Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras

Been rehearsing with Lifesavers With Pride to dance up the Oxford Street parade in our speedos!
We're doing a routine choreographed to the Supremes' "Rescue Me" (naturally).
Fun how all of Sydney get into the spirit of gay Christmas. Across the city, ANZ Bank has glammed up their ATMs into bedazzled, rainbowed GAYTMS:
 Wandering Newtown the other day, I came across their Fire Station and its bold message:
The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship docked in Sydney harbor with this rainbow message:



When I was attending the MG Film Festival, there were several ads before the films and they were all geared toward me, the gay audience member, in one way or another and I thought to myself – this must be what it's like to be normal. The world just conspires to lift up and affirm your lifestyle.

And then you think of what's going on in places like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria. It's shocking how the religious right has lost the battle to keep denying marriage equality in the states – and they now take it to Africa, where they've succeeded in penalizing homosexuality with life in prison now in Uganda. The Ugandan press has again released a spread identifying "top homos" and the last time they did this, the top one was brutally murdered in his own home.

In the USA, the "one-man-one-woman" marriage laws which have been voted in over the last decade are now being systematically ruled unconstitutional. So what are they doing now? They are trying to enact new laws to "protect religious freedom" by allowing businesses to deny goods or services to gays if it contradicts their "beliefs". This is no different than hanging a sign in the window that says "will not serve blacks" or jews or muslims or women or people we don't like.

Make no mistake, religious freedom is not under attack but religious superiority certainly is. A public business is open to all the public and your freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. The foundations of society are not crumbling, but those foundations are now being acknowledged as not looking all the same to everyone. This gaining of rights, and its inevitable backlash, must be like what white men felt the day women entered the workforce.

And the response - waving a bible and wrapped in a flag - has always been the way of fascists. Jan Brewer the Governor of Arizona who once claimed she had a direct line to God and who looks like a shriveled apple (she might ask him for some UV protection) did not veto the religious protection bill passed in their senate for the right reasons (it's identical to Jim Crow-era discrimination), she did it because several organizations got together and told her it would be bad for business. How far we have come to see that being anti-gay is bad for business (Anita Bryant how your ears must burn)?
Although these kinds of "religious freedom means we hate you" laws if passed (there are more coming up in Minnesota and Georgia) will eventually topple as unconstitutional just like the marriage laws before them, I'm wishing one does go through, that they show the world their blatant true colors as the Republican/Tea party hammers the last nails into its own coffin).

I write all this to illustrate that much as it's awesome that Sydney businesses and citizens are getting into gay pride and bedazzling ATMs and cruise ships, that as we march up Oxford Street we don't forget to show solidarity to those others of us who are being executed in Iran and Jamaica, jailed in Uganda and Russia, or simply buying a cake in America and getting turned away because they don't like our kind.

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