You’ve likely heard of the big names in the marriage equality campaign: Rodney Croome, Anna Brown, Alex Greenwich. But to gain overwhelming support for legalising same-sex marriage in Australia it’s taken years of work from thousands of people. Here are a few young Australians who are at the frontline of the marriage equality debate, slowly…
This is a good list full of people who are doing great work ... but it's a little disappointing that I don't think anyone on the list is based outside of New South Wales or Victoria.
Officially, gay men and lesbian women were banned from serving in the Army, Airforce and Navy until 1992, when Prime Minister Paul Keating had the political courage to overturn the ban. Until then, it was argued that homosexuality threatened military cohesion and morale. By contrast, the US kept its “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, which officially barred entry for gays and lesbians to the military while allowing them to join as long as they didn’t disclose their sexuality, for two more than decades.
Before 1992 in Australia, those who did serve were forced to hide their sexuality, facing discharge if their homosexuality was exposed. The ban on transgender service lasted even longer, a further 18 years. The contribution of intersex personnel (those born with aspects of both sexes) is still to be fully unearthed.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) service personnel have largely been written out Australia’s military history. But researchers are now correcting the record.
Last December I attended the most moving, transcendent World AIDS Day program I have witnessed in years. That’s not saying much, of course. These evenings are usually well-meaning but maudlin, featuring tearful eulogies while we hold up candles that drip on our fingers and we revisit personal losses that I put to rest a long time ago. Okay, clearly I have issues with grief.
But this event, organized by long-term AIDS survivor Sean McKenna in New York City, inspired and reawakened something in me. The program featured speakers and entertainers (this is New York, after all) who rose above the perfunctory nature of these events and made it something truly beautiful. It ached with loss, yes, but it also had an emotional honesty that never felt melodramatic. And it made me want to know Sean McKenna better.
I tend to present my life with joy and good humor (and let’s face it, I have never had a challenging emotion that wasn’t worth stuffing down as far as possible). Sean, on the other hand, wants us to face the harsh realities of today’s long-term survivors. He has sent me messages to chastise me for painting too rosy a picture. He puts me on the defense a lot. In other words, Sean McKenna does exactly what a good advocate should do. He bears witness and holds people accountable.
In my interview with Sean, we wrangle over our different styles, the purpose of AIDS history, whether fear is a useful tool, and his insistence that life today for long-term survivors is far worse than any of us are acknowledging.
On April 1, a report in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta rocked the global LGBTQ community: At least 100 men who are gay or believed to be gay had been recently rounded up and tortured by authorities in Chechnya, in the Northern Caucuses region of southern Russia. And at least three, according to the report, had been killed.
The catalyst seems to have been an attempt to organize an LGBTQ pride march in the region, prompting a crackdown against local gay and bisexual men. A handful of men have shared their stories of torture and humiliation at the hands of Chechen law enforcement. One man, using the name Adam, told the Guardian newspaper he was apprehended by police, after they reportedly read his text messages and learned he was gay. He said that while he was detained and tortured with electric shocks, “Sometimes they were trying to get information from me; other times they were just amusing themselves.”
When Hanne Gaby Odiele revealed she was intersex earlier this year, it was a chance for her to give voice to something she’d always been told to hide. The model talks to Aaron Hicklin about her unusual life
The attacks on an anti-bullying program were not born of genuine concern about its substance. This cheap shot campaign was merely the spiteful floundering of the anti-LGBTIQ movement against the momentum of progress.
Not liking something doesn't make one a victim. Neither does another gaining equality with you. Loss of privilege and status and a changing world can make us feel vulnerable, but they do not make us victims. Genuine bullying needs to be called out in the marriage equality debate as in all aspects of our living. To claim the status of victim as a way to hold on to power diminishes the plight of those who are truly suffering and we need to call that out as well.
AN ALARMING new study released this week explores a practice called stealthing - where men remove condoms during sex without their partner’s consent - and the online communities which encourage this behaviour.
Many sexual and gender diverse Australians form their own D-I-Y queer families to provide a much-needed sense of community and support. Others are lucky enough to find that solidarity with their own brother or sister. Matthew Wade spoke to a handful of queer siblings about how the families and bonds we create – biological or otherwise – are crucial.
Gay men have never had an easy life in Chechnya. But the targeted, collective punishment of gays that began last month under its pro-Kremlin leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, is a new turn in the region’s long history of rights abuses.
I love hanging out with my people, but these days, I hardly ever go to lesbian bars. That’s because they don’t exist anymore. There are queer and lesbian dance nights, sure, but in most cities, “queer” bars cater almost exclusively to gay men.
“Our people are marginalised because we are black, because we are queer Aboriginals and we’re further marginalised because we ourselves put up with bullying in the LGBTI community,” says Out Black co-convenor bryan Andy.
Andy is one of many LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people calling out the mainstream queer community, saying there are not enough safe spaces for Indigenous people.
Advocates want LGBTI support services such as Victorian AIDS Council, QLife, Safe Schools, ACON and others to provide the right support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The calls come after a rough few months for queer Indigenous people.
Over the past five months, Matthew Herrick says that 1,100 men have showed up at his home and workplace expecting to have sex with him. Herrick is suing Grindr, the popular dating app for gay and bisexual men, because of it.
Our country delaying marriage equality is holding back Australia’s conservative families from being more comfortable talking to their same-sex-attracted loved ones. Not a visit goes by without me being asked if I have a “special friend” or a “... friend”. ‘Boyfriend’ or ‘partner’ isn’t that hard to say, is it? This year, after telling one of my relatives about my dating woes, I was politely asked if it had gone so badly that it was enough to “bring me back” to “the other side”. I smiled and said that wasn’t going to happen. We don’t choose a side.
MORE than 1,200 Queenslanders are participating in the state government’s $6 million four-year expanded PrEP trial as part of efforts to prevent HIV transmission.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the strong uptake demonstrated the high demand for the Q-PrEP trial, which has filled more than half of its 2,000 places, less than five months after its launch.
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