Open Letter to the Socialist Alternative

Dear Socialist Alternative members

I can’t tell you how my heart sank as I watched this banner being erected at the Brisbane Marriage Equality Rally.

Socialist Alternative Banner
I don’t have a great shot. On the right it says “Dear Tone, Stahp ur homophobia or else, sincerely de gayz”
On the left, a depiction of Abbott being hung by the neck using a rainbow noose.

Put simply, Socialist Alternative, if that’s your idea of supporting our cause, then we don’t want or need it, leave us alone.

More disturbing to me is that it really reveals how you see us. You seem to see us as a weapon, a tool to get what you want. The only piece of gay imagery on the whole banner is the rainbow used in the noose.

We are not your weapons, and not your tools. We aren’t the rope you’re going to hang Abbott with, and if you think I’m going to do anything *remotely* like fucking Abbott, you’re totally delirious.

These are *our* rights that you’re toying with. I get that you see them as part of your political theory, for some of you, I know, they are more personal… but they are my, our, everyday life. Our reality you’re playing with and using as a platform. You see it as a left-of-centre thing. I see it as a spectrum of life thing. There are plenty of Liberal-supporting queer and queer-supporting people out there. There are a multitude of people who, like me, actually don’t hate Abbott, they just think he’s wrong, and some of them only think he’s wrong about one or two issues.

Equal Love rallies are peaceful. I will never condone violence against anybody. I will not remain silent while people threaten our prime minister regardless of how I feel about him. I cannot condone actions which will cost LGBTIQ rights the support from the right that we actually need.

So, Socialist Alternative, Take your red wedge and stick it wherever you find it most uncomfortable. I don’t want it, and I reject it.
Dylan Carmichael.

(This is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organisation I am involved with. I am a member of Equal Love Brisbane, but this statement is not endorsed by or a reflection of their opinion.)

Marriage Equality: the fashion issue of this election

On Saturday in Queen’s Park, a whole bunch of people are going to support the “fashionable” notion of Marriage Equality. This crowd clearly knows how big of a trend it is and wouldn’t be caught dead in anything else. Tony Abbott recently declared that he wouldn’t support “radical change based on the fashion of the moment.”

Equal Love Brisbane, a local well-known group of fashionistas and gay activists, are holding a rally as part of a nationwide campaign to keep Marriage Equality the election issue that it is. And we would like to welcome you to our runway: the streets of Brisbane. Come dressed to impress in your Equality-promoting couture, and sashay through the streets of our city in support of the height of fashion: equal rights for all Australians.

“Tony Abbott’s statement about Marriage Equality? A fashion don’t!”

This election, make sure you stand for someone who thinks human rights are more than a passing fad. Come to Queen’s Park (opposite the Treasury Casino) on Saturday 17th at 1PM and add your voice to the the call. Equality is always in vogue!

The Facebook Event:


Well, I know how you all love to look at my gorgeous face…  So I made another video!

This time, I’m reciting a poem I wrote about our politicians voting on Marriage Equality and the Liberal/Labor stances on the issue.

Conscience: Written and spoken by me (Dylan Carmichael):
The leaders of our capital L parties, so great,
Both are straight, and so
They vote on rights they will never use in their life.
And yet, they are rights they already have.
To have and to hold the person they love in the eyes of the state,
Something to which nothing else can equate.
A right granted simply because the one they love is different to them.
A right withheld simply because homophobes hum, haw, and hem.

Concerned about causing offence, our politicians commit one instead.
Failing to stand up for those who suffer in the daylight,
After taking away some of their rights, almost a decade ago.

And to those leaders, I say
That the time has come for you make amends for your vote to pass the 2004 Marriage Act amendment.
Atoning for the moment when the conscience so necessary to grant rights today was not consulted in the process of taking them away. On that fateful day, shut out of the chambers, your conscience ignored, overridden, not given any sway.

