Is it necessary to get rid of heteronormative language?

I know it’s nearly Christmas and I wasn’t planning on writing something this heavy, but I think it’s something that needs to be said – again.

Is this really necessary? According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian government workers are being told not to use cis – hetero – normative language, particularly around LGBTQ+ clients. OK, I’m cis – gender. I have never questioned or struggled with my gender identity, so I’d like to hear some views from trans and gender – diverse people about this. Is it really necessary for people to avoid cis – hetero – normative language around you? I mean, sure, it’d probably help if they don’t assume, but is it possible for you just to say “actually I prefer the pronoun X”. Also, when dealing with LGBTQ+ couples, just use a gender – neutral noun like “partner” or another term the couple themselves prefer. Is that so hard?

In regard to relationships, in Australia, marriage is still legally defined as between one man and one woman. I have heard of some parents, other family and friends of LGBTQ+ people blocking their ears at marriage ceremonies in protest of the current definition of marriage in Australia as celebrants are mandated by law to state the current legal definition. I sort of understand that. The issue of same – sex marriage is very real and personal for many people in the LGBTQ+ community and allies. I get that. But I don’t see how adjusting language completely will help combat homophobia and trans – phobia or fight for change in marriage laws. In fact, as I’ve said many times before, I think it’ll end up backfiring on the LGBTQ+ community – even if (when?) –  same – sex marriage is legal.

 

But I wonder whether it goes deeper than that. Is it still treating LGBTQ+ people like “the other”, so to speak? Does it help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community to have bureaucrats to impose an acceptable standard on the rest of society when it comes to simply interacting with the LGBTQ+ community. Shouldn’t we be able to speak up for ourselves? Can’t we say, “this is my partner” or “I prefer the pronoun ze, hir, or they?”. Or even for some asexual/ aromantic people, “this is my queer – platonic partner”?

In the aftermath of the Trump victory in the US, Brexit and the rise of One Nation here, one thing is made abundantly clear – people are tired of being ignored, being lectured at and having bureaucrats dictate what is acceptable. People are tired of feeling guilty and walking on egg shells. Stand up for your rights and the rights of others, by all means. But what is happening now isn’t working. Or, it may seem like it’s working now, but don’t be surprised when people continue to rise in revolt – possibly leaving the people that are meant to be protected even more vulnerable.

Marriage debate – yes, it does effect the LGBT community

Note: some of the content of this post may be distressing and triggering for some readers. 

Even though the plebiscite is dead at the moment (been voted down the second time), it hasn’t stopped the debate – or, frankly, the hostility. The Facebook post below from Sky’s “Paul Murray Live” shows a short story about the plebiscite being voted down in Parliament on Monday for the second time. The next step is anyone’s guess. Some people, like Senator David Lyonhjelm thinks it’s either the plebiscite or nothing, (more on him in a second).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPaulMurrayLIVE%2Fposts%2F1476688602360104&width=500

 

Now, same – marriage sceptics or outright opponents, as well as some proponents, argue that we should be able to “debate” this issue. Senator for the Liberal Democrats, David LeyonheljmSamneS, made a speech addressing Parliament on the plebiscite. He himself is a supporter of same – sex marriage, but also supports a plebiscite, unlike most LGBTQ+ people and their allies, according to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Yesterday, Melbourne’s the “Herald Sun” printed an edit of Leyonheljm’s speech, encouraging a vote for the passing of legislation on the plebiscite. Some things he said, that was also printed in the Herald Sun were controversial.

Your (Labor, Greens and other opponents of the plebiscite) suggestion that an acrimonious debate will prompt suicides and other mental health issues in the LGBTI community is obnoxious. These are normal people, not mentally fragile little daffodils affronted by name calling.

This little paragraph alone is, quite frankly problematic on so many levels. While the LGBTQ+ community can’t be all lumped in together in regard to vies on same – sex marriage or mental strength, mental health organisations such asSuicide Prevention, Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community are at risk when it comes to mental health issues, especially when facing homophobic, bi – phobic and trans – phobic bullying and violence.

 

Also, I think that this so – called “debate” has gone beyond a bit heated. I was appalled at some of the comments in the comments under the Facebook post above. Throwing false slippery slope arguments that same – sex marriage will lead to the acceptance of paedophilia or that gays are paedophiles, a claim that’s COMPLETELY false!!!! Regardless of your view on homosexuality or same – sex marriage ANY PAEDOPHILE WHO IS ACTING OUT THEIR SEXUAL DESIRES IS COMMITTING RAPE!!! Everyone get that?! Rape!!! All States and Territories in Australia and the Western world have age limits to when a person can engage in consensual sexual activity. In the U.S, who made same – sex marriage law nation wide last year, according to “Age of Consent (US), the age restrictions are between 16 to 18 across the country.  In England and Wales – countries that legalised same – sex marriage in 2014, have a minimum age of consent at 16. This goes across the board, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Holland, the first country in the world to legalise same – sex marriage in the world has less straightforward laws. According to “Netherlands – Age of Consent”, the legal age of sexual contact is 16. However, if a person 12 or over agrees to have sex and no complaint is made by parents, then no prosecution will occur.

