Sunday, May 25, 2008

Art Censorship

Been an interesting few days in Sydney with photos been seized by the police from the walls of an art gallery on the grounds that the art work is pornographic.

While I won't comment on the case what is disturbing is how the politicians are jumping on the bandwagon of condemning the art works - which clearly shows how morally conservative the government is in Australia.

We have the following comments from various politicians:

"Kids deserve to have the innocence of their childhood protected. Whatever the artistic view of the merits of this sort of stuff - frankly I don't thing there are any - just allow kids to be kids." - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

"These images were simply not appropriate. This exhibition not only crossed the line but jumped right over it. This is not a debate about censorship - it's about human decency and the moral codes by which we live and raise our kids" - NSW Premier Morris Iemma.
The only politicians to support he artist against the police action has been the Greens and the general art community has been supportive.

As for the complainant - Hetty Johnston - check out the following Google searches plus Braveheart - Hetty Johnston:
It will be an interesting week to see if the police actually do attempt to prosecute anyone over the pictures. To be honest I think if any charges are brought they will be dropped as were the charges against the Chaser Comedy team for their APEC stunt

Interesting today a simple browse in bookshops found images of naked children in a number of photography books - most were actually of babies or other non european children. So based on the Hetty Johnston and the NSW Police those bookshops should also be prosecuted and those books banned.

Whatever the merits or not of the photos the most disturbing aspect of this whole case is how the politicians have weighed in arguing strongly against the photos in what seems to be a talk back lead censorship campaign. Then again I really don't expect much better from Kevin Rudd when he won't even allow Civil Union celebrations and as for Morris Iemma the only reason he is the still the state premier is because the opposition Liberals have been taken over by right wing morale conservatives who no one wants.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Australian Women Bishop

The Australian Anglican church finally has consecrated a women Bishop bringing it as some commentators have said into the 20th century.

Of course Sydney’s Archbishop Peter Jensen did not attend the consecration.

Of course the usual conservative elements have warned of doom and gloom with one Bishop Harry Entwistle saying:

An Anglican splinter group has warned that the consecration of Perth Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy as Australia’s first woman bishop tonight will pave the way for the appointment of openly gay priests and further deepen the rift between Church factions.

He said openly gay clergy would follow female bishops “as night follows day”, as had been the case in some parts of the US and Canada.
What is so funny about his comments is that he uses the the words "openly gay" (or was that just a misquote.)

If it isn't then one has to assume he thinks closeted gay men are ok (or maybe if they are celibate) but certainly not if they have an actual male partner and are honest about that fact.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

International Day Against Homophobia

Today is International Day Against Homophobia and it is still sad that we still need to have a day to try to combat homophobia.

While things are a lot better in a lot of countries and California now recognises gay marriage there is still a long way to go.

In the last couple of weeks I have been travelling and was interested in a comment someone made about Fiji and homophobia. It made me stop and think should I be travelling to a country as a gay man where that country has either laws discriminating against gays or there is an undertone of homophobia.

On reflection I think it doesn't matter where you travel you will always find things which you wouldn't necessary agree with at home but by meeting with people you actually make a difference.

I think it is also true if you actually make the effort to talk to your enemy you might find at least an understanding.

Some issues that I would hope take a step forward in the World this year are:

  • Removal of the death penalty for been gay in any country
  • Lifting of the HIV+ Travel ban for visitors to the USA
  • Gay Marriage or Civil Unions for Australia
  • Removal of discrimination in law in Australia in at least 58 areas
  • And end to people's homophobia - I really can't understand what they fear from gay people.
Finally take a read of Ian comment in Gay Market News about IDAHO and a recent survey. He is right to be concerned about a survey in which one in four respondents presumably did think being gay is an illness. Read Gay Market News for more details.