Pride: The Sequel

“Two, four, six, eight! Ditch the razors! Give us cake!”

If you were standing in the right parts of Fitzroy St last Sunday, you would have heard this chant coming from a group of big hairy homosexuals waving Bear pride flags while walking down the middle of the street.

Last year I wrote about the Pride Parade in Auckland, and I can still vividly recall that I have never felt so embarrassed to be a gay man while I was watching that parade, or at least not since my mother told me (and she was being supportive) that “there’s nothing wrong with being gay, it’s like a disease.”

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Stigma

Here in Melbourne we’re in the middle of the Midsumma Festival, the yearly celebration of sexual and gender minorities that starts with Carnival in mid-January, and ends with Pride March at the beginning of February.  In the ensuing weeks, there are well over a hundred different events going on, and no matter where you fit in the alphabet soup of the non-straight, you would be hard pressed not to find at least something that you were interested in.

A couple of weeks ago I toddled over to Richmond (on the other side the Westgate Bridge, which apparently gays don’t like crossing. Maybe I just live on the wrong side of the river) to see a new play called STATUS. STATUS is a series of vignettes from and about people living with HIV, highlighting the stigma associated with this condition, and how it impacts on people’s lives.

So apart from the series of very human and often harrowing stories that were told, it got me thinking about what exactly we mean by stigma?

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Life As a Political Football

A couple of weeks ago, the government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passed the first legislation in Australia to legalise marriage between two people, irrespective of their gender.

Or at least that’s almost what happened. The legislation only extended marriage to two men or two women (in addition to heterosexual couples.) Unfortunately the intersex population were, well, left out in the cold.

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My cat is a Maori lesbian electrician

My cat is a Maori lesbian electrician.

Her favourite greeting is to hongi, she loves playing with wires, and she has a thing for closets (or sometimes the pot cupboard, but that’s a whole other story.)

To be absolutely clear, I’m not implying that lesbians prefer to be in the closet, but since last Friday was National Coming Out Day it got me thinking about what it means to be “out” or “in the closet”.

If you believe the popular gay media, coming out is all about making a big announcement to the world (or at least some small part of the world) that you’re a homosexual and everyone tells you how brave you are and everything is just fabulous.

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