Saturday, August 01, 2009

Where is the news coverage of the Copenhagen bomb attack?

It was really sad to hear about the bomb attacks at the Out Games in Copenhagen. Fortunately no one was killed but people were injured.

What however was disturbing was the lack of mainstream news coverage of this event. A simple google news search showed 127 arctles of which shows besides the BBC and AP no other media even mentioned it.

While the bombing didn't kill anyone I suspect if this had occured at any other major event it would have at least got some international coverage even if it just a snippet on the international page.

Even the BBC coverage is interesting in that the photo they used is drag queen which is okay but this is a sports event so why not something sport related?

I would be interested if any one has seen any media coverage outside the gay media on this awful event - please add comments if you.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Stonewall 40 years on

Queers for Justice recent arcticle Stonewall 40th and Pride Unveil NYC’s Shameful Priorities - highlights how there has always been a inherent tension in the queer communities.

The article discusses New York city spending money targetting gay tourists to New York but not providing funds to the poor and working class queers.

This isn't suprising and often I think the poor working class gays and lesbians are the ones who don't get acknowledged in the fight for queer rights. Often research highlights the spending power of gay men without acknowledging the hidden gay poor. Hopefully more research on Queer poverty will occur - and one day sexual orientation will actually appear on national census questions - without this simple change the Queer poor will always be lost.

India throws off imperial shackles at last - gay sex declared legal

Finally India is throwing off the last vestiges of British imperialism with the Dehli High Court ruling that homosexual sex between adults is legal.

The High Court has ruled that the 1861 Bristish law which made illegal "sex against the order of nature," which had been widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex in India, does not apply to consenting adults.

Sadly other British colonies in Africa and the South Pacific still have laws banning homosexual sex. Hopefully they will eventually remove this last vestige of imperialism - ironically a lot of these countries argue that they won't cave in to Western decadence whereas their pre European history often accepted gay men and women.

Hopefully the decision in India will encourage gays and lesbian in other countries to challenge the laws and remove these dangerous laws from every country in the world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

SMS Scammers - Action at last

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that The Federal Court has granted interim orders against three companies over allegations of setting up false dating profiles and SMS spamming.

Unfortunately there are some companies which have no ethics which are out their to get your money. The scam is simple in that they obtain your mobile number via a false profile then send you an SMS but if you respond you are signed up for an expensive premium SMS service. (See previous posts for more details)

The proceedings began in January when The Australian Communications and Media Authority started proceedings against three companies Mobilegate Limited, Winning Bid Pty Ltd, Jobspy Pty Ltd and individuals associated with these companies.

It is good to see some action against these companies and I noticed that the safedivert sites are no longer active.

Of course the telecommunications who were providing the premium SMS service were still making money. 

Watch out for them on places such as facebook - with quizs where the only way to get a result is to put in your mobile number - just don't!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mardi Gras Changes

The news which has generated the most comments for a long time is Mardi Gras decision to split the party and parade.

With over 120 comments most against the move Mardi Gras then announced that their would be a new after parade party.

What is really interesting is the claims and counter claims around the decision. Mardi Gras is claiming research is what lead to the decision but to date haven't published or discussed this research.

It will be interesting to see if this change sticks and if it does will the party actually make money in 2010.

Now if only people could get so fired up on gay marriage or civil unions in Australia. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One of Them

NZ on Screen now has One of Them online now - a great short film made in 1997 - adapted from a short story by Peter Wells.

One of Them! was one of two films (with Memory and Desire) adapted from short stories in Peter Wells' book Dangerous Desires, (1991). It was made for TV One as a Montana Sunday drama. Set in Auckland, 1965, this film tells the story of Lemmy and Jamie, two teenage boys coming to terms with their sexuality. In the dark days before gay liberation, bullying and intimidation was rife, and while the boys flaunt their sissyness, their internalised homophobia wreaks havoc on their emotional lives - until they can admit to being ‘one of them'. 

Great to watch this again. It is amazing to think how much things have changed in New Zealand in the past 30 years. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Broadband Plans

Both Australia and New Zealand look set to get substantially improved internet access with annoucnements on both sides of the Tasman of broadband plans.

