Freshly Doug Thursday

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Yet another request today to support an LGBTQ (sic) film project. Unlike most of the others this wasn’t linked to a Kickstarter or Pozible account, just a rambling email request for money, introductions to ‘other activists like yourself’, plus an assurance that I would of course feature prominently in the finished product. It was disturbingly like those scam emails that are panting to split a million bucks with you, if only you’ll give them your bank account details up front. Avoid.

As some of you may have detected, I’m not much of a fan of organised religion, but among the Dodgy Denises, Groping Georges and Soapy Syds there is the occasional shining light. One such is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has published an op-ed in the Kampala Daily Monitor ticking off Ugandans for even considering the anti-gay bill, with or without the death penalty.

A rather more surprising ally popped up in Asia. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke out against discrimination.

“There are gays and lesbians in every country, so there should be no discrimination against them just because of their destiny,” he said. He appealed to his countrymen to show respect for gay people, saying “Most of them are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles.”

Gays and lesbians have a hard time in every country – no matter how far we may have come, there’s still a lot further to go. Especially in Italy, where 10% of school students report getting bashed for being gay.

British MPs are in a state of high anxiety, leaping in fear at every excruciating scream and cry from the opponents of marriage equality. To read the tabloids you’d think the Conservatives, the Church of England, and the Labor Party (whose leader Ed Milliband is copping flak for ‘doing a Gillard’ and allowing a conscience vote) were gnawing off their own arms and legs, and roaring round the Houses of Parliament beating each other over the head with them. The sooner the vote puts them all out of their misery the better.

Getting marriage equality through is a tortuous business at the best of times, but the British agonies will at least in the end produce national marriage equality. Worse agonies will have to be endured by those pursuing the death-by-a-thousand-cuts strategy of trying to get individual state and territory marriage equality bills up, with far less certainty of outcome. Take, for example, the Australian Capital Territory. Please.

The LGBT news from the US is barely news at all. Pics of couples getting married in states where they couldn’t get married before (hoorah), Gaga copies Madonna again and gets threatened by Russian authorities (yawn), speculation over which way the US Supreme Court will jump, . . . . . and of course, when all those have been done to death (and they have) that good old standby when you can’t think what else to fill  your pages with – lists. The sixteen best jockstraps, the twelve worst Xmas presents, and the 27 gayest Xmas songs.

Comedians Stephen Colbert and John Stewart still provide better news and analysis than any serious outlet – unfortunately most of their content is blocked here. Now Colbert is apparently running for a US Senate seat. From time to time people suggest that I should get together with numerous others who agitate for reform outside the party system, and run for the Australian Senate.

I’d rather see a comics party running: let’s get, say, Will Anderson, Dave Hughes, and Catherine Deveney into parliament. They could call it Stand Up Australia. Just think of the fun we would all have once they could really speak their minds under parliamentary privilege. Unfortunately the only comedian on offer is Julian Assange.

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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)