Freshly Doug Monday

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Followers of the stirrer will know we are passionate about ending homophobic bullying and exclusion in schools, once and for all, because of the damage that it does. Now we have proof that although it does get better, the scars can last a lifetime.

The study, authored by Duke psychiatry professor William E. Copeland told me over the phone, says the research shows (to his surprise) that bullying does measurable long-term psychological harm. And not just to the victims, but to the bullies, too. And that makes preventing bullying even more urgent.

If the results of this study are dismaying because they indicate that bullying is permanently scarring, the findings also strengthen the argument for prevention. Copeland underscores this idea.

“Consider me a reluctant convert, but I’m starting to view bullying the same way I do abuse in the home,” he said. “I honestly think the effects we’re observing here are just as potent. And that’s definitely not the way American researchers look at things.

They want to know all about what parents are doing at home. Peers aren’t considered a priority. But these days, with all the time they spend on the Internet, kids are spending even more time with their peers, and that’s a factor we need to pay more attention to.”

Of course Ye Olde Australian Christaliban Lobby are vehemently opposed to ‘teaching homosexuality’, as they dub anti-bullying efforts.

Liberal Leader Tony Abbott has a different idea for improving the education system. Forget Gonski, forget chaplains, forget school counsellors. He says all Aussie kids must read the Christian bible. Even, presumably, if they’re Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Animist, Buddhist or Atheist. All of them. What next? Only Christian priests should run schools? That worked out well the last time, didn’t it?

Of course, he’d make sure they were fine upstanding pure gentlemen: like Cardinal Keith O’Brien. You know the bloke: a handsome distinguished-looking fellow who allegedly had some cosy but inappropriate relationships with young trainee priests when he was their “spiritual director”.

But that was years ago; who cares about that now? Let’s not dwell on the past, but remember the good times. Like last November, when Cardinal O’Brien was named ‘Bigot of the Year’ for boldly saying that same-sex relationships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing”, and comparing equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.

This business of smearing your opponents as ‘gay’ has really reached ridiculous heights. Pastor Scott Lively, who makes Cardinal O’Brien look like a caring, benevolent old duffer, says he has proof President Obama is gay. This charming man, who infamously supports the Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ bill, made the claim on his Defend The Family organization’s website.

Lively is angry because the President has just petitioned the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

According to the filing, the law “violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection” before the law stipulated by the US Constitution.

DOMA “denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples,” read the brief signed by US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

We’re still waiting to hear that Uganda has finally moved on its murderous bill: in the meantime, the situation there remains dire for LGBTI. As we reported last week, It’s also getting worse in Nigeria and now we have this report from Kenya.

Gay men, Mantully suggests, are not only ostracised by our homophobic community, but also by religion something he terms “the height of hypocrisy”.

“They condemn homosexuality and talk about Sodom and Gomorrah. They are the first people to throw the proverbial stone, yet they are our clients,” complains Mantully.

Homosexuality does not go down well with most Kenyans, with many terming it sinful and unAfrican.  Gays and lesbians are victimised, beaten in public and some, like Nzioka, forcefully evicted from their rental houses. Some Kenyans have taken the battle online with homophobic blogs, viciously attacking the homosexuals and their supporters in a bid to humiliate and intimidate them.

The Laws of Kenya also criminalises homosexuality and slaps a penalty of five to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Africa isn’t the only place where being gay, lesbian, bi, trans or intersex can be dangerous – even sometimes fatal. Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia are also very dangerous. Can you imagine what it’s like living in a place where your home, your job, your family, even your life could be forfeit, just for being who you are?

Even fame will not save you.

Anton Krasovsky, who served as editor in chief of Kontr TV, an Internet and cable television network launched by the Kremlin in December, said in an interview recently that human rights and liberties are violated more and more and that “mutual hatred and resentment is being instilled in the Russian society from above.”

Kasovsky lost his job after he came out as gay.

While anchoring a late-night TV show on Jan. 25, Krasovsky, 37, said that not only is he gay, he is also “as human as President [Vladimir] Putin, Prime Minister [Dmitry] Medvedev” and the members of the parliament.

He jokes that no-one minds that he is gay: it was his claim to be as human as Putin that got him sacked.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)