International Women’s Day and… traffic lights and other trivialities.

So, it’s International Women’s Day. A day that is supposed to celebrate and advocate for women. But now, it’s turned into a trivial laughing stock, at least here in Australia. Example: the Andrews Labor Government of Victoria has this bright idea (sarcasm in case you didn’t know) about changing traffic lights across Melbourne because they allegedly spark an “unconscious bias”. I kid you not. These things are causing sexist attitudes, apparently.

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Memo to the Andrews Government, women do wear pants, you know!

Secondly, the ABC has come up with the idea that today, all the news, current affairs and radio stations are filled with all women. Men, apparently, get the day off. Now, I’ve talked in the past about women in the media and controversies that have occurred over the years about women over a certain age (usually 40’s and above), being replaced by younger women or men. I understand why that ruffled feathers, although, luckily, I haven’t been hearing about that happening lately. But what does this achieve, really? Supposedly it all will go back to normal tomorrow anyway.

It’s this sort of trivial garbage that scares millennial women off feminism. Feminism doesn’t seem to be about fighting for equality anymore, nor is it about confronting issues facing women either here or abroad. For example, former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin has repeatedly condemned underage girls who get married off to older men in some Muslim communities. Child marriages have also known to happen in the U.S. as recently as 2010 and, while it’s “rare”, Pew Research acknowledged that 5 in every 1,000 of girls between fifteen and seventeen. While rare, as of 2016, it is legal in all American states. In most states, 16 and 17 – year – old teenagers can marry and in Massachusetts and New Hampshire,  children can marry as young as 12. In some states, such as Florida, a minor can get a court’s permission to marry if a party is pregnant. Fortunately, last year, Virginia finally outlawed the practice. Let’s hope other states follow suit soon. As for Australians, migrants, as well as citizens need to know it’s condemned here. Every time it happens, the perpetrators need to be prosecuted legally and face fierce criticism by society.

The issue of domestic violence is raised quite a bit. We should stick to that – make sure that there are adequate services to help women (and men) leave abusive marriages and relationships. But then again, this issue has also been hijacked by ideologues and conflicting claims about the rate often takes all the time, rather than funding services. Case in point from a few years ago:

Not to mention that domestic violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is rarely discussed by women who claim to be “feminists”, including those in the media. Not to mention the ignorance around Keysar Trad’s comments a few weeks ago on “The Bolt Report”. Look, domestic violence needs to be condemned. All of it. Full stop. No ideology, religious, political or otherwise should stop us from condemning domestic or other violence and helping victims find safety and justice.

There is a lot that young girls face too. When I was researching for my last blog post, I was horrified at the number of links to stories surrounding severe  abuse of young girls I found. And that doesn’t take into account atrocities like female genital mutilation (FGM), which happens in the West too, by the way. A few days ago, wrote about the horrific number of trans women that have been murdered in the U.S. this year alone – and we’re not even a quarter into the year yet. More globally, Saudi Arabia has come under the spotlight when it was reported that two Pakistani trans women were beaten and tortured to death by Saudi police. Saudi police has since acknowledged that two trans women died in custody, but denies that they were tortured.

 

These sorts of issues are what should be talked about on a day like International Women’s Day – plus a lot more I didn’t mention that affect both cis women and trans women around the world. Society doesn’t need more token gestures by feminists for anyone else, for that matter. We need real change, both here and around the world. Unfortunately, I think culture wars and a lack of honesty prevents us from getting done what needs to be done to help women and their loved ones. I’m starting to get sick of it. Can we all forget the tokenism, forget political correctness and work out ways to help ALL people achieve their potential and live their lives in safety and fulfilment?

