Category Archives: LGBTIQ

Submission to the Senate on marriage equality

I wrote a submission to the Australian Senate on marriage equality (see below).  You too can comment here or follow the steps on this website here.

An individual’s religious beliefs on the morality of a particular practice should in no way prevent someone else from undertaking that practice.  As a pluralistic society we accept differences of belief and activity.  We understand that some people enjoy soccer and others enjoy AFL.  We understand that some religions have dietary restrictions and others don’t.  We understand that some people dress in ways they believe are compatible with their religion, and others dress in ways that they feel comfortable in doing.

In none of these activities does one religion hold sway over other people’s actions and choices, except where it comes to equal marriage.  For some reason, some religious people (thankfully a minority), believe that the strictures in their holy book apply to everyone, regardless of whether or not they are followers of that religion or that particular understanding of that religion.

An individual’s personal beliefs on what is right and wrong should not impact on the full recognition of human rights for others.  A long time ago anyone who was not white was deemed to be sub-human – those views changed, despite some people protesting that it was against their understanding of their religious text.  A long time ago women could not vote, and if working earned less than their male counterparts in many cases.  Those views changed despite some people protesting that it was against their understanding of their religious text.

The world changes and moves, gradually everyone who is missing out on fundamental human rights will either have them granted to them by law, or by societal recognition.

In the end, to refuse a group the right to marriage because it is against some religious texts is not the fairness I expect living in Australia.  If there are no non-religous reasons to allow equal marriage in Australia, we should allow it.  Just as we have allowed changes in the past to things considered “traditional” (equality of women, humanity of non-white people), we can change “traditional” understandings of things now.

We haven’t let the bigots of the past hold back the future, it’s time to recognise that granting equal marriage to those in committed relationships who happen to be same sex is a step forward.  In no country where this has happened has the world ended.  We know it will be only good for equality here.

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Biphobia

So, what is biphobia?  This is a question I field fairly often, not that surprising that I’m the current Vice President of the Bi-Alliance Victoria committee, especially when we participate in media outreach, and arguing about the validity of bisexuality on the interwebs.  So definitions, there are some handy ones recently put together by a UK study, and a US study – which has just been approved by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Committee (LGBTAC), an officially chartered body of the City and County of San Francisco.

This is the first time a governmental body in the United States has approved and released a report of this kind on the indiscernibility of bisexuals and bisexuality in social and civic life. (from here)

Continue reading Biphobia

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The Australian Family Association are bi/homophobic

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, after all they are a religious (though ecumenical) organisation dedicated to “the family” whatever that means to them.  That in itself is an interesting thing, family is really quite a nebulous term, and I am not convinced that narrowing the definition to the current idea of a nuclear family does anyone any good.  Surely families are more than two opposite sex individuals and their 2.4 children living in suburban Australia.  Surely family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, your best friends, siblings, your best friend’s kids (if they have any), your neighbour, nephews, nieces, and anyone else that you consider part of your family.

But anyway, the Australian Family Association is all about the rigidly defined nuclear family.  One woman, one man, and any children that they may have during that relationship.  They appear to be a bit fuzzy on children that aren’t from that relationship, and that’s one of the points which will I’ll use to nail them in their “Arguments defending children’s rights over same-sex couples’ rights” (yes that’s right.  And the only reason I’m linking to it is to prove that I’m not making it up).

Continue reading The Australian Family Association are bi/homophobic

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Umbrella phrases

Last weekend I went to Melbourne’s Midsumma Carnival to volunteer at my work’s stand for a couple of hours.  The weather was lovely, the people were fantastic and I had a really great time.  Just one thing bothered me, and it’s the thing that always bothers me, because language is a powerful thing.  Let me be very clear

Gay and Lesbian do not equal LGBTIQ.  Gay does not equal LGBTIQ.  Lesbian does not equal LGBTIQ.

