Indigenous advocate hands back human rights award after Mundine’s homophobic rant

Indigenous advocate hands back human rights award after Mundine’s homophobic rant
Image: Dameyon Bonson and Anthony Mundine.

The founder of Black Rainbow, a support organisation for Indigenous members of the LGBTI community, has distanced himself from an accolade he received in light of recent comments made by boxer Anthony Mundine.

Two years ago Dameyon Bonson was given the annual Dr Yunupingu award for human rights, an award that forms part of the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.

The other two awards delivered as part of the event include the Eddie Mabo award for social justice and the Anthony Mundine award for courage.

However, after a string of homophobic comments made by Mundine in recent weeks, Bonson has decided to hand his award back.

“The people that run the awards are pretty much standing by and not doing anything about it, so I’ve effectively handed back my award,” he said.

“It’s difficult for me to be associated with it while they still show support for Mundine through his award category.

“I can’t support someone so unapologetically homophobic.”

Mundine, who was recently on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, said that the death penalty might be a good deterrent for gay men.

“If we were to live in a society, just like Aboriginal culture, where homosexuality is forbidden and you do it and the consequences are capital punishment or death, you think you are going to do it?” he asked in a video by the Daily Telegraph.

“Or think twice about doing it?

“That’s the only way to deter the problem.”

He also added that paedophiles should face a similar punishment, and implied that gay rights could be linked to the possible legalisation of paedophilia.

Bonson says comments like these are what lead LGBTI people – both within and outside of the Indigenous community – to take their own lives.

“It affects people across the spectrum too, not just young people,” he said.

“I’m 44 and homophobia still affects us no matter how old you get, it wears you down.

“We can’t always rely on resilience when these things happen.”

When Bonson asked the organisers of the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards whether they would retract their Anthony Mundine courage award, he says they didn’t answer.

“They said they understood my frustrations and concerns, and said that Mundine’s comments were unacceptable,” he said.

“But they didn’t say anything about the award.

“We have to stop supporting individuals who are outwardly homophobic – you can’t be against homophobia but still provide a human rights award in someone like Mundine’s name.

“Indigenous people make up ten per cent of the population, but there’s no policy in place to support Indigenous LGBTI people.”

Bonson will speak at the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) conference in New Zealand in May, and the Queer(y)ing Justice in the Global South conference in Sydney in July.

Convenor of the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards, Shaoquett Moselmane, was contacted for comment.

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8 responses to “Indigenous advocate hands back human rights award after Mundine’s homophobic rant”

  1. Dameyon, as an old, straight white guy, hats off to you for your strength of character. The only way we’ll ever get rid of this type of horrendous and destructive attitude is to call it out and act on it, as you’ve done here. Cheers and best wishes.

  2. Kevin Im not sure about ignoring someone makes an issue lose its prominence. Silence may be an indicator of acceptance of a stance. I side with the stance that idiotic and damaging comments must be addressed and debated. Expose stupidity, and then let the idiot lose public credibility, and then hopefully people will cease to take notice.

  3. I feel we are all missing the point
    Ignore Mundine he is irrelevant if you ignore him
    We should be supporting Bondor his stance and what he has achieved and continues to do for his people and his community. This must be celebrated

  4. Dameyon, it is great you have made a stand! Congratulations.

    Isn’t it ironic; the Anthony Mundine courage award!

    It takes more courage to come out and live your life as an LGBTI person than people such as Anthony Mundine will ever have!

    This guy Mundine comes close to inciting violence against LGBTI people. He should join Bernadi’s Conservative party with Lyle. The three of them can piss into the wind together!

  5. Well spoken Dameyon Bonson The challenge now is to ask if those recipients of the Anthony Mundine Award for Courage will also speak out and distance themselves from this man and his outbursts; Waiting to hear from Barbara McGrady., Adam Goodes Lex Wotton Dr Chris Sarra

  6. Before the “christians” came and “civilised” Indigenous People there was no homophobia.
    LGBT people were accepted as part of society without prejudice. This is true for many cultures that were “civilised” in the Pacific and Americas.