The following is a list of the most widely-read pieces on my blog (updated on 10 June 2017):
While there have been many ‘out and proud’ female tennis players, we are still waiting for the first male player to ‘come out’. This post looks at some of the factors that may have contributed to this delay, as well as paying tribute to the courage of players like Martina Navratilova and Amelie Mauresmo in blazing a trail on the women’s tour.
In October 2016, the Turnbull Government released an Exposure Draft of the legislation it would introduce should the marriage equality plebiscite be held, and be successful. Unfortunately, the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill was far more concerned with granting new rights to discriminate against same-sex couples, than it was in finally removing discrimination against LGBTI Australians.
From Greg Louganis to Ian Roberts, Renee Richards to Louisa Wall – and of course, the one and only Martina – a look at some of the LGBT athletes I have admired for their performances, on and off the field.
In December 2015, it was revealed that the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s proposed plebiscite on marriage equality would cost almost $160 million. This piece focused on just some of the more productive ways this money could be spent, including employing more nurses and teachers, resettling additional refugees from Syria and Iraq – or funding the Safe Schools program almost 20 times over.
Written in the days after the disastrous 2014 Federal Budget, this post criticised then-Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to allocate $245 million over 5 years to the wasteful and inappropriate National School Chaplaincy Programme (while also removing the ability of schools to use the scheme to employ secular student welfare workers). Happily, my (somewhat angry) rant struck a chord with a few readers.
NB This post was actually a follow-up to a piece I wrote before that Budget: Dear Joe Hockey, If you’re serious about cutting expenditure, you must axe school chaplains
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm’s 2014 Freedom to Marry Bill was fundamentally flawed, because it would have established a new ‘right to discriminate’ for civil celebrants, setting a negative precedent for Australian LGBTI anti-discrimination law.
The Liberal-National Government’s proposed plebiscite on marriage equality would have cost every Australian voter $10.83, all so that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could retain his job by placating right-wing extremists inside the Coalition who have exactly zero interest in seeing marriage equality introduced.
This post, written in late 2014, looked ahead to the following year’s ALP National Conference, and supported an LGBTI agenda much broader than simply adopting a binding vote for marriage equality. Thankfully, a number of these proposals were ultimately successful.
A very personal look at the ongoing impact of marriage inequality in Australia, written on the day of my 8th anniversary with my fiance Steve – later that night, for the second Census in a row, I was compelled to describe our relationship as ‘de facto’, even though we have been engaged to be married since January 2010.
In mid-2016, and with the Turnbull Liberal-National Government (narrowly) re-elected, the LGBTI community faced a difficult choice: whether to accept their unnecessary, wasteful and divisive plebiscite, or to oppose it, even if it carried the risk that marriage equality could be delayed. To help determine how to proceed, I surveyed more than 1000 LGBTI community members to find out their views – and the response was unequivocal.
As demonstrated in Plebiscite Survey Results: Part 1, and Plebiscite Survey Results Part 2: In Your Own Words, the vast majority of LGBTI Australians said #NoPlebiscite, not now, not ever.
This was a piece from early 2014, as part of a broader campaign (‘No Homophobia, No Exceptions’) calling for the removal of religious exceptions from state and territory, and federal, anti-discrimination laws. Unfortunately, as the title suggests, it is likely we are going to be fighting for this change for many years to come.
NB ‘No Homophobia, No Exceptions’ is also the name of a Facebook page which I administer, focusing on challenging homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia in law, and in society.
12. The State of Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia Survey Results
At the start of 2017, I conducted a survey of LGBTIQ Australians and their experience of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia. While shocking, the results were not surprising, showing anti-LGBTIQ prejudice remains widespread. I published the results in a series of six posts, looking at different areas:
- Verbal Harassment & Abuse
- Physical Abuse or Violence
- Where Discriminatory Comments Occur & Their Impact
- Discrimination in Education
- Discrimination in Employment
- Discrimination in Health, Community Services or Aged Care
From suggesting rainbow families having children is creating another ‘Stolen Generation’, to inciting trans ‘bathroom panic’ and even likening Safe Schools and marriage equality to the rise of Nazi Germany, Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton has a long history of making offensive homophobic and transphobic comments. Hypocritically, he also regularly calls for ‘respectful debate’ – of which he seems entirely incapable.
14. It’s Time to Bind
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I wrote a number of pieces in the lead-up to the 2015 ALP National Conference campaigning for the party to adopt a binding vote on marriage equality. The most commonly-read articles on this topic included:
The remainder of the ‘It’s Time to Bind’ posts can be found on the ALP National Conference / #ItsTimeToBind page here.
In early 2017, the Turnbull Government again attempted to reduce the protections against racial vilification provided by section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. At the same time, there was discussion of the possibility of conducting the marriage equality plebiscite via postal ballot, thus removing the need for legislative approval. On both counts, Prime Minister Turnbull was acting more like former Prime Minister Howard than he ever would have wanted.
In mid-2016, Prime Minister Turnbull gave an interview in which he said ‘It [homophobia] is not acceptable from a legal point of view in Australia’, perhaps oblivious to the fact there are no protections against anti-LGBTI vilification under Commonwealth law (or in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory), as well as that nearly all Australian anti-discrimination laws are undermined by broad religious exceptions which encourage discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
17. Ten Things I Hate About Marriage Inequality
In the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of Australia’s ban on marriage equality, in June to August 2014 I wrote a series of posts counting down ten reasons why I hate the ongoing discrimination experienced by LGBTI couples, including Steve and me. The top three pieces of this countdown were:
The full list can be found here.
It is fair to say 2016 was a rough 12 months for many – and that definitely includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians. From the ongoing attacks on Safe Schools, to the long battle to defeat the marriage equality plebiscite, and including heart-wrenching tragedies (the Orlando massacre in the US, and the death of Tyrone Unsworth here), it was a year most of us could be forgiven for wanting to forget, even if there were some small positives (like long-overdue LGBTI law reform in Queensland and South Australia) along the way.