 

Also, the “debate’ has seen threats of violence toward LGBTQ organisations, despite what some would like to believe. In September, Melbourne LGBT radio station, JOY 94.9 FM had to be evacuated after a bomb threat was made against staff via e – mail. This got almost buckley’s coverage in the mainstream media. The first place I read about it was on Facebook. No hate speech from the “no” side? Yeah right! It hasn’t all been one way, but the fact that this got a little but not a lot of attention is despicable.

A part from that, I truly believe the well – being of the LGBTQ+ community should be (and should’ve been from the start), taken into consideration and not mocked. And, no, it’s not enough for a journalist to just cite the Lifeline number of feature it for ten seconds at a bottom of a screen. Think about what you are saying! Realise that this issue does affect people. Not everyone can brush off hurtful or downright hateful comments, unlike what Leyonheljm or conservatives would like to suggest.

You want a debate, then fine. BUT it’s not without consequences. Lives are affected. And let’s condemn abuse! 

 

If this post has brought up any issues for you contact:

Lifelline: 13 11 14

QLife: ask@qlife.org.au or 1800 184 527 3 p.m. onward every day

For those under 25: Headspace:  on – line or by phone: 1800 650 890

If you need help, please, please get it.

 

 

Short open letter to Mia Freedman – you can’t speak for all the LGBTQ+ community

 

Dear Mia,

You are a great LGBTQ+ ally. Thank you for all that you’ve done to support and raise awareness on the LGBTQ+ comunity, including publishing articles on asexuality. I really do appreciate your voice to increasing asexuality visibility. You’re passion for justice for the LGBTQ+ community is much appreciated, I’m sure.

However, your comment on Liberal Senator Josh Manuatu was out of line. You, or anyone else, has no right to dictate yo how LGBTQ+ individuals feel about issues like same – sex marriage, adoption, or political persuasion. We are all indibiduals, just like all straight people don’t share all the same values and political ideology.

 

Manuatu isn’t alone as someone who is gay, but opposes same – sex marriage. In the lead up to the Irish referrendum, openly gay people opposed same – sex marriage, mainly because they believed that marriage there to raise children in a traditional nuclear family. In a protest that occurred in France to the lead up of same – sex marriage in May, 2013, people who were openly vocally opposed same – sex marriage for the same reasons. I have also heard that here, in Australia, gay peoplesay they’re againsr same – sex marriage, but feel like they can’t be open about their views in fear of a backlash from the wider LGBTQ+ community. This is unacceptable, just as unacceptable itvwould be to bully and ostracise an LGBTQ+ person who felt like they need the right to marriage.

Mia, you are a valuable voice in supporting the wider LGBTQ+ community. The way you’ve allowed LGBTQ+ people to tell their stories and continual advocacy for the LGBTQ+ is to be commended. It really does. However, the way you attacked Manuatu on Twitter is not the way to advocate for LGBTQ+ people. Please keep that in mind next time. And keep on speaking up.

 

Love and respect,

 

 

S.

Do you identify as LGBTQ+ and oppose same – sex marriage and/ or adoption? Feel free to leave comments below.

 

 

 

Support for plebiscite plummets.Wonder why?

According to Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt, support for the plebiscite on same – sex marriage has crashed to 39%. Wonder why?

People are sick of it?

Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t argue for it properly? (Bolt’s answer).

The idea that the plebiscite is non – binding, that the Parliament have to vote on it anyway?

All the above?

The so – called “debate” on same – sex marriage has been pathetic and BOTH the Coalition and Labor are to blame. The Coalition should’ve set a date in concrete ages ago. Labor need to stop playing politics with the issue. The cost of the plebiscite, originally said to be $160,000,000 has now ballooned to a possible $170,000,000 – $185,000,000 (all AUD), due to be supposed promise that Turnbull allegedly made to fund advertising both the “Yes” and “No” advertising campaign.

