Welcome to Equal Love Armidale

All people are equal and are treated equally right? Well not yet.

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Intersex Australians are not given a fair go.

But we can change that.

Armidale is on the move. It’s one of the EVO cities being marketed to the nation as an alternative to the big overcrowded and over-expensive cities. Our MP is an Independant in the balance of power. It’s the perfect place to raise these issues. Join us in working for a fair go, for safety, for equality in the growing Armidale region.

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NSW school safety program at risk before it even starts?

This article expresses fears that the proposed trial antihomophobia school program may never get off the ground unless it garners support from all parties.

Liberals, Nationals etc, if you don’t support such a policy (unless you have a genuinely better one! Better being measured by it’s consequences not expedience) the consequence would be becoming responsible for the consequences of the bullying of same sex attracted and gender questioning youth. Read the Writing Themselves In 3 study and ask yourself, now that you get to make a decision on it and become responsible for the consequences of that decision what will you be, a protector of the lives of bullied children or a protector of the bullying and therefore harmer of those children’s lives!

And if you are aLiberal or Nationals voter and/or have one as your representative please do write to them and discuss the issue with them.

Lets save the kids from bigotry-based bullying and the lifelong harm it can cause.

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Sexism, the source of Homophobia, Transphobia etc?

This is i think a post with a really excellent point, and one that deserves much discussion everywhere. Please do yourself the favour of reading it. Bye Bye Oppression Olympics

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Attack on Transgender woman in Albury Wodonga

What details there are in this are quite shocking so those who may find that distressing should be warned.

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Trial program against homophobia in NSW schools!

It’s a great step. And i hope the trial is successful and rolled out accross all schools which receive government funding.

However when i was at the NSW Parliamentary Forum on homohobia in schools it was made clear that Transgender and Intersex kids suffer worse than same-sex attracted kids.

So i hope that this measure is properly taking that into account!

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The Coercive Steralisation of Transgender people In Australia

Some of you may have heard about this ongoing case of legal battles by a couple of Transsexual men trying to get their rights recognised

And there’s more on it here and even more detail and discussion of the cases impact here where it’s pointed out that the last court finding requires them to travel overseas and get an operation not available in Australia costing in the range of $100,000!

Note that this directly relates to the peoples right to reproduce. While in parts of Australia IVF and Surrogacy are avalable to Gay Lesbian and Bisexual people in much of Australia you must be steralised if your are Transgender or you face discrimination by the government!

Australian Governments forcing people to be steralised? Yep.

And with the discovery by Australian scientists of the Transsexual Gene http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7689007.stm that means this coercive policy ends up being in practice a Eugenics policy. An idea a lot of people won’t want to accept but thats the right word for it.

Forced Sterilisation and Eugenics policies are things we equate with nazi germany (who sent transgender people and gay people to the death camps) sure, but this is happening right now in Australia. And not just in WA either!

Amongst the many things you can do if you want to do something about this issue is to donate to the fund fighting this in court in WA

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Attorneys General look into major gender reforms

In what could be a major victory for many Intersex and Transgender people with bi-gender or genderless identities it’s entirely possible people may be one day soon able to have their ‘sex status’ on documents changed to Unspecified if the Attorneys General working group comes up with the goods and they have the simple decency to go through with it. Article on this with great comments by Gina Wilson of OII here.

 

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So far no word from Armidale’s Faith Groups on Violence and Bullying of GLBTI people and Kids

Of course the Christmas post is slow so replies by mail to the letter sent to them in the mail may not arrive for some time yet.

However of all the emails sent several bounced back because the addresses appear no longer in use and there was one automated response because the University Uniting Church Chaplaincy is currently unstaffed.

Still a lot of emails were sent. And so far no-one has replied. Why is that? Did we ask them to support Gay Marriage? No. (and we note that the Catholic Church is actually campaigning against Marriage for Intersex Transgender Bisexual Lesbian and Gay people!) Did we ask them to support federal antidiscrimination legislation? No. Did we ask them to support Equal Rights? No.

We asked nothing even so simple and easy as that. No we asked them to do something so simple, something without any conflict or even hint of such with the tenants of faith of any religions to our knowledge, something so totally basic that every decent person should have been able to do.

We asked them to say that bullying, harassing and committing violence against people and especially young people because they are ITBLG is wrong. We pointed out to them there is rising bullying of this group in schools. We asked the to speak out against it. We pointed out to them that this bullying and violence leads to high risk of youth suicide. We asked them to speak out against it for the sake of those kids lives.

We made sure that they could do this without fear of supporting equality or marriage getting in the way. So far we have heard nothing.

I hope the reply is in the mail. I hope they have already spoken against this in their sermons or planned to mention it in their Christmas Mass.

Because the alternative is too horrible to think about. The alternative would be that they support the bashing of ITBLG people, the bullying of ITBLG kids. Despite the calls against violence and for tolerance in their own religious texts. Despite some of these having responsibility for the safety of children and being in charge of schools where much of this violence takes place. Can they really want or be willing to let kids kill themselves from bullying for being ITBLG? Can they really be ok with their parishioners shouting out abuse at people in the street or physically attacking them?

