27 April 2012


In 2001 we moved from New South Wales to Victoria after buying a house in Preston, in the Darebin Council area in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

For a few years before moving to Melbourne we had been involved with a group we had been part of since its inception, InterSection, formed after Christine Bird had been commissioned by Sutherland Shire Council to investigate issues dealing with sexual minorities in that Council area.

InterSection led us on to investigations of homophobia in local government councils around New South Wales, and correspondence between our group and many of the councils resulted in some interesting conclusions and outcomes.

Conclusions were that most councils weren't even interesting in responding to enquiries about homophobia and sexual minorities in their areas, and a few councils responded positively and provided information as to how they were dealing with issues of discrimination, abuse, bullying and related issues.

The outcome was that the New South Wales government of the time - during the 1990s - rewrote the mandatory requirements of local governments to include sexual minorities as a special group with other groups such as ethnic minorities, Aboriginal requirements, disability groups and similar minority groups in our society.

When we arrived in Preston in 2001 we discovered that Darebin Council had been involved in a survey relating to ageing and other issues within the Council's area.

We wrote to the Council person who had been the signatory to a report and the feedback we obtained at the time seemed to promise progress that Darebin Council would address the issue of sexual minority problems within the Council area.

Over the years we have made several attempts to urge the Council to address various issues relating to sexual minorities, all to no avail.

For the first time, in 2011, after the Council election process had been changed by the Victorian Electoral Commission, and Darebin residents were able to elect other than the dominant ruling party to the Council, Darebin Council suddenly discovered that there was an annual international event which recognised homophobia around the world and is called IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and is held on 17 May each year.

Darebin Council held its first event in 2011, which involved a seminar and morning tea for people from various groups and residents in the Council area to get together and suggest ways forward to address the many problems confronting the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and HIV (GLTH) members of the community in Darebin.

Some months later Council asked interested groups and individuals to contact Council with a view to setting up a committee to investigate and deal with issues in the GLTH communities.

In 2012 Darebin Council is holding a follow-up IDAHO to recognise the day and is having various events for the day.

Now it is possible to give Darebin Council some credit for acting at last on homophobia and related problems, but we, as InterSection and as Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, have been using whatever means were at our disposal to get some movement on these issues tears ago, to no avail.

We set up web pages to document progress - or otherwise - and what we see now is that Darebin Council, in keeping with so many other organisations, is re-inventing the wheel.

Our web pages are at InterSection, but the Darebin-specific pages commence at InterSection Part 4 and succeeding parts of the InterSection web pages.

Two issues with which we have been heavily involved in recent years relate to GLTH ageing and GLTH listings in Darebin libraries for young people discovering their sexuality and for older people who may still be living in the closet for fear of the consequences of being known to the public as "dykes", "poofters", "trannies" and other terms unacceptable to many people.

It is by now well known how the federal government outed people with changes to legislation on 1 July 2009 when many people were exposed after lifetimes of abuse from the community at large and over which the federal government ignored requests from us to grandfather certain of the clauses which were seen to be most harmful to us all. The homophobic members of the federal parliament - most of them, it seems - including the member for Batman, which covers most of the Darebin Council area, ignored our requests, but managed to grandfather other clauses of dramatic natures which they were busy introducing - increasing the ages before people would be able to receive pensions!

We are yet to see who the members of this committee are and what their connections are to the GLTH members of the community.

We are hoping it won't be another case of the farcical Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) inquiry into homophobia, discrimination, bullying and other GLTH issues faced by Jewish members of the community. JCCV received 5 submissions and the members of the committee were demanding secrecy of their identities which were only revealed on publication of the report. Since that date, all trace of any progress for the Jewish GLTH members of the community have vanished altogether.

20 April 2012


Anyone, but anyone who writes criticising Israel is either anti-semitic or a left-wing Jew who doesn't understand the "Jewish" state of Israel and who doesn't "understand that the Palestinians want to annihilate the Israeli Jews and occupy the whole of Palestine - their own version of a one-state solution."

The apartheid state of Israel is still called a democracy by people who publish drivel in articles in The Age newspaper, but somehow they see themselves as living in the comfort of the Australian apartheid state while saying that Israel suffers from attacks by Palestinian rockets and Ahmedinadjad wanting to annihilate the whole of Israel and wipe it off the map.