Labor hasn’t been angels on this either. No, they’ve been hypocrites on it. They are playing the victim cards; exploiting a teenage boy raised by lesbian parents and Opposition Leader being accused (I think rightly), of “emotional blackmail” after linking the plebiscite to the high rate of gay teen suicide. This is government who didn’t have the guts over six years to do anything about same – sex marriage. Add  threats against motel staff where a Christian meeting was meant to take place, but had to be cancelled and a (what I thought initially was under – reported) bomb threat made against a Melbourne LGBT radio Station JOY 94.9 FM. Respectful debate? Yeah right!

 

Note to people AND POLITICIANS on both sides of the debate. LGBTQ+ people are PEOPLE! Not political pawns, bargaining chips, etc. If you really care about the welfare of of LGBTQ+ youth, then grow up, have a debate and make a decision. Do NOT use us to further your cause. Remember, you are talking about the lives of people here. So enough! Have a plebiscite, have a vote, just do it!

 

To the general public. Think about how your words and actions can people around you. Respect all people in this. If you want to challenge someone’s positions, argue with FACTS; statistics, etc. For opponents, don’t just make the LGBTQ+ community look like caricatures or stereotypes. I’d say the same thing about proponents. Stop treating opponents like monsters under the bed. It’s not doing the campaign any good. They are brothers, sisters, lovers, etc, just like you are. Again, argue with FACTS, not stereotypes or abuse. I know why some LGBTQ+ people are angry. I do. But taking your anger and using it to abuse others is not going to further your fight.

 

 

Anti – LGBTQ+ violence and the media – report and condemn all or don’t bother

Anti – LGBTQ+ violence is a topic that, in my opinion, while covered in the media, is only done so selectively. Latest example – members of the media rightly condemned threats against a motel that was holding an anti same – sex marriage conference. However, a bomb threat scare against an LGBTQ radio station in Melbourne was barely mentioned apart from ‘The Age’, news.com.au and Creative Director of Advertising, Dee Madigan raising the incident on Sky’s ‘Paul Murray Live’ on Monday night (I think). Melbourne’s talkback radio station 3AW has allso done an interview with JOY FM’s CEO, Tenille Moisel.  But no comment from Andrew Bolt. No articles on Mamamia. Sunrise. Studio 10 (that I know of). Compared to other events, this threat, from what I see, has been drastically under reported.

 

So, the question is why? Why were large sections of the media fairly quiet about this? I have a theory that may (actually probably will), rub many people up the wrong way… here goes. I think the LGBTQ+ community are being used by the majority of the media as political pawns. For the Left wing of the media, we are largely painted as victims. Since nothing (thankfully) happened, there is nothing to hit Cory Bernadi or Lyle Shelton over the head with. For conservatives, two thoughts come to mind. First, it (potentially) exposes the idea that a plebiscite and debate will harm the LGBTQ+ community as a myth. The hate speech from both sides has now been exposed. Secondly, due to the fact that the identity of those who made the threats is currently unknown, they have no ammunition. They can’t pin it on immigrants, and, of course, they can’t pin this on the gay rights groups.

I find this quite pathetic on all fronts. To put it bluntly, I feel it almost exposes our so – called ‘allies’ as a complete joke. If you are a journalist, columnist, commentator, then condemn ALL threats! For conservatives who condemned the threats against hotel staff, keep speaking up, but don’t be hypocritical about it. The assumption that hate speech has only come from the pro same – sex marriage side has been proven to be inaccurate. Admit it.

 

Journalists, STOP using the LGBTQ+ community for your own ego. If you deem yourself an ally, be an ally. If you condemn abuse in the same – sex marriage debate, good on you, but condemn it ALL, not just the incidents that line up with your own views, and, dare I say it, prejudices. Be there and call out any anti – LGBT threats or abuse during the same – sex martiage debate or don’t bother at all. Don’t pretend to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community when your words – and actions suggest otherwise.

 

P.S. Thank you to those who DID speak up and report it.

Will a vote bring the acceptance the LGBTQ+ community want?

Last night on Sydney’s talkback radio station, 2GB, Steve Price and Andrew Bolt talked about the topic that just won’t die… same – sex martiage. This comes after Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon and his party vowed to block the same – sex marriage plebiscite legislation. Now, it’s up to Labor and then time will only tell where the issue goes from there.

Andrew Bolt, a vocal critic… or sceptic (?) of same – sex marriage, is adament that same – sex marriage should be decided by the public, not politicians. Since the success of the ‘Yes’ campaign in Ireland last year, he’s been more adament about the issue going to a public vote. He made one very good – and I think true point- that the LGBTQ+ community really want validation, including for their relationships. He believes that a successful public vote will bring that.

