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.


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.



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