Continue reading Umbrella phrases

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Being out and proud

I have discussed this on my poly blog (which will one day be migrated to here) before, that it is rare to have a negative experience when I out myself as either poly or queer these days.  Now there are many reasons for that, some of which are internal and some external (white, middle class, cis-female, able bodied privilege ahoy).  Oh and the fact that I get to choose my audience also plays a large part.  It is rare that I am outed and feel that I have to justify myself and my choices – though that happens from time to time.

There is a big difference in power between telling someone something in an environment in which you are comfortable and have an expectation of the reaction and having someone else tell someone with the potential for accusation, interrogation and a negative reaction, not to mention real and actual harm.  I don’t go around telling people I know who will react badly because I don’t want to waste the energy on ameliorating that reaction and any relationships that may be impacted.  Though sometimes I am tempted to be evil and tell people so they go away and leave me alone – sadly those situations are usually ones where my parents would be impacted instead of me and I don’t think that’s fair on them.

Continue reading Being out and proud

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“It has always been that way since the dawn of humanity.”

You know, with the exception of scientific laws, every time I hear someone say the above, I know that I have ever just heard or am about to hear, something that is complete bollocks.

So today the Australian Labour Party voted in favour of “gay” marriage (from here on in referred to as equal marriage).  The ALP national platform now supports equal marriage, though sadly the conscience vote still holds.  I don’t understand how elected representatives are allowed to vote with their conscience and not with the will of their electorate, clearly that’s just me (and several million other Australians).

Continue reading “It has always been that way since the dawn of humanity.”

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What is “natural”?

Fred Nile decided to have a hate filled rant today after Penny Wong shared her happy news that her partner was pregnant and thanked the IVF services that made this possible.  I don’t want to give Fred Nile more air time, because I don’t think he deserves it, but I do want to focus on just one tiny point he’s made that is just so silly that it needs to be looked at.

She needn’t have made it public – it just promotes their lesbian lifestyle and trying to make it natural where it’s unnatural.

 

Fred Nile is clearly an arbiter of what is and what is not natural and he should be the man we all approach whenever we want to ask what is and what is not natural.  Because really, what is “natural”?

If we go back to the Bible that Fred Nile believes that all of us (even those that aren’t Christian) should follow, it has a lot to say about what is good and what is bad, but doesn’t focus all that much on what is natural and what is unnatural.  Clearly Nile believes that unnatural things are bad, so modern society with our reliance on technology, plastics and machines must be unnatural, since they are not directly from nature.  I’m sure that Nile would agree that modern society is a bad thing, what with our desire for equality for the LGBTIQ community, so Nile must also be pushing to return modern society back to an agrarian age where we lived more in harmony with nature (including suffering from natural diseases and famines).

Perhaps Nile is suggesting that being queer is unnatural, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary in nature.  After all plenty of animal species show evidence of homosexual and/or trans* behaviour, and nothing is more natural than animals in the wild.  So if animals in the wild are busy shagging whatever takes their fancy, why is it unnatural that some humans are doing the same?  What is so unnatural about same sex relationships when taken into broader consideration with the whole animal kingdom, especially as we evolved from an ape-like ancestor?

Even if Nile is a creationist (it’s hinted at in his Wikipedia profile), according to his beliefs god created every person in His image (capitalisation only for differentiation between Nile and god), so if god created queer people, then surely that’s god’s will.  Who is Nile to say what is and what is not natural when god has created someone to be who they are?

In the end, surely what would be more unnatural would be someone who is same sex attracted forcing themselves to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex just to satisfy the desires of conservative Christian wankers.

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Being queer and (not) donating blood

I can’t donate blood because I am married (and have sex with) a man who has sex with men (mostly a man, but sometimes other men).  Regardless of how safe our sex lives are, regardless of all the rules we have in place to keep us disease free, we can’t donate blood.  My husband, because he has sex with men (mostly his husband), and me because I have sex with my husband.

