Jan 26

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I am feeling completely demoralised after Margaret Courts latest foray into gay rights.

Court, an Australian sporting hero, now a minister in her own church that she founded, is using her sporting status as a platform to launch an all out attack on me and people in our community.  (That’s everyone, not just the gay community)

We live in a world of moral values. Even those without faith know what is right and what is wrong. We all have a conscience and so many people get trapped in the pattern of saying something is right when deep down they know it isn’t.

It’s that attitude that can harden hearts. People suddenly justify the immoralities around them. We have taken the easy way out. Minorities are now making it harder for the majority. They are increasingly taking everything that is good in society and pushing it to the side.

Looking back, you can see that there has been a steep decline, especially when it comes to the issue of sexuality. There is so much scripture within the Bible that points to what we see happening now. We are losing that sense of discipline.

These three paragraphs are saying that I know deep down that my sexuality is wrong.  I’ve hardened my heart and as a minority, I’m making it harder for the majority.  I’m taking everything good in society and pushing it aside.  Think on that for a few moments…    There is a steep decline in moral values, and it’s because of the homosexuals.  The bible says so.

I can tell you now, I am a principled man with a very good set of ethics and I don’t lack discipline of any sort.

Let me be clear. I believe that a person’s sexuality is a choice. In the Bible it said that homosexuality is among sins that are works of the flesh. It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings. But I truly believe if you are told you are gay from a young age, soon enough it will start to impact your life and you will live it. If somebody is told they are gay they often start to believe it.

A choice?  You think I chose this?  You think I want to be the victim of such outright abuse?  You think that I deliberately chose a sexuality that I knew would be a rocky road because of attitudes coming from religious people that I’m a sinner?  You think that because somebody told me I was gay at primary school, that’s what ‘made’ me gay?

At this point I have a hissy fit, yell and scream a lot and hurl all sorts of abuse at the likes of Margaret Court.  I am not part of some ‘minority’ out to change the world.  I want acceptance and to live with all people in our community.

The article by Court was printed in the middle pages of today’s Herald Sun, it had a two page spread with the headline “Priority is to protect marriage”.  On the right of the article was this small piece by Doug Pollard.

There is so much to pull apart from Court’s vitriolic writing, I don’t even know how to start.  The Herald Sun should hang it’s head in shame for printing such an obviously inflammatory and vilifying article that has the potential to cause great harm.

My sexuality is not a threat or a danger to the next generation.  My sexuality is not a choice.  My sexuality is not something that needs to be cured.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling of disgust and revulsion that I feel after reading this article.

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Jan 21
  • Michael and I took a four week holiday in August 2011.  We spent our time at Mallacoota in the far east of Victoria.  This is another of my journal entries.  There are others here.

Mallacoota is great during the day, there’s so much beauty all around, but that’s only part of the joy of being somewhere remote.

The world takes on a whole other aspect as the sun sets, and then when it’s dark. We’ve been lucky to be here at a time when the moon is mostly hidden from the night sky. This has let us see some terrific night scenery.

Double Bay Sign

Click to see more great photos by Michael

Let’s start with our trip to the Double Bay nature trail. We’d walked around this very short trail earlier in the day in broad daylight. It’s an interesting walk that follows Double Creek along a valley and into a remnant of rainforest, the track then winds its way upward and into a sparsely wooded area. There’s plenty of evidence of wildlife around. We returned just before the sunset, about 17.45.

We walked around to a seat we’d seen earlier and sat as the sun set and twilight descended. At first it was quiet, but with the increasing gloom the bird life began to settle down for the night. Suddenly the forest erupted into birdsong as each bird laid claim to its roosting spot in the trees. It was near impossible to pick any one bird call among all the sqwarking. The birds were already in the trees when we arrived, so we didn’t get to see to many of them, and those we did were silhouetted against the darkening sky. As it gradually got darker the birds made less noise. The sky was now turning from its daylight blue to black, casting an eerie effect across the forest. The sound of the birds all but dying away was replaced with the noise of insects who starting chirping their nightime songs. Up in the tree tops we could make out a bat flying around in a large circle and beyond that the first stars of the evening began to appear.

All was tranquil now. We sat in the dark listening to the creaks and groans of the forest, until it was completely dark.  There’s plenty of wombat poo around, and I was hoping to see one waddle past, maybe even a possum or small marsupial might scurry along the forest floor.  There were faint sounds, and every now and then, I’d do a sweep of the trees with my torch, but we didn’t say anything apart from fleeting glances of our friendly bat.

After an hour of enjoying this unique experience we grabbed our lights and made our way out.

