My take on the religious freedom debate after same – sex marriage

open book
Image: Pexels

The inquiry into religious freedom after the legalisation of same sex marriage in Australia still rages on. Advocacy group just.equal has been able to access and upload PDF files both for and against more  so-called “religious freedom”. Here’s what I think.

While I don’t think that churches or other worship leaders should be forced to conduct same – sex marriage (which I thought was never a problem anyway), I am suspicious of calls for further extensions.

It’s all sounds really good and gentle. So you’re someone who wants to deny services to a same – sex couple wanting to get married? Then you lose business. Sounds fair, right? And everyone else should be able to exercise their conscience, right? Well, who, exactly, should be able to ‘exercise their conscience? Florists? Bakers?… Doctors? Pediatricians?

This is what I fear. And my fears aren’t completely baseless. In Tennessee, for example, it’s legal for mental health workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds. In Michigan, just before same – sex marriage was law nationwide, a pediatrician refused to see a toddler because she was raised by same – sex married parents. That was legal, by the way.

I’ve seen comments on articles and social media that that won’t happen here. They argue that people should be able to refuse to cater for a same – sex wedding. Nothing else.

Yeah. For now.

Let’s get one thing straight (no pun intended). These people who are asking for extensions in ‘religious freedom’ are asking for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Do you think that a baker will refuse to bake a cake for a couple that is getting remarried after a divorce? For some reason, I doubt it.

‘Religious freedom’ extensions are asking for the freedom to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. I wish journalists and conservatives in general would just admit that. If you don’t want to work for or cater LGBTQ+ people, then don’t work in the business or community services sector. Frankly, it’s that simple.


Thing is, I’m not convinced that it’ll stop at catering for weddings. If I did, I may have some sympathy for those arguing for it (I actually did once).

LGBTQ+ people have already had their lives debated endlessly for months in the lead up to same – sex marriage. Some were triggered with homophobic and transphobic abuse, which they thought they’d left behind. And now, people want the right to ‘other’ them… again.

Think about this another way.

You’re LGBTQ+. You’ve ummed and aaahed, fretted and dreaded coming out to your family, friends, church, workmates, etc due to fear of being rejected. This is also hard for young people who are merely questioning their sexuality, (believe me, I know). Unfortunately, for too many young LGBTQ+ people, their fears are realised and they are ostracised from loved ones, abused in their faith communities, kicked out of home, and sometimes, physically abused. Just imagine, you’re LGBTQ+ fret about telling your friends, family and faith community and your worse fears are confirmed. Your parents kick you out. A friend who you thought you could trust betrays or rejects you. You’re rejected by your faith community, unless you go through ‘conversion therapy’. You do the whole lot: prayer, exorcism, fasting. Nothing changes. You feel like you’ve ‘failed’. The cycle starts again, until you break. You may get your life on track after years of therapy, soul work and immense internal healing.

Years later, you meet the love of your life. You want to spend the rest of your lives together and decide to do that officially through marriage. You and your partner go through all the preparations. You come to planning your cake… then, you hit a brick wall. The baker refuses to make it on religious grounds. All your past comes back to haunt you. The rejection of your family, your friends, your colleagues.


Lastly, what peeves me off to no end is the reason why people are arguing this. And, no it’s not religion. It’s because they can’t see LGBTQ+ people as people. They see them as pornified stereotypes. Go online and see what people who are against LGBTQ+ couples say; that they are ‘practising homosexuals’. References to anal sex, etc. See what I’m getting at? They immediately put their head in the gutter and refer to LGBTQ+ people as ‘acts’ that they imagine they do. How icky is that?! And dangerous. I really believe that is the reason why hate crime against LGBTQ+ people occurs around the world. Get your head out of the gutter!!!! The couple asked for a cake, not for you to participate in a brothel!

There is another solution. Let businesses be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, but they should have to advertise it. Both on their premises and all their advertisements both in traditional and social media. If there is a backlash and they go bust, it’s their fault. But don’t allow them to drag LGBTQ+ people along, only to crush their dreams.

And, to those politicians who want this ‘right’ to be enshrined, don’t you DARE extend anti – discrimination laws any further. As many people on sofial media have said, last year, Australia voted for less discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, not more.


