Censorship isn’t the answer

Last night, Andrew Bolt and Daily Telegraph columnist, Caroline Marcus criticised Facebook for blocking a user after he posted on the upcoming postal plebiscite on same – sex marriage.

After pressure from the public, the page and post have been restored.

Defending Natural Marriage's restored Facebook page
Facebook bucked under pressure and restored ‘Defending Natural Marriage’ page
Restored page of Defending Natural Marriage
Facebook page and acciunt of its creator has been restored by Facebook after inquiry by Sky News (Australia)

This has sparked an angry response from some of The Bolt Report fans. In retaliation, some have allegedly retracted support for same – sex marriage,

Screenshot of FB conversation on 'The Bolt Report
Censorship and bullying tactics are driving people away from supporting same – sex marriage

 

The same – sex marriage debate hasn’t been easy for some members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Frankly, it’s made me cry at times, and I’m single and asexual. I can only imagine how it must be for some same – sex couples. To have your identity, your relationship and what rights you should be granted is tough.

However, I don’t think silencing debate will help the LGBTQ+ community. To be frank, the actions of some have been appalling. From the disgraceful treatment of Margaret Court on The Project earlier this year, to the threats made against the Australian Christian Lobby (I’m not commenting on the current case that’s presently before the court), and more, the LGBTQ+ community and the same – sex marriage campaign in particular are bleeding supporters.

Please step back.

The past couple of weeks have been hard for many LGBTQ+ people. I get it. I real,y do. But the attacking of opponents, or even some supporters like Marcus, is just wrong. Stop it!

If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to cry. Journal. Scream,  if you need to. But don’t abuse people in real life or online. If you do say something in the heat of the moment, apologise.

If you think you are struggling too much, please, please reach out and seek help. Takk to a family member or friend. Let them support you. If you think you need nore, seek out professional help. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Terrorist attack hits Barcelona

At least sixteen people have been run down in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.

Dozens more have been injured, some critically. Australians were in the city when it occurred, but are not among the casualties.

One of the terrorists died in a shootout with police. IS have allegedly claimed responsibility.

For Australian who have concerns about loved ones in Barcelona, call Foreign Affairs Department: 1300 555 135.

For those from other countries, feel free to put a contact number in the comments of your country’s embassy/ foreign affairs, etc for concerned loved ones to contact.

When the ‘Roaring 20’s’ isn’t what you think it was meant to be

The twenties.

Scrolling through pictures on iStock images to use on this site, there seemed to be one constant – that your twenties are largely free, happy, full of friendships and laughter. It’s about success in career, love and friendships.

Except when it’s not.

I’m twenty – eight now. While my twenties haven ‘t been bad, really. It’s been far from predictable, successful and full of constant happiness. My mid twenties – around twenty – five was particularly hard until i went on the Rotary Lions’ Club’s ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Award’. The week there, gave me a new lease at life and a sense of optimism that I hadn’t experienced in a while. Sometimes, your twenties can be quite lonely, to be frank. It’s often a time when friends that have grown up together go their separate ways. If your lucky, you may have one or two that you keep in contact with (I’m one of the lucky ones, actually).

In terms of career success, in your twenties, you face brutal truths; that you will most likely be rejected at least once. Your career may not just take off. For some, being in your twenties means having to move back with your parents. According to the September 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan (Australia), one in ten Australians take anti depressants. (“The Great Millennial Meltdown, Jennifer Savin, pp. 103 – 107. Cosmopolitan Australia, September 2017).

According to the Jennifer Savin article. there is a bit of an industry, at least in Europe. In a hotel in Benehavis, Spain, women in their 20’s and early 30’s flocked to a retreat run by Stephanie Kazolides in a mental health/ yoga/ meditation program called ‘Quarter Life Health Project. The retreat cost A$500 per person.

The twenties seemed to be big contrast for many people than what they think. It’s definitely a contrast from some of the images I found iStock while researching images for this post.

Group of happy and young people
Image: iStock
Young man gains good news over phone ecstatic
Image: iStock

For many people, obviously, the twenties may not live up to these expectations for most people – at least not all the time. It’s a time where you’re still trying to make sense of things, fighting for independence and trying to get on your feet career wise. What shocked me in the Savin article was the percentage of people who enter employment after graduating university – just over 41% which I think is despicable actually, but that may be for another post somewhere along the line.

The twenties comes with growth, expectations and transitions in relationships. Unfortunately, for too many when relational transitions take place, people in their twenties often experience loneliness, which can be really hard. Most people have a vision of what the twenties should be like — by being told by others or themselves. Moving out, working, having adventures, getting married, buying a house, etc.

Yet, following that path isn’t so straightforward, especially for Gen Ys who live in the major cities. Work isn’t as easy to come by, including when you have a degree. I know from experience even getting relevant work placement when doing a TAFE course can be hard (that’s one of the things that got me in a rut).

