FROM THE EDITOR
MATT MITCHAM’S GOLD ANNIVERSARY
I can’t say I know Matthew Mitcham well but whenever we’ve spoken, he’s impressed me. For this issue’s Sports theme, we sat down for a long interview and discussed the 10th anniversary of his historic achievement in Beijing (which has still not been bested) and the state of play for elite level LGBTIQ athletes.
Matt has such a unique perspective. He’s achieved amazing things, both in his sporting career, for the LGBTIQ community, and in his post-sport entertainment career. But he’s had a tough time, too. Mental health issues and addiction have played their part in shaping the man he is today – someone who is humble, wise and compassionate. Also, he never seems to age – he’s as fresh-faced as ever, belying his troubled past.
The other thing about Matt I enjoy (and hope I’ve been able to capture in the interview) is that he’s very funny, even when making a serious point about depression and suffering low self-esteem. He is quick to give credit and come to the defence of others, and to speak plainly.
He has many of the characteristics of a great role-model, of a leader and of an educator. He is one of the enduring Olympic greats and a true LGBTIQ sporting hero.
Our story is accompanied by the striking photography of Lucas Murnaghan, a Toronto-based photographer who specialises in images that involve water, often what’s going on beneath the surface, which I think is such a strong visual metaphor for a Matthew Mitcham story. Lucas is an accomplished triathlete and free diver and often works without additional SCUBA gear, allowing him a deeper connection to his subject.
SLEEPWALKING INTO SHARIA
The increasingly dire situation of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia is a red flag that we at DNA have been raising for some months now, and I’m surprised it isn’t gaining more attention from other gay media and the mainstream.
In a nutshell, the Indonesian government is contemplating revisions to laws that will make all sex outside of heterosexual marriage technically illegal. This will effect LGBTIQ Indonesians the most and give the government the power to prosecute and imprison them.
But who else will this effect? The laws will also apply to foreign visitors, including tourists. That means unmarried heterosexual couples, and legally married gay couples, could potentially face years in prison if prosecuted. There goes that honeymoon to Bali you were planning after your Aussie same-sex wedding, right? Don’t even think about the trouble it could mean for teenagers at Schoolies’ Week!
My sources in Indonesia also say that many straight couples can’t afford the official marriage paperwork, so this law could potentially disadvantage the poor.
The bigger issue here is that religious extremist are waging a campaign against the LGBTIQ people of Indonesia. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia – yet – but we have already seen the mass arrests of gay men in Jakarta, the canings in Aceh, and the “re-education” of trans women.
Vigilante mobs are taking (religious) law into their own hands and the secular government is turning a blind eye.
In Andrew M Potts’ feature this issue, we outline the causes, and show you how you can become involved in helping our LGBTIQ family in Indonesia.
MATTHEW MITCHAM STORY STARTS ON PAGE 70.
INDONESIA STORY STARTS ON PAGE 38.