What’s up in your world?

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I’ve done this in other blogs, so I might as well try in this one.

What’s going on in your world?

What’s been happening with you, your children, pets, anything you feel comfortable with writing about?

What TV shows have grabbed you recently? Dramas. Recent movies that you’ve seen? (maybe again). Reality TV? You can talk about the recent MasterChef (Australia) result if you like.

What news stories have grabbed you recently? Any debates raging that you feel particularly strong about?

How about the weather where you are? It’s nice where I am, by the way… for Winter anyway.

The floor’s yours. Take it away!

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.

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

Is male privilege real?

 

Screen shot of ABC's Hack Live on iView
New episode of “Hack Live” brought on controversy, but also interesting debate over “male privilege”.

I watched the controversial show “Hack Live – Is Male Privilege Bulls***” and I’ve got to say while it caused controversy in which the ABC kind of apologised for, the discussion on male privilege on the panel show “Hack Live” was actually very interesting.

One interesting panellist was *Adrian* (not his real name), who was a part of the Men’s Right’s movement. He, more than other panellists, emphasised what many men face in Australia more than women. These included homelessness and suicide. It was also pointed out that men are over represented in work related deaths as well as the alleged gender pay gap and domestic violence.

 

So, does male privilege exist?

It’s complicated. Economically, there may be a historical bias that favours men. But in areas like family law, mental health and other areas, these things have generally favoured women – from what I can gather. In the UK, there is a severe lack of appropriate shelters for male domestic violence victims. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was similar here. You don’t hear about domestic violence against men in the media as frequently as you hear about women.

I think another factor to talk about is male victims by sexual assault at the hands of both men and women. While there is a slow increase in awareness and female who abuse boys are finally getting exposed, I believe there is still a long way to go, especially on reducing stigma faced by many male victims, both as adults and children.

So, does ‘male privilege’ exist?

Like I said men may have some economic and professional advantages over women – depends who you believe on the age wage gap and poverty after retirement. But, I think there are areas in which women have the upper hand, including custody disputes and family law, awareness on domestic violence and mental illness and relevant services for these men.

Privilege in general

“Hack Live” also looked into – albeit too briefly – intersections of identity and how that plays in the privilege debate. I’ve written extensively about challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people over the years since I’ve started blogging. Is there such thing as straight privilege? I think most certainly! From adequate and fair media representation, visibility in education, LGBTQ+ people of faith struggling to find a place of worship where they feel accepted, (although as I have written before, things are slowly looking up).

In other areas, I think “white privilege” isn’t an overblown concept either, to be honest. I think, while things are improving for people of colour in countries like Australia, I don’t doubt that that some may still face racism in a way that Caucasian people generally don’t have to think about. I believe that there are people of colour who face racial profiling. People of colour and of Asian backgrounds do get stereotyped in a way that Caucasian people generally don’t get. I have also heard a few years ago that a survey (I think) pointed out that some employers tend to look past resumes that have a non – English sounding name. Whether this has improved over the three or so years since the story was on The Project, I’m not entirely sure. I hope it has.

Did anyone else watch “Hack Live”? What did you think about it? What do you think about the concept of male privilege? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. 

 

 

 

Anger and hopelessness over Manchester massacre

 

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Image: iStock

 

The Ariana Grande concert massacre in Manchester, U.K stirred  up such anger in me yesterday. Those killers, one that died in the blast, are nothing but scum. How DARE these mongrels attack children. The youngest known casuality was Saffie Roussos, aged only eight.

Yesterday, Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi slammed it as ‘a sickening new low’.

And it begins. Speeches by world leaders, solidarity, there will no doubt be vigils. And an inevitable debate over migrant and refugee intake from Africa and the Middle East.

Same old, same old. Then, we go back to square one.

But what can we do? Even if we ban migraation from countries such as Libya (that’s allegedly where the parents from the bomber was from), what about the Internet? Compulsory filtering, anyone? From what I understand, many of the terrorists – the one that decapitated soldier Lee Rigby in broad dalight in 2013 spoke with a distinct British accent, the Boston bombers, although from a Chechen background, were raised and educated in the U.S. And the Orlando shooter was born in New York to Afghani parents. So hasn’t that horse already bolted? Not to mention that there are many victims of terrorism from Africa and the Middle East, many of which are Muslim.

So, what do we do? What can we do? At the moment, I really don’t have an answer. It just keeps happening again, again and again.

I’m usualky a person who likes to offer solutions, or at least more information and arguments, butvI think I’ll leave this post  where it is. I just haven’t got any words to say except that may heart goes out to the victims that survived and the families of those who lost loved ones, especially young children like Saffie. You’ll never be forgotten, sweetheart. ❤️😥

The denial or rights to LGBTQ+ people and consequences

The backlash against the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S. has been quite significant. Most recently, former Olympian and transwoman Caitlyn Jenner has pleaded for Donald Trump to reverse the decision to introduce laws that will penalise schools for not demanding children use the toilets that match what they were assigned at birth. Jenner has labelled this move a “disaster”. Understandably, people aren’t embracing Jenner’s call. This is for I think two reasons. One, is the fact that Jenner endorsed Trump and the Republican Party. There’s another reason. Back in 2015, Jenner made her reluctance to accept the legalisation of same – sex marriage on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, admitting in the past, she flatly opposed it.

