Queer Rights: have we become a One-topic wonder?

One thing I’ve been grappling with throughout organising GMER is – have we, the GLBTIQ community, really become a one-point group?  We have Marriage Equality rallies now, to the exclusion of almost any protest over anything else, it seems.

How odd, coming from someone who organised a ME rally himself!?

I talk a lot about ME, particularly on this blog.  But I also talk sometimes about other issues that I feel are of import to the community.  My goal with this article is not condemnation, not mudslinging, and not to detract from the importance of ME or deter support for it – but it is supposed to provoke some thought, and hopefully some responses as to how we can manage the multiple issues the Australian LGBTIQ community face.

Why aren’t we, as Australians, up in arms about the ridiculous and archaic state of Queensland’s age of consent laws?  or the Gay Panic Defence?

Where is the groundswell support for access to surrogacy across the nation and why is there no national day of action as a  statement of disgust at the Newman surrogacy rollback?

Where do we march for LGBTIQ social infrastructure services (like Tasmania’s Working It Out) which are missing in so many regional areas?

Where are we standing in solidarity, holding a vigil dressed in green for TDOR?  Where are our voices for Intersex people’s lack of adequate inclusion in the anti-discrimination act?

Why aren’t we pushing hard for a census question on sexuality or gender identity?  

None of this is to say that Marriage Equality isn’t important.  It is.  And it’s a battle that needs to be fought and won, and fought now.  What I’m left wondering, I guess, is what happens to the other important GLBTIQ issues that are getting little-to-no air time?  I always say to opponents of Marriage Equality who say “Don’t we have more important things to think about/deal with/do?” that “We’re clever people, and can deal with multiple issues at the same time.”  But are we?  Can we?  I think the answer to those is “yes.” Do we?  That I’m not so sure about – particularly in QLD we have some serious problems that Marriage Equality is not likely to fix, yet we seem to focus a huge amount of time on it.

Is it because it’s a battle we feel we can win, where others feel much more difficult?  

Is it because Marriage Equality affects most Queer Australians, where the other issues are more localised?  

Is it because Marriage Equality has an easily identifiable goal where other problems are more ethereal and harder to determine when “we’ve got there”?

Is it because we’ve started on Marriage Equality, and we don’t want to divide the focus?

Talk to me! If you can, do it on the blog so that everybody gets to see the whole conversation – otherwise things get fragmented across multiple sites and posts…  Tell me why you think this is, and how we can work to campaign more effectively on more fronts?

This is the Caped Queersader, signing off!

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eThankfulness 26 Nov 2012

I am thankful:

For amazing Gladstonites who have been standing up and refusing to shop at a store whose owner responded in a very negative  (homophobic) way to the Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally flyer when I asked him to put it up.  I’ve spoken to him since the incident, and he has apologised profusely, and asked how he can “make this right”.  I’ve suggested that I’m really not sure, but that posting an apology to GLBTIQ Gladstone might be an appropriate starting point.  at 3PM I pointed him towards the group, and I’m still waiting to get a request to join and post from him.  If another 24 hours pass and I haven’t heard from him again, I’ll be letting you know who it is.  I have my suspicions, but I think his apology to me is a reaction to the dead zone that the store has become.

I am grateful – to new housemate/landlord M who offered me a pet-friendly room when I announced that my house had sold.

I am grateful for the many well-wishes I’ve received from people over my impending move

I am thankful that the Rally went off with only a couple of minor hitches

I am so grateful to the Gladstone Observer for their continued coverage of the GMER – There was a full-page photo essay in the weekend observer documenting it!

I am also grateful to the Observer for having selected me as a winner in their firefighter fantasy competition.  Free firefighter 2013 calendar? Don’t mind if I do!

I am grateful, yet again, for the fantastic work friends that I have and will miss sorely when I leave Gladstone.  You’d all better let me know when you’re in Brisbane so we can do coffee or something, y’hear?

I am still overwhelmingly grateful to the population of Gladstone who made the GMER into what it was, and for the people who have started organising some once-a-month events to provide some organised GLBTIQ community here!  You guys rock!

