The GLORIAs 2015

The GLORIAs – the Gay or Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous or Ignorant (Comment) Awards – were held again at NSW Parliament House on Tuesday 10 November 2015.

Organised by Penny Sharpe MLC, hosted by David Marr, and with entertainment provided by Barbra Blacksheep, the event is an annual opportunity to highlight the ongoing serious issue of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia by making fun of what are, frankly, some of the most stupid and downright offensive things said in public life over the past year or so.

There are five main categories, with the overall ‘winner’ of the Golden GLORIA decided by a ‘boo-off’. Here are the nominees and winners of this year awards:

The most OUTRAGEOUS, RIDICULOUS or IGNORANT comment from the INTERNATIONAL category:

  • Kentucky county court clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples
  • Anti-gay radio host Bryan Fisher who compared a clerk who refuses to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples to a ‘clerk at Auschwitz’ who refused to murder Jews
  • Ghanaian presidential hopeful George Boateng, who declared: “There is too much indiscipline in Ghana, under my presidency when a corrupt person, gay or lesbian are arrested the law will make it possible for the courts to sentence the offender to death by firing squad”
  • Ed Straker, senior writer of com, the conservative news site, writing about the ‘Rainbow Doritos’: “Doritos are a product marketed to children, so they make the perfect gateway snack to introduce children to the joys of homosexuality”
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry: “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that – and I look at the homosexual issue the same way”
  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticised his country’s same-sex marriage law saying he “detested” the way he feels his successor, Francois Hollande, and his Socialist government “forced” the same-sex marriage bill into law in 2013. The thrice-married Sarkozy said he feels the statute is “humiliating families and humiliating people who love the family”
  • Islamic State militants have reportedly murdered two more men for the ‘crime’ of being gay in an unnamed town in Iraq’s Nineveh province
  • Rapper Azealia Banks tweeted that the “LGBT community (GGGG) are like the gay white KKK’s. Get them some pink hoods and unicorns and let them rally down rodeo drive”
  • Kazakh Party Leader Bolashak: “I think it is very easy to identify a gay person by his or her DNA. A blood test can show the presence of degeneratism in a person”

And the winner was: Kim Davis. A well-deserved honour for someone who misguidedly thinks she is a martyr simply for refusing to do the straight-forward job of treating people equally.

MEDIA

  • The Daily Telegraph for the front page “Gay Class Uproar – Parents outraged as Sydney school swaps lessons for PC movie session”
  • Germaine Greer for her views on trans* women: “I didn’t know there was such a thing [as transphobia]. Arachnophobia yes. Transphobia, no.” “It seems to me that what was going on there was that [Caitlyn Jenner] he/she wanted the limelight that the other, female, members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that” … “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel… A man who gets his dick cut chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”
  • Piers Akerman for telling a kid with two mums she is not normal: “Statistically, you are not in a ‘normal’ family, no matter how many LGBTIQ-friendly docos you may be forced to watch by politically-driven school principals”
  • Andrew Bolt: “Truth is that marriage – the institution, tradition and ceremony – are indeed all public matters. Marriage is a social, not private, construct to bind men to women for the sake of their children, so that the next generations are properly socialised to the benefit of all”
  • Keith Wheeler, writing in the Wagga Daily Advertiser: [the ‘No’ campaign in a marriage equality plebiscite should] “remind Australians that gay marriage would be encouraging homosexuality… AIDS and HIV are at a 20 year high. Perhaps the ‘grim reaper’ advertisements need revival as a reminder of the consequences of homosexual sex. … Australians should consider the plight of adopted children and those needing foster care, being sent to a homosexual home. Changes to marriage laws will change Australian society forever.”
  • Melbourne GP, Dr Jereth Kok who wrote in a piece titled “A medical perspective on transgender”, that Christians should have empathy for these “broken people” but must understand that sex reassignment therapy is a “sophisticated and cruel myth”
  • Miranda Devine for her blog that only just missed out on the nominations for last year’s GLORIAs ‘But woe betide the player who “offends the gods of homosexuality… Let’s get one thing straight. ‘Gay’ no longer just means ‘homosexual’. The word has changed meaning over the last decade. Young people use ‘gay’ to mean lame, or dumb or stupid, as in: “That’s so gay…” So why is anyone pretending that what Mitchell said had anything to do with homosexuality? It didn’t”
  • Des Houghton writing in the Courier Mail: “Even people who like me who don’t go to church should be appalled that the gay lobby seeks to trample on their rights and customs in the name of equality. The media luvvies see gay marriage is another trendy fad like chai latte with yak milk and Lycra bike shorts. I’m tired of being lectured by people like Penny Wong who insist we must all roll over and toe the gay line in the name of equality. She and her followers demand we must agree that homosexuality is a good thing, and that it would be a good thing for homosexual couples to raise other people’s children. Enough already”
  • Piers Akerman (again): “I for one, am heartily sick of the constant pro-gay marriage propaganda from the homosexual lobby and its media mouthpieces at the ABC and Fairfax. They have gone a long way toward destroying the natural family relationship of a husband and wife and a child or children… It is plain wrong to make the claim that redefining marriage to include consenting partners of the same sex is a mere bagatelle. It is not. It is a gravity-defying act”