All that we want to hear is you raising voices together. An answer to our question that will echo through the years, prompting a flood of joyous tears from those of us who just want to marry who we love. Telling our future countrymen, who will hear that this government refused to be lead by Christian fear.

We crave a government who will right past wrongs.
A government whose final answer belongs
where it will be,
Writ large on our nation’s history.


The Anti-Discrimination Bill Inquiry Report

There are a total of 12 recommendations to come out of the Senate Inquiry Report. I posted about the deficiencies I noticed in the current draft recently, and so I’m going to address the four recommendations that relate to those inadequacies.

Recommendation 1
7.20 The committee recommends that the definition of ‘gender identity’ in clause 6 of the Draft Bill be amended to read:

gender identity means the gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual (whether by way of medical intervention or not), with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth, and includes transsexualism and transgenderism.

Perfect! It does away with that troublesome genuine basis stuff and makes the definition more readily accessible to those who may be discriminated against for perceived gender identity difference.

Recommendation 2

7.21 The committee recommends that subclause 17(1) of the Draft Bill be amended to include ‘intersex status’ as a protected attribute. ‘Intersex’ should be defined in clause 6 of the Draft Bill as follows:

intersex means the status of having physical, hormonal or genetic features that are:

(a) neither wholly female nor wholly male; or

(b) a combination of female and male; or

(c) neither female nor male.

In my first read, I was provisionally happy with this definition. I’m not Intersex and while I haven’t had an issue with gender-diversity, the terminology is still kind of new to me. I have since noticed that this definition is verbatim the one suggested by Gina of OII. If OII suggested it, I know it’s going to be the right language. Well done OII!

Recommendation 11

7.80 The committee recommends that the Draft Bill be amended to remove exceptions allowing religious organisations to discriminate against individuals in the provision of services, where that discrimination would otherwise be unlawful. The committee considers that the Australian Government should develop specific amendments to implement this recommendation, using the approach taken in the Tasmanian Anti‑Discrimination Act 1998 as a model.

This is big. This is very big. This recommendation expands on the aged-care provisions in the Draft Bill and removes the religious exemption for people they are providing a service to…
That means that religious schools would have to accept, for example, the children of my Baptist Pastor friend even though they question his “commitment to Christianity.” They also would be unable to expel a student for being gay or pregnant.

On the very day this recommendation came out, the opposition called on Labor to rule out its implementation – not that they have any intention of supporting this bill anyway…

So reading through 11 good recommendations in a massive step forward, I was a bit thrown by the twelfth.

Recommendation 12

7.81 The committee recommends that clause 33 of the Draft Bill be amended to require that any organisation providing services to the public, and which intends to rely on the exceptions in that clause, must:

  • make publicly available a document outlining their intention to utilise the exceptions in clause 33;
  • provide a copy of that document to any prospective employees; and
  • provide access to that document, free of charge, to any other users of their service or member of the public who requests it.

What this means, dear readers, is that if you apply to work at a religious organisation, they must provide you with a copy of their discrimination policy. They’re simply obligated to tell you how they intend to mistreat you before you sign the contract. This is a step forward for transparency, I suppose. I hope that people will call out our religious providers for their policies. But unless this recommendation is fleshed out in legislation to require a clear explanation of which subsections of Section 33 the organisation intends to use and how, I expect that we’ll see a lot of policies that state that they “retain the right to discriminate on the basis of [the whole list], as outlined in Section 33 of the Bill.”

On the surface, this transparency is at least a start. It is quite sad though to think about all those people in industries like aged care which are dominated by religious groups. Those poor folks gain little from this legislation if all of the policies are as bad as each other. I’ve heard the opinion that this gives the public a chance to shame the organisation into fixing their policies… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but religious groups are to renowned for moving with the times or even caring too much about public opinion. I think to think that they will be shamed into changing is naive unless some church groups release policies saying they do not intend to discriminate.

