prime Minister, John Howard would frequently reiterate need to show pride in this country while labelling the attempts by Indigenous activists and historians to bring the true nature of colonisation to the public’s attention as being “black armband” views – just focussed on negatives.

As a person who takes a strong stance in favour of the negotiation of a treaty, I therefore tend to not be too supportive of the calls of many Aboriginal people and our allies to change the date of Australia Day so it doesn’t commemorate the invasion. In my reckoning, until there is a treaty there will be no other date to celebrate the birth of this nation on. And to be honest, I’ve never really understood why non-Indigenous Australia wouldn’t want the opportunity to start afresh. The 26th of January also commemorates the day some of the poorest and most desperate citizens of Great Britain were dumped on the shore of a land halfway across the world to undertake years of cruel labour as punishment for stealing loaves of bread. The opportunity to commemorate the day we come to the table, as equals, and negotiate the way this country moves forward, would indeed make me proud of this country and our ability to work toward a better future. Until then, I much prefer the idea of Invasion Day remaining a day of Indigenous protest and the assertion of sovereignty.

The answer is also not for white Australia to include more Aboriginal people in Australia Day events. It’s not to get more Aboriginal people to sing the National Anthem in public. It’s not to include a welcome to country ceremony before ignoring what this ceremony means. It’s not to misappropriate our iconography as a way of selling your meat. Doing all this merely erases our history and assimilates our identity.

Stan Grant’s speech about racism and the Australian Dream, from a debate in 2015 hosted by The Ethics Centre:

I love a sunburned country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges.

It reminds me that my people were killed on those plains. We were shot on those plains, disease ravaged us on those plains.

I come from those plains. I come from a people west of the Blue Mountains, the Wiradjuri people, where in the 1820’s, the soldiers and settlers waged a war of extermination against my people. Yes, a war of extermination! That was the language used at the time. Go to the Sydney Gazette and look it up and read about it. Martial law was declared and my people could be shot on sight. Those rugged mountain ranges, my people, women and children were herded over those ranges to their deaths.

 

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The arbitrary line in the sand – end of 2015

So this year has been pretty intense.  I’ve dealt with having a cancer diagnosis and the related treatment (currently cured – hooray!).  I’ve dealt with James losing his job and supporting his mental health through that.  I’ve dealt with a really intense and stressful trip to India.  That’s just the last 6 months.  I can barely tell you what happened in the first half of this year that is almost over, because cancer pretty much overshadowed everything – unsurprisingly.  I do have vague memories that it wasn’t particularly good.

I’ve been looking forward to 1 January 2016 so I could kick 2015 in the arse as it left.  It’s an arbitrary line, New Years Day, there is no reason why Friday is the first day of a new year other than that’s what someone decided many hundreds of years ago.  It would make more sense that midwinter/midsummer – a day we have been able to predict with a high degree of accuracy for many hundreds of years – be the beginning/end of a year, but for some reason it’s not.

I’m not complaining, I just think it’s an interesting thing.

I am looking forward to 2016 being a much better year for myself and my family.  I’m looking forward to finding a new job, for James to find a new job, for our finances to even out, for travel plans that I have to resolve, for all my friends and family to have a much less stressful year, for everyone’s health to improve, and for everyone to be safe.

May 2016 be excellent to all of us.  May those of us who make new year resolutions keep them, may those of us who have hopes and dreams for 2016 achieve them, may everyone be awesome to each other.

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My trip in India

So I have recently returned from a two and a half week trip in India  I have a lot of photos, they are here.

Where do I start.  There are some amazing contrasts in India, not just the well-off and poor divide, but the rapid pace of development and ancient monuments, pollution/litter and natural beauty, corruption and generosity, and traffic… that’s a whole category on it’s own.

Continue reading My trip in India

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Breasts and cancer

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, I’ve recovered from radiotherapy (harder mentally than surgery because you’re completely exhausted), I’ve travelled to India (will blog more about that later), and it’s almost Christmas.

I’ve been collecting some articles about breast cancer, the cost of treatment, what we die from young (women = breast cancer), how trans people need to be careful of breast cancer, and really what you can do to ensure that you catch cancer early and get it treated quickly.

Continue reading Breasts and cancer

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I believe in limitations on free speech

I don’t think that speech which harms minoritised groups should be protected. I don’t think that giving another platform to someone who has engaged in hate speech regarding a minoritised group is necessary or that it will add to any ongoing debate. I don’t think that providing a platform to someone who has engaged in hate speech will in any way help them realise that they are harming a group of people, nor will it educate those who are on the fence regarding an issue. In my opinion all it does is reaffirm their existing position, it does not give them an opportunity to learn about how they have harmed others, nor an opportunity for others who do not understand that harm, to understand it better.  I am really not a fan of people (who usually have multiple other platforms) being given another platform to other or dehumanise groups of vulnerable people.

Before I go any further I want to state I am not a trans person, I am cis-gendered.  I do my best to be a good ally to the trans community, but I will (and do) fuck up from time to time.  I will do my best to learn from my mistakes.

Continue reading I believe in limitations on free speech

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A blog about feminism, religion and stuff… in no particular order