Amid such fierce competition, the winner was perhaps always going to be Germaine Greer.

POLITICS/LAW

  • Senator Eric Abetz for allegedly telling the Liberal Party room: “Lots of homosexuals don’t want to get married, Dolce & Gabbana never got married.”
  • NSW Premier Mike Baird for saying he did not believe the film [Gayby Baby] belonged in the classroom: “I think tolerance is a good thing. But I think there should be some parameters around it.”
  • A tweet by North Queensland federal MP George Christensen that linked US gun laws to the legislation of same-sex marriage: “I’m wondering how many people who look to USA and say we should follow them on “gay marriage” because they’re America the Great would want us to follow their lead on the right to bear arms?”
  • Fred Nile: “The homosexual movement is aggressively aiming to normalise their agenda, lifestyle and ideologies into our society. I urge the Government to do the right thing by the majority of parents who do not want their children exposed [to] the queer and homosexual ideologies. This issue has inevitable detriments and consequences.”
  • Fred Nile (again) for a speech in the NSW Parliament about the Safe Schools Coalition: “The material encourages a mindset of sexual exploration as if the very process of exploration were without risk, and is unashamedly driven by an agenda to promote homosexuality amongst children… So many Australians are disgusted at the sickening agenda behind the Safe Schools program. The program is absolutely abhorrent and disgusting in that it would normalise anal sex, oral sex, chest binding and homosexual sex.”
  • Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce for warning us that Asia could see Australia as “decadent” if same-sex marriage is legalised, potentially damaging negotiations and out trading relationship in the region.”
  • NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli for issuing a ministerial memorandum to the State’s Principals ordering that: “Gayby Baby must not be shown in school time so that it does not impact on the delivery of the planned lessons.”

A surprising result in this category, with NSW Premier Mike Baird winning (personally, I thought the second of Fred Nile’s quotes, attacking the Safe Schools Coalition, was far more offensive).

RELIGION

  • Nick Jensen and Sarah Jensen for preparing to divorce in protest against any change to the law to accommodate same-sex marriage: “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same-ex couples.”
  • Rev Mark Powell, writing in Fred Nile’s newsletter: “What we are seeing is nothing less than the attempted ‘institutional grooming’ of an entire generation of young Australians. Right under our noses boys and girls are being sexualised as part of their State-funded education.”
  • Rev Robby Galatay, a conservative Tennessee pastor who implied that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people must remain celibate or should be put to death: “God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.”
  • Russian Orthodox Priest Alexander Shumsky who claimed that football players are promoting a “gay rainbow” by wearing green, pink, yellow and blue shoes. He said: “Wearing pink or blue shoes, [the players] might as well women’s panties or a bra. The liberal ideology of globalism clearly wants to oppose Christianity with football. I’m sure of it. Therefore I am glad that the Russian players have failed and, by the grace of God, no longer participate in this homosexual abomination.”
  • Foundation Christian College Principal Andrew Newhouse for telling the father of a seven-year-old girl she would not have been welcome had it known her parents were gay: “The board also has a strong view that families with same-sex parents do not support a Christian world view… I mentioned to the parent that if his daughter was to continue this topic of discussion with his peers, then it would be in both his and his daughter’s interests to move to a school that would support his world view.”
  • Lyle Shelton and the Australian Christian Lobby for its campaign against the Safe Schools Coalition. “Dressed up as an anti-bullying program, it encourages children to cross-dress at school and demands the school accept this. Children are presented with information that downplays the danger of sexually transmitted diseases and introduced to concepts every thinking parent hopes they won’t Google us. Its ‘seven-ways-to-bind your chest’ advice to girls is one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen done in the name of a government program.”
  • Australian Marriage Forum’s David van Gend for comparing marriage equality to slavery: “The Supreme Court’s slavery decision was eventually repented of and reversed, just as the homosexual ‘marriage’ decision will have to be repented of and reversed – but after how much social damage is done?”