Seriously, if you’re in Gladstone and want to meet other GLBTIQ people, check out GLBTIQ Gladstone – apart from being administered by the caped queersader, there are some very cool things going on there, including some story-sharing, coffees, picnics, and more!

Dylan from Gladstone, grateful for another week!

Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally

CoverGMER

So, the Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally happened on Saturday – you might have the notion that I’ve sort of been involved with it…

Above is our group photo – that’s what about 100-110 people look like (I counted 10 Shutterbugs, one of them being Shutterbug Photography CQ who took the photo above)

I’ve been on 6 different Radio Stations, including 4ZZZ, JoyFM (Listen Here) and ABC Regional (Check the links for the interviews).

Our rally went amazingly,  with 110-120 attendees including Mayor Gail Sellers.

I’ve included the speeches from our 4 fabulous speakers (and me) (Thanks to James Wragg for recording these on the day and giving me the footage)

We Have Glenn Butcher, the ALP’s endorsed State Candidate for Gladstone

Shelly Holzheimer – One of our fantastic straight allies in this town

Nerrilyn Diefenbach, Mother of a gay man.

Em and Mikayla Glossop, lesbian co-mothers

And then there’s me – I don’t need to tell you who I am, right?

I couldn’t believe the amazing response we got. We had a small contingent of local church groups over the road at Anzac Park praying for marriage – something that a vast number of LGBTIQ folks have been doing over the last few years – and we had I believe a total of 3 negative statements or gestures during the course of the march, far outweighed by the positive reactions we inspired!

After our 3km march, (and gosh it was hot!) about 40 of us retired to local restaurant Scotties for some much needed fluid replacement! Scotties was absolutely amazing and produced beautiful food for us, served by their lovely staff!

The rally made the front page of the Gladstone observer, and this is where the world first learned of my secret identity – the Caped Queersader!

Front Page of the Observer

We even made the Channel 7 regional news!

I have to say a massive thank you to the Gladstone Observer, especially Beth Young and Kara Irving, for their fantastic coverage and promotion of the event, to Radio stations ABC Regional Capricornia, HotFM, ZincFM, SeaFM, 4ZZZ and JoyFM, to SameSame, StarObserver, Doug Pollard at TheStirrer.com.au, Chrys Stevenson, and the myriad of others who helped garner publicity and support for this event.

I would also like to thank Gladstone Regional Council and the Gladstone branch of Queensland Police who were immensely cheerful, helpful, and supportive in organising the required permits for the rally.

Gladstone businesses also deserve a massive shout-out as so many of them helped by displaying our flyers, developed by Faye Kjattar of Squid Ink Designs.

I have to give a warm, squishy, soppy thank you to those people who I’ve been chatting with to help me cope with the craziness of all of this – I swear I would have gone sane if it wasn’t for you lovely folks, and we can’t have that!  You all know exactly who you are.

I would like to thank again our speakers who did an amazing job, Glenn Butcher, Shelly Holzheimer, Nerrilyn Diefenbach, and Em and Mikayla Glossop.

Finally, I have to thank the residents of Gladstone who made the rally the resounding success that it was, and who are currently organising new and fabulous events within the community.  Keep tabs on Queer in Gladstone via GLBTIQ Gladstone on Facebook. Plus I’m sure I’ll be doing some promoting on this blog.

Dylan Carmichael, who is currently thankful for pretty much everything in life, signing off!

Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally – 4 days to go!

This last week has been incredible.  I put out requests for various things to happen and someone almost instantly puts their hand up to do them!

Like Faye Kjattar from Squid Ink Designs who designed the promo material

Gladstone rally

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you’ll know that I’m passionate about making this event a huge success, and I’ve been putting a lot of energy into it.  So I’m asking you, dear readers, to give me a hand! (holds for applause)

Here’s how you can help –

This is a QR code:

MarriageEqualityQRCode

Scan it with your smartphone, and it’ll take you to the rally’s Facebook Event page.  After you go there yourselves and make all the necessary flight arrangements to come, your mission, should you choose to accept it,  is to share this image and the Facebook event page as widely as you can!  I know you may not know anyone (else) in Gladstone, but your friends might, or their friends might. This is a situation where numbers matter.  So saturating the interweb with this particular rainbow-sparkly light is important!

