Should the LGBTQ+ community be concerned about Donald Trump?

Watchin  the video below, you’d think that the American LGBTQ+ community has nothing to worry about when Donald Trump becomes US President from next year.

While I get Paul Joseph Watson’s critique, I do think that people do have a right to be concerned, not just about marriage rights, but – among other things – anti – discrimination protections introduced by Barack Obama.

If Trump is for LGBTQ protections, then all power to him. But that does not sooth the fears of LGBTQ+ community, especially when his Vice President, Mike Pence and other Republicans have a reputation of being opponents of LGBTQ rights. Pence himself has been knlwn to advocate for the highly criticised conversion therapy. I, for one will be hoping that all legal rights will stay in tact for LGBTQ Americans.

ABCN scholarship controversy will backfire on the LGBTQ+ community

Content warning/Trigger warning: homophobia, Orlando massacre (only brief mention)

TV presenter, Sonia Kruger has come under fire again, this time for criticising the Australian Business and Community Network Foundation, (ABCN), for asking about a potential scholarship candidate about their gender identity and whether they identify as LGB. She argues that scholarships should be given based on merit alone and she has labelled e ABCN move as ‘reverse discrimination’. 3AW talkback presenter debated this with former Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs.

When I read about this, I did a little research on ABCN, including the link to the information and application form to be filled out by Principals, not students or their parents. If you look at the form, the first section asks about student’s academic achievement, and the other part focuses on social, personal or economic challenges that the potential applicant faces. The two questions that are causing uproar are:

What is the student’s gender?

Male

Female

Transgender

Prefer not to say

And:

Does the student identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual?

Yes

No

Prefer not to say

 

Now, the other questions in this section of the form goes on to ask about racial identity, Aboriginality/ Torres Strait Islander identity, disability and so on – to indicate what struggles potential recipients face. I get that. What makes everyone gets their knickers in a knot is on the website, the ABCN admit that this year, they are directly targeting to get students who are LGB to apply.

Is this “reverse discrimination” in the legal sense? Well, according to Triggs, no. The Sex Discrimination Act (NSW) 1984, Section 21 does prohibit education providers educators to discriminate against students on the bases of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, intersex status, etc. The only exceptions (at least in this section) is if a school is specifically aimed at one gender (single – sex school, for instance). Religious institutions, including schools are exempt from anti – discrimination laws surrounding, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy if it goes against their faith teachings. There seems to be nothing in regard to reverse discrimination (not that I can find – if anyone knows anything that I haven’t found about exemptions, feel free to let me know).

 

Sure, not only LGBTQ students are able to apply for scholarships through ABCN, I still think that the fact that they specifically advertised for any applicant that identifies as LGBT and have those questions on the form is a bad error of judgement and, as I’ve said before on a number of issues, has the potential for backfiring on the LGBTQ+ community.

The fact that the scholarships are aimed at disadvantaged youth is praise – worthy. As I’ve written before, LGBTQ+ youth do face a number of personal issues, such as homelessness, suicide/ self – harm and bullying. But is advertising specifically for LGBT people – or in this case – getting the Principal to disclose LGBT status the way to help the youth?

I’ve also said this before, worldwide, there is a push back against the LGBTQ+ community and their allies where LGBT rights – including same – sex marriage, has been pushed down people’s throats without any chance to argue a differing viewpoint. Since the tragic Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida in June this year, two pastors have been exposed as applauding the shootings against the Latinx/ Latino/ Latina LGBTQ+ community. This was less than a year since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), ruled that same – sex marriage was to be legal in all 50 states after the Obgerfell vs. Hodges court case.

Brazil is still a hotspot for LGBT – based hate crime, even though same – sex marriage was legal in 2013. In 2014, Conservatives – including anti – gay evangelicals rose to power, creating concern that progress of LGBT rights will backslide. According to Catholic publication, Crux, a study indicated that a slight majority of Brazilians were actually against same – sex marriage.