Another surprising winner in this category, with Sarah and Nick Jensen taking out the honours. And, while their commitment to divorce should other people enjoy the same rights as them is no doubt stupid, I would have much preferred either Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby, or Foundation Christian College Principal Andrew Newhouse, to collect the gong.

SPORT

  • Jacques Potgeiter for using the word ‘faggot’ multiple times during the Super Rugby Clash against the Brumbies.
  • AFL commentator Brian Taylor who said of Geelong player Harry Taylor “I don’t know whether you guys down there can hear me or not. I am up here getting ready for the game and I’ve just seen that crap from Harry – he’s a big poofter, I mean give them this one Harry” during a pre-game broadcast of Channel 7’s Saturday Night Footy show.
  • Sam Newman for saying that Michael Sam’s draft kiss was an “annoyingly gratuitous act”, and that “no heterosexuals do that when they are drafted.”

A clear winner in this category: Sam Newman – who can surely now tick off homophobia as part of the lifelong game of ‘bigot bingo’ he appears to be playing.

GOLDEN GLORIA

The ‘boo-off’, from the above five winners, came down to two clear crowd favourites. And, despite the vocal jeers from people in the room who wanted to see Mr Baird win (possibly from the same people who wanted to see him lose at the State election last March), the winner, with an exceptionally loud, and sustained, boo, was Germaine ‘Gloria’ Greer.

It must be said that no-one in the history of the GLORIAs has ever campaigned so long and so hard to win the top honour, with Ms Greer making repeated, unjustified and downright malicious attacks on the trans community throughout the eligibility period of 2014 and 2015.

Now it is on to 2016 and, while we are always hopefuly there will be fewer homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and intersexphobic comments across society, sadly the fact that there is likely to be a marriage equality plebiscite sometime in the next two years guarantees there will be no shortage of outrageous, ridiculous and ignorant commentary in the months ahead.

Germaine 'Gloria' Greer

Germaine ‘Gloria’ Greer

2014 GLORIAs Form Guide

The 2014 annual GLORIAs (standing for Gay & Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant comment Awards) are coming up next week – Wednesday 14 May.

I enjoy the GLORIAs for a few reasons, not the least of which is host David Marr’s dry wit. The awards are also an important reminder that, no matter how much progress we have made, and continue to make, towards legal equality, the battle against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and anti-intersex prejudice in social and cultural life goes on.

The GLORIAs, like the Ernies (for misogyny), are a way to hold bigots to account for the awful things that they say – it is a chance for our community to ‘take revenge’ and tell them that enough is enough. Oh, and did I mention that it is usually quite a fun night? Tickets are available here: <http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=83377

Voting for the worst comment in each of the six categories (International, Media, Politics/Law, Religion, Silliest comment within the LGBTI community, and Sport) is also open online until 5pm on the evening of the 14th: <http://www.theglorias.com.au/home So, get voting.

I have reproduced the nominees from the 6 categories below, along with the person I voted for, who I think will win, and a space to update with the name of each winner after the event. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether you agree or disagree with my reasoning.

And one final thing, thanks should go to lesbian Labor MLC Penny Sharpe, and her staff, for organising the event (which, it should be pointed out, especially after recent events at ICAC, is NOT a political fundraiser).

1. The worst INTERNATIONAL Comment of the year:

Mary Baker, Tea Party activist and leader of Conservative Moms for America: “Gay Supremacy is becoming a monster that carries greater evils than white supremacy ever did.”

Guido Barilla (of Barilla pasta fame): “For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company… I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose”.

Brunei for adopting a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for consenting same-sex sexual activity, adultery, rape, extramarital sexual relations, and for declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.

India’s Supreme Court has refused to review the ban on gay sex it imposed last month, rejecting arguments from civil rights campaigners and the Indian government that the move was unconstitutional.