The new fibre-to-the-home network would take eight years to build, cost $43 billion, and give 90 per cent of Australian households download speeds 100 times faster than they currently experience.

In the process Australia will break the Telstra monolopy and stalemate in Internet connectively. 

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce said a new Crown-owned company would work with private sector partners as a key part of its plan to deliver ultra-fast broadband to 75 per cent of New Zealanders' homes, workplaces and places of study within ten years.

The Government has committed up to $1.5 billion of taxpayers' money for the roll-out and expects that to be at least matched by the private sector.

Both plans do mean that both countries might finally get to experience the internet as other countries do.

It will be interesting to see how they develop. Hopefully the plans won't get delayed by politics and by big business politics of Telstra and Telecom.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Flashback: For Today

1985 was my final year living in Wellington which was a great time to be living in New Zealand's capital city. This song still can take me right back to those times - to friends, lovers, flatmates and events. 

1985 was the year the homosexual law reform bill debate started including the infamous "Nuremburg rally" - the protests, the nuclear free legistation, Rainbow Warrior bombing and the protests against the proposed All Black tour to South Africa which was cancelled.

Enjoy the song from the Netherworld Dancing Toys - and the ferry's still run between Wellington and Picton and are as amazing as the video - though the weather isn't always that smooth.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

LGB Poverty

"This report undertakes the first analysis of the poor and low-income lesbian, gay, and bisexual population. We find clear evidence that poverty is at least as common in the LGB population as among heterosexual people and their families."
One of the key questions they tried to answer was 
How do poverty rates for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people compare to those rates for heterosexuals?
The report makes interesting reading but the key issues they identified were that lesbian, gay and bisexual people who were in poverty were a higher percentage than the general heterosexual population. The report did identify that gay white male educated couples poverty rates were lower but amongst lower educated were worse off. 

What this study highlighted is that sexuality, race, gender and education were multiplier effects so generally people were worse off than their heterosexual counterparts.

The other issue identified was the ongoing data problem and why government Censuses should include a question about sexual orientation.

I picked up this news off the Out Front Blog where they posted it as The LGBT Money Myth?

I think what this highlights is that yes some in the LGBT communities are as well off as their heterosexual counterparts but this report highlights that some are worse off and a lot worse off. What would be even more interesting is to see the impact of HIV status and does this make the situation worse for those who are positive compared to those who are not.

The other interesting aspect which I suspect explains poverty is how connected people are to family and friends. 

This study raises lots of questions and only highlights the importance of more studies to understand what the reality is for LGBT communities and especially those on the margins.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kevin Smith - Desperate Remedies 1993

NZ On Screen have a great tribute to Kevin Smith who died far to young in 2002.

His first feature film in 1993 was Desperate Remedies. This was a very New Zealand film and very camp - and so totally different from the Piano released in the same year.

From the NZ on Screen Website:
High-camp melodrama from directors Stewart Main and Peter Wells, set in an imaginary 19th-century town called Hope. ‘Draper of distinction' Dorothea Brooks is desperate to save her sister Rose from the clutches of opium, sex and the dastardly Fraser. She begs hunky migrant Lawrence Hayes to marry Rose. Lawrence has his eyes on Dorothea however, and he has competition from malevolent politician Poyser (who has made her an attractive offer), as well as Brooks' sultry lover, Anne Cooper. Sumptuous and ripe, The Piano this definitely ain't!
I remember seeing this in Auckland and the sense of dirt, mud and grime contrasting with amazing outfits of "red" which just flowed accross the screen were amazing.. and of course the full frontal male nudity didn't go amiss.

Sadly Desperate Remedies isn't available except from the odd second hand place. Hopefully sometime soon this movie will be released to join other New Zealand films released on DVD.

However you can catch a sense - a good 10 to 20 minutes -  of the film thanks to NZ on Screen. 

Update there is two places in NZ to buy from see the NZ On Screen where to buy link.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Freedom of Information - Good News

In a week of some really bad news including the NSW government passing legislation which allows police to have secret search warrants the news that Senator Faulkner is promoting a major overhaul to the Freedom of Information Act is great news.