But that’s where the scrutiny stops.  My other husband (the straight one) and my girlfriend can all go and donate blood, because they aren’t having sex with someone who is male who has sex with other men.  The scrutiny stops one jump beyond even those the disease vectors don’t.  I’m unable to find the classic HIV ad that was screened in Australia (on YouTube at least) which asked if you knew who your partner’s previous sexual partners were, and were you safe from HIV.

My tribe practices safe sex.  We have strict rules, which include regular STI testing, to keep ourselves free from diseases and to protect each other.  We trust each other and practice full disclosure, so it feels like a bit of a slap in the face when the Red Cross doesn’t do the same.  I do get that 65% of new diagnoses of HIV are from men who sleep with men (2009), and if you take the ultraconservative number of queer people in Australia to be 5% of the total population, then that’s slightly more than one in every 1000 gay men who are diagnosed with HIV – odds that those who rely on blood transfusions don’t want to have to face.  Therefore banning (deferring as it tends to be put) men who have sex with men from donating blood is easier than well all of the other options.

But to tell men who have sex with men that if they remain male-sex free for 12 months then they can donate blood is… well… rude.  “Hello men who have sex with men, I know that you enjoy it, may be in a long-term, monogamous relationship with that man that you’re having sex with, but we treat all queer men the same, so when you’re next celibate for 12 months then we’ll think about letting you back in our club.  In the mean time, go on and do that thing which is risky and leads to us rejecting your blood.”

Of course, the other problem with the whole thing is that if my husband was not bisexual and we were still openly polyamorous, I could go and have risky sex every weekend with whoever I wanted, and donate blood.  The Red Cross’s rules are based on statistics and not actual behaviour.  Because more men who have sex with men are diagnosed with HIV than any other group, all those queer men who are in monogamous relationships or who practice safe sex are discriminated against, as are their female partners (if they have them).  All heterosexual individuals who engage in risky sex don’t have to worry about being banned from donating blood (should they want to).

There has to be a better way of dealing with this.  Of capturing information about STI status from existing STI tests, of asking questions about relationship status, and asking questions about the type of sex engaged in by those who wish to donate blood.  Perhaps instead of being squeamish about asking questions or providing answers to such things, we should be more open about STI status, sexual history and relationship status, especially when it comes to essential supplies.

 

UPDATE:  I’ve just been alerted to this great story of a man being turned away from donating blood in the US because he “appeared” gay.  The story also has more on the banning of queer men from blood donation.

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Dan Savage is still biphobic

Dan Savage wrote a piece in The Stranger this week, claiming that he’s not biphobic and that the problems that bisexuals face are mostly their own fault (no really). The comments on this piece are really good too.

The tagline for this article is:

You Need to Come Out to Your Friends and Spouses—Now

Well thanks Dan for that order, I’ll get to it right away… actually no, you can stop dictating what I should and should not do, what bisexuals should and should not do.  I tend to not read a whole lot of Dan Savage’s writing, I find him annoying, biphobic and judgemental.  I don’t know if he orders other members of the LGBTIQ community out of the closet, but surely issues of safety and the like would prevent most people ordering others out of the closet (granted this doesn’t seem to factor in the thinking of the media who happily out politicians, celebrities and other public figures if they think they can get away with it).

Continue reading Dan Savage is still biphobic

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Rip and Roll – the continuation

I wasn’t going to blog about this, I really wasn’t.  Of the three topics I had handed to me on Friday (swearing fines, Penny Wong being miaowed at, and Rip Roll), I decided to focus my efforts somewhere other than this topic – as it had been covered very nicely in the media as well as elsewhere.  But then the ACL stuck their head up again today, and I can’t not smack them for it.

Lyle Shelton, an apologist for the ACL it seems, had a piece published on ABC’s The Drum, today called, “Abusive labels and slurs no substitute for real debate” (user comments afterwards really good).  Excuse me while I take this apart.

Continue reading Rip and Roll – the continuation

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