Freshly Doug Thursday

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The news that Carl Katter has been accepted into the ranks of the Labor Party has been followed by equally cheering news that the Baillieu government is in trouble in the polls. It’s been a sad disappointment to many of us who were willing to give the Liberals a chance, especially to those of us who gave Prahran Liberal Clem Newton-Brown the chance to show what he could do as an advocate for the GLBTI community. Clem must now be quaking in his boots, knowing that he is now most likely, like his master, a one-hit wonder – especially if he has to face off against a gay opponent.

The early Baillieu days were encouraging, with money for SSA youth mental health and promises (still lumbering towards fulfilment with all the speed and urgency of a Catholic Bishop handing over priestly peadophiles to police, or Andrew Demetriou doing anything meaningful to root out homophobia in AFL change rooms) of a revived Ministerial Advisory Committee on Health. Since when it’s all been pretty much inertia all the way. However . .  in other news . . . .

Guilty secret: I know the National Enquirer is tabloid trash, but don’t you just love it sometimes? Jessica Simpson’s dad is gay! Who knew? I mean, who knew who Jessica Simpson was? Isn’t she a cartoon or something? Her dad is apparently one of those fire-and-brimstone preachers: and he’s denied it all anyway. Though he is getting divorced. The young man in question is probably only stuck to him like a limpet for spiritual guidance. Whatever.

As I gear up for tonight’s Rainbow Report on Religion in Schools, a French government minister has picked up on California’s lead and upset the God Squad, suggesting that school textbooks should include gay historical figures. Shock! Horror! That might out people who ‘chose’ not to come out during their lifetimes, say opponents. ‘Scuse me folks, but in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re dead!

Also in France, a picture of couple of women kissing has caused a bit of a brouhaha. They kissed during an anti-equal marriage rally in the city of Marseille. The shocked faces of the predominantly elderly protesters in the background speak volumes. Plus the fact that the women are not themselves gay: they just wanted to draw attention to the issue with a pure and simple gesture of solidarity. Gotta love those straight allies.

Western Europe continues to be the place to be if you’re gay. The Dutch government is looking to expand marriage rights for GLBTI , The justice ministry will investigate recognising three parents or more per family, according to a spokesperson. Over in Spain, a lesbian is suing the government for damages, over her harassment during the Franco era.

Elsewhere the news is grim. In Senegal, Jupiter Tamsir Ndiaye has been sentenced to four years without parole, and his co-accused Matar Diop Diagne to three, for having sex with one another. In Saudi Arabia the hated and feared religious police raided and closed a gay ‘health club’. Here in Oz, gay ‘conversion therapy’ continues to escape control, despite two shocking cases. At the University of Canberra a Catholic GP  allegedly offered a student hormone treatment to change his sexuality, and recently a GP from the Exclusive Brethren religious sect was struck off after offering chemical castration to a gay teenager.

The US Presidential election continues – incredibly – tight. I cannot for the life of me understand anyone with half a functioning brain cell voting for Romney – and certain not those Quislings, the Log Cabin Republicans, who have endorsed him. I’m with Ellen, here: Romney’s scary. Of course, the real but unspoken reason Obama isn’t doing better against a rich, arrogant, intolerant and frankly rather stupid opponent, is that he’s black, and Romney’s white. Not for nothing have folks turned out at Romney rallies wearing t-shirts like this

But let’s not end on such a sour note. Chris Kluwe, living proof that US football players also have brains,  continues to be the best straight ally ever. I’ve written about him before.  Now he’s at it again, saying

“The first gay athlete to come out will have endorsement deals the likes of which you’ve never seen, Think about Gatorade, think about Nike, think about those huge companies that want to stamp their brand, their logo on this generation’s Jackie Robinson.  You’re telling me that’s not the biggest marketing opportunity in 50 years?  I mean, it’s huge.”

Surely the AFL should be able to see the massive potential for their gay players? There’s a fuller post about Chris here. Please, please have a read. He’s amazing.

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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)