I think Senator Conroy needs to read this section of this opinion piece

These reforms will change the law and demonstrate the Government's commitment to culture change, a shift from the culture of secrecy we saw under the last government to one of openness and transparency. We do not see these reforms as a concluded process. Emerging technologies continue to change the way governments use, and citizens access, information. New patterns of democratic engagement require new ways to inform debate and decision making. Legislation, regulation and policy must keep up, or they will strangle access rather than enable it.
So in a week where news on internet filtering kept getting worse, NSW government allows secret police searches and gang chaos in Sydney airport followed by lots of fingerpointing then this has to rate as some great news.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Senator Conroy plan to ban the internet!

One of the best blogs I have seen which highlights the fundamental flaw in Senator Conroy's crazy filtering plan.

Read it, get angry then do something about it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Senator Conroy monitoring you

Sydney Morning Herald has news that Senator Conroy will increase monitoring of websites including blogs. 

Particular mention is made of Whirlpool who are making a strong case against the censorship.

One thing you can do is join Getup and get involved - and contact your local MP. Make it clear this is something which will cost them votes if they support it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

End the secrecy - ACMA

The list of banned sites makes interesting reading and the ACMA Press release in response to the release of the banned sites you get an idea of the nonsense that is occuring in this government agency.

The rules the ACMA operate under are based on a 1992 ACT.  It is clear this ACT needs to be brought up to date to reflect the reality of the Internet.

ACMA’s current list of approximately 1100 URLs relating to prohibited content and potential prohibited content hosted outside Australia includes material in the following categories:

  • depictions of child sexual abuse;
  • depictions of bestiality;
  • material containing excessive violence or sexual violence;
  • material containing detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use;
  • real depictions of actual sexual activity;
  • depictions of simulated sexual activity which are not subject to a restricted access system.
So this would mean that sites such as are banned as are ALL Adult sites as they show real depictions of actual sexual activity.

Sites such as ACON would have to be banned as they include detailed instruction on safe drug use.

Maybe the best solution to this nonsense is to send a list of sites which breach any of these or just make up the breach as ACMA has to investigate. 

Maybe the government could drop this idiotic plan and ACMA could actually do something about the Premium TXT scams.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leaked list and leaked report - is Conroy insane?

A list of "banned" websites in Australia was leaked today.  Check out The Blarg of Fosenz for a good blog on the story.

Both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have good stories on this.

Apparently the list of banned sites includes:

  • A Queensland Dentist
  • A Tuckshop
  • Some gay porn sites 
The other bit of news is the report  as published by the Age newspaper - prepared by Professor Landfeldt, one of Australia's leading telecommunications experts, says some of the fundamental flaws of the scheme raised in his report include:
  •  All filtering systems will be easily circumvented using readily available software.
  • Censors maintaining the blacklist will never be able to keep up with the amount of new content published on the web every second.
  • Filters using real-time analysis of sites to determine whether content is inappropriate are not effective, capture wanted content, are easy to bypass and slow network speeds exponentially as accuracy increases.
  • Entire user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia could be blocked over a single video or article.
  • Filters would be costly and difficult to implement for ISPs and put many smaller ISPs out of business.
  • While the communciations authority's blacklist would be withheld from internet users, all 700 ISPs would have access to it, so it could easily be leaked.
  • The filters would not censor content on peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as LimeWire, chat rooms, email and instant messaging;
  • ISPs and the Government could be legally liable for the scheme's failures, particularly as content providers have no right to appeal against being blocked unnecessarily.
Meanwhile Senator Conroy has come out and said no no no this isn't the list and you naughty people how dare you publish this list.

I have to wonder what Senator Conroy is doing. I would also wonder what is going on in the Labor party when they are implementing some of the worse censorship without any mandate to do so. There is more serious matters to worry about e.g. the economy, greenhouse emmissions, etc rather than pretending to implement a scheme which won't do anything to protect anyone - but will do plenty to annoy and stop the internet dead in Australia.