The Moon

Click to see more great photos by Michael

The night skies here are dark, and it is a great opportunity to get out and do some star gazing. The night we went out at about midnight was cloudless and clear. We headed down to Bastion Point. Nobody else was about, Mallacoota is a real quiet country town in the off season.  The galaxy, and indeed the cosmos was spread out in front of us. From here we are close to the head of the Mallacoota inlet, off in the distance we can see the light house of Gabo Island, we can make out the top of the Howe Range mountains and then the stars.  There’s the sound of waves crashing and every now and then the distinct noise of a hopping kangaroo.  The milky way is in full flight, stretching its hazy light across the sky. I can make out the Southern Cross, which is quite low in the sky, there’s Canopus and Altair. I can make out the constellation of Pegasus and Scorpio. Then the crowning glory of of viewing.  Jupiter.  Low in the eastern sky, the brightest object we can see.  Its just cleared the horizon and is casting its faint, and yet bright light across the water leaving a beam of light  rolling on the waves.  I’ve never seen the beaming light of a planet dance across the water before. We’ve all seen the light of the setting sun or moon across the water, it’s only in a really dark place that you can see reflection of a planet in the water. Simply stunning.

Never to be one far from technology, I have with me my Acer tablet computer, with it I have Google Sky maps, a great addition to star gazing. Long gone are the days of the 1980’s where I had a sky wheel, a cardboard chart to dial up the time of day and time of year to get an approximation of the night sky. Then I’d have to try and handle a torch with red cellophane over the lens to diffuse the light, hold it up to the sky and orientate yourself. Now the tablet app can work out where in the world you are and deliver a pretty good representation of the sky.  I revel in the technology, scanning the night sky with my eyes and comparing it to the chart in my hands.  Finding the names and making out the constellations.  Picking up my binoculars and looking at stars for a different view.

It’s a little damp, and getting a bit chilly.  We have our beanies and gloves on.  The sky is ablaze with light as we talk about our place in this rather overwhelmingly large universe.  It’s a great chance to sit and reflect.

Finally after a couple of hours we called it quits and headed back to the warmth of the inside world, leaving the moon to make its own way across the night sky.


  • Michael takes great photos, be sure to check out his galleries here.

Enjoy these images from his gallery, Double Creek Nature Trail & Gipsy Point.

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Jan 16

Most of us are pretty unaware of discrimination against other people.  Unless the discrimination personally affects us we generally don’t notice.

Much has been done to reduce discrimination against people who are disabled and against our indigenous people.  These are two fairly common areas that our society has worked hard in trying to ensure equality exist.1

It comes as no surprise that I feel discriminated against in several ways.  I find that this discrimination is led mostly by religious people who use their religion to claim a special right to say discrimination is ok.

I’m not asking for special consideration, I’m simply asking that I am treated the same as everyone else.  Instantly this places me in a dilemma.  The churches will say that being gay is a sin against their god.  They’ll also say that because of this moral objection, the church should not be forced to interact in anyway with people who are gay.  They get away with it, and if I so much as say that I think that’s wrong then it’s me that is told I’m evil and that I don’t respect their view.

Well, on that one they’re right, I don’t respect their view.  That’s my judgement call.  Sure, have your views, but don’t try and tell me that they are somehow sacred and can’t be changed.  I’m not buying that for a minute.

But religions want it both ways, they want the government to legislate to protect them against gay people.  There are plenty of examples of how governments will make sure that equal rights legislation will cover the rights of indigenous people, the rights of the disabled and the rights of women.  Here in our very own state, the new Liberal government was barely in power for a week before repealing legislation allowing religious organisations to fire someone simply because of their sexuality.

The whole issue of marriage equality is a classical example.  Religious types are all up in arms that if allowed, the world will end.  The pope even said so.

Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself

When he says family, he means a man, a woman and as many children as possible. He wants there to only be one type of family, his ideal.  The man, in the dress, with red shoes and a smart hat wants to ensure that governments the world over do not legislate for marriage equality.

He’s very shy on the reasons why.  What makes it even worse is that he doesn’t care about the fact that there are many different types of families now.  A lot of them are not based on the man, woman and children model.  Allowing marriage equality isn’t going to change the way families actually form.

It’s not just the christians who strive to enshrine discrimination based on gender and equality.  It’s the jews and muslims too.

While the jewish community does a little to support the rights of gay people, there is much to be done.  For example, the JCCV in Victoria published this media release that included the line:

Rabbi Rapoport contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community. However, the JCCV has a responsibility as the roof body to what it can do for the GLBT community within this restriction.

I’m willing to say that the rabbi was only giving his opinion, but for the JCCV to then actually publish that is a slap in the face to all people who are gay and jewish.  It’s just another form of discrimination.

