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.

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.

Bring LGBTQ+ people and allies into the same – sex marriage debate!

I love watching Paul Murray Live, but to be honest, I’m sick of the whole line ‘if the plebiscite wasn’t voted down by Labor and the Greens, we’d have same – sex marriage/ marriage equality (depending which term they use) in Australia by now”. Even Daily Telegraph’s Sharri Markson jumped on that bandwagon last night. Host Paul Murray then parrots statistics by “The Essential Poll”, which suggests that 61% say that there should be a national vote and 60% want same – sex marriage to be legal. OK, The Guardian Isn’t a ‘right – wing’ publication, true, but can anyone tell me how many people were polled?

I am not a complete opponent of plebiscite and in an earlier post, I did say that Labor was guilty of treating the LGBTQ+ community like a political football. But here’s the thing, if a plebiscite was such a good — and harmless — option for the LGBTQ+ community, why was it sold so poorly? Why did a poll by PFLAG (however small), show a fall in support for a plebiscite when people were told (correctly), that it was legally non – binding? Why didn’t the Coalition ensure that the result would be respected?

People, like former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Peta Credlin kept saying that the government would respect the result, but why didn’t an MP say that? It’s easy for her and on Paul Murray Live and the like. How many of them have felt fear holding their partner’s/ spouse’s hand in public? I’m not sure many, if any have — at least not recently. How many times have they had their sexual orientation linked to paedophilia and bestiality? (you see that all the time on social media) and the whole “they’re luring young girls to parties and things” comments. Not to mention a lack of reporting  and commentary after an LGBTQ+ radio station in Melbourne was faced with a bomb threat last year. To be fair, Dee Madigan commented on it on Paul Murray Live and, Paul Murray did say that he was going to condemn it. But no comment from others — including those who constantly accuse the same – sex marriage supporters for mob attacks on same – sex marriage opponents (which, unfortunately do happen). I guess I should be fair and say that this year, commentators have picked up their game and condemned homophobia. There have been a few incidents that have been condemned and let’s hope it keeps on happening (the calling out, I mean).

Going back to the first point, I believe that LGBTQ+ need to be included in the debate, preferably without being screamed down. Seriously, why shouldn’t gay/ bi people like Molly Meldrum have a say about issues like gay marriage and the Margaret Court controversy if straight people are demanding the same? That’s what a ‘debate’ is — people expressing opposing views. Yet, we hear echo chambers of people mostly saying that the plebiscite should have happened. They can have that view, sure, but what about have a member of PFLAG or an LGBTQ+ add to the discussion and maybe expressing some worries that they have? Why not have a counsellor/ social worker, etc who works with LGBTQ+ people? (I’ve seen the ABC do that once). I’m not saying that people like Paul Murray, Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi or anyone else shouldn’t have a say. They can. But I think there is another side. There is concern on how it may have turned out, and I think they need to be heard as well. Because ultimately, LGBTQ+ people will be the ones affected by the result and, possibly, the process.

Gay couple just married
Image iStock

For Australians, do you think the same – sex marriage has been hijacked? Leave your thoughts below. 

We need to stop demonising men

Former UK football star, David Beckham was slammed after he shared a picture of him kissing his daughter, Harper on the lips. Each to their own when it comes to affection. I’m more of a hugger myself. But this outrage over this non – sexual (can’t believe I had to write that) act of affection doesn’t do anyone justice.

This isn’t the first time a father has come under attack and their relationship with their daughters has been scrutinised. Last year, Arizona – based photographer, Heather Whitten was at risk of being charged with neglect when a photo she took in 2014 went viral. It was of a father nursing his sick daughter in the shower.

There is no doubt that child abuse is a scourge on society that needs to be eradicated. Demonising parents falsely — especially fathers — doesn’t help anyone.

Father with newborn baby
Image: iStock

 

Yes, there are men that do terrible things to both their partners and children. Same can be said for women, too. But to hit the roof and demonise men that aren’t abusive doesn’t help anyone and is proven to be detrimental. A lack of male teachers is a well – known problem.

Family law often leave fathers high and dry. While there is more awareness and pushes to change family law so this gender bias isn’t so strong, it still has a tragic effect. Fighting what is often a losing battle can take a toll on them and result in suicide.

Unforunately, the media plays a role in the demonisation of men. I’m not talking about fictional fathers like Homer Simpson. Earlier this year, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article from a woman who wouldn’t leave her daughter with a man. That included a male relative.

The majority  of men are good. A majority of husbands/ partners and fathers want to do the right thing by their loved ones, including children. Are they perfect? Of course not, but the majority don’t deserve this demonisation.

How do you think this mentality affects young boys? How can boys not feel horrible about who they are when their gender is constantly under fire. How can this not backfire — you tell someone how terrible they are long enough, they’re going to end up, not just believing it, but living it. How can a straight man be expected to commit to a woman? I think feminists are shooting themselves in the foot.

For the men who do their best to look after their loved ones, good on you. For those who want to commit to their partner/ spouse — *applause*. For the fathers who are committed to looking after children, regardless whether they’re with the mother or not, good on you and keep going! Step – fathers, same thing.

 

This post just got me thinking – in the U.S. it was Father’s Day not that long ago (was it last weekend?). Hope all the fathers in the U.S. had a good day.

 

What do you think about this? Do you think men are unfairly targeted, especially when it comes to children? Feel free to left your thoughts below.

 

 

 

Margaret Court saga – yes, she can say what she has a right to her views… and a right to be challenged

 

 

 

IMG_0528
Image: iStock

 

 

It’s a controversy that won’t die down. Former Australian Tennis champion and Pentecostal pastor, Margaret Court sparked a fierce debate after she claimed in The West Australian that she’d boycott Qantas over Alan Joyce’s and Qantas’ strong stance on same – sex marriage.