Realists have understood for some time that a two-state solution is long past considering because right-wing reactionary religious bigots who control the Israeli government and who enforce more and more religious fanatics - mostly from the USA - coming to Israel and having illegal settlements built for them in the Occupied West Bank - now occupy so much that there is no longer room for a Palestinian state.

Gunter Grass has committed the unspeakable crime of writing a poem critical of Israel and then expecting to be given a visa to enter Israel on a visit. He is now the biggest anti-semite in the world coming from his Nazi past and daring to make utterances critical of that poor, pathetic, defenceless country whose crimes against the people whose country they occupy is unspeakably brutal.

At least in apartheid South Africa there were no high concrete "Berlin Walls" enclosing the Bantustans. The fact that they entrenched apartheid - "separate but equal" - according to Dr Verwoerd and the rest of the gang - was another issue illustrating human rights abuses of the worst kind, but of course it is not like that in Israel and the occupied territories and Gaza.

I am not sure why newspapers such as The Age allow such bigoted rubbish to fill their pages but I suppose they are trying to bolster sales at a time of newspaper crises and if anything helps it is worth trying.

However those whose minds closed with the Holocaust indelibly imprinted on their minds to the exclusion of anything else 70 years after the worst genocide of the 20th century quietly forget about all the other genocides such as Stalin and his purges during which the numbers of Jews who were killed rivals the numbers Hitler managed to annihilate, but were lost in the other murders that regime was guilty of. Also the Turkish, Cambodian and the more recent genocides in the dismantled states of Yugoslavia are pushed into the background because only the Jewish Holocaust must be remembered at all costs because the Jews have been persecuted since the dawn of Christianity.

Oh, and don't forget that abomination known as Boycott, Divestment ans Sanctions (BDS) - and that poor stricken chocolate shop chain in Australia!

But we still live in countries run by so-called Christians and don't flee to Israel. Strange, isn't it???

19 April 2012


The results of the 2010 federal election were illuminating in many ways, not least of which was the fact that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was losing support and popularity, the Coalition was not faring much better, and the Greens were the party that gained most in the election.

The Labor Party was only able to form government after it reached agreements with some independents and the Greens, who, for the first time, gained a seat in the lower house and gained the balance of power in the upper house, the Senate.

What this is leading up to is the fact that Batman, a long-time Labor-held seat in the northern suburbs of Melbourne had always had the biggest margin of any Labor seat in Australia. This all changed in the 2010 election when the Greens substantially reduced that margin and showed that with some more resources and some greater pressure, Martin Ferguson's stronghold could be at the end of its road.

Ferguson was for some years involved with the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) in New South Wales, after which he became the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). He left that to become the Labor federal member for Batman, a seat he has now held for many years.

To digress briefly, in 2011 the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) suddenly decided that there were some Jewish people who were gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV (GLTH) members of the Victorian communities, and decided to ask for submissions from them as to what they required of the JCCV to assist them as Jews who might be suffering from discrimination and other forms of abuse from the Jewish communities in Victoria.

The result of their request for submissions, to be assessed by a sub-committee in the JCCV (who were supposedly chosen for their connections to, and experience with, GLTH members of the Jewish communities in Victoria), was that they received a total of five submissions and this sub-committee then issued a report, at last naming members of this sub-committee which had demanded secrecy because they feared intimidation from GLTH people!!!!!

Back to Martin Ferguson, who, at the request of members of the ALP and Greens, was supposed to do a survey of his constituents to find out what their attitude to same-sex marriage was, and then to report back to parliament.

Now anybody can skew results to suit their agendas and Ferguson appears to have done just that.

A report issued during the week of 18 April 2012 which may or may not be a media release from Ferguson's office stated that Batman had bucked the trend by opposing changes to the Marriage Act.

Now here is the nitty gritty of the statement: Ferguson is not releasing the number of respondents or percentage breakdown of his survey.

Batman has a large GLTH community and those of us who live in this federal seat of Batman have by and large generally not encountered hostility, homophobia, unpleasantness or other manifestations of opposition.

We challenge Ferguson to produce the results of his survey and to show how much of the opposition he is quoted as talking about comes from religious groups opposed to homosexuality, not to mention same-sex marriages.

Ferguson's position on many issues is open to question, such as his support for nuclear energy, for uranium export, for brown coal export, and his own stand on same-sex relationships is an indication of his general conservatism on many issues.