 

So, what do you think? Have you/ are you doing anything for International Women’s Day? Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

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ADF servicemen at Mardi Gras – how it damages their morale and doesn’t help the LGBTQ community

6ee4e568-344e-4cf1-a929-94022f41ef15The Australian Defence Force (ADF) took part in this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday night in Sydney. In the ‘Sunday Herald Sun’, columnist Miranda Devine attacked the move, (‘There is no pride in forcing soldiers to shoulder party politics’, pp. 54 – 55, 5 March, 2017). Devine argued that it went against their policy. To make matters worse, the soldiers had lapel pin modified with the rainbow flag placed on it. This, she argued was in breach of Section 83 of the Defence Act 1903. Instructions on how Rising Sun emblem is to be used and displayed is explained here.

Some servicemen are angered at the altering of the badge. Former Vietnam War serviceman, Charlie Lynn is one of them:

That’s the biggest insult I have ever seen to a badge that means so much to both serving and retired  veterans. It wasn’t designed to be a catalyst for social change. It’s a symbol of what we fought for, for freedom.

What’s more, servicemen and women are not allowed to attend partisan political events while in uniform. Some have defended the Mardi Gras participation as attending a ‘cultural’ event, rather than a political one. Anyone who tries to argue that the Mardi Gras is not political has rocks in their head. The whole point about the Mardi Gras is to fight for rights for LGBTQ people. For the last few years, same – sex marriage has been the hot – button issue, with countless floats displaying the issue. Many proponents of same – sex marriage, along with Labor and the Greens, want a vote in parliamentvto decide on whether or not to amend the Marriage Act, rather than have a public vote. What’s fanned flames evwn more is that servicemen have been sacked for promoting a party (Andrew Hastie as he campaigned for candidacy for Western Australia’s Liberal Party). Another servicemen, Bernie Gaynor was allegedky prohibited from attending a pro – life rally due to its political nature. It should be one rule for all. Either servicemen and women can attend political events while in uniform or they can’t. This does nothing to boost the ADF’s morale in my opinion. It only gives LGBTQ+ rights activists a bad name, too.

I have heard and read how the ADF should not take part in partisan politics. I agree. They fight for the freedom of all Australians, including those who don’t agree with same – sex marriage. If members wanted to participate in the parade, they could have without wearing the uniform. On their own accord. If a serviceman/ woman wants to attend a pro – life rally out of uniform, same thing. They should be able to go ahead. Or, all serving or past veterans should be able to wear their uniforms without any consequences at any political event. The way the ADF has handled this is nothing short of hypocritical.

Secondly, about the LGBTQ+ community – I keep saying this, we are not going to win hearts and minds doing what we’re doing. Major institutions like the ADF pressuring servicemen and women to attend the Mardi Gras and breaking their own protocol does not help the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, it just riles up the critics. For those who do support the LGBTQ+ community, thank you. For those who love and support LGBTQ+ family and friends, you are awesome. Please keep up what your doing. If ADF wants to make LGBTQ+ vets more welcome, that’s awesome. But PLEASE DON’T use the fight for our rights to tear your organisation apart. If it’s against your protocol to attend a political event in uniform, then, don’t pressure others to do exactly that. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

 

I think it’s time we step back, take a breath and start to build bridges rather than holding people captive because of what they believe. Also, again, an organisations stendards and protocols should not be compromised. Otherwise, the LGBTQ+ community will end up fighting a losing battle of our own.

 

 

 

Racial Discrimination Act: change? Scrap?

The raging debate over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is still still red hot to some commentators, especially Andrew Bolt. The case involving seven students from Queensland University of Technology – three of which were taken to court by Cindy Prior – after the students were told to leave a computer lab allegedly reserved for Aboriginal students. The boys protested on Facebook, calling it “fighting segregation with segregation” and one asking sarcastically where the “white supremacist” computers were. One of the defendants Callum Thwaites was also accused of using the “N” word, but has emphatically denied it.

While the case was dropped and Prior was demanded that she pay thousands in legal fees, which allegedly sent her bankrupt. While the defendants were ruled as being innocent of any crime, their careers have allegedly being trashed. According to Bolt, Alex Wood explained how his future had been badly damaged and his chosen career had been destroyed:

At that point in my life, it all sort of hit me at once. I was afraid. I felt that uni had been for nothing. I had studied quite hard and had a GPA of 6.3, and I thought that was going to go down the drain. I thought I was going to lose my job and potentially not be able to get a job after uni. I thought my friends would shun me if they thought I was racist. I honestly believe 18C was extremely close to ruining my life and still has the potential to do so.

There were absolutely no winners in this case. Reading about this case,  especially what Wood has said has made me change my mind about 18C. The fact it got as far as it did and had such devastating consequences on everyone involved.

There are three options that are often brought up when discussing this case and 18C – scrap the section, take the words “insult” and “offend” out of the section or leave it exactly how it is. I wonder if there could be another option – have a blanket anti – hate – crimes act that covers race, religion, sexuality,  gender identity, etc.Currently, Australia has a number of anti – discrimination acts, both State and Federal. Why not make it all one?

I would say too, that words like “offend” should be avoided. Why? Because they are too vague and open to interpretation. So what should an anti – hate crimes act entail. Well, quite simply, it should make it unlawful to attack someone because of race, gender, sexuality, etc. I also think that anti discrimination provisions for employers and services should remain. It’s just that, I believe that QUT case has proven that 18C doesn’t work. Even if you win, you lose. There needs to be a line drawn. There is no room for incitement to violence or deliberate discrimination or abuse in our society. However, what I find so heartbreaking is when well – meaning people are dragged through mud and the mud sticks no matter what they say. That’s what I think about the case against Andrew Bolt in 2011. I didn’t read the two articles that got him sued and were banned by the court, but I have since read his arguments since. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Bolt being branded a racist. Last night on Sky’s ‘Paul Murray Live’, I saw a clip where Labor Senator, Sam Dastyari – who is Iranian born – ranted against changes to 18C. While he didn’t call Bolt by name, it was obvious, I think, that the tirade was partly aimed at him. Unsurprisingly, Murray condemned Dastyari’s speech.

I just don’t think 18C as it is is working. It may have had it’s place in 1975 when the Act was first introduced, but something has gone off. I think it needs to be mended so it can’t be open to interpretation as easy. Like I said, what about have a blanket anti – hate crimes Act instead plus workplace and services protections?

What do you think about 18C? Do you think it should be mended? Scrapped? To those who are in other countries, what anti – discrimination laws do you have? Do you think they work or are adequate? What changes would you like to see? I know these are quite a few full on questions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. 

If One Nation wants to represent all Australians, that includes single – parents and the LGBTQ+ community

It seems like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party can’t stay away from controversy for very long. It’s not Hanson’s fault. To her credit, she has dealt with some of the cases I’m about to talk about. The thing is, it seems to be happening again and again.

First, Senator for Ipswich, Queensland, Shan Ju Lin was sacked after it was revealed that she falsely claimed that two men who were cleared of sexual abuse of young children committed the crimes because of their sexuality. She didn’t apologise for those comments, but instead doubled down.

Next Glasshouse, Queensland candidate, Tracey Bell – Hensellin, made a number of anti – gay comments on her Facebook page, accusing the LGBTQ+ community of “grooming” after a number of  children’s shirts displayed pro – gay messages and claiming that they set out to “destroy families”. Now, this time, according to “The Courier Mail”, Hanson stood by the candidate, arguing that the comments weren’t anti – gay.

Wait, I’m not finished yet. There’s another one.

Third candidate to come in the spotlight is member for Pilbara, Western Australia, David Archibald. He’s dealt two major blows. Archibald labelled single mothers “too lazy” to attract a partner. He’s no ally to the LGBTQ+ community either, claiming that homosexuality was an “acceptable loss” and that only a “degenerate culture” would legalise same – sex marriage.

 

Australia, this has been a part of your Senate for nearly a year and a half.