Delta County School Board member Katherine Svenson said she opposed the recently passed laws in California and Massachusetts that allow transgender students equal access to school facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms: “I just want to emphasise: not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill on Monday that criminalizes same-sex relationships, contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership in gay rights groups.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe described homosexuals as “worse than pigs, goats and birds” and “If you take men and lock them in a house for five years and tell them to come up with two children and they fail to do that, then we will chop off their heads.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh: “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively… As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni: “Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money”

Ugandan Ethics & Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo: “It is a social style of life that is acquired… They chose to be homosexual and are trying to recruit others. … If they were doing it in their own rooms we wouldn’t mind, but when they go for children, that’s not fair. They are beasts of the forest…. Homosexuality is unnatural, abnormal and strange to our cultures… It has no output whatsoever; it only does damage and destruction. You cannot have a right to be a sick human being. There is no right in homosexuality. It must be cured…. Excretion is through the anus, like the exhaust of an engine. The human body receives what it takes from the mouth. They’re twisting nature the wrong way. Homosexuality will destroy humanity because there is no procreation; it will destroy health because the backsides will not hold.”

Michelle Bachmann: “… the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin: “We do not have a ban on non-traditional sexual relationships. We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia… You can feel relaxed and calm [in Russia], but leave children alone please”

Who I voted for: Simon Lokodo, for demonstrating in one long quote just how ‘anally-focused’ many homophobes tend to be.

Who I think will win: This has to be the toughest category to predict. Each of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (and his acronym) and perennial nominee Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has a strong claim but, simply given the attention his position attracted in the lead-up to Sochi, I suspect Russian President Vladimir Putin might ice-skate his way across the line.

Who did win: In a pleasant surprise (and possibly because of he extremely unpleasant nature of the comments) Simon Lokodo.

2. The worst MEDIA comment of the year:

A poster advertising the Brisbane Queer Film Festival that featured two men kissing was deemed too explicit and banned by Brisbane City Council.

Des Houghton columnist for the Courier Mail for the column ‘Dangers Lurk on Queer Street’: “Is the push for gay marriage just another fad like chai latte with Mt Kosciuszko yak milk, fixed-wheel bicycles and Vietnamese pork belly buns?” (read it here http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-dangers-lurk-on-queer-street/story-fnihsr9v-1226703120375).

This ad for The Yellow Pages: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHVjKta5FTk&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1

Andrew Bolt: “ABC staff must call Manning a woman even when he’s still a man, just because he says so. Just like I must call a white… No. Best not go there.”

Editorial in the Bairnsdale Advertiser ‘Trans-genderism is the enemy of healthy childhood development’.

Who I voted for: Des Houghton, because if you read the entirety of his column, you get an insight into how unhappy his world must be now that the LGBTI community has the temerity to demand genuine equality.

Who I think will win: The explicitly transphobic nature of Andrew Bolt’s column must make him a strong contender.

Who did win: The Bairnsdale Advertiser.

3. The worst POLITICS / LAW comment of the year:

Tasmanian “True Green” party representative Andrew Roberts’s election leaflets: “Most parents will admit that they do not want their kiddies growing up to be more and more corrupted, as they will witness an ever increasing sodomite and lesbian behaviour in public like it’s ‘the norm,’” says the flyer, which associates gay people with disease, child abuse and drug abuse, and calls for the recriminalisation of homosexuality in Tasmania.

Dennis Jensen MP for Tangney WA, speaking on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2013: “This bill is a piece of enabling legislation: it enables the dismantling of society as we know it. In essence, this bill is the apotheosis of a movement bent on legislating a social experiment. Gay marriage is a social experiment. Social experiments have poor results when viewed historically. One need only think of phrenology and eugenics, both of which, thankfully, have been consigned to the dustbins of history but not before having damaging social consequences…”

Federal election campaign flyer in Moreton, QLD with a picture of a crying child stating “I want my mum and dad … Loving kids and respecting their rights means keeping marriage laws that put kids first” (source unknown), https://www.facebook.com/TheGLORIAs/posts/508063229281606

Joe Bullock (Labor Senator-Elect) on running mate Senator Louise Pratt: “she’s a lesbian I think, although after her partner’s sex change I can’t be sure”.

Fred Nile’s (#3) speech in Parliament in support of Reparative Therapy (gay cure therapy). Hansard 14 November 2013.

NSW Premier Mike Baird for his views on “choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle” and his refusal to answer questions about this statement at a press conference after he became Premier.

George Brandis for this on QandA: TONY JONES: But just on principle, you are saying that religious freedom supersedes the freedom of your sexuality? GEORGE BRANDIS: Yes, I am, as a matter of fact. Yes, I am.

Fred Nile (#2) on the NSW Same-Sex Marriage Bill: The so-called marriage between two males is unnatural. Homosexual relations between a male and a male are strongly forbidden in both the Old Testament and the New Testament—in the New Testament particularly by Apostles Paul and Peter and, by implication, by the moral teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe that God’s creative purpose for planet Earth—which is a sensitive issue to discuss—is that the basis for the foundation of the family and the continuation of the human race is the institution of marriage.