Hopefully at the next election, Ferguson will no longer represent the voters of Batman and we will have someone in the federal parliament who is actually a political progressive.

Just don't hold your breath!!

15 April 2012


This interesting article from the online daily email "care2" should be read, and followed up by the letter below it from Peter Stokes of SaltShakers fame. The article says what many of us have said for many years, and at last a little research - hopefully the beginning of a much larger one - says it like it should be said:

Study: Homophobia Masks Gay Feelings

by Steve Williams
• April 10, 2012

A new study indicates that those who are homophobic may secretly harbor self-hatred over their own same-sex desires.

Reports Science Daily:

“Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author.
“In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” adds co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research.

The research report, issued by researchers from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, suggests that repressed same-sex desires due to negative reinforcement through authoritarian parenting are prominent factors in developing intense feelings of loathing and even hatred of gay people which may in later life lead to hostility towards those who are gay or perceived to be gay.

The paper drew evidence from four separate experiments conducted in the United States and in Germany. Each study involved an average of 160 college students and provided empirical evidence that corroborates longstanding psychoanalytic theories that intense negative feelings toward gay and lesbian people can stem from repressed same-sex desires.

In order to investigate the difference between how participants identified and what their implicit sexual attractions were, researchers carried out a number of experiments. In one such investigation, researchers charted the differences between respondents’ self-identifying statements and how they reacted during a split-second timed task where they were shown words and pictures and asked to label them as “gay” or “straight” while a computer tracked their response times. A faster association of “me” and “gay” and a slower association of “me” and “straight” indicated implicit homosexuality.

Researchers also used a series of questionnaires to assess whether respondents had a controlling upbringing. For example they were asked whether during their childhood they felt free to express their individuality or whether they felt pressured to conform. They were also asked questions relating to homophobia in the household, assessing whether respondents agreed with statements like “My dad avoids gay men whenever possible.”

Researchers then sort to gauge participants’ own levels of homophobia, again both explicit and implicit. Researchers used another series of questionnaires and a second round of quick-fire associations designed to track the amount of aggressive responses the word “gay” elicited when applied to themselves and to others.

The trials revealed a clear pattern: where participants had supportive and accepting parents they were more likely to be in touch with their implicit sexual orientation. However, when participants came from strict anti-gay homes they were less likely to be aware of their implicit sexual orientation. Additionally, participants who identified as being more heterosexual than their implicit scores were more likely to be hostile to gay people. This discrepancy between self-identification and unconscious responses predicted a variety of homophobic behaviors including hostility toward gay people, endorsement of anti-gay politics, and discriminatory bias.

There were of course limitations to these findings given that all participants were college-age students. Researchers now want to test whether these results are similar in other age groups and whether attitudes may change overtime.
In their report the study’s authors also suggest this pattern may be the reason why prominent anti-gay figures have later been caught engaging in or having engaged in same-sex sexual activities, citing examples such as evangelical preacher Ted Haggard who vocally opposed gay marriage (and still does) but found himself the center of scandal in 2006.

The study’s authors caution that while we may find this hypocrisy amusing, homophobia stemming from self-hatred may also at least partly contribute to cases like the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard.

Here is a letter from Peter Stokes - of Salt Shakers fame, although it doesn't say so in his letter in The Age newspaper on Sunday 15 April 2012.

After his letter I have written my version of how his letter could have been written from a gay or lesbian perspective.

To say that Stokes's letter is crass and unacceptable is to be kind to it. As ever. he is comparing homosexuality with paedophilia and theft. This man has no shame, no understanding of the harm he causes, no intelligent approach to his diatribe.

He should take a look at our web pages on homophobia to read how the cristian ministries in the USA and Australia have been discredited with research and studies proving their mumbo jumbo to be just that - unsubstantiated rubbish with no reality in the real world in which they live.

First the Stokes letter:

Right to try

MICHAEL Lallo suggests that ''ministries are preying on gay shame'', based on the feeling of people who have tried to change [their homosexual tendencies] and failed.
Does the same premise stand for those who have tried to give up alcohol or illegal drugs and failed, for the thief who wants to reform or the paedophile? Are they damaged by those who try to help but fail?

What about the ones who succeed? Is it wrong to try to help someone out of their ''shame'' of an addiction? Of course not, because the people who seek help know that what they are doing is wrong. Guess what? So do those homosexuals who try to leave their sexual addiction behind. Some do, some don't, but they all deserve the right to try.


My take on the above letter - rewritten to show the absurdity of the religious right

Right to try?

MICHEL Pallo suggests that ''gay and lesbian groups are preying on christian shame'', based on the feeling of people who have tried to change [their christian tendencies] and failed.

Does the same premise stand for those who have tried to give up homophobia or gay-bashing and failed, for the protestant who wants to reform or the Catholic? Are they damaged by those who try to help but fail?

What about the ones who succeed? Is it wrong to try to help someone out of their ''shame'' of an addiction? Of course not, because the people who seek help know that what they are doing is wrong. Guess what? So do those christians who try to leave their god-addiction behind. Some do, some don't, but they all deserve the right to try.



This article was received from LGBTQNation by email:

Russia rejects G8 statement affirming rights, freedoms of LGBT individuals

Posted: 13 Apr 2012

WASHINGTON — Russia is openly distancing itself from language included in a joint statement released by the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting Chairman on Thursday that supported the rights and freedoms of LGBT individuals.

Following a meeting in Washington, the statement of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting Chair read, in part:

“The ministers reaffirmed that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all individuals, male and female, including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.

“These individuals often face death, violence, harassment and discrimination because of their sexual orientation in many countries around the world.”

A footnote indicated that the Russian Federation “disassociates itself from this language,” with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov saying Friday that “under the pretext of protecting the so-called sexual minorities, in effect there’s aggressive propaganda and the imposition of certain behavior and values that may insult the majority of the society.”

Ryabkov added that the international law has no separate norms for the protection of people according to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Russian lawmakers in the National Duma (Parliament) are considering a bill that would impose fines for spreading gay “propaganda” among minors, a measure that is similar to legislation adopted in February in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.

That law bans “homosexual propaganda” directed at minors, with fines of up to $17,000 for offenders.

Two people have already been prosecuted for displaying a sign reading “being gay is normal” near a youth club. The city’s lawmakers are pushing to have the law enacted in the whole country. Three other Russian regions have also enacted similar laws.

The Duma has four times rejected drafts banning “homosexual propaganda,” saying that homosexuality is not a criminal offense, unlike in the former Soviet Union, and therefore promoting it isn’t illegal.

However, according to a recent poll by the Levada Center, 74-percent of Russians consider homosexuality an amoral mental deviation, and less than half of those polled think that LGBTQ people should have equal rights.

The G8 (or, Group of Eight) is a forum for the governments of eight of the world’s largest economies, and includes the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Russia.

14 April 2012


Not surprisingly, the Federal Government is using its usual spin to force the elderly and often impoverished and ailing pensioners to sell their homes to fund aged care which ought to be the government's responsibility.

However their main concern is to show that we don't live in a welfare state and the elderly must understand their responsibility to payment for their care in their own homes or in aged care facilities for which they will need to sell their residences in order to afford the "privilege and luxury" of modern-day aged care.

The over-60s are the fasted growing demographic in the country and the baby-boomers must not expect the state to cushion their old age.

This letter says it all:

Letter in The Age 9 APRIL 2012:

Truth of the big sell

I WISH to contradict a Council on the Ageing report that, at 31 meetings held by Minister for Ageing Mark Butler around Australia, ''usually one or two people … expressed concern at having to sell their principal residence (to meet nursing home bonds), but this concern was not generally picked up and supported by the majority of the audience'' (The Saturday Age, 6-7/4).

I attended several meetings. I, and others, were applauded when we expressed opposition to selling homes for any care. I asked Mr Butler whether he knew of any other health area in the world where mortgaging or selling the home was a prerequisite for receiving care. He did not.

Currently many people have to sell their homes to pay an accommodation bond for low-level care. The Howard government tried to introduce bonds for high-level care, but was unsuccessful because of public opposition. There will be disappointment and anger if the Labor government introduces such legislation.

Shirley Bains, Blaxland, NSW


These posters have been displayed in the USA and they should be displayed internationally to demonstrate the US government's torture of one of its own citizens who was in the US army and who exposed the corruption of the government and the military.

01 April 2012


This was received from Nation Of Change who are trying to raise money to pay for a billboard exposing more of Monsanto's excesses to the world.

Here is the video


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm