Tuesday, February 1, 2011

David Kato, Brenda Namigadde, Elton John and the guy at the petrol station

This has pissed me off, made me sad and got me thinking! It brought me out of my inner-city bubble and made me think about those living a very different life to mine.

Quite by accident I came across two brilliant bloggers yesterday, both who were writing about homophobia. They come with very different stories but the message is still the same. The first is from Gay Fourth And Multiply who recaps the incredibly tragic story of David Kato from Uganda who was beaten to death with a hammer last week. Because he was gay! An excerpt…
David Kato

Can you imagine? If Sydney newspapers did this we’d strip the world of trees.

Ugandan newspaper
Gay Fourth And Multiply also tells the story of Brenda Namigadde who fled Uganda for fear of prosecution. While this degree of homophobia seems a problem far removed from our Western society, homophobia takes many shapes and forms. As GFAM points out, lets not forget the newsagent in Arkansas who felt he had to hide the Elton John magazine cover which featured a picture of him with his partner and child. God-forbid gays can love too.
Fimly shield my arse!
Which brings me to my next blogger and much closer to home. Cate Swannell tells the story of the obvious ignorance and homophobia of the guy in front of her in line at a petrol station. And this is on the Gold Coast! It’s a funny story, but her message isn’t. She confronts the ignorant bastard brilliantly, then, in her words… You’d think i’d rubbed an ice-cold dildo between his arsecheeks he moved that fast.”

We need to hear stories like this! The reason is that so many of us can go about life in our inner-city bubble – myself included – and lose sight of the homophobia that exists around us. I’ve always been very lucky and homophobia has rarely touched my life, compared to David Kato I have not a care in the world. I am incredibly grateful for that. I also think that is one of the reason’s why his story hurts so much, I live a life he could have only dreamed of.

But like I said, homophobia takes many forms, some of them incredibly subtle. We need to be alert and aware and pull people up on it whenever we get the chance. Just like Cate did. As lucky as we are in Australia we still have a ways to go. From my perspective, the most frustrating hurdle we are yet to overcome is marriage equality, the greatest legalised homophobia left in Australia. So while compared to David and Brenda’s issues it may fade in significance, it is still homophobia. And we all need to speak up about it. 

Especially to our politicians and the ugly bogans at the petrol station.

If you were like me and didn't really listen to the news on David Kato last week then catch up here...

For more information on gay activism...

Brilliant gay-acceptance projects...


Jo said...

Your finest yet, Murphy Magic.

toushka said...

I so agree about pulling people up on it when we get the chance. So often I just ignore family members and grumble under my breath when they say something hideously homophobic or racist in the guise of a "joke". I need to tell them it's not acceptable - especially around my kids. I am raising them to be better than that.

Scott (@Gaytriarch) said...

Your post has me thinking, perhaps we try to put on our blinders and pretend that homophobia almost doesn't exist - our inner-city bubbles - to avoid the pain and trauma of homophobia. But we can't do that! If we want to make any progress, our eyes, ears and MOUTHS must be open and not closed.

I agree on marriage equality in Australia being our next big hurdle. Been with my partner for 12 years and would love to MARRY him. It's interesting to note that same-sex overseas partners of Australian citizens do have rights to migrate to this country on grounds of their relationship. That is how I migrated to Australia from the USA and I'm so grateful for it, because the US has no such laws.

Well researched post, well done! An inspiration.

Veggie Mama said...

I'm the first person to say something, no matter how uncomfortable it makes the social situation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. Nor should any homosexual term be used in a derogatory way. Bec from Gay Fourth and Multiply is one of my best friends, she writes beautifully.

SawHole said...

I agree and will from now on use arse clown whenever someone pisses me off, as your Gold Coast friend did.
It's the same with mental illness. I had a colleague tell me how her husband was walking late at night because he could not sleep. The walk was near the local psych hospital and she was worried about the 'loons'. I explained that most people would be medicated or sedated there but she did not seem to take it in. Quite a glazed look came over her. Little did she know that her new regional manager was one of those 'loons'. Fully medicated and only a risk to bigots.
Arse clowns.

So Now What? said...

Great Post. Unfortunately ignorant and stupid people are everywhere. I live up the road from Cate and my only wish is that I had been behind her in line when that all went down. :)

Bec said...

awesome piece! and i'm not just saying that to thank you for the kind words and link. meant to say thanks for my blog follow also - congratulations on being number 50! your prize is in the mail*!
good on you for adding your marvellous words to the chorus of logic.

*not really.

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