Thursday, November 29, 2007

Penny Wong now a Minister

The changes keep coming in Australia with Senator Penny Wong been appointed to the Australian cabinet and becomes Australia's first openly lesbian federal Minister.

She has been appointed as Minister for Climate Change and Water.

While the lead up to the election there didn't seem much difference between the Liberal/National coalition and Labor, Kevin Rudd's announcement of the new cabinet and this appointment highlights the real change that has occurred with the defeat of the conservative Howard government.

Gays and feminists to blame for society ills!

I really should stop reading this stuff. Today I read a opinion piece by Garth George in the New Zealand Herald titled:

Garth George: A nation festering in a moral cesspit

His first point I agree with but not necessarily the conclusion (Yes there are issues but it is hard to know if it is really any worse than previous generations where much of the bad things were hidden and swept under the carpet):
The measure of a society's soul is the way it treats its most vulnerable members - children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled - and on this measure we fail miserably.

His reasons however I disagree with as with his conclusion we should all get back to been good "Christians". The underlying theme is that "feminists" and "homosexuals" are to blame for society's downfall. In it he blames:
  • No fault divorce
  • Birth control pill
  • Abortion - which he considers the number one evil
  • Homosexual law reform
His solution:
Perhaps a good start would be for parents to send their kids to Sunday school - any Sunday school. Then our next generations might at least resurrect their spiritual dimension, without which life is largely meaningless, and learn the timeless virtues and values that have throughout history make communities and nations great. It's not much, but it would be a start.

Then this wonderful piece from "Femi-Nazis & Homo-Nazis Condemned By Silence" where Sandra Ashworth lays into "Feminists" and "Homosexuals" for not speaking out about the current rape case in Saudi Arabi

What of course is interesting is how they selectively quote part of Helen Clark's press release:

In a recent media release addressing this situation with "dismay," Helen Clark declared that "New Zealand fully respects the judicial system of Saudi Arabia."

The original press release went on as follows:
Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that she has asked New Zealand diplomats to raise dismay over the sentencing of a 19-year-old Saudi rape victim.

“New Zealand fully respects the judicial system of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and notes that the case is still working its way through the courts,” Helen Clark said.

“Nonetheless I hope that justice will prevail and that the young woman, who is the victim in this case, will be shown leniency by the Saudi judiciary.

One will note the different feel between the two quotes. Interesting New Zealand's dismay has been very similiar to diplomatic responses from other Western countries.

The SOLO people again use the "Nazi" tag and from the soft touchy side one has to wonder what "evil" has occured to them to so dislike certain groups of people.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Gay Hood

With the sudden closure of the Newtown Hotel in Sydney and the temporary closure of the Imperial Hotel it feels like a part of the gay community in Sydney has gone.

Along with some of the recent issues in Oxford St as straight clubs open up and bring more straight people into Oxford St one gets a feeling that Darlinghurst and Newtown aren't as gay as they used to be.

Having lived in Auckland of course one is used to not having a gay district and those gay bars which do appear come and go around New Zealand.

As Franc noted while visitor the Vancouver gay district

Auckland has no gay village. There is a part of K-Road, about half a block long (or short) that has a gay bar, and a couple of shops with rainbow stickers on the door, and that's about it.
So does it matter that Oxford St isn't as gay as it used to be?

Probably not but what does matter is the rise of homophobic violence in Oxford St. Of course when people have been out drinking all night some violence is bound to occur but it looks like it is on the rise again and directed against gay men and women.

This is partially been countered by opening a safe space in Oxford St.

It is times like this that you realise that maybe there is still a need for a gay district and gay space where been queer is the norm.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bye Bye Howard

The Liberal/National coalition lost the election yesterday and looks likely that John Howard also lost his seat.

Howard's claim to fame was that the economic boom but the real reason for the boom is the Chinese economy and the consequent mineral boom.

Howard rejected gay marriage and all attempts to provide equal rights for same sex couples. Labor under Rudd will be an improvement and probably more in line with the National Party in New Zealand.

Other changes are the Greens look like they will hold the balance of power in the Senate.

Hopefully the change in government will finally get some improvement in the treatment of same sex couples in Australian law and maybe open the way for some form of Civil Union at least at a state level.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My kind of Homo: Dan Matthews

Dan Matthews was recently on ABC National Radio Morning Breakfast and then the next day on National Radio Saturday Morning with Kim Hill.

Dan Matthews is vice-president of animal rights activist organisation PETA. While you may not always agree with some of his comments he came accross as a committed, thoughtful and concerned person.

He was promoting his book Committed but also explored some interesting and thought provoking discussion around animal rights and some of the events that PETA have organised.

The Radio New Zealand broadcast can be heard here (not sure how long it will be there for) .

His most controversial point is around animal testing for an HIV Vaccine and medications. He is opposed to it and sees it as money misdirected. Instead he wants money spent on education on how to prevent HIV spreading. Of course given the American lack of spending on HIV Prevention it is more understand his comments though many would disagree with them.

Listening to the interview he came across as a provocative, thought provoking and committed individual and while not agreeing with all his views I came to the conclusion he is my type of "Homo"!