If you are worried about this make sure you contact your local MP.  Check out the Getup Website for ideas.

If New Zealand can stop the draconian Section 92A then surely Australians can do the same thing and stop the censorship crazy Labor Party.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Conroy's Clean Feed - Why won't he talk about it?

The move to filter the internet in Australia is slowly moving forward. What is clear is that Senator Conroy and the Labor Government do not want to talk about this censorship.

If you are interested in the implications of this then check out the ABC National Radio Background Briefing.

As you will see from the site already filtering in Parliament is blocking such standard sites as the Gay news media site Evolution Online.

You might recall how this type of filtering also stopped me accessing while using the Virgin Lounge internet access.

Finally how do you avoid the filter simply use a programme such as TOR

Take the time to listen to the Background Briefing - the comments from Stephen Conroy are amazing and show how arrogant this Senator is.  He refuses to talk about the proposal and goe on the attack of stating those opposing this as been for child pornography. 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm not gay ok

The tabloid's have decided it is time again to try to "out" a well known ex Australian Olympic swimmer.

He has been very private about his personal life which of course only makes the tabloids more curious.

So what evidence have they got - a photo of him and a male friend coming out of the beach.

Nothing else, no steaming male to male kissing, naked romps, zilch.

Having retired over a year ago from sporting competitions you would think the tabloids would have lost interested but they seem to determine to continue to speculate.

My personal view is that gay people should come out but at their own leisure. The only reason to potential OUT anyone is if they are been hypocrital - no different to an anti-gambler crusader who is a gambler.

This article from Gaylife is a good summary of the issues in outing celebrities.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gay Adoption - the reality

When laws do not reflect the modern reality you end up with headlines like the following:

Surrogates told to pay support
Of course the whole issue would be a non issue if gay adoption was once and all sorted out. It has been discussed on and off in New Zealand with the last attempt in 2006 but sadly that was put on hold due to the feeling that the government couldn't risk alienating it's more conservative supporters.

In this particular case the matter is made worse as the gay couple involved are based in Australia and Australian adoption and surrogacy laws are state based. Sadly Queensland law is even further behind New Zealand with surrogacy not permitted.

Because of this you have the ridiculous situation where the New Zealand women who gave birth to the baby - now been cared for in Brisbane by the gay couple who organised the surrogacy - been pursued for child maintenance on the grounds she abandoned the child.

This is the problem of course when the law doesn't reflect the reality of gay relationships. It can result in a number of unexpected outcomes.

I suspect the news will inflame a number of anti gay groups to demand the end to surrogacy.

However what is needed is the implementation of legislation to recognise the reality of gay adoption, surrogacy so that all involved have clear legal rights and any children have their rights protected.

Let's see if the New Zealand, Australian Federal or state governments will actually do something to clear the current minefield for adoption for same sex couples.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gay Marriage

Amerinz recent post on his civil union in New Zealand highlights how the law change in 2005 to allow same sex civil unions was an important step forward for equality for the gay and lesbian communities in New Zealand.

While a number of critics said only same sex marriage would be good enough this comment from Ameriz blog post summarises that the reality is that Civil Unions are effectively marriage and ultimately the law will change.
The interesting thing is that New Zealand society is clearly moving ahead of the law. No one we know is referring to this as a Civil Union: They’re referring to it as our wedding and say we’re getting married (even though, legally speaking, that’s not true). Because of that, I think that full marriage equality will come to New Zealand sooner rather than later.
Looking back over the news since 2005 records the comments  in 2006 of a number of conservative groups which opposed the Civil Union legislation.  They said the slow uptake of civil unions was a sure sign that the government was pandering to a small minority.

What is clear is that while the uptake may have been slow over time the numbers have slowly but surely increased. The important thing is that each civil union that does occur impacts not just the couple but also their friends and families. 

And as more occur in New Zealand ultimately legislation will be changed to allow same sex couples to choose civil unions or marriage.

Interesting Australia still has to take the next step to either civil unions or gay marriage and still seems to be struggling to make any real progress on the issue.