 

I’m usually sceptical of what Bolt says about same – sex marriage, but doesn’t he have a point? Don’t the wider LGBTQ+ community want to know that we are accepted? I knpw I do. In the past, as I have written, that’s been one of my greatest hopes and fears when coming to terms with my own sexuality. That fear was the source of many anxious moments and tears. While I don’t know all the struggles and fears that many young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- gender people/ gender diverse people go through, I know it’s painful to even think of having people you care about reject you or hate you. I know what it’s like to hate yourself. It can be terrifying not knowing whether or not you are gay/ lesbian and think ‘what if I am? What next?’

 

I have written before how even symbolic acceptance can be powerful – a small sign that, if you are LGBTQ+, there are people you can be yourself around. If it comes from friends and family, all the better. In the aftermath of the Irish referendum, as Bolt pointed out, it was seen as a huge step torward to, not just same legal rights for same – sex couples, but it was seen as a huge sign to Irish LGBTQ+ people that they are accepted by many in society, despite Ireland’s traditionally Catholic roots. Why can’t that mean the same for LGBTQ+ peoole here… that is providing that the 60% rate in favour of same – sex marriage is correct, I guess.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

What needs to be done before same – sex marriage can be legal in Australia?

What must be done for same – sex marriage to be legal in Australia? A plebiscite is almost a given, whether anyone likes it or not (I personally prefer it and have explained what I think the dangers are if there is any more censoring on this (and other), topics). A date isn’t finalised about when it’ll take place – but it’s almost definitely not going to happen this year. The date February 2017 has been thrown around. We’ll have to wait and see.

What DOES need to be thought about is the repercussions. I’m sceptical of the slippery slope argument, so I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about freedoms – freedom of speech and freedom of conscience/ religion. Whether people like to admit it or not, some people do have moral and/ or religious objection to same – sex marriage. Others, like Newscorp columnist/ blogger and TV presenter, Andrew Bolt, has worries about what it’ll do to the institution. As I’ve said before, abusing people with these and other concerns will not win hearts.

I want to talk more in depth about the issues of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.

Already, in Australia, people are feeling silenced. The latest case that has been used by conservatives is the court case where an employee sued students from Queensland University of Technology in 2013, after comments were made on social media protesting what was deemed “racial segregation” of computer labs. You can read more about the case here.. The election back in June and the rise of conservative minor parties emphasised the fact that people were sick of being muzzled and shouted down if they spoke about their fears surrounding mass migration, political correctness, etc. The Racial Discrimination Act (1975), is under scrutiny yet again, particularly section 18C; where it prohibits offence, humiliation, intimidation and or insulting another person based on race or ethnic background (the section is here.)

 

Back to the issue of same – sex marriage, there has already been tensions that has spilled over when it comes to the feeling of censorship against opponents. Last year, channels 7 and 10 came under fire for refusing to air a televised advertisement from the conservative group Marriage Alliance, a group that questions the impact of same – sex marriage on society, especially children.

More recently, Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous was at risk of being sued by a Tasmanian Greens candidate, transwoman, Martine Delaney, after a booklet “Don’t Mess with Marriage’ was distributed in Catholic schools across the country. Delaney feared that the Church’s argument against same – sex parenting was harmful to the LGBTQ community. Early this year, the complaint was withdrawn. Rather than seeing this as a “win” for free speech – and for many, common sense – many conservatives are still concerned that the case against Archbishop Porteous had gone so far. Again, conservatives have felt silenced.

 

Across the world, issues surrounding customer service and a business owner’s right to practice their religious beliefs. and even churches themselves, have also come up on a fairly regular basis. This has gone beyond a pastor/ priest/ other religious leader, the right to refuse to perform same – sex unions in a church. Again, the issue of the right for a person to hold conservative religious beliefs and express them, and anti – discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community has come to light. Gay activists have been accused of trying to “shut down” conservative religious leaders, demanding that they don’t say anything against homosexuality. . Is it possible that these are blown out of proportion? Frankly, I think it’s quite possible, (haven’t looked into it deeply, to be honest), but the fact that it’s perceived still, in my view, highlights the fact that conservatives feel like they are being silenced, yet again. I’ve written before, in other parts of the world, particularly Brazil, this perception has become dangerous to the LGBTQ+ community. .

 

Already in Australia, there’s been an uproar against ABCN over scholarships awarded to LGBT students, the “Safe Schools Program” has been proven to be a farcical Socialist manifesto, with parents feeling blindsided about what the program was about and its content (and much of it has been strongly criticised). These things do NOT do the LGBTQ+ community any good! The safest way forward is to let opponents speak. Allow debate.  I don’t deny that offensive and hurtful things are going to be said. Young LGBTQ+ people will need a lot of support through the next couple of months. But stifling back, I fear, is going to prove to be worse for the LGBTQ+ community in the long run.