The orthodox rabbis also have problems with gay people.  A letter to the Australian in late 2011 included this terrific idea:

This is not intended to show any discrimination against the gay community, but simply to uphold the sanctity and purpose of marriage…
We call upon Australians to stand opposed to any attempt, whether judicial, legislative or religious in nature, to bestow the sanctity of marriage upon same-sex couples.

If it quacks like a duck.

Margaret Court is a minister in the church she founded in Western Australia, she had this to say about marriage equality:

They are not perfect (marriage between one man and one woman), often dysfunctional and despite the fact the role models may be distorted and even severely flawed, there is no reason to put forward alternative, unhealthy, unnatural unions as some form of substitute (marriage between people of the same gender),” she said. “No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life.

When she says alternative, unhealthy and unnatural unions, she’s talking about me and my relationship.  I find that pretty disgusting.  Elsewhere you’ll find how this sort of talk encourages homophobia and contributes to mental health issues and even suicide.

There are some who have been so disgusted by the comments of Court that they plan to make a show of it at the Australian Open by displaying the rainbow flag.  Some are even calling for the court named in her honour to be renamed.  For this bold action of responding to her complete disrespect of me and Michael, the Australian Christian Lobby responds with this:

“Kerryn Phelps has said gays are sick of being punching bags, but who is doing the punching here and look at who they have chosen as a target”
That activists could be calling for Margaret Court’s name to be removed from the stadium that rightly honours her is unbelievable, and typifies the selfishness of an agenda that pays no regard to the feelings or reputation of anyone else, not even a national icon

“Pays no regards for the feelings or reputation of anyone else?”  Therein likes the key to all of this.  I’m vilified and discriminated against, but I have to accept it because it comes from the mouth of a religious person.  A religion that I have no interest in.  I’m expected to allow her the right to say these things about me because it’s her right.  This is religion wanting it both ways.

Suggest that the religious ritual slaughter of animals in Australia should be stopped and before you get to the end of the sentence you’ll have organisations like the ECAJ jumping on you to tell you that what they do is really ok, and that the animals don’t suffer.  To deny them their right to eat meat that has been ritually killed would be discrimination against their beliefs.

Try suggesting that perhaps on a Saturday certain jews could push the button on the lights to cross a busy road rather than spend thousands and thousands of dollars on implementing a new system and you’ll have the JCCV jumping up and down because you’re not respecting their human rights to follow their religion.

Yet, here I sit, having my rights trampled on.  I’m not asking for anything special.  I just want the pope to stop calling me a threat to humanity.  I want the rabbis to understand that my family is not a threat to society, I want the christians like Court to refrain from referring to me as unhealthy, and I want organisations like the ACL to get off their high horse of claiming victim status anytime somebody take exception to christian bigotry.

The likes of the ECAJ, the JCCV and the ACL are outwardly happy to discriminate against people who they deem as unhealthy or unworthy of full acceptance into their communities.  They fight with all their might to continue to exclude the likes of me from things like marriage.  On the other hand, they cry loudly, they stamp their feet and scream about bigotry if any one at all should so much as suggest that perhaps their self-righteous claims to special treatment is antiquated and wrong.  They feel discriminated against, while all the time continually discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people.

The ACL is a lost cause, their bigotry knows no bounds.  The ECAJ and the JCCV have come a long way, but still we are yet to hear them fully support the GLBTI people in their community.  We are still yet to hear support from them in the area of marriage equality.  The ECAJ says that it:

REAFFIRMS our profound commitment on behalf of the Australian Jewish community to the dignity of difference, gender equality, and a belief in the equality of humankind;

Profound commitment to equality? But there is not any mention of support for marriage equality on their website.

While they are busying talking about killing cows and having automated traffic lights, people in their community are suffering from the anguish of how to deal with their gender identity or sexual orientation.  The focus is on the wrong thing.  The bigotry within must be stopped before the bigotry without can be dealt with.

Every time someone like Court vilifies me I feel it.  Every time the christian lobby says I’m selfish and have no regard for other people, I feel it.  Every time the JCCV lets another orthodox jew call my sexuality an abomination I feel it.  Every time the EJAC refuses to call those same member rabbis to account I feel it.

I really do.  I feel it.  And it hurts.

However, I have support systems around me, that helps me cope with the continuing barrage of hatred and disrespect that is thrown my way on a daily basis.  What about those who don’t?

 

 

  1.  Update:  I made a mistake in using the indigenous people, and those that are disabled as an example here.  Clearly both sections of our community continue to endure discrimination.  It’s also pretty clear that my first statement is true, unless the discrimination personally affects me, I may not see it.  Sorry to those that I upset, and thank you to Ericka
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