Freshly Doug Weekender

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Better late than never, after the greater part of today spent having doctors peer into my eyes. They thought I had a detached retina, but it isn’t – yet – and probably won’t become so. Phew! It’s a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), complete with flashes and floaters. So I’m late today: sorry about that.

20 years ago today, Federal Cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Paul Keating decided to lift the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the Australian Defence Forces. Happened on November 23, 1992. The British Amy didn’t do it till 2000. The Americans have only just got around to it. Well done Australia.

The Chief Commissioner of the Gardai – the Irish Republic’s police force – has yet to get with the program. He refused to let his men join a gay pride march in uniform, claiming it would be too ‘political.’

Gay Russians had a couple of wins this week: the case against Madonna for spreading gay propaganda to minors was laughed out of court in St Petersburg, while the regional parliament in Moscow threw out a similar anti-gay law because it conflicts with federal legislation.

David Kuria Mbote has become Kenya’s first openly gay man to run for political office.If elected to the Kenyan senate he would be Africa’s only openly homosexual black man to hold national office, but a cabinet minister said there would be a “revolt’ if he were elected.

No such promise in Uganda, where unconfirmed sources have reported that the ‘Hang The Gays’ bill has passed the parliament and now goes to the President for signature. The only hope now is for Musuveni to veto it – but his wife is said to be one of the bill’s strongest supporters.

Meanwhile the producer of a ‘gay play’ in the Ugandan capital Kampala has had his court case postponed till next year. David Cecil was due in court on Thursday to face charges of ‘‘disobeying lawful orders’’ of the Uganda Media Council after refusing to let officials review his play, the River and the Mountain.

In the UK, it seems that the Church of England decision not to ordain women bishops has been the last straw for David Cameron’s government, with indications that they they will now fast-track their gay marriage bill.

Conservative MP Tony Baldry said the vote made the Church look more like a “sect” than a national church.

“I suspect that every right hon. and hon. Member has recently had representations from Church members on same-sex marriage,” he said.

“If the Church of England thinks that Parliament will listen to it with considerable attention on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and so on when the Church of England seems to be so out of step on other issues of concern to Parliament, it is simply deluding itself.”

Permit me a moment of editorialising here: let me say plainly that those who choose to surrender their intellects to the demands of an undetectable entity, especially when mediated via, for example, a venal, corrupt medieval theocratic monarchy, or a group of adolescent desert zealots who have yet to grow up and out of the Crusades, do not deserve any particular respect. Pity, together with appropriate psychiatric assistance, is the logical, sensible response. Or fury, when they behave like this. Or like this.

And finally, a thought to bear in mind as Eurovision approaches. There are more young Swedish men selling sex, than young Swedish women. On the downside, Sweden is one of the most expensive countries in Europe.

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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)