The Gladstone Observer’s been great, and I’ve got bloggers everywhere adding to the social media storm!  Today, I’ve recorded interviews with HotFM, SeaFM, JoyFM, and the ABC.

Our “Going” column on the Facebook event is now at over 160 people!

Gladstone, the place to be for Marriage Equality, the place to be for ME!

I look forward to meeting my hordes of loyal readers on Saturday!

eThankfulness – 11 Nov 2012

I’ve been getting slack with this thankfulness thing.

I was talking with my mother when I was in Tassie last weekend, and she told me that something like my eThankfulness is well understood in Psychology to have serious benefits, provided you want to do it.  She told me that maximum benefit is when you write entries in your Gratitude Diary every day, but as long as you do it regularly, it acts as a kind of mental-health immunisation, significantly increasing your resistance to things like depression. She made mention that the only group of people who don’t benefit are psychology students – or rather, people who are being forced to do it.

I feel almost euphoric today!

As you are hopefully aware, faithful readers, in 6 days, the Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally will be over!  I have loved organising it, but next time I take on something like this, I’ll try not to have a house on the market at the same time.  GMER on its own has provided me a list of things to be thankful for:

Businesses being so friendly about putting flyers up.  Many of them lit up and said “Oh, it’s YOU! Yes, I’m definitely coming!”  (Often they spontaneously outed themselves to me too)  Which has been one of the best feelings ever!

The generosity of the group has blown me away too.  It seems that no sooner do I ask for things than I get people saying “Sure! When? How do you want it done?”  From the poster design to walking out flyers.  From T-shirt printing to prettying up Scotties function room, they’ve been absolutely fabulous!

I am thankful to the wonderful woman from the Council who has been handling our rally, and has told me that she’s delighted to come!

I am thankful for the generosity of the Marriage Equality Rally attendees, who have been making this so much easier.

I am thankful for the fantastic reactions of most businesses to my flyers/posters – it’s so encouraging!

I am thankful that my friend has located an amazing new apartment, reducing his stress levels massively (and potentially giving me somewhere to crash in the city)

I am thankful for the opportunity to go and see one of my favourite people in the whole world get married in Tasmania!

On that topic, I am thankful for the wonderful day and the amazing weather.

I am thankful for opportunities to see people I haven’t seen in *years*

I am thankful that this notion which made some sense in my head, and which I felt was doing me good, actually has some basis in clinical psychology, to the point that it has been used as treatment for some things.

I am thankful that I live in a country where this rally can go forward and criticise our government – it’s a privilege that too few in this world get to exercise.

I am thankful for the groundswell amongst the blogger community in getting Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally noticed and picked up! 

I am thankful for the opportunity to have my writing on TheStirrer.com.au – it’s a real honour.

I am thankful for the opportunity to help improve this small corner of the world in this one small way, and feeling like the world is getting behind me to make it a success.

I am thankful, simply for being able to feel thankful for so much of my life.

I am thankful for those World War One soldiers who fought and died for this country, and for all those who have fallen in her service throughout our history.

And so, on this, the 11th of November, 2012, I am extremely thankful.

Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally – 6 days to go!

This last week has been incredible.  I put out requests for various things to happen and someone almost instantly puts their hand up to do them!

Like Faye Kjattar from Squid Ink Designs who designed the promo material

Gladstone rally

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you’ll know that I’m passionate about making this event a huge success, and I’ve been putting a lot of energy into it.  So I’m asking you, dear readers, to give me a hand! (holds for applause)

Here’s how you can help –

This is a QR code:

MarriageEqualityQRCode

Scan it with your smartphone, and it’ll take you to the rally’s Facebook Event page.  After you go there yourselves and make all the necessary flight arrangements to come, your mission, should you choose to accept it,  is to share this image and the Facebook event page as widely as you can!  I know you may not know anyone (else) in Gladstone, but your friends might, or their friends might. This is a situation where numbers matter.  So saturating the interweb with rainbow-sparkly light is important!

The Gladstone Observer’s been great, and I’ve got bloggers everywhere adding to the social media storm!

Gladstone, the place to be for Marriage Equality, the place to be for ME!

I look forward to meeting my hordes of loyal readers on Saturday!