Tony Abbott, discussing marriage equality: “I’m not saying our culture, our traditions are perfect but we have to respect them… … I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.”

A fundraising event for the Liberal Party hosted by Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has seen independent Frankston MP Geoff Shaw ridiculed as a “poofter bastard” by comedian Nick Giannopoulos in front of more than 300 guests.

Fred Nile (#1) for this section of Christian Democratic Party’s National Charter: (c) GOD’S GIFT OF SEX: We believe that God has established laws of sexual morality for the well-being of society prohibiting pornography, adultery, incest, homosexuality, and other sexual aberrations which debase man, as well as defile and pollute our nation. (Note that ‘homosexuality’ is listed after ‘incest’).

Alby Schultz: “I think it is abominable that gay activists continue to focus on and manipulate civil rights strategies to justify claims for same-sex marriage and keep using accusations of discrimination, inequality and homophobia to intimidate politicians and the general public.”

Cory Bernardi’s book ‘The Conservative Revolution’.

WA Liberal Upper House Member Nick Goiran for linking gay marriage to incest in a speech in Parliament.

Federal election campaign flyer in Jagajaga, VIC: “Jenny Macklin voted for same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage WILL MEAN same-sex education in kindergartens and schools” (source unknown): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=5080622 “92615033&set=a.358377574250173.91788.274008212687110&type=1&theatre

Who I voted for: George Brandis (and not just because it was my question on #QandA which precipitated the exchange between Tony Jones and him). Despite other comments being more overtly ‘offensive’, the fact that the then shadow/now Commonwealth Attorney-General was prepared to say, without any qualification whatsoever, that religious rights automatically trump LGBTI rights is, when you think about it, actually pretty outrageous.

Who I think will win: While I’m not confident of this prediction, the combination of the popularity or marriage equality, and current lack of popularity of our Prime Minister, makes me think Tony Abbott could take home the gong.

Who did win: As predicted Tony Abbott took out the gong (better luck next year Senator Brandis).

4. The worst RELIGION comment of the year:

Pastor Kevin Swanson of the Colorado based Reformation Church, thinks that the Disney movie ‘Frozen’ indoctrinates five-year-olds into lesbianism and bestiality: “You wonder sometimes if maybe there’s something very evil happening here … I wonder if people are thinking: ‘You know I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my 5-year-old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.’”

Far-right American Christian author Linda Harvey blames gay teens for running away from ‘heart-broken’ homophobic parents who want to control their lives – saying they only have themselves to blame for their homelessness.

Australian Christian Lobby/Lyle Shelton for the Media Release ‘Rudd’s change on marriage sets up a new stolen generation’: “Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Kevin Rudd’s overnight change of mind on redefining marriage ignored the consequence of robbing children of their biological identity through same-sex surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies”.

Ex-Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen: ”How do two men have sexual union? …You have joined a couple of people together at a spot where they shouldn’t be joined together, really.”

Penrith Christian School’s statement which includes the following: “We believe that homosexuality and specific acts of homosexuality are an abomination unto God, a perversion of the natural order and not to be entered into by His people.” And “We believe the practice of attempting to or changing ones gender through surgical and/or hormonal or artificial genetic means is contrary to the natural order ordained by God.”

Who I voted for: Peter Jensen. In Australia we often judge religious (and political – see Simon Lokodo’s comments, earlier) leaders in other countries for making anal sex-obsessed homophobic comments. Last year, we had the leader of the Anglican Church right here in Sydney saying basically the same thing. The fact he has now retired and may not be nominated again provided another incentive for this vote.

Who I think will win: It’s hard to look past the ACL media release equating Kevin Rudd’s support for marriage equality with the stolen generations as a ‘winner’. Which reminds me: can we officially make an Australian version of Godwin’s Law that the first person to bring up the stolen generations in an unrelated argument automatically loses?

Who did win: Penrith Christian School (NB I also collected the GLORIA for the person who nominated them, even though I still would have preferred Peter Jensen to have won).

5. The SILLIEST GLBTI comment from someone within the GLBTI community

Openly Gay Federal Election Liberal candidate for Sydney Sean O’Connor for preferencing the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) on his How To Vote card above Tanya Plibersek for Labor and The Greens (See:http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/local-news/new-south-wales-news/gay-liberal-candidate-prefers-reverend-fred-niles-party-for-sydney/108672).

