Gay candidates running in the NSW election will run the political gamut from the conventional to the decidedly edgy.
The Star Observer spoke with the ALP candidate for Sydney, Sacha Blumen, at GetUp!’s marriage equality TV commercial launch last week. Blumen, who moved to Sydney from Brisbane with his partner in 2000, said he was a proud member of Rainbow Labor and would work within the party for marriage equality.
At a state level he supported ending exemptions from anti-discrimination laws that allow businesses owned by religious groups to refuse to hire, fire, and refuse services to GLBT people.
“There shouldn’t be discrimination in terms of employment or education on the basis of sexuality, on relationship status, gender, transgender status — and that should be for private schools and religious schools that receive public funding,” Blumen said.
However, his campaign would focus on local needs.
“This election is all about the best MP for the area,” he said, “I’m putting myself forward to act on local issues and for the local people.”
Blumen suggested violence around licensed premises, traffic congestion and public transport as major concerns.
“We need very strong enforcement of the liquor laws as they currently are around responsible service of alcohol,” he said.
“We need councils, the police and premises owners to work cooperatively to come up with targeted measures for each area that can improve safety and reduce the impact on local amenity.”
On the edgier end of the spectrum sits Sydney postman Stuart Baanstra, who is running for the Legislative Council.
An out and proud gay nudist, he said he was campaigning for “the right to be nude anywhere at any time”.
“I don’t believe nudity is offensive, and just as nudists are quite prepared to be naked in front of other nudists, I think people who are clothed should accept that — though I’d never say that people who are clothed should have to be nude themselves.”
Baanstra rejected suggestions that wanting to live nude in public might have more to do with being seen to be nude than being nude itself.
“That suggests that there’s something wrong with nudity and I don’t think there is,” he said. “It’s not a question of being an exhibitionist — it’s simply being yourself.”
Baanstra agreed hygiene could be an issue on public transport but thought creative solutions could be found.
“There could be a paper-towel dispenser on the bus — you take a towel out, put it on the seat, and when you get off there’s a bin to dispose of it.”
Baanstra conceded that his ideas were not mainstream among nudists and expected the GLBT community to be divided on the issue.
Pictured: Labor candidate Sacha Blumen