 

Closer to home, the “anti – bullying” initiative, the Safe Schools Program has proven to be a total debacle, with one of the creators, Roz Ward being exposed as having a socialist ideology and that the program was not to combat bullying, but to push gender – less, anti – Capitalist agenda. Along with other controversies, like the Daily Telegraph accusing Cheltenham Girls’ School in Sydney of banning the term “girls” or “women” and others banning terms like ‘mum” or “dad”. For the record, the Principal at Cheltenham has denied that they enforce a ban on terms like “girls” or “women”, but I think the damage is already done.

This is why I do support a plebiscite on same – sex marriage. People – especially conservatives, are sick of being backed into a corner. Also, would – be supporters of LGBT rights, including supporting same – sex marriage, are getting turned off by the political correctness and the never – ending outrage from the militant same – sex marriage activists. A number of would – be same sex marriage supporters have criticised the reaction over Kruger and other over – reactions toward those who merely question the length that LGBT rights activists are going to – I hate to say it but… provide LGBTQ+ people with “special rights”. People want equality, yes? Well…this isn’t the way to go about it. I truly think it isn’t.

 

All LGBTQ+ people unequivocally deserve safety. The social challenges that face many LGBTQ+ people, especially youth is unacceptable – period. But we need to do this in a way that doesn’t alienate straight people, especially would – be allies. Pushing this, frankly elitist agenda will only drive them away.

Discussion of Sexual Minorities in Rural Areas

Warning: depression, suicide and homophobia. If these issues affect and/ or trigger you, feel free to skip this post. If you have any struggles, please get help.

On Q and A on Monday night, they were talking about mental illness, as a part of ABC’s “Mental As” campaign. One of the questions that were asked from the audience aimed at Federal Member of Kennedy, Queensland, Bob Katter. The question was:

Thank you. My question is for Bob Katter. The youth in this area that belong to minority groups and in particular homosexuals, have a much higher rate of suicide. In the past, you have not addressed the topic of gay rigfhts, as you see it as irrelevant. Do you think it is appropriate for us to have a discussion about the links between regional Australia and suicide and willilngly omit an entire group of at risk individuals?

(Note: To put Katter in context, about 2011, his party came under fire for being behind an extremely homophobic advertisement that was, for a while, portraying a male gay couple in a most harmful stereotype. I for one haven’t seen that ad in ages, but it was even condemned by conservatives who aren’t for gay marriage. Katter has been linked with that ever since). Katter has in the past continued to ignore such concerns (or seems to) while continaully talking about other issues such as the economy, drought, etc. In reply (in short), Katter said:

I”m quite happy to address the issue any time anyone brings it to me, right? I have an electorate where I have a person committing suicide between Longreach and the Gulf of Carpentaria every two weeks in the cattle section. I have large First Australian communities, where it is absolutely endemic, right, and if you’re saying well, what’s your priorities? Well, the priorities that I got are the people that are confronting me and quite rightly confronting me. That is the problem that i have to deal with. You have a problem that you may have to deal with in your own life and if I can assist you in any way, I’m only happy to do that.

Here’s my point, I can see sort of where Katter is coming from and what his priorities would lie in rural Queensland. Coming from a rural town myself, I can attest that there isn’t a lot of discussion about LGBT issues in rural areas. It’s quite possible that Katter himself hasn’t been directly asked by his electorate about issues surroudning LGBT+ rights. I’m not saying this to defend the advertisement his party was involved in or anything, I’m just saying that the discussion around LGBT+ rights in rural areas is minimal at best. A city near where i live is starting to talk abou it; people are coming out, etc, but it’s still only minimal.

Asexuality, not surprisingly, is barely discussed at all where I come from. I have bought the topic up with one friend directly and I’ve got my blog posts displayed on my Facebook page, but that’s it. Can I really blame anyone for being ignorant about asexuality if it isn’t been discussed directly? I don’t think so. And this is what I felt with this Q and A episode. Bob Katter can only deal with issues that people from his electorate tell him. If people haven’t opened up about LGBT+ issues, then how can he deal with them?

 

My guess is that as time goes by, there will be more honest discussion about LGBT+ people in rural areas, but i think it’s going to take time for people to get their head around. Maybe the more people that are willing to come out, or families share about members of their family to others who may identify as LGBT+, the more media exposure in country areas, maybe then, the more when Members of Parliament around Australia, including rural areas, can really join the discussion about LGBT+ rights.