Pauline Hanson says again and again that she represents the people of Australia. Well, frankly she should have picked her candidates better, because SURPRISE, “Australian society includes single parents (both mothers and fathers) and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Sure, Archibald, Ju Lin and Bell – Hensellin aren’t alone in their disparaging views against LGBTQ+ people or single parents. But surely politicians should be held to a higher standard. Surely, they can have a little respect for all people in their electorate. That includes single parents – both mothers and fathers and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

 

I’m personally sick of the LGBTQ+ community in particular being attacked. I’m also sick of people getting away with it – well – at least for the most part. And, this even goes on in the Parliament. The people who are meant to represent ALL Australians. I hope that the next three or so years are not just full of  anti – LGBTQ+ abuse spewed by Parliamentarians, often without consequences. I also hope that single parents aren’t so stigmatised that domestic violence victims feel ashamed for leaving their abuser and fear being labelled unfairly. No one knows the personal circumstances of a single parent, so don’t assume and stigmatise. Is that so hard?

 

Now, I can imagine people protesting right now – but what about free – speech? Well, sure they have the right to say what they want without too much government interference, as we all do. Well, maybe that’s debatable since we have 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975… that’s for another post for another day. But generally, we have free speech in this country. However, I do not think that “free speech” should not mean free from criticism and consequences. It does not mean that someone can’t or shouldn’t be sacked because of what they say, including on social media. It does not mean that you can be unapologetic when you get something gravely wrong, especially when it has the potential to cause harm. Also, LGBTQ+ people, ethnic minorities, single parents, etc shouldn’t have to grin and stay silent when being stigmatised.

 

Parliamentarians should be held to a high standard in conduct, including on – line. Also, I’d ask, how much do minorities need to put up with? How many times do LGBTQ people have to be likened to “predators” and “mentally ill” before we can protest? I’ve had it!

Finally a sane article on Melania Trump

Michelle Andrews wrote an article on Mamamia calling for an end to fake news and misrepresentations of Melania Trump on – line.. Andrews has slammed the “Free Melania” hashtag with no evidence except some opportunistic photos and GIFs.

Finally, a progressive wanting FACTS rather than sensationalism on this.

She is right. We DON’T KNOW what goes on behind closed doors between President Donald Trump and Melania. I wrote on another blog that some of the treatment of Melania had been unfair and wouldn’t be tolerated if it was Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton – especially by the left/ progressive media.

So, what do we really know about Melania? Well I can tell you what I’ve heard that is quite common knowledge:

  1. She’s Slovenian
  2. She is fluent in five languages
  3. Her and Trump have a ten – year – old son.

That’s all I can think of at the top of my head. Can’t even think of the son’s name… starts with B.

 

I hope that the next four years isn’t full of endless rumours and false victim narrative of Melania. C’mon, we may be troubled about Trump (I have my concerns), but portraying his wife in a false light is not going to help progressives/ left, feminists or anyone else. In fact, it will be another thing that will backfire completely.

The “fake news” phenomena over the last couple of months in the lead up to and in the aftermath of the U.S. Election has been pathetic. Some researchers argue that fake news didn’t affect the election result, but it’s still not a good look. Alleged fake hate crimes will NOT help the migrants, Muslims or the LGBT community. It will only embolden vocal opponents.

Be concerned about what’s happening or what will likely happen. Like the bill that Trump was photographed signing. Some people worry about what it’s going to mean for reproductive health for women in other countries that the U.S. sends aid to. I must admit, I think I’ve jumped the gun, especially including on Vice President Mike Pence on LGBTQ+ rights. I’ll try not to do that in the future.

I agree with what Sky’s Janine Perett said a couple of nights ago on Paul Murray Live – wait until President Trump and other Republicans make their first move and something becomes (or is likely to become) law. If you don’t like the policies the Republicans put forward and its made law then protest. If you’re a journalist focus on facts. Don’t journalists have an ethical responsibility to be accurate. Of course, if you are an opinion writer, then, you can afford to be biased. But again, if the biases are based on complete fabrications and things taken out of context, then that doesn’t help your cause or reputation.

