5 Quick Thoughts on the 2013 GLORIAs

On Wednesday night (May 8), Steve and I attended this year’s GLORIAs Awards at NSW Parliament House. The GLORIAs literally stand for the Gay & Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant comments Awards, and are an opportunity for the LGBTI community to get one back on the bigots who say offensive things about us throughout the year, but to do so in a humorous way. The winners of this year’s awards are reproduced at the end of this post. But before we get to that that I thought I might share my five quick observations about the GLORIAs.

1. I think that this is a great event. NSW Upper House Labor MP, Penny Sharpe – who is also one of Australia’s small (but slowly growing) number of out parliamentarians – ‘borrowed’ the idea from the already established Ernies, which themselves ‘celebrate’ sexist and misogynist public comments. It makes for a fun night for those who attend, while also reinforcing the serious point that homophobia, bi-phobia, trans-phobia and anti-intersex prejudice remain ongoing issues, requiring our continuing attention. This is especially important to remember when so much effort can go into legal reforms, like marriage equality, which won’t in and of themselves permanently remove the blight of discrimination from our society.

2. David Marr really is a very funny host. His dry wit certainly adds to the occasion, as does the relish which he brings to announcing the well-deserving recipients of each award. This year, I nominated the winner in one of the categories – Andrew Bolt for his absolutely ridiculous comments about marriage equality (which leads me to wonder what he thinks about his lesbian sister’s own marriage?). Somehow I suspect David took a fair bit of delight in reading that one out. I also had the chance to have a chat with David during the evening – he seems raring to go for the Guardian Australia as they launch ahead of this year’s Federal Election.

3. The courage of Ian Roberts in coming out while at the height of his rugby league career, back in 1995, should not be under-estimated. Ian Roberts was, maybe surprisingly, at this year’s GLORIAs, and this was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to meet him. We chatted about Jason Collins and the impact which his recent coming out will have on other players in the NBA, and indeed other major US codes. Hopefully Collins’ announcement will inspire other people to follow in his footsteps – but then again, that is something many people said after Roberts’ came out EIGHTEEN whole years ago (and no other male Australian football player has done so since). The fact that he did that way back then deserves nothing but respect. [I was also a little bit of a ‘fanboy’ and let him know that him coming out meant a lot to this particular writer, especially given I was a 17 year old closeted student at a religious boarding school at the time – but I don’t think that sentiment would be uncommon amongst gay guys who grew up in Australia in the 1990s.]

4. Duncan Gay has good media advisers. After winning this year’s Golden GLORIA, for the completely unjustifiable decision to rip up the Rainbow Crossing at Taylor Square earlier this year, the Roads Minister mitigated the damage somewhat by coming down from his Ministerial offices to collect the award in person. This led to him receiving a certain level of begrudging respect from some people in the crowd (for being able to face those who had given him the gong), as well as some not unfavourable media coverage afterwards http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/local-news/new-south-wales-news/2013/05/09/glorias-get-gay/103590 . All in all, it was very well-handled by the ironically-named Minister.

5. Tim Campbell, on the other hand, needs some media advice. In ‘defending the honour’ of his partner, Anthony Callea, who won the Silliest comment from someone within the LGBTI community award, Tim took to twitter to make some comments about the ‘sensational’ and ‘biased’ article from which the quotes came. What wasn’t disputed was that the quotes were actually made in the first place. [The relevant tweets: So @TheGLORIAs read a sensational and biased article and decided they can define Callea’s integrity. A shameful and pathetic game you play. Anthony does more to further GLBTI issues in the wider community than your narrow minded group will ever do. @TheGLORIAs]. There was also a now-apparently-deleted tweet direct to Penny Sharpe on the topic. What Tim should have realised is that, in these situations, it is best to ignore and move on, rather than taking umbrage and potentially making a bigger issue out of something that it would otherwise have been. I might be forgetting a lot about what I learnt in politics, but that lesson will stay with me for a long time [PS I am not disputing the content of Tim’s tweets – Anthony may well do a lot for the LGBTI community – just that with something like this, it is always best to be the bigger person.]

And so here they are, the ‘winners’ for 2013…

Golden GLORIA: Duncan Gay, the NSW Roads Minister, won this year’s golden gong for tearing up the Rainbow Crossing at Taylor Square. As is tradition, this was decided by a ‘boo-off’ by attendees at this year’s event.

Category Winners:
Politics / Law

Tess Corbett, Katter’s Australia Party Candidate who said in interview with The Hamilton Spectator that considered gay people to be in the same category as paedophiles: “Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights,” she said.

International
John Sullivan, a councillor candidate for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) for a series of Facebook posts that said gay activists were like termites; claimed homosexuality could be prevented by regular exercise in schools; congratulated Russia for banning gay pride; and said that although feminism was evil, being gay was even worse.

Media
Andrew Bolt: “But same-sex activists don’t want marriage equality — because they already have it. A gay man is as free as a straight man to marry a woman. A lesbian is as free as any other woman to marry a man. That’s equality…. And if we are to change what marriage means, we have a duty to consider not just the good such a huge change to such a critical social bond could bring, but the evil, too.”

Religion
Southern Baptist Convention President Rev. Fred Luter thinks that support of same-sex marriage and gay rights could be linked to North Korea’s most recent threats against the United States: “I’m not that strong in prophecy but I would not be surprised that there’s not a connection there simply because of the fact we’ve seen it happen in scripture before. I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying.”

Sport
Former Major League Baseball player Mark Knudson writing about gay players in team sports: “No one has said that gays should not be allowed to play in the NFL. What has been said is that having a gay teammate would make some players uncomfortable… Nothing that infringes on the cohesiveness of the locker room can be tolerated. If a player who is not an irreplaceable superstar becomes any sort of distraction, he’s going to get released… That’s why it remains the best option for any homosexual athlete in a team sport to keep his orientation private. He’s doing what’s best for himself by doing what’s best for the team.”

Silliest GLBTI comment from within the GLBTI community
Anthony Callea says he’s not interested in activism “I have a great relationship, I live in normal house, I have a dog, I live a normal lifestyle, it’s just part of who I am – it’s not who I am. My friends and family don’t treat us like that either. I think if you make something an issue, then it becomes an issue [in] society.”

The organiser of the GLORIAs, Penny Sharpe, and my beautiful fiance.

The organiser of the GLORIAs, Penny Sharpe, and my beautiful fiance.

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