What do you think of the enqiry


Enough about Barnaby Joyce

Laptop on news site
News turned into tabloid journalism. Or am I being too harsh? Image: Pexels




Give it a break.

The Barnaby Joyce affair, I mean.

I still stand by what I said in the last post. He’s a hypocrite after everything he said last year. However, this just continues to play out like a bad soap opera that never ends. If he’s misused public money or acted in a way that goes against political protocol, than the Liberals and Nationals should deal with that. If not, leave it alone. And stop dragging his family along.


Enough, enough, enough.

To be honest, I do wonder why the media, lead by Sharri Markson from The Daily Telegraph jumped on the story the way they did. Was it really because they thought it was in the public interest or just an excuse for tabloid journalism? I’m not saying what Joyce did was right. Of course it wasn’t. I just think the story has gotten out of hand. In a few months, a child is going to be born into this mess. How will the media treat the child when (apparently he) is born? Will the scandal follow him for the rest of his life?


Let the families have space. Let Natalie Joyce and her daughters deal with the betrayal their way, without constantly having to have it shoved in their faces all the time.

This is the last time I’m talking about it.

After the revelation about Barnaby Joyce, stop being hypocritical about the LGBTQ+ community

It’s been revealed that Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader, Barnaby Joyce has fathered a child that was born from an affair.

Now, I’ve agonised about whether I should write this because I do kind of agree that it’s a private matter and his family shouldn’t be dragged through the mud so publicly.

Having said that, to be honest, I was and am pissed off about this. Joyce was a vocal opponent of same – sex marriage last year. He did end up abstaining when everything hit the fan, but that’s beside the point.

While the final result was a win for the LGBTQ+ community, the same – sex marriage debate was taxing. It did open many LGBTQ+ people up to threats of violence and online abuse, not to mention flashbacks to past abuse and feelings of self – hatred, fear and low self – esteeem. All because of the so – called ‘sanctity of marriage’.

Look, I never, EVER want to hear or read the terms ‘sanctity of marriage’ ever again! For too long it’s given people a licence to treat LGBTQ+ people like dirt. It was a shield for people who didn’t have the guts to admit that they opposed LGBTQ+ people entirely or saw themselves as morally superior because they’re straight.

Well, enough!

No LGBTQ+ are not a harm to children! You know what has proven to negatively affect children? Divorce.

Split wedding cake signifying divorce
Image: iStock

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, many children can be negatively affected by divorce, including in the long – term. Children of divorce run the the risk of having a lower education level and are more at risk of becoming sexually active at a younger age. They also run the risk of living in poverty if the main custody is granted to the mother.

It should be noted that the AIFS also says how it affects the children and their ability to be resilient, largely depending on how the separation is carried out by the parents (conflict exposure, etc).

A study by a reputable source has proven that divorce can put children at risk. No reputable studies, however, has proven that LGBTQ+ people, including same – sex parents has the same or similar negative effects. (The so – called ‘studies’ that did ‘prove’ that children of same – sex parents were worse off all fell apart when peer reviewed).

This is what I was reluctant to write. I know that some relationships are toxic and sometimes a separation or divorce is the healthiest choice for everyone involved. While i think we should talk about the impact of divorce and family separation  more, I don’t want to demonise single parents or those who have recently separated. So please, if you’re a single parent, please don’t take this post as a condemnation.

For those who repeatedly moralise against the LGBTQ+ community, argued against same – sex marriage because of the ‘sanctity of marriage’, you are my target. At least be honest that you think LGBTQ+ people are somehow inferior morally or otherwise to straight people. At least be honest that you don’t or didn’t think that they should be offered the same legal protections that you and millions of others have taken for granted most (if not all) your adulthood.


No more hypocrisy. No more using children as pawns. in this war that you chose to wage against the LGBTQ+ community last year. On the plus side, many people didn’t buy it. That children would be harmed or that Stalin would rise from the dead!

We need to talk about men and mental health

Sad man sitting on beach
Image: iStock

Content warning: depression and suicide(brief mention)

Mental health is a topic that has hit the spotlight again. This year started with a tragic death of Akubra child model Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, who took her own life after relentless cyber – bullying.

I firmly believe that bullying is something that needs to be taken more seriously, but that discussion isn’t for this post. I want to talk about mental health and men.


News came out late last month that Australian tennis player, Bernard Tomic, left the jungle in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here after less than forty – eight hours. He admitted that he was depressed.

The reactions, to be frank, have been quite appalling. People both within and outside the media has attacked Tomic’s sudden departure. At least one has backed off.

Good on Fordham for having the humility to retract his statement. Yet, I’m saddened that this has turned into a debate.

So, he’s made arrogant comments about ‘counting’ his ‘millions’. According to Jessie Stephens from Mamamia, suggested that Tomic had shown symptoms long before the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Tomic was condemned last year for expressing his desire to want to quit tennis. Loss of interest in once – enjoyed activities is one common sign of depression.

Now, of course, Tomic needs to be diagnosed by a professional, not the general public or journalists. But what has annoyed me is the dismissive attitude people have had. Why has it sparked so much scrutiny? Have we gone backwards in our attitudes toward mental health, especially in men? I really hope not, considering that men are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than women, according to Mindframe, who used Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data in from 1989 to 2016. Over – representation of men in suicide statistics is consistent across all States and Territories and Aboriginal and non – Aboriginal people alike.


Anyone suffering mental health issues, including anxiety and depression should have access to necessary treatment without shame. On a similar note, I want to talk about another criticism that Tomic has copped about ‘self – diagnosis’. Most people know in their heart when something isn’t right. Many symptoms of depression can be picked up by the sufferer or their families. There are online questionnaires you can take that may help give an indication of whether you maybe showing depressive symptoms or not. Of course, these tests can not take the place of a professional diagnosis, but it may spur someone to seek out an official diagnosis and treatment.

So, can we please give Bernard Tomic and anyone else who is (or potentially is) suffering a mental illness a break? Can we offer them a bit of compassion, regardless of who they are? The stigma needs to stop. Period.

If you or anyone else is suffering mental illness or is struggling or concerned, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or if you prefer a webchat. For emergencies call 000 or seek medical help immediately. 

If your from another country, please feel free to put contact details of any national mental health or suicide prevention hotlines in your country. 

The death of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett should be a wake up call. Words hurt

Cyber - bullying victim distressed
Image: iStock


Content warning; bullying, depression and suicide

People were understandably shocked and upset to hear the passing of 14 – year – old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, the face of hat manufacturer Akubra. She took her own life after receiving abuse online.

This has sparked calls for Apple and Google Play to ban apps, like Saraha that allow users to make anonymous comments and posts.

While I sympathise with the campaignersa, I don’t think these calls for a ban get to the heart of the problem.


Here’s what people need to get: the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ is a myth. I’ll go one step further. It’s total bull.


Words can kill. I thought we got this through our heads after the death of former model, Charlotte Dawson in 2014. Apparently not.


So, how can we stop this repeating? Maybe we can’t stop it completely. But what we can do is get honest, with ourselves and each other. We need to teach children and young adults that what they say matters. It has an impact and if they choose to bully someone, they will destroy both their lives and that of their victims.

People die due to bullying. That’s the reality. And there’s more. Last year, HealthDayNews reported  on a study that suggested that half of teens admitted into emergency were victims of violence or cyber – bullying. Nearly a quarter (23%) showed symptoms of post – traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings were published in journal General Hospital Psychiatry. 


Verbal or cyber bullying can and does have other affects, many arguably not so extreme. You’re ability to trust can be severely damaged. For me, it took me a long time to be able to trust people again.


Bullying also erodes your self – esteem. My self – esteem has hit rock bottom before. While it’s better now, I wouldn’t say it’s high. I’ve questioned my self – worth and to this day, sometimes feel like I’m not enough.

I wrote what I did above not to gain sympathy. I wanted to be honest about my own experiences and to demonstrate that often, the effects of bullying can last for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never been the victim of cyber – bullying. The rise of the Internet, especially various social media sites and apps, has made combating bullying complicated. This generation of children can’t escape bullying when they get home from school. Another complication is anonymity. They don’t have to see the impact of what their words have.

As I said near the start of this post, I don’t think banning certain apps like Saraha will work, nor is it necessary. Whether people like it or not, social media is the way most people, especially of this generation, communicate and a way they can get information and current events. The world needs to learn how to cope with social media, not avoid it. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” needs to be exposed for the myth that it is and discarded. Words do hurt and cyber – bullying needs to be condemned. Period.



Last minute ramblings for 2017

Happy New Year WordSwag design.

It’s nearly the end of yet another year. Some have 2018 all planned; new year’s resolutions and goals included. Some will be living it up, partying with friends and/ or family. Some will be camping. And many will be living it up at Sydney Harbour (1.6 million people are expected to attend celebrations).

Others simply couldn’t care less. They may not even be awake until midnight.

I usually have high hopes for the new year. I used to be obsessed with New Year’s resolutions and have stayed up until midnight every year except one, since 2000. Now, I’m more relaxed. I’ll most likely stay up to midnight, (until recently, I’ve been a bit of a night owl and often stay up until after midnight, anyway).


Not long after 1 January, (or it might on that day), it’ll be twelve months since I’ve started this blog. It’s been a blast!  I’m so glad I did it! I really have high hopes for it. Thank you to all those who have read posts, commented and followed this blog and supported it on social media. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how far it’s come. Thank you, again.

Next year, I would love to take this blog and make it even better; take it to the next level. I would love for this to be a dotcom site. That’ll be my first one ever! I’m excited in what I’ll be able to do with it when I do. The frequency of posts, at least for the first half, may not be as frequent as this year. If, for some reason, I take a prolonged break from blogging, I’ll try and let you know beforehand.


That’s all for the moment. Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a great 2018!

Same – sex marriage is won. My hopes for the future

Images: iStock

It’s happened. The Upper House and Senate voted overwhelmingly for legalising same – sex marriage on Thursday. There were celebrations and tears across the nation.

61.6% of eligible voters that decided to take part in the postal survey made the decision that people in same – sex relationships should be able to marry. This is quite an optimistic result. It has made me positive for the Australian LGBTQ+ community in the future.


Over seven million people believe people in same – sex relationships should be treated legally as those in opposite – sex relationships. They have the choice to make that commitment.

So, what does this mean for young people who are yet to recognise their sexuality or those who have been previously married (in a straight relationship), but find themselves in love with someone of the same sex? Will it easier to admit their same – sex attraction, without fear of retaliation from those who they care about?

The extremes of the ‘Yes’ campaign were right in one sense. This does go beyond marriage for same – sex couples. It should. Here me out and I’ll explain what I mean. My hope is that with this embrace of same – sex couples, that other members of the LGBTQ+ community waill also be embraced – that bisexual and asexual people will be believed and safe. That bisexual men are believed. That transgender, including non – binary people feel safe to come out and express their gender identity. I hope that intersex people will be granted the right to be autonomous and have a voice in what happens to their bodies medically, rather than being forced into having invasive surgeries without their informed consent.

I hope that schools become safer places for LGBTQ+ students and their families. I hope that anti – LGBTQ+ bullying will not be tolerated and that victims don’t have to doubt whether they should speak out in fear of further attacks or rejection from family, school staff, or peers.

I hope that asexual people will be acknowledged in school. I hope that when there is talk about sexuality, there is a separation between sexual and romantic orientation, allowing potentially asexual students the ability to experience their romantic attractions (if they have any), without the worry or confusion.


Even though the process was painful for many in the LGBTQ+ community, I hope the vote showed that many non – LGBTQ+ people are willing to treat us like people, not outrageous stereotypes or caricatures. I hope that this means that lesbians and bisexual women are not treated or viewed as a porn fantasy. I hope this means that gay and bi men aren’t negatively stereotyped and attacked because they are not “masculine” enough.

My guess is that over seven million people didn’t buy into the paranoia that gays were out to get kids, or to turn them gay, or that transgender people (especially transwomen) are predators. Like the general population, the vast majority aren’t!


So, here’s to love. Here’s to acceptance. And, most importantly, here’s to LGBTQ+ people being free to be who they are without fear.