UNACCEPTABLE

The latest example of the NSW Government granting ‘faith-based’ organisations (this time schools) an exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) may be alarming, but it is not surprising. They did the same thing recently with same-sex adoption.

This time, religious schools are free to expel children or sack staff who claim they are GLBTG and won’t be silenced. Quite simply, it’s outrageous.

What is the point of anti-discrimination laws if government freely grants exemptions to pressure groups? Does the notion of a separation between church and state still apply in this country?

From the Whitlam Government’s decision in the 1970s to fund faith-based schools (largely Catholic) through to the Howard Government’s handing over funding for employment and social welfare services to religious-based agencies, the churches, synagogues and mosques have benefitted from taxpayers’ dollars (though they themselves are tax-exempt enterprises).

Faith-based organisations that receive tax dollars should be subject to the full gamut of state and Commonwealth laws just as secular organisations are.

In any circumstance, faith-based organisations should not be free to spy on staff and clients (including children); to harass, humiliate and sack them because of perceived moral differences. The fact that our governments are funding them to do this is totally unacceptable.

Apart from writing to your local members of Parliament, a simple thing we can all do at the next census is to not indicate any religious affiliation we might still hold, spiritual or cultural. Leave the boxes empty.

Religious organisations use census statistics to pressure gutless politicians like the current and soon to be ex-Attorney General, John Hatzistergos.

— Stephen

TICKED OFF

It is with dismay that I note that Queer Screen has chosen to give the film Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives a screening.

The film attracted criticism from the trans community. It was condemned for its virulent anti-transgender narrative and imagery by the premier American LGBT media watchdog, GLAAD.

Queer Screen should pause long and hard before screening this film. The fact that a film has been fingered by GLAAD should be enough to question the value of its inclusion.

Here is a snippet from a review by Kate Bornstein.

“Beat the crap out of trans women for what seems like more than 80 minutes of film. Use lots of blood and bits of flesh and hair sticking to a baseball bat and make us wonder… Did you mean that as camp? So, by director’s choice, we’ve got these trans women as helpless bimbos…

“The incompetent defenseless trannies finally try to exact revenge — in the last 10 minutes of the movie. But now, [director Israel] Luna inexplicably switches styles: The attack scenes are now all about camp. Luna makes it clear that none of the men are afraid of their attackers…. Every time a trans woman hits one of her attackers, he somehow survives a death blow and comes back at her.”

She also exposes the film’s inherent racism and misogyny.

But, I’m sure I’m overreacting. It’s all about humour and edgy schlock violence. I totally get that. How about this for a schlock retro-feel ‘exploitation’ epic:

Working title: ‘F*cked–off f*gs fight club’ .

Synopsis: Some fem gay boys are bashed senseless, some die, the survivors team up with a fight club of leather men and bears who, along with trimming up a few chubbies, send them out for revenge.

Queer Screen — would you screen that?

— Rosslyn

TOO MUCH POWER

With the subject of gay marriage being again brought to the fore with politicians and interested parties I cannot foresee a change in the attitudes of mainstream churches without a change in the law and an overhaul of the Marriage Act.

Churches in Australia hold too much political power and know they can mould political thinking in decision-making by our respective governments.

Under the Marriage Act in Australia, church clergy have the power to legally marry people, providing the marriage is between a man and a woman, without a civil ceremony.

If the Australian government is serious in granting gay couples rights equal to heterosexual people, common sense tells us they have to overhaul the Marriage Act to the extent of taking some power away from the churches and giving the legal power back to the government.

It is beyond my belief that a gay couple would insist on a church ceremony when the mainline churches regard gay people with so much disregard and discrimination.

Should the law change, which I doubt as the churches do not want to lose their power and influence, I suggest that gay couples seek a church service with a gay-friendly church such as Metropolitan Community Churches.

— Ron

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