Freshly Doug Monday

Pic: BBC, Dr Who

I always knew lesbians were different, I just didn’t know by how much. BBC: Dr Who

While I was being gently steamed in the humid Queensland climate, people got their marching shoes on in Gladstone and Albury in support of marriage equality, while Shepparton had a gay festival Out in the Open.

This year Yackandandah celebrated their 8th Spring Migration, while the pioneering Daylesford ChillOut Festival in March celebrates 15 years of country queeriosity, having been held every year bar one since 1997.

Diversity is no longer confined to tight little city enclaves, we’re busting out all over, and thank goodness for that.  Parades and Carnivals in Melbourne and Sydney may have lost their edge and even much of their reason to exist, but there’s no doubt about the need for marches and carnivals in places like Mt Isa, Albury, Gladstone and Shepparton. 

One place where we’re not especially welcome, however, is in religious schools. Or hospitals, care homes, or, in theory, Weetbix factories. You can be sacked, or refused employment, for being gay (or a single mum) from any of these places, quite legally. Not many people know that.

Laws and HIV make uncomfortable bedfellows. On the one hand, I would hope that I had an untramelled right not to be exposed to an incurable virus without my express prior consent.  My life and my health are my own to put at risk if I choose, and no-one else’s. On the other hand, if HIV positive people know there’s a risk that they might be jailed for exposed others to the virus either ‘recklessly’ (whatever that means) or deliberately, they might become less than honest with their medical advisers, thus compounding the difficulty of eradicating the virus. All jurisdictions struggle with this one: under the current government one wonders what Queensland will do next.

Briefly:

Over in the US the anti-equal-marriage movement is falling apart, with different factions blaming one another for their failures. Good. Meanwhile another anti-gay advocate has been caught doing what he oughtn’t.

The ‘Let’s All Lynch The Gays’ bill continues to be pushed by the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament: I wonder why she’s in such a rush to get it passed NOW, and, more to the point, who’s paying the bills?

South Australian parliamentarians, on the other hand, will be treated to a lecture explaining how and why they could pass a state-based same-sex marriage bill.

And Dr Who will bring back the interspecies lesbian pair for the Christmas special. Just so long as there are no more Ponds.

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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)