Since then, and other events (which I’ll talk about a bit later), Court has been both criticised and fiercely defended – even by self – professed same – sex marriage supporters for her stance.

The only person in mainstream media in my view that has both criticised and defended Mrs. Court has been Graham Richardson. In the Australian on Sunday, he slammed both Court and same – sex marriage supporters for trying to stifle debate. 

The pathetic blow – up this week over Margaret Court’s comments was the last straw. Both sides have become so obsessed and hysterical over not just their case but in attempts to stop any alternative view being put.

In my view, Court’s comments this week in criticising both Qantas and its CEO Alan Joyce for entering the debate in favour of marriage equality was as outrageous as it was stupid. Why should Joyce not have the right to argue strongly for what he believes in? Why should the Qantas board not seek to back up Joyce who has turned the company’s fortunes around over five years? Surely in a democracy which is supposed to believe in free speech, this should be applauded not rubbished. Joyce is an openly gay man and he is entitled to campaign for something close to his heart.

Richardson is right. Both Joyce and Court are entitled to have their own views and be able to express them freely. People should also be able to challenge and rebut them, including Court.

image
Image: iStock

Unfortunately, I think the shambolic “interview” on “The Project” last Friday alienated same – sex marriage opponents even more, and quite frankly, Court has a right to bite back. Not only was she constantly interrupted, by Waleed Aly, but also ridiculed and interrupted by both Meshel Laurie and Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann. Judge for yourself:

 

Things like this only aggravates everyone and, if we’re not careful, may be the one roadblock to same – sex marriage being legalised in Australia if it went to a public vote. They’re only shooting themselves in the foot.

 

Even though Court does have a right to have her say, it’s also got to be pointed out that her comments have hurt others – even unintentionally. Tennis player, Casey Dellacqua, who has two children with her partner, Amanda Judd blasted her on Twitter over a comment Court made about a letter she wrote about same – sex parents.

Even though Court has fervently denies that she’s against gay people, her comments have opened wounds by those who have been hurt by Pentecostal pastors, some of which, until very recently, behind “ex – gay” therapy, a widely condemned by the American Psychological Association and other bodies.

Her comments both on The Project and The Bolt Report have conflated myths that have been used by “ex gay” therapy activists – one that being gay has anything to do with gender expression (i.e. being a “tomboy”) or that people are gay because they’ve been sexually abused are statements that should be (respectfully) challenged. This also goes for her comments on same – sex families, which, again are largely disputed..

 

There has also been debate over whether Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne should be renamed. While she doubts this will happen, Australia’s Sam Stosur, along with other tennis players, have stood behind Dellacqua and Judd, even going as far as vowing to boycotting Margaret Court Arena in protest. I do applaud Stosur and other tennis players standing behind Dellacqua and Judd, and they have a right to do so. Whether they boycott Margaret Court Arena, is still to be seen.

On the renaming controversy, I don’t agree that Margaret Court Arena should be renamed. For the simple reason that Margaret Court is an Australian tennis champion, who in the 1960’s and 1970’s made huge achievements and undoubtedly revolutionised how women were viewed in the sport. No one can take that away from her, regardless of her views. That’s why her name’s there. If Stosur or others want to protest by not playing in the arena, I guess that’s their prerogative.

 

I can truly understand why this whole culture war has hit a nerve with some in the LGBTQ+ community. This is often a very personal and deep issue. But the same – sex marriage supporters here are largely at fault. While Court’s views about marriage and family can be challenged and debated, attacking her for having views has done nothing to better gay marriage or LGBTQ+ rights. In fact, it’s only made opponents more determined. We need to clean up our act and allow debate, rather than shut people up.

 

Now, I’m not surprised

Map of Syria and the flag.
Image: iStock

 

Major trigger warning: terrorism, brutal violence, homophobia.

In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, even the fiercest critics of Islam said that the massacre was a “new low” for the terrorists.

A new low? I’m not so sure. According to an article in The Times, republished by The Australian.

14 – year – old, Musab in Raqqa, Syria was accused by Islamic State of being gay and drug use. His father, Muhummad Hussein had vowed to avenge his only son and youngest child’s death. He was with his son before his execution, promising everything would be alright. Unfortunately, that was the last time they spoke or saw each other. Musab was convicted by the Islamic extremist group. He was thrown off the roof of a building — a common execution method used by Islamic State. The barbarism didn’t stop there. After Musab was thrown to his death, an ambulance arrived at the scene, full of IS fighters. The boy was placed in the ambulance and, in one final act of brutality, the fighters cut his throat.

Understandably, Hussein promised to take revenge over his son’s death. He also vehemently denied that his son was guilty of anything.

 

You can read the rest of the article either on The Times or The Australian if you want. It’s gruesome. I just wanted to expose the pigs that even execute kids for allegedly being gay. Musab may not have even known whether he was or wasn’t, but that’s beside the point! Islamic State do murder kids. It’s just sickening!

Kudos to Anthony Loyd from The Times for writing this and for The Australian for republishing it. Also, good on Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi for having a link on her Facebook page exposing this barbarity. It needs to be called out. I wonder why it was the first time I read about it. I never remember hearing about it on the news or even The Bolt Report. 

Also, in regard to refugees, kids like Musab need to be the first on the list to be rescued so this can’t happen again. But that’s for another post.

 

For any Australians who found any of this content distressing, call: Lifeline 13 11 14. For people in other countries, feel free to leave any contact details below.