Brian Coleman, the gay former Conservative London Assembly Member and ex-mayor of Barnet who described the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act as a “silly” and “dreadful” piece of legislation.

Gay CNN host Don Lemon talking about ex-figure skater Johnny Weir: “No one likes a gay minstrel show … so let’s just put that out there. About some of his flamboyant and over the top and all those, it seems those are the people who get the attention, but they don’t represent all of gay America.”

Who I voted for: Don Lemon. The idea of calling someone else who could be described as camp (possibly something of an understatement) as a ‘gay minstrel’ reveals much more about Don Lemon than it does about Johnny Weir. We need to accept people for whoever they are, and however they choose to express themselves. At the same time, it is not the responsibility of each and every gay man in public life to be the sole representation or role model of gay life, either in America or elsewhere.

Who I think will win: Don Lemon.

Who did win: Sean O’Connor (who, like Duncan Gay last year, had the good grace – and PR advice – to attend and collect the award in person).

6. The worst SPORT comment of the year:

Newcastle Knights NRL footballer Ryan Stig who posted a long message to Facebook and Twitter titled ‘Homosexuality demonic work’ about his opposition to marriage equality: “Homosexuality is a fairly good example of distortion of design for fairly obvious reasons. When laws such as this … are created it makes covenant with unseen realms of the demonic which work to infiltrate and come against the thought lives of our cities states [sic] and nations”.

Anthony Mundine for this comment about Redfern Now: “Watching redfern now & they promoting homosexuality! (Like it’s ok in our culture) that ain’t in our culture & our ancestors would have there head for it! Like my dad told me GOD made ADAM & EVE not Adam & Steve,” he wrote.

Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa, former Chelsea player: “We love everyone but do not like those who do not stand for what the Bible says. But this is not homophobia…. I don’t agree that it is OK that a man lives with another man and a woman with a woman.”

PGA Golfer Steve Elkington for this tweet regarding openly gay NFL hopeful, Michael Sam: “ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine …. No one else expected to throw today”.

Who I voted for: Anthony Mundine, not just because the comment was idiotic, or because of his repetition of the immensely stupid catch-phrase ‘Adam & Steve’, but because he disparaged the wonderful Redfern Now. At least his ignorant twitter outburst had the positive outcome of helping to inspire the creation of the Black Rainbow facebook community.

Who I think will win: Anthony Mundine, although the long-on-content but short-on-intelligence rant from Ryan Stig could be a very close second.

Who did win: Anthony Mundine (in a well-deserved effort).

Stand-in host Barbara Blacksheep, performing the now-accustomary lip-synch of 'Gloria'.

Stand-in host Barbra Blacksheep, performing the now-accustomary lip-synch of ‘Gloria’.

The Golden GLORIA

This is particularly difficult to predict, given the winner must come from the 6 winners of the above categories, and is then decided by a ‘boo-off’ on the night. Still, I will put forward my preference, and hazard a guess who the community might help ‘elect’ as the prestigious title-holder for the next 12 months, replacing the outgoing winner, NSW Roads Minister The Hon Duncan Gay.

Who I want to win: George Brandis. As explained above, I find his elevation of the religious ‘freedom to discriminate’ above the LGBTI community’s right not to be discriminated against offensive in the extreme. For more on why, feel free to read my earlier column: The last major battle for gay & lesbian legal equality in Australia won’t be about marriage, here: <https://alastairlawrie.net/2014/02/26/the-last-major-battle-for-gay-lesbian-legal-equality-in-australia-wont-be-about-marriage/

Who I think will win: Perhaps Vladimir Putin, or maybe Yahya Jammeh.

Who did win: Well, after winning his category, and in a decision which is possibly somewhat related to the unpopularity of last night’s Federal Budget, the winner of the 2014 Golden GLORIA, was Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

One final category, which wasn’t in the program, but which was awarded for the first time on the night, was the inaugural ‘good’ GLORIA, for people or organisations which have shown the most improvement in terms of accepting LGBTI people. The winner was the anti-homophobia initiative in April involving the leaders of major Australian sporting codes, and the #YouCanPlay campaign alongside it. Fittingly, ex-NRL trailblazer Ian Roberts was on hand to accept the award on their behalf.

So, that’s the GLORIAs done for another year. Thanks again to Penny Sharpe for another fabulous event – and I understand that nominations for next year’s event should open by the weekend (there is already an early frontrunner, given Miranda Devine’s recent efforts, but there’s still plenty of time left for more ridiculous, outrageous and ignorant comments to be made).

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.