This sparked a furious backlash against Jenner, with allies to the LGBTQ+ community of Jenner of only supporting causes when they suited her.

 

 

The ‘bathroom bill’ debate must feel so dehumanising. The fact that where you can go to the TOILET is up for debate. Really.  Going to the TOILET has become a hot political issue. It’s ridiculous! I hate how you’ve been stigmatised; how a lot of scenarios have been fabricated by conservative groups and media outlets to make you out to be a predator. Ironically, trans people, especially youth and trans people of colour are particularly vulnerable to being sexually assaulted. Even school aged children who are trans are vulnerable to being victimised. Unfortunately, the issues of violence that trans people often face don’t stop there.

The murder rate of transwomen of colour this year alone (to the 17th of February), is beyond abhorrent. I wrote about the epidemic of LGBTQ+ homelessness and violence both in the U.S. and around the world earlier this year. I also wrote that there are currently no such statistics on the level of homelessness among LGBTQ+ people in Australia at present, which I find cowardly and appalling. The public should know the situation regarding LGBTQ+ homelessness.

The issue of rights to freedom of religion, conscience and speech are often brought up in these debates, with demands that bakers, celebrants and florists be allowed to turn away LGBTQ couples on religious or ‘moral’ grounds. This has extended even further. According to Washington Post, a paediatrician in Michigan refused to carry out a routine check up on a baby because the parents were lesbians. Luckily, another paediatrician was available. What if this happened in a small rural town where another paediatrician or GP wasn’t available? What if the baby had an infection or something else? I’m usually sceptical of slippery slope arguments,  but I’ve got to say, this can’t end well.

In my opinion, this boils down the one thing. It’s got nothing to do with religion, with beliefs or ‘moral grounds’. This is purely refusing to treat LGBTQ+ people as human. I’m surprised no one has learnt from history how that can go. Why do we still tolerate that today? I’m not saying that everyone against gay marriage is like that, but it’s a constant feeling I get when the debate arises. People seem to forget that these debates affect real people – and many times vulnerable people – in our community.

 

I just wish people would stop talking about LGBTQ+ rights as an inconvenience, considering the real human impact it can have. I’m not here to to slam anyone against gay marriage in Australia – to be honest the hostility surrounding opponents in the past has been just as revolting. What I want people to understand is when talking about these issues, forget about caricatures and stereotypes. These are real issues for real people. And please, PLEASE, be there for any LGBTQ+ family member or friend who is distressed by any of this. That’s the human impact I’m talking about.

Media hype about same – sex relationships – help or hindrance to the LGBTQ+ community?

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Trigger warning: homophobic violence

I feel like there is a bit of disparity here. It seems all the rage for mainstream media – especially magazines – to write about same – sex relationships or – more often – same – sex relations that rarely last more than one night. Yet, LGBTQ+ youth still face untold struggles around the world – something much of the media doesn’t talk about.

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about homophobia, transphobia and how LGBTQ+ youth are over – represented in youth homelessness statistics in the U.S. LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times more likely to experience homelessness. That’s only if you go by the “10%” figure which is widely criticised.

Also, around the world, many LGBTQ+ people face the risk of violence and not just in the countries where homosexuality is punishable by death in the penal code.

Pink News wrote a story of Brazilian mother, Tatiana Lozano Pereira was charged with murder after stabbing her 17 – year – old son Itaberli after a row on Christmas Day. The 32 – year – old had her son bashed before stabbing him to death. I have also pointed out in Brazil, there has been a violent backlash against the LGBTQ+ community after same – sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

Closer to home, the story of 13 – year – old Tyrone Unsworth made news after he committed suicide after facing violent homophobia due to this perceived sexuality. Unsworth isn’t alone in being victimised because of his perceived or actual sexuality. NOBullying.com reveals that studies conducted by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that:

  • 82% of students were bullied over their sexual orientation during the previous year (2015)
  • 64% of LGBTQ students surveyed felt unsafe at school
  • 44% of students felt unsafe at school due to their gender identity
  • 32% of students avoided going to school for at least one day in fear of being bullied
  • 44% experienced physical harassment
  • 22% experienced more serious violence
  • 61% never reported abuse
  • 31% said that the school made no effort in combating abusive behaviour.

