FROM THE EDITOR
WHY WE STILL NEED TO BE LOUD AND PROUD.
Trend spotting is a career for some and a hobby for others. In this, our Next Big Thing issue, we’ve identified what’s new and up-and-coming from the worlds of film, music, fashion and technology. But there is no clear trend when it comes to global gay politics. For every step forward, someone wants to shove us back a pace or two.
Under Obama, gay civil rights in the USA leapt forward, most notably with the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality. President Trump has indicated that there will be no unwinding of marriage equality and, although Trump is a seasoned and unashamed liar, it seems on this point he may stay true. However, that has not stopped individual Republican-held states from introducing bills to repeal the Supreme Court’s decision.
Along with this comes proposed legislation that would restrict trans people from using the public bathroom of their identity gender. In some interpretations trans people would be prevented from using any public bathroom.
In France, Marine Le Pen, an ultraconservative in the presidential race, says she would reverse France’s same-sex marriage laws if she came to power. France… a country famous for its progressive social attitudes and its cherished Liberté. And yet China, a country we often associate with social and political restrictions, has invested state development money into Blued, a Chinese gay dating app. Can you imagine any Western government funding a Grindr start-up?
Across the Formosa Straight, China’s neighbour Taiwan is reviewing its marriage equality laws and could become the first Asian country to allow same-sex unions – potentially beating Australia to it.
Ah… Australia. The birthplace of Kylie Minogue, Dame Edna Everage, Priscilla, Queen
Of The Desert, the speedo, the world’s biggest night-time gay and lesbian event, world class gay athletes like Ian Thorpe and Matthew Mitcham, and gay literary giants like Patrick White – and yet, at a conservative fundraiser, a famous cartoonist can make a speech praising Muslims for “throwing pillow-biters off buildings.”
Are our civil rights so tenuous? Do Marine Le Pen, Larry Pickering and American conservatives really lie awake at night, anxious that two men in love will be the undoing of civilisation? No. They don’t. But they do understand that vilifying the gays is the easiest and quickest way to drum up support from a fearful and intolerant few who can be motivated into voting. We are, unfortunately, one of the smallest minorities and we are easy to demonise. Luckily, we have powerful allies. Our defenders come from all sides of the political and religious spectrum. We have champions in the worlds of business and entertainment.
Importantly, we have each other. We have stood together through oppression, criminalisation, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the fight for marriage equality. We are LGBTI.
Don’t be worn down by hateful words; be proud of your sexuality. Remember how far we’ve come and how much we have contributed. Fight fair, party hard, be kind.
Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mard Gras 2017.