Saturday, January 19, 2008

Racist gay response

The Sydney Morning Herald picked up a disturbing undertone in the current debate about recent homophobic bashings:

The bashing of Craig Gee, of Redfern, two months ago sparked outrage in the gay community, and a boil-over of tensions between the state's peak gay organisations, local police and Aboriginal groups after police reports described Mr Gee's attackers as Aboriginal.

Anger was also fuelled by the poster used to publicise the street protest, a "Reclaim the right … to be who you are" rally to be held on Australia Day in Harmony Park, next to Surry Hills police station.

The red, militaristic posters depict a phalanx of muscle men holding red flags on steel poles.

The images have been described as racist. The event's organiser withdrew the poster from public display last night.

Chris Lawrence, an Aboriginal Redfern resident who is gay, said the posters depicted "a sea of white gay men". He said coverage of gay bashings by a local gay and lesbian newspaper, the Sydney Star Observer, risked inspiring a racist backlash.

"Our concern is that the paper is beating the story up in a racial way and it risks reprisals against Aboriginal people who are homeless and frequent Oxford Street," he said. Mr Lawrence said he had never been abused for his sexuality in 16 years in Redfern. "The only abuse I've had is [for being Aboriginal] from a few white gay guys."

Another inner-city gay resident, Andre Rispler, said the poster was over the top. "To me it reads as if it is fascist and militant … If I saw images likes this over and over again I'd be concerned."

An example is the following two letters published in Sydney Star Observer below are disturbing for the underlying racist undertones:

by Fred from Surry Hills | 16/01/2008 6:41:11 PM


I personally never felt that I had to say sorry for past generational actions against indigenous Australians.

When the gay community marched in support of various indigenous causes I was neutral.

During the last year there have been many incidents involving indigenous persons that have made me more non-committed to the push to say sorry.

After reading reports in SSO re the alleged perpetrators of the brutal bashings of Craig and Shane being of Aboriginal appearance, I have no intention in the current or near future of having any sympathy for the push to say sorry.

It appears that some of the Aboriginal community feel we can be treated like they often treat their own race. I say shame on the perpetrators of the recent bashings.

by Jon from Cremorne | 16/01/2008 6:39:51 PM


It has made me so angry to read that the suspected perpetrators of this crime are Aboriginal males.

If this is the case the Aboriginal community should be very disturbed and ashamed of what has happened.

What gives one minority group the right to attack another minority group?

Obviously there is a need for the Aboriginal leaders in the community to take a good look at what their expectations are from other non-indigenous community members and identify where they obviously fail to educate their community in mutual respect.

Shame on you. This attack has seriously eroded any respect I had for the local Aboriginal community.

While the attacker may have been an aborigine in this case, he could equally have been a "white" Australian.

If one wants to look for people to blame for the rise of homophobic violence it should be directed at the "Christian" and political leaders who deny gays equal rights and in worse cases demean gays (and normally at this stage gay men).

While the violence is often undertaken by young men it is driven by what respected leaders in their local church, politicians, etc say or don't say about gays having equal rights.

While violence is never acceptance neither is jumping to the conclusion that all aborigines are gay bashers which some gays seem to be implying in their comments.

Yes it is okay to get angry but direct the anger where it belongs:
  • at the police for their inaction
  • politicians for not supporting equal rights for gays
  • church leaders who portray gays as second class citizens.

Oxford St Woes

There have been increasing reports of homophobic bashings and incidents in what was Sydney's golden mile gay district - Oxford St.

This has been extensively discussed in the gay media but is also been picked up by the mainstream media making page one of the Sydney Morning Herald with the headline:

Unhappy days for strip where the city parties
There is currently a lot of frustration with what seems to be no effective response from the Surry Hills police who patrol this area.

Anyone who visits Oxford Street in recent times will notice the decline with the number of restaurants gone and gay venues closed - this really starting happening in 2000 and can be traced back to the financial collapse of Mardi Gras, the Gay Games in 2002 and the collapse of the Satellite Media.

While some gay venues have thrived the number has shrunk and a number of straight nightclubs have opened.

What is clear is if one is out in Surry Hills you should take a taxi home as a number of the incidents have happened within a few blocks of the main area.

What else can be done:

  • Go out with friends and make sure you all get home safely
  • If something doesn't feel right look for an exit, cross the street, etc.
  • Report all incidents no matter how minor to the police
  • Persist and follow up incidents
  • If you go home with someone text a friend to let them know where you are going.
  • Attend the "Reclaim the Right" community vigil in Harmony Park (next to Police Headquarters) in Surry Hills from 4pm 26th Jan.
There is some other worrying trends with some of the responses focused on the race of those who have been captured on video bashing gays. What should violence can come from anyone (though it is generally male) and from any age (though it is often younger men).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Gay Out 8 Years old

The press release announcing the 8th Big Gay Out makes one realise how far ahead New Zealand is in acceptance of gay rights compared to Australia.

It is hard to believe that it is almost expected that the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will attend the Big Gay OUT as she has previously. It wouldn't be surprising if the National Party leader, John Key, also attended given 2008 is an election year.

One can go back over 10 years to the Hero Parade to remember that when opposition leader Helen Clark attended the parade and when Jenny Shipley became Prime Minister she also attended in 1999.

Meanwhile in Sydney Mardi Gras enters it's 30th year. It will be interesting to see if with the change in government does the Prime Minister attend any of the functions in 2008. Hopefully unlike his predecessor there will be at least a message of support.

Let's see what happens in 2008 and if Australia is ready to enter into the debate around civil unions and equal rights that New Zealand has had in the past ten years.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

China Filtering for Australia

Australia is looking at introducing mandatory filtering of the internet in a similar method to China and Singapore.

For those wanting an unfiltered internet they will have to request their ISP to provide them an unfiltered stream.

Now this may seem ok but what isn't clear is what will actually be filtered - i.e. who decides what is on the black list - and how one objects to something been on the black list.

The only major issue is why the internet needs to be filtered for adults. Adults can easily avoid anything on the internet they do wish to see by simply not clicking on it. Issues such as the trade of child pornography can already be managed by existing controls and laws. Unless one actually goes searching for illegal adult material it is unlikely you will actually stumble on - even if you do a simple click takes you back to legal material.

The filtering system as proposed is easy to avoid as a number of news articles have demonstrated. In fact it is likely that the filter will only stop adults not their tech savy children.

What it also does is give parents a false sense of security as ultimately children are smart enough to work around the filter and the system won't be perfect. One only has to look at email spam filters to see that.

Some important questions have to be answered around the whole filtering process which include:

  • Who manages the blacklist
  • Can anyone view the blacklist to remove a site from the blacklist
  • How will sites get off the blacklist
  • Who will have access to those people who request to be removed from the filtering system.
So if you are in Australia send off emails to your MP now and make some noise.

And if it does get introduced get the filtering removed by your ISP.

US Conservative News - 2007

I am never sure whether to laugh or cry at what passes as US conservative news.

The top 10 under reported articles in 2007 according to is a very interesting list. The list is below:

  1. Developments moving U.S. and continent closer to a North American Union
  2. Bush's refusal to pardon imprisoned Border Patrol Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were prosecuted by the president's friend, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton
  3. Research refuting man-made global warming
  4. Lack of action on border fence mandated by Congress
  5. California bill introducing homosexuality to young children
  6. Hillary and her felonious fundraising
  7. Illegal aliens who rape, murder, kill driving drunk, commit voter fraud, welfare fraud and burden the system
  8. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation from the Senate Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, which she chaired, amid a conflict of interest due to her husband's ownership of two major defense contractors
  9. Progress of Law of the Sea Treaty
  10. Syria's alleged WMDs and Israel's attack
An interesting list indeed which really shows they fear anything that isn't the same as them. These poor people are going to be in for a hard 2009, if as the polls predict, the Democrats win the presidential election.