 

While I don’t think Gen Y has had it the worst — every generation faces it’s challenges — looking back I think Gen Y could have had things a bit differently. I think for too long, university was seen as the ticket to employment, even though TAFE was getting less stigmatised, university for most was the ultimate goal. I think people who were taught about careers, applying for courses and jobs, etc, I think it would have helped to have a bit more of a talk rejection and possible long or medium – length unemployment wouldn’t have gone astray. Not to mention stigma still faced by people with a disability. Then again, I guess no – one predicted the GFC in 2008, which threw a lot of young people off.

 

For people who haven’t entered or have only started their twenties, I have one piece of advice – take it in your stride. It’s not going to be all smooth sailing. Be flexible (probably for a while my big downfall). And, most importantly, reach out and get help if you think you need it.

For health resources or support, you can contact and get information from Beyond Blue.

Click on these articles if you think you need better ways to deal with stress (or just some encouragement).

Her Campus: How to deal with stress in your 20’s

Psychology Today: If you’re lost in your 20’s

GoodTherapy.org Mental health issues to be aware of in your 20’s

Have you got any tips you’d like to share with 20 – something readers? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Other people affected by the same – sex marriage debate you may not have thought of

pride heart shaped hands
Image: iStock

 

 

I’ve planned to do a few posts on same – sex marriage. And it’s also something that I thought of leaving behind. It’s taxing. It can be painful for LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones.

Same – sex/ marriage equality supporters argue that it’d affect gay and lesbians and them only. Well not quite. I want to list a few more groups that are rarely mentioned:

  • Homoromantic people – this includes homoromantic asexuals.
  • Bi – romantic people in same – sex relationships
  • Bisexual people in same – sex relationships (or who want to be)
  • Pansexual people in same – sex relationships (or want to be)
  • Pan – romantic people in same – sex relationships
  • Those who don’t identify as gay or bi, but find themselves in love with someone of the same sex
  • People in a queerplatonic relationship with someone of the same – sex, or people who want to be

 

The romantic orientations are what I want to talk about because this may affect members of the asexual community in Australia. This will (hopefully), frankly bust this obsession that some people have with equating same – sex relationships on sex and having that reason why they oppose same – sex marriage. For certain romantic asexuals, this affects them too.

Hopefully, changing the conversation in this way may get some heads out of the gutter. I am so sick of LGBTQ+ to being equated to sexual stereotypes or just outright lies about the LGBTQ+ community and every excuse why tbey shouldn’t be afforded same legal rights.

The list I’ve made above only makes up a small percentage of the population, but so what? I get so sick of that argument! That ‘small percentage’ of people may include someone in your family, friends, co – workers, etc.

That wasn’t the main aim of this post. My main point is, I think sometimes we keep revolving the marriage debate around sex. Sometimes, it literally has nothing to do with it. It IS about love and love only for some. Will this change the course of this ongoing debate? Probably not. But I do think it’s important.

 

Who have I missed? Who else is potentially affected by this debate? (WARNING: Any reference to bestiality or paedophilia will be removed and you may be banned from commenting on here again).

Same – sex marriage affects people, maybe including people you care about

I watch Sky News Australia from Monday to Thursday. I have my regulars: The Bolt Report at 7 p.m. Paul Murray Live at 9 and Chris Kenny’s Head’s Up at 11 (although recently, I’ve only been watching the start).

Not surprisingly, their sick of the same – sex marriage debate. I get it. For them, it means nothing. Bolt, Murray and Kenny are straight and married. So are most (almost all) of the panellists they have.

But what about people they love?

Gay marriage image: rainbow coloured hands holding each other.
Image: Canva

To his credit, at least Andrew Bolt has acknowledged his LGBTQ+ friends and family during this debate. Last year, in an interview with Senior Pastor James Macpherson of Calvary Christian Church, Bolt admitted that he regretted the strain that the same – sex marriage debate had on his relationship with someone he’s close to. Recently, I have to say, on his shows, both on The Bolt Report and 2GB, he is often very cautious and keeps his loved ones in mind when talking about his view, even in his recent criticisms about the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and their data on same – sex parenting.

Pic of Andrew Bolt last year being interviewed on "Think Again" conference
Andrew Bolt expressed regret over the strain that the same – sex marriage debate has had on some of his loved ones

But while Chris Kenny and Paul Murray don’t oppose same – sex marriage, I get annoyed that they talk about the plebiscite as if it’s of no consequence to anyone. That’s how I view it, anyway. Yes, lives ARE affected. Whether you like to admit it or not, some LGBTQ+ people do see this as a personal attack on their rights to live authentically.

 

I’ve written before about the need for more voices from the LGBTQ+ community and those who care for them or work with them (i.e. in mental health), into the debate. Not that I’m knocking people, especially Paul Murray for his stance, not just on this, but other issues as well, such as the alleged bomb scare at Melbourne’s Joy 94.9 last year. His regular panellist, Graham Richardson defended Alan Joyce after he was publicly criticised by tennis champion, Margaret Court. I’m not knocking these guys. I’m really not. But while we should value them as an LGBTQ+ ally, I don’t think it’s the same as letting an LGBTQ+ person being able to openly talk about their own experiences; why the issue means so much to them.

 

Mamamia has done this. Angie Green wrote a passionate open letter expressing why same – sex marriage was important to her, and it was her brother. Why can’t we hear more about relatives of LGBTQ+ people about how they feel about same – sex marriage?

The reason why I bring this up is because, for some, this is not a ‘non – issue’. This is about people’s lives. It is about safety and for certain members of the community to live authentically, without fear. It is about being legally recognised as married, but also, I believe a social affirmation that LGBTQ+ have freedom of expression and can do things like hold their partner’s hand in public. That is a separate issue, and it won’t be automatically granted if (when) same – sex marriage is legalised. But that’ll be another crucial step to acceptance.

Mia Freedman deserves a hug over same – sex marriage, not crucifixion

Media personality, Mia Freedman has come under fire if she tried to start a campaign #married4marriageequality on Twitter and on an article which she originally displayed her wedding ring (she deleted it in the following photo of the article).

Screenshot of article that sparked the controversial "married4marriageequality campaign by Mia Freedman
Mia Freedman comes under fire for standing for LGBTQ+ people and their right to marry with #married4marriageequaility campaign

This is ridiculous.

Freedman deserves a hug from the LGBTQ+ community, not crucifixion. She is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Has she been perfect? Of course not! No one has. But I think it’s unquestionable where her heart is on this issue.

It goes beyond the same – sex marriage issue, too. She, along with the other staff at Mamamia has been instrumental in LGBTQ+ advocacy and visibility, including asexuality visibility. The Mamamia website has also advocated for LGBTQ+ people being persecuted overseas, calling on the government to give them asylum.

So, LGBTQ+ people, don’t crucify Mia Freedman., She’s for us, not against. She was using her status as a married woman to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, not to push it in our faces. Straight people can support LGBTQ+ people, you know. I believe, at least at the moment, we need their support.

It’s not just her, either. It warms my heart to see straight people support LGBTQ+ rights. I love it when they speak out on our behalf. It’s when LGBTQ+ are deliberately left out or shouted down I get critical. Mia Freedman is not one of those people.

 

LGBTQ+ people need to be careful not to push out allies away. In fact, we need them if we want same – sex marriage here. Already, I’ve read comments and columns from people who have been scared off supporting same – sex marriage because of the overreaction from certain members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are really shooting ourselves in the foot for looking for a witch hunt all the time when it’s not needed. We should call out comments that harm the LGBTQ+ community or when someone makes grossly unfair comparisons (i.e. linking LGBTQ+ with bestiality and paedophilia), but this isn’t a battle to pick.

Mia Freedman should be embraced and applauded by the LGBTQ+ community. We should be grateful at the tireless campaigning she has done for us. We should applaud, that, unlike others, her support for us hasn’t wavered.

 

If you see Mia Freedman in Sydney, or where ever, if you can, give her a hug for fighting for us and the LGBTQ+ community around the world. Thank her for using her status as a media personality give a voice to those who are affected by issues like same – sex marriage. At the end of the day, like I said, we still need voices like hers to win the eventual fight for acceptance, and yes, marriage.

We need to stand against antisemitism

Animation of Jewish synagogue
Image: Canva

The local council of Bondi, Sydney, has prevented a Jewish synagogue being built due to the threat of Islamic extremism. The Land and Environment Court has agreed with this decision.

This has understandably outraged the Australian Jewish community and non – Jews alike. And it shouldn’t be tolerated. Anti – Semitism needs to be condemned. Period. If the Australian Jewish community are in any danger, the answer is not to punish the Jews by not allowing them to have a house of worship. The answer is to crack down on anti – Semites — that includes some Muslims.

 

We should all know the danger of antisemitism if we have learnt anything about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930’s and the Holocaust. This is why I feel so strongly against this. Andrew Bolt is right on this. The Bondi Council and the Land and Environment Court are letting Islamic extremists win. It’s also letting antisemites win. Why can’t they be protected? What’s more, why is antisemitism becoming OK… again?

Anyone who threatens the Jewish community, or makes any indication that they shouldn’t be safe needs the book thrown at them. The only fitting punishment for extreme cases, such as threats is jail. For a long time.

It goes beyond that, though. Antisemitism needs to become unacceptable in society, just like racism, sexism and even homophobia are starting to be. If you see any antisemitic speech on social media, I’d say report it. Or, at the least, (if safe to do so), confront the person who’s made the comment. Don’t allow yourself to be antisemitic either.

From what I understand about World War II, the Nazis thrived on antisemitic propaganda that went unchallenged. People in the media who tried to bring to light what was going on were punished. Many Germans didn’t know the horror of the Holocaust until it was too late. This can’t happen again. Good on both Joe Hildebrand and Andrew Bolt for bringing this to light. I offer a plea to all other journalists in Australia, please, please, please call out antisemitism when you find out about it. And good on the caller to 2GB that brought it to Steve Price’s and Andrew Bolt’s attention last night.

\To all the Jews, both in Australia and abroad, I am so sorry what you’re going through. I’m sorry if some of you feel that history is repeating itself again. I sincerely hope it won’t. I think if people like Bolt, Hildebrand,  Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi, or even myself can call it out and demand that we won’t be silenced, then, hopefully, it’s something.