Always room for satire
THERE are a couple of important points that need to be made in response to Wayne Offer’s letter to the editor (page 19).
Firstly, The Queensland Times abhors discrimination against our LGBTIQ community.
As the editor of this paper I used this column to throw the QT’s support behind Same Sex Marriage this time last year.
And I celebrated being a part of a community in which the majority of people voted in support of it as well. It made me extremely proud.
Of course those with opposing views were also allowed to have their say – such is the nature of these pages, we don’t all have to agree.
Secondly, there is currently a debate going about whether or not religious schools should have the right to discriminate against gay students and teachers.
It’s a thoroughly disturbing debate and one I hope does not result in the same vitriol as the anti-same sex marriage debate.
School can be hard enough and we know that our LGBTIQ children already have a much higher rate of suicide due to feelings of not being accepted and being bullied.
So it’s unfathomable that there could be law put in place which would allow schools, places that should be safe spaces, to treat our kids this way. And this is absolutely not something the QT would support in any way.
But nonetheless debate around this is happening right now.
Thirdly, cartoons have an important place in social and political commentary.
The use of a cartoon to spark debate or comment on the happenings of the day is an important one and can take many forms.
Cartoons can be satirical, they can be serious, humorous, controversial, sad, funny, angry and more. And of course they can be totally subjective and open to interpretation – sometimes that’s also the point.
And clearly that’s what has happened here because Wayne Offer and I have interpreted yesterday’s Zanetti cartoon in a completely different way. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my behalf but I saw it as satire, having a go at the ridiculousness of the current debate going on.
To me, it was having a dig at those who believe having gay children and teachers in a school will elicit some kind of negative influence over the academic and social education of other students in the school.
To a lesser extent it also spoke to me on the level of the ever-changing and somewhat confusing at times LBGTIQ acronym.
I’m always concerned about getting it wrong but it’s quite fluid and changes and it can be hard to keep up with.
Ultimately the main goal of cartoons is to spark debate and conversation and Zanetti has successfully done that here. Wayne, a passionate letter writer has strongly jumped to the defence of our LGBTIQ community and regardless of our different interpretations of the cartoon, I’m glad to be able to publish a letter that so strongly throws its support behind a community which is vulnerable, never more so than during the kind of debate we’re likely to see play out over the coming weeks (hopefully not months).
TALKING POINT: Zanetti’s recent cartoon drew a negative reaction.