On this point, I would like to say thank you to UnitingJustice Australia – a social justice arm of the Uniting Church who supported the removal of blanket religious exemptions for the following: (pp58/59)

We acknowledge…that the exercise of religious freedom is subject to the regulatory norms that govern Australian society…

We do not believe that [clause 33] is necessary, in light of the need to balance the rights of the wider community with the freedoms to be afforded to religious groups…When religious bodies are provided [with] what amounts to a ‘blanket exception’, there is no incentive for that body to ensure that it does not discriminate, and no incentive to promote equality and inclusion in areas of employment and representation other than those leadership positions necessary to maintain the integrity of the religious organisation.

The Coalition dissenting report has recommended that the bill not be supported, but that:

1.35 Coalition Senators recommend that Part II of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 be amended to include identity as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex person as a protected attribute to which the Act extends.

Given they want to ensure that religious exemptions still apply, I view this second recommendations as a token statement designed to appease the GLBTIQ lobby without giving ground where it really matters.

I’m just left hoping the Greens, Independents, and other minor parties work to force the government to do the right thing with this bill, since it’s clear that neither major party will put the amendments forward…

There’s a petition being presented to the Attorney-General on Tuesday – go sign here:
Don’t forget to write to your MPs, senators, and papers on this issue.

Living in fear of Liberals

I cast my mind back to the 2nd of February when I and a group of other gay, lesbian, and straight ally constituents, spoke to Teresa Gambaro. [Thanks Phil for reminding me that we had Straight allies there]

The thing that stands out for me is a statement that one of us made “I am afraid that the Liberals will get in to government.”

To date, I know one gay person who has said that he wants the Liberals in. ONE. And I have to say, he’s not thinking about rights when he says that either.  Even he doesn’t believe the GLBTI community would be better off under the Liberals – he believes that Australia as a whole would be – and he’s willing to take the personal rights cost of that.

But I digress. There are some people who haven’t voiced an opinion one way or the other, but the overwhelming theme since I took my place in the community has been fear of the Liberals.  We couldn’t let them get back in, and we couldn’t let them take power again.  We daren’t.  Especially after Howard’s game-changing, discrimination-enshrining amendment to the Marriage Act in 2004.  QLD Queers are even more afraid of Liberal Party ascendancy. Having seen Campbell Newman’s LNP handiwork we’re justifiably concerned that attacks on the queer community might be carried out federally. Again.

Gambaro pointed out that the Liberal party voted for the same-sex de facto recognition in 2008. As they should have. But did they table it?  Was it something a Liberal government would have done? I don’t believe so.  Federally, the Liberal Party really haven’t been allies of the GLBTIQ community, grudgingly giving when they couldn’t prevent things anyway, but never pushing for actual reform.

Even now, in the face of groundbreaking anti-discrimination legislation with a couple of deficiencies, before the Senate Inquiry findings are released complete, they have announced that they will vote against it and not seek any amendments.

They are voting against the first ever Federal Anti-discrimination act, the first federal protection of sexuality, gender identity, women, and multiculturalism, rather than trying first to fix the problems with it.  I believe the bulk of submissions were made around 5 points – that’s 5 amendments, to small portions of the bill – but we’ll find this out tomorrow, when I read and comment on the report.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain that for some (seemingly bizarre) reason I thought that the Liberals would buck the trend and become an effective opposition who appeared to take serving the people seriously.  That this legislation might be free from the partisan “she says up, so he says down” that has defined the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott in their terms as the Opposition. And for the record, I would have been happy with Liberal performance on this bill if they simply pushed for the amendments and then if the govt said no, voted against it. To not push for reforms is the lazy way out.

Is it any wonder we fear a party who refuses to make an effort for the disadvantaged ?  Is it any wonder we fear a party whose platform on gay marriage legislation introduced by another party is a unanimous “no” vote?  Is it any wonder we fear a party who within the last decade and in their most recent term of government introduced discrimination to the Marriage Act?