Surely not? Surely the response is still coming?

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An Open Letter to Armidale’s Churches and Religious Congregations

It’s Christmas season, as well as an important time for several other faiths. A time for peace and goodwill to all. So Equal Love Armidale is calling upon the religious faiths and groups of Armidale to address the growing rate of bullying of Same-Sex-Attracted, Gender-Questioning, Intersex, Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay youth at schools and the harassment and violence suffered by people in the community. In order to do this today was posted letters to every mail address we could find for faith groups and leaders in the community. Emails have just been sent out to everyone we found the email address of too. And a press-release sent to radio and newspapers. We hope that they all respond, for it’s not much that is being asked of them, and it’s something very Ethical, very Moral. Read the open letter for yourself, and feel free to pass it on to others.

A call to Armidale’s Churches and Religious Congregations

As we approach Christmas and the end of the school year it’s supposed to be a season of peace, of goodwill to all people, of compassion and giving and reflecting on spiritual virtues. And yet many of us live in a climate of fear all year round, many will be keeping secrets from their families for fear of losing them forever, many schoolchildren over the holidays will be dreading returning to school next year.

Because of bullying and violence faced by those who are or who are perceived to be same-sex attracted, gender questioning, gay lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or Intersex. As evidenced for example in the LaTrobe University Writing Themselves In studies which has found that this bullying and harassment is increasing. The most recent of the series of studies may be downloaded from this address http://www.glhv.org.au/node/657

While religious views on these matters vary from denomination to denomination and with which translation or interpretation of the bible or other faiths holy texts they use I am sure that none of the faiths present in Armidale supports the bullying of children and acts of violence towards people because of their sexuality gender identity or expression which lead so many to attempt suicide.

So the group Equal Love Armidale is calling upon all the Churches and other faith groups of the region to publicly openly specifically condemn the acts of violence harassment and bigotry against GLBTI people, that occur in such high rates, as well as speaking out against all other such violence and harassment in this season.

We do not expect these churches to go against their doctrines on this subject or to support equal rights. We simply ask them to speak out to the community and to their own congregations against the violence, the bullying, the harassment of people who are different.

We ask them to remember the many calls to tolerance of those who are different in the holy texts of the world such as those in the bible like ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, ‘Love thy neighbour as you love yourself’, ‘Vex not a stranger nor oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’, ‘Judge not lest ye yourself be judged’ and the many others.

In this season of goodwill and peace it should be very little to ask that a stand is taken especially against the rising tide of such harmful damaging bullying in schools no matter the doctrine or dogma on the subject and I am sure that every person of decency and faith would agree.

Bayne MacGregor
On behalf of Equal Love Armidale

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The lies about being Gay being worse than smoking

Many people will have read the letter in yesterdays local paper that claimed that numbers from Denmark show that Gays who get married die 20 years before heterosexuals who get married and that this makes being gay worse for your health than smoking.

The claims are rubbish.

They are based on discredited ‘research’ by a discredited ‘researcher’ expelled from the American Psychological Association years ago. An unscientific study that twists figures into pretzels in order to make such a claim. The fact that most Gays in Denmark who got married were young (and most are still quite alive) and therefore the only ones so far who have died had to have died young because those who will die old haven’t got old yet is ignored so they can make the false lying claim that being gay leads to an early death.

Rubbish claims like this are part of why so many ITBLG kids despair for their future. Claims such as this are part of the epidemic of attempted suicide. So tell everyone you know that those are lies. And here’s a link that gives all the details about the false claims.

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Our first Rally

Our first rally was held on Saturday. Despite a number of hurdles and all of us involved having no experience in organising public events we still managed to get there on time, with a sound system (though cameras it seems got forgotten, drat) right in the public heart of the city.

The turnout was small. There were of course some we know intended to attend but who couldn’t get away from work or family commitments etc and of course the whole cities population is smaller when University is out but more than anything the low turnout both of people we know from the GLBTI population and from those we know who are supportive of the aims of the rally suggests how intimidated people are by the climate of Homophobia, Transphobia and Intersexphobia that is allowed to flourish when it goes unoppossed in the community.

But there were still some ready to let the people of Armidale see that they object to the great cost to the community and the great damage done to peoples lives by homophobic violence, school bullying and the impact on youth suicide and other social problems.

And from our good position the words those of us on stage spoke reached many passers by and patrons of nearby stores and the courthouse cafe.

And we even were assisted in the point Kaleb was making about the harassment our community faces for actual or perceived sexuality and/or gender identity when one passer by shouted out “then go away you Poofta”. A perfect illustration of the problem we were talking about.

The rally had one journalist from the local paper the Independant covering it so it will be interesting to see how they cover it.

In making the first step of raising local public awareness of this heavily silenced, heavily oppressed part of the community and the injustice we face the rally was a success. And from it we can and will build further.

Thanks to everyone involved in organising, speaking at and supporting the rally and particularly those brave enough to attend.

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