 

Back to Melania. Why don’t we treat her like most progressives would’ve treated Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton – with respect. And show respect for their son, like many did with Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia. Treat Barron (I found the name just before) Trump with courtesy. And remember he’s only ten – still in school.

As for fake memes, GIFs and whatnot, can we stop being so pathetic? People – both from the left and conservative post satirical memes and GIFs featuring famous people on social media all the time. That’s fine. But deliberately creating deliberately fake news/ campaigns out of it does not do anyone any good and only make progressives look spiteful and hypocritical.

 

We’re all edgy about what’s happened. Many are concerned about what the future holds, especially progressives/ those that lean to the left. But step back and let truth trump lies (no pun intended). Because, quite frankly, lies, as well as demonising people unfairly is what has gotten us into here in the first place.

Progressives, it’s time we change tactic

‘The Specator’s’ Brendan O’Neill offered an analysis on what was behind Trump’s victory.

I think the self – described Marxist may have a point. Maybe a Trump win as U.S.’s 45th President is a warning to politicians, and also cultural progressives. People don’t like to be told to shut up. They don’t like to see the next generation of adults treated as precious petals. They are sick of the double standards people practice when they criticise Christianity (which is sometimes justified, I must say), but are deathly silent on Islam.

People are tired of being told they can’t do what they want to their own bodies. When it comes to issues like smoking, the possible effects of passive smoking and littering do need to be considered, but people argue it’s gone too far.

Also, people are sick of being abused. And conservatives cop some revolting abuse, including here in Australia. A number of Trump supporters were violently assaulted in the lead up to the election. Even after the election, riots have still occurred. Then, there was the torture of an 18 – year – old disabled man by an African American gang in Chicago. The ordeal lasted between 24 and 48 hours.

While things in Australia haven’t been as extreme, many causes has been hijacked by the far – Left, leaving scores of people disillusioned. This is where Safe Schools lost the plot. I agree that LGBTQ+ students and families should be supported. I also applaud how resources like ‘All of Us’ acknowledged other identities in the LGBTQ+ community and how it went beyond the gay/ straight dichotomy. Unfortunately, much of the ‘information’ in the program was deemed age inappropriate and was based on far – Left gender and feminist theory, rather than up –  to – date psychology and research. Not to mention founder, Roz Ward’s conference where she revealed that Safe Schools was not intended to be an anti – bullying program. To make matters even worse, the ‘Herald Sun’ and ‘The Australian’ published photos of its founder, Roz Ward assaulting an Australian Trump supporter.

 

People are worried. People have been hurt by institutions and systematic injustices have gone on for way too long. Homophobia, bi – phobia and racism destroys lives, but this isn’t the way to fight it. It only scares off would – be allies and only confirms to the Right what they already think.

 

Enough’s enough. Time for change. We need to stop the abuse and the hypocrisy. We need to allow others to speak without fear of being howled down. Should we tolerate homophobia, racism and the like? No. But we shouldn’t guilt people for having genuine concerns, either. If people are out of line, then offer a counter argument – with facts, statistics, logic and so on. Also, condemn violence/ abuse when committed by other members of the Left. If you look at any of Secular Talk videos on YouTube, Kyle Kulinski does this very well. David Rubin isn’t too bad either. They aren’t closed to debate – in fact, they’re all for it. Kulinski, in particular, is a hardcore libertarian. While I don’t agree with all of what Kulinski says, it’s what the modern Left needs – someone who encourages debate and someone with enough conviction that they are willing to call out wrongdoing when they see/ hear it. I think if we progressives do that, then maybe things may turn around.

 

What do you think about what’s going to happen in the next few years? What do you think about the result of the U.S. Election?