An Open Letter to Tony Abbott

Honourable Leader of the Opposition,

Just this weekend, you said to Australia that “Your opinion matters”. If this is true, then I would like to share my opinion (which happens to be held by the majority of the Australian Public) with you, on the topic of Marriage Equality.

All Australians in our great nation are of equal value. All Australians should have access to the same legal institutions, irrespective of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. The list of legal institutions where discrimination is still permissible is growing smaller, yet we are denied access to one of our culturally defining institutions – that of marriage. All, and only, because we love someone of the wrong gender. Or at least, wrong according to the parliament.

Australian politicians move further and further away from being relatable, from even being seen as of the same breed as Australians who do not take up the mantle of leadership. This attitude of irrelevance stems from situations where our representatives’ values, opinions, or votes, are out of step with what we as the represented believe. A case in point is my electorate. The Member for Brisbane, Teresa Gambaro (LIB), who voted against Marriage Equality after her own surveys showed 73% of her electorate were in favour of marriage equality – particularly disconcerting after a maiden speech in which she promises to listen to and represent her electorate’s views.

Do the right thing and work against discrimination. Help make your party relevant to Australians again. Aspire to and display the liberal ideal that what individuals do, provided they do not hurt others, should not be interfered with by government.

Set the Liberal Party platform to a “Yes” on Marriage Equality, or at least permit a conscience vote.
Yours Sincerely, 
Dylan Carmichael

Truth in Advertising

If you’re after a GLBTI-themed post, this is not the article for you…

This year, Campbell Newman and the LNP are talking about serious electoral reform.  Announced on Jan 3, I can’t help but wonder, in my cynicism, if it was meant to fly under the radar because of the Holidays… it didn’t.

Here’s the link to the community consultation page and from there the discussion paper

There are two Parts – one (Part A) is a discussion about the various campaign funding models and campaign expenditure

The other section (Part B) discusses other alterations to the Electoral Act.

I don’t overly care about campaign funding at the moment, but there are some Sections of Part B that I want to devote a little bit of time to (1, 2,5, and 7):

Section 1:Truth in Political Advertising

I’m honestly surprised they had the gall to bring this up.  We have seen outright lies in this government’s campaign: “We will not be making any changes to the laws on those matters,” Mr Newman said when asked about potential changes to surrogacy laws the weekend before the election and then on the very eve of his historic retraction of LGBTIQ couples’ rights, Jarrod Beijie announced the intention to remove access to altruistic surrogacy for same-sex couples.

The paper outlines enforceability and some other reasons as reasons why legislation is not the correct approach:

it should be up to voters to judge the veracity of claims made in political advertising, just as they judge the veracity of claims made in commercial advertising;

In fact, under federal law (The Australian Consumer Law, Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, Part 2, S18) “A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.”

We do not (or should not have to) judge the veracity of commercial claims at all.

regulation may lead to an increase in nuisance claims by voters or candidates seeking to prevent the publication of an opposition advertisement;

Political advertising campaigns might need to be more carefully worded, and provided sufficient documentation is kept about where facts underpinning a particular statement came from, (Something academics have been doing for years, these should be standard practice anyway)

the neutrality and impartiality of the ECQ could be compromised if it is required to rule on what will be a highly vexed and publicised political issue;

Much like the Crimes and Misconduct Commission could be.  Introduce some limits – require “factual statements” to have verifiable facts. In instances where the truth is not known and cannot be ascertained, that might be reasonable to give as a victory to the defendant

it would be difficult to provide a prompt response to complaints, particularly on polling day.

Well yes it would.  Perhaps a requirement that complaints be lodged no later than x days before polling day, and no new advertising be aired/distributed any later than y days before that.

This section also discusses whether “advertising” should be extended to mean public statements and the like.

QLDers are seeing now just how important it is to be able to trust what party leaders have said before the election.

Section 2: How to Vote Cards

I’m from Tasmania, so when I rocked up to the QLD booths, I was shocked at being harassed and harangued by political harpies of every colour and stripe. It was confronting, and it was so *wasteful*.

In Tasmania, we apparently consider people smart enough to make up their own minds on this topic and to follow basic instructions.  If you haven’t got your message across by polling day, then tough luck sunshine! This made voting relatively pleasant and painless compared to my experience in QLD elections…

I should *not* have to explain my voting patterns to people when I refuse their “how to vote” card.  I’m confident enough to say “I’m gay, and your suggested candidates want to repeal my rights, so I wouldn’t vote for them in a million years.” I’d swear those people are paid by the number of flyers they go through… (and yes, I know they’re volunteers)

And even with that battle, I came to the Polling place with heaps of paper in my hand – none of it asked for, wanted, or even useful to me. How many trees were destroyed to go straight into the bin?

I don’t like HtV Cards. I also think that there should be a requirement that HtV cards are not misleading and should be registered and approved by the ECQ before they are due to be disseminated.

Section 7: Compulsory Voting

This section talks about removing compulsory voting. Frankly, the amount spent in those countries where voting is optional just in getting people to the polls is obscene.

I actually agree with most of the arguments outlined,  both for and against compulsory voting.  But I do have some caveats to my agreement:

it is undemocratic to force people to vote – in democracies such as the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, voters have the choice;

This would be the one I disagree with the most, particularly in light of the “the voter isn’t compelled to vote for anyone as it is a secret ballot” – they are completely at liberty to cast an informal vote – they must simply make the conscious decision that they do not want to vote.

it may increase both the number of informal votes and “donkey votes”;

I agree – it does increase both.  I don’t understand why this is problematic.  Actually, for Donkey Votes, I do see the problem, but this problem is easily rectified with randomised packs of ballot papers (each packet is printed with its own order) thus ensuring that donkey voting doesn’t introduce systematic bias into the system.

it increases the number of safe, single-member electorates – political parties then concentrate on the more marginal electorates;


resources must be allocated to determine whether those who failed to vote have “valid and sufficient” reasons.

Isn’t that why we fine people – at least partly to cover the costs of administering these laws?

Please make your submissions to the community consultation outlining your views on these important topics. Links at the top of the article…

All the world’s a stage

Shakespeare said that “All the world’s a stage”, if that is true, then QLD has become A Comedy of Errors.

Maybe we should look at the lead roles in the QLD equality story in recent times.

Anna Bligh

QLD’s first female premier.  In late 2008 this woman was harshly criticised in Queensland for getting Botox.  The media was so frenzied about this that they forgot to mention Kevin Rudd was extending Same Sex couples the de-facto status to assist with equality. She leaves a legacy of forward strides in QLD GLBTI rights including the Surrogacy Act 2010 and the Civil Partnerships Act 2012.  She commissioned a study into removing the “gay panic” partial defence, and stated her intention to remove the loophole.  She and her party were ousted from power in the 2012 election by Newman and the LNP.  I can unfortunately only guess at her cosmetic surgery habits, since they’re no longer of interest to the media.  I actually thought she did a decent job as Premiers go.

Campbell Newman

A confusing character.  Mayor of Brisbane until late 2011 when he reneged on his promise never to run for state politics by running as then-unelected leader of the LNP.   Despite making statements a number of times about personally supporting Gay Marriage, within 100 days of taking office, he has scrapped civil ceremonies for Civil Partnerships, renamed them “Registered Relationships” and removed the divorce-like portion of it as well.  This at least he prepared us for somewhat, although his initial promise was that if anyone had a civil partnership when he got into power, he would leave the legislation alone.  Equally confusing are his statements on the Surrogacy Act.  Days before the election he stated he would not change the Surrogacy Act.  Less than 100 days into his rule, his Attorney-General announced that they would be removing provisions for singles, de facto couples together less than two years, and same-sex couples.  Campbell then says he didn’t know what his party members were discussing.  He’s gone from top job at one level to top job at the next with none of the hard yards in between.  I personally think this is so that he’ll do what the advisers say, rather than suggesting he has any leadership skill himself.  Other than blatant dishonesty, it’s the only way I can interpret the dissonance between what he says and what he then does.

Andrew Bleijie

Shadow Attorney-General while Bligh was in power, now Attorney-General under Newman, this is the person that I believe is the true leader of the LNP.  He is the one who is announcing changes at odds with Newman’s statements.  He has clearly pushed back at the Labor Party’s attempts to solve discrimination in our state – going so far as to defend the non-violent sexual advance (“gay panic”) partial defence.  He seems to field a lot of questions and actually seems to say more for the LNP than Campbell Newman does.  I don’t know how long it will be before this talented politician decides to overthrow Newman and rule in his own right… I think it’ll be less time than Kevin Rudd had in office.

Wendy Francis and the ACL

This charming lady is the CEO of the Australian Christian Lobby.  She spews forth vile rot about defending marriage from the gay agenda and preventing homosexual couples from “acquiring babies”.  The LNP seems to listen to her far more than her opinions deserve.  Wendy’s lobby group was recently the benefactor of a $30,000 donation from the Gloria Jeans Coffees Franchise, the reason for a current and ongoing boycott of GJs stores across the country.  I figure that when capitalist companies start playing politics, the only solution is to vote with my wallet.  I know for a fact that the views of Wendy Francis and the ACL are not representative of Australian Christians on the whole or even the majority.  Hers is a fringe voice which unfortunately has found an ear.

Alex Greenwich and Australian Marriage Equality

A real tireless worker for GLBTI rights.  Alex makes a huge contribution and is well recognised in the community for doing good work, although some disagree with his methods, claiming they are too soft.  National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, he and his partner believe in marriage enough to have gone overseas in order to get married.  They will be among the first same sex couples ever recognised under Australian law as “married” when the Federal legislation eventually goes through.  AME organise protests across the country where anti-gay events are occurring, and often organises rallies in support of GLBTI rights legislation where it’s being proposed.  I’m quite the fan – AME were heavily involved on the QLD stage when Labor’s Civil Partnerships bill was introduced.

Those are the names you’ll see on most stories about QLD’s gay rights backslide… Well, except for Anna Bligh, but she was important to set the scene.  Other people will come and go from these stories, and as further debates unfold I’ll give you a who’s who for each issue.  If I’ve missed anyone you think should be here, let me know so I can add them!

Proposed surrogacy laws a clear attack on LGBTI rights

According to this article (Sydney Morning Herald) It is believed that the proposed changes to the Surrogacy Act 2010 (A bill I am yet to read and cannot so far find) will not only de-regulate altruistic surrogacy, meaning that there are no legal protections for parents, but that it will criminalise it, when it is for singles, same sex couples, and de-facto couples of less than two years.  This comment does come from Cameron Dick, who was QLD Attorney-General for the Bligh Government, so it may be an overstatement.  I doubt it.

Labor’s Surrogacy Act 2010 decriminalised altruistic surrogacy – A situation where a woman does not receive “a payment, reward or other material benefit or advantage (other than the reimbursement of the birth mother’s surrogacy costs)” (Quote from Surrogacy Act 2010 Section 10 – Meaning of a commercial surrogacy agreement)  Commercial surrogacy agreements are still illegal.

So the Labor Act provides all people an avenue to have children and raise a family, regardless of gender or marital status, provided they can find someone who is willing to do it out of the goodness of their heart.

The LNP’s changes (again, according to Cameron Dick) will penalise same sex couples or singles seeking to be parents through altruistic surrogacy with a jail sentence of up to 3 years.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Wendy Francis comments and spouts the usual drivel on Friday 22 June: “This is the right thing and is in the best interest of the child, something the state is bound to uphold under the UN Convention on the rights of the child” – At least they have the decency to comment only on the issue at hand.

Not so much FamilyVoice Queensland or the Australian Family Association, according to this Sky News Article

FamilyVoice Queensland and the Australian Family Association earlier this month said surrogacy rights for gay couples was the next battlefront, after winning changes on same-sex unions.

Isn’t enough enough?  Haven’t you queerbashed the community sufficiently, Religious Right? It’s clear that ACL and the Fundamentalist Christian Right want to return to the days when gays were not recognised, that it was illegal.  I wonder if it’s possible for a federally recognised de facto relationship to be grounds for imprisonment under a State Criminal code…

As for Newman’s pre-election promise that surrogacy laws would not be touched?

The Star Observer quotes Newman as saying:

Over the whole 12-month period of the campaign I never at any stage had had any advice on the matter because it had been dealt with back in 2010

Frankly, the mistake was not understanding what my MPs had been discussing.

You can’t tell me this doesn’t ring alarm bells.

This statement of Newman’s (Yesterday) leaves us with two interpretations:

  1. He’s telling the truth: Our premier is supposed to be able to run a state, but he can’t even make sure he’s across his own party’s policies before an election.  He obviously heard his MPs discussing this – otherwise he wouldn’t be telling us he wasn’t “understanding what [his] MPs had been discussing.”  He would have said he didn’t know it was being discussed. Or,
  2. He’s not telling the truth.  He’s been caught in a situation that is at loggerheads with statements he made mere days before the election.  The only way he can make these two situations line up is if he pleads ignorance.  He would probably have been better off using Howard’s “Non-core-promise” line.

Either way, we still couldn’t trust him, but we’d never be able to draw the conclusion that he’s either admitting that he is inept or lying to us.  (additional interpretations are welcome)

Dealing with Newman – A mental process.

Under the Newman administration, the LGBTI Community has suffered blow after blow.  This started with the defunding of QAHC – amid suspicions that this was retribution for their active push for same-sex marriage based on concern for the mental health of their clients.  Then we had the Civil Unions Act watered down as much as possible.  Then we were told that surrogacy would be the next to go.

On Friday, I felt depressed and saddened, a sense of gloom and hopelessness stretched out before me.  They were doing this to me and there was nothing I could do about it…  I considered moving to Melbourne, or Sydney, or back to Tasmania… But over the last two days I have realised that this is not true and a move is not needed.  There is hope.  There’s a good possibility that after three years QLD will wake up and oust the LNP from its parliamentary roost (especially after Newman announced he’s axing approx 20000 jobs from the public service).  There’s a possibility that the Federal Government will legislate around same-sex marriage and render the state discussion pointless.   There’s even a possibility (however remote) that the LNP will shake off its arch-conservative religious shackles and be a force for short term economic might (which they arguably already are) as well as providing the required infrastructure for Queensland’s ongoing prosperity and the necessary leadership to show that Queensland, well, appreciates its Queens…

These things can only happen if people stick around to push for them.  While LGBTI people pour out of QLD in response to ACL/LNP policy, it makes it harder for those who stay to make an impact.  While the Queer community stays obscure enough that “Walking backwards to Broome if there’s a homosexual in my electorate” isn’t met with “Well you’d better get walking” immediately, while GLBT individuals fail to stand up and be counted, nothing will ever change. (Which is not to say you shouldn’t leave if you don’t feel you can cope)

I’m staying in Queensland.  For all its faults, I like it here. I refuse to be chased out by a politician who cannot stand on his own beliefs and call for Same sex marriage to be made legal.  I refuse to let other GLBTI people be bullied by a callous and uncaring government without standing up and saying “No more!”

I am here. Things will get better. They will get better because I am here, and I am speaking out.  If we all speak out together, rise up with one voice, then we will be heard, and things will get better.