As for adults, as I research this, I’m having a hard time finding data on present or very recent anti – LGBTQ violence against adults. There’s a lot of historical stuff – the 1980’s and 1990’s were particularly bad for gays and lesbians. But I can’t find something significant in the past two or so years. This is, frankly, concerning in itself. Why isn’t this monitored and studied more regularly to keep up with current rates of homophobic or transphobic violence so it can be combated? I don’t doubt that over the past thirty or so years, attitudes about gays and lesbians have greatly improved. Still, some actual stats wouldn’t go astray.

Despite this, magazines, like Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire (Australia) are more frequently featuring women who admit to having sex and/ or relationships with other women. Very few, of the women, however, identify – or end up identifying – as LGBTQ+ – some foregoing labels altogether and most going back to having relationships with men. Now I do believe that there are some people who can’t put a label on their sexuality. Some may forego them because they are too scared to admit they’re gay or bi. Some may say their bi, only to identify as gay later on. I’m not knocking anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or foregoes labels. Sexuality can be – and sometimes is – more complex than a simple label.

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What I’m wondering is: does the media’s constant portrayal of same – sex/ non – heterosexual relationships help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community, especially when the person doesn’t identify as such? Does it enforce common myths about bisexual people? To be fair, many of these magazines do occasionally do proper articles on bisexual people and their experiences. Articles like the ones above seem to be more frequent though.

Does the media’s constant portrayal of WSW (women who have sex with women) unintentionally give people the impression that bisexuality is a phase or diminish the experience of lesbians, even enforce a theory that lesbians don’t exist.

 

In my opinion I think it could be all the above. Yes, sexuality can be complex and fluid for both men and women. It is kind of good that the media and people admit that. But bi – erasure is a problem faced by many bisexual people. There also needs to be emphasis that some women are attracted to women and only women, the same as that some men are attracted only to men. If we can be frank about all people’s experiences with their sexuality without erasing LGB people or diminishing other people’s experiences, then I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

 

What do you think? Does this portrayal of same – sex relationships help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community? Does more of this help gain acceptance or increase myths and stigma? Let me know what you think in  the comments below. 

Vegemite is Australian owned again

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“Australians all let us rejoice… for Vegemite is back!”

Good news everyone! A major part of Australia’s staple diet, Vegemite, will be Australian – owned and produced again!

Sky News Australia reports that the iconic staple of the Aussie diet will be bought by cheese company, Bega Cheese. It’s said that deal will cost $460 million. Bega will also have right to the Kraft brand for other products, including their widely popular, peanut butter.

The decision has delighted Australian entrepreneur, Dick Smith, who’s been a strong advocate for buying Australian – made and grown products. In 2014, he slammed Australians for buying “cheap” foreign imports instead. I get why. So many jobs in manufacturing are either eliminated, or at least on its knees in the Western world, partly because scores of people wanting the cheapest they can possibly get. Recently, this mentality has been scrutinised after companies like Apple had been exposed for using cheap labour from impoverished parts of the world. Too often their working conditions would be condemned if they occurred in places like Australia or the U.S.

Kraft came under fire in 2014 when they changed the recipe and added wheat malt. This infuriated Vegemite lovers across the country. It sparked a a petition, and although that gained very little traction, Kraft did go back to the original recipe. So they should’ve. Why change something that has nothing wrong?

 

Vegemite has been a staple in Australia for many years and has been a staple in the Australian diet since its launch in 1923 after being created by Dr. Cyril P. Callister in 1922. To get a name for the product, he asked Fred Walker to name it. Walker ran a competition for the public to come up with the name. Fifty (Australian) pounds was the prize. Walker’s own daughter won the prize after picking the name, Vegemite. For more information on the history of Vegemite, go here.

If it wasn’t for Vegemite, I probably wouldn’t eat as a kid, ha ha! It was such a staple in our house. I used to have it on toast and on sandwiches all the time. I like it thick! Probably a lot thicker than what other people do. If you could taste the butter or margarine, (especially butter), than it wasn’t thick enough. I’m more moderate now. I still have it reasonably thick, but too much can be too strong. But if you have so little that you can barely taste it, then it’s not worth it. I still have it on toast in the mornings. On sandwiches, not so much anymore, but I did have it a few days ago. It was nice. And it was reasonably thick!

 

Now, to a debate featured on Paul Murray Live last night, can you have Vegemite with cheese? Sliced cheese, yes. Tasty, not so much. That’s a bit too strong. For years, I always thought that they (Vegemite and sliced cheese) went together beautifully. Probably not the best combination when you are watching your weight though. Vegemite is just fine by itself, with a little bit of butter or margarine. The Vegemite still needs to be able to be tasted or what’s the point? And sometimes with sliced cheese.

Now, when we buy Vegemite and have it on our toast, sandwiches, Saladas, etc, we can rest assured that we are buying an Australia – made product and supporting Australian jobs. We can also be assured that the workers’ conditions are satisfactory – a standard that we expect of any workers.

Now, let us all rejoice!

 

Do you like Vegemite? How? Thick? Thin? What do you like it on? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments.