WELL DONE, MATT

I want to add my congratulations to Matthew Mitcham for winning a gold medal for diving in Beijing and also for being so nonchalant about his sexual orientation and for spilling his emotions with such grace.

I remember when Thorpe and Co. were doing well a mainstream newspaper criticised the gay media for having a photo of a swimmer on their front cover, as if we were attempting to appropriate or insinuate something about their private life. Now we have a true gold gay pin-up.

But please let’s remember that people fought hard for the right to be spontaneously gay in public -” lots of demonstrations were viciously broken up by a brutal police force in the 1970s before ordinary people decided we were okay.

I’m still not seeing any half-decent history of those times being compiled. The 78ers were not the start of Sydney gay history.

-” Anton, Tempe

PROUD MOMENT

Congratulations to Matthew Mitcham. You have done us all proud.

-” Ron, Surry Hills

POWER PLAY

To Matthew Mitcham (Men’s Diving -” 10m platform) gold medallist, congratulations on your achievement at Beijing 2008. Well done, mate.

You possess the qualities of a true Australian hero, an inspiration to the athletes of the world and, in particular, to the gay community.

As we are all aware, London is still four years away. However, would you consider participation at the Outgames in Copenhagen next year and/or the Gay Games in 2010 in Cologne?

Currently we are training for beach and indoor volleyball to participate, compete and perform our personal best in the above events.

What advice can you give our gay athletes competing in Outgames and/or Cologne?

More power to you and I wish you all the best.

-” Hermie, Sydney

FINE EXAMPLE

On behalf of the member sport and cultural organisations of the in-ternational Federation of Gay Games, we offer our hearty congratulations to Matthew Mitcham for his outstanding accomplishment in winning the 10-metre platform diving event at Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Games.

Matthew’s public story is still only a few months old, but it travelled particularly quickly through the LGBT community and we became instant fans. As we followed this out-and-proud Olympian through the internet, on television and via the print media, it was heartening to see that he was able to refocus after the 3-metre springboard contest and repeat his recent international success in the 10-metre tower event when it counted the most.

Australia’s mainstream media were exemplary in covering Matthew’s coming out and his quest to have his partner join him in Beijing. During Matthew’s competition and subsequent win, the Australian media treated Matthew’s support group on equal footing with those of his Olympic teammates. However, we note that in most of the rest of the world the mainstream media completely ign-ored or buried this groundbreaking story.

For years we have seen journalists ponder what would happen when an athlete came out before competing at the highest levels. There is some irony that, when the occasion finally presented itself, the gay athlete performed and the straight media backed down.

While Matthew represents an atti-tude change among a new generation, the media’s mixed treatment of his unique situation shows there is still much to accomplish. The Federation of Gay Games will continue to do its part, raising mainstream consciousness about these issues in ways that help LGBT athletes of all levels of ability reach their goals.

Matthew has achieved a rare, dream Olympics result. His life will surely change, and we believe the humour, humility and presence of mind he’s shown in the past few weeks demonstrate that he will handle it very well. We welcome him to the LGBT sports community and look forward to applauding him for many years to come.

-” Sion O’Connor and Emy Ritt, co-presidents, Federation of Gay Games

POLICY DIFFERENCE

Labor Party candidate, Sacha Blumen’s, sudden flip to run for council in order to implement policies that work lacks logic and is fundamentally flawed (SSO 932).

He not only misunderstands council’s policy on reducing violence on Oxford St, but fails to provide any meaningful comparison between candidate teams’ policies.

Although the demarcation lines between state and council planning authorities are blurred, he fails the seven-point test.

The Labor Party has trashed Oxford St and Kings Cross by: (1) failing to adequately fund Mardi Gras; (2) declaring Darlinghurst Rd a 24-hour entertainment sector with no community consultation and no clear geographical boundaries; (3) dumping a drug injecting centre, with its own protected act of Parliament, on the High Street whose clients have major drug and alcohol problems, according to its former director, Dr van Beek; (4) rescinding residents’ rights to lodge objections to liquor licences -” residents now have only a limited capacity to make submissions about social impact statements lodged by applicants; (5) failing to insist the liquor board advertise proposed licences, whether for new or transferred licences, to all neighbours; (6) refusing to alter political donation laws to prevent the Australian Hotels Association from donating extraordinarily large sums of money to the Labor Party and filtering it to branches and candidates such as Sacha Blumen and; (7) failing to provide adequate licensing police to prosecute outlets.

The current City of Sydney Council is not wholly responsible for this planning mess with Labor’s Planning Minister Frank Sartor failing to properly plan for the city’s future when he was Lord Mayor.

Even today Blumen refuses to assist in cleaning up his own backyard: when recently asked to assist with a simple plan of management to help bring pubs and clubs into line, he replied, I won’t be involved.

If this is Sacha Blumen’s idea of making policies work, we don’t want it or need it, thank you.

-” Andrew Woodhouse, president, Potts Point & Kings Cross Heritage Conservation Society

GAY REVOLUTION

I have been fighting for a long time on the violation of our gay rights.

AIDS and HIV are having a devastating impact on the community and who we are as gay men. Our lives have become so repressed and oppressed because of it.

Becoming mainstream and inclus-ive is the other issue. How can gay men develop relationships with each other if their lives have been stifled?

There are too many straights in the gay community hanging around gay men. There seem to be more of them than gay men. No wonder gay men want to get married, play happy families and live double lives -” there is nothing else for us.

I have been pushing for single-sex venues for years to no avail. There is no choice here. At least Melbourne now has two. We should never have had to share our social life with the mainstream. It is wrong, immoral and unethical, an invasion of our gay human rights.

I used to hang around the licensed sex on premises venues in London when I lived there and they were great. I had lots of good times, met lots of great guys. There were also many underground clubs to go to, if you had a connection or made one.

At least London is gay and you can be gay, in your face, with no internalised homophobia, like it is here. It is so pathetic here.

We need a new gay revolution.

-” John, Surry Hills

BROAD APPROACH

Re homophobia-free zones (SSO 931 and 932), 10 points to the council. However, they should change this to a sign like the one Manly Council has when you get off the ferry -” RESPECT.

Welcome to Oxford St, Darlinghurst. We ask you to RESPECT others -” no street drinking, no violence, no spitting, no swearing etc. as well as have a good time.

To single out gays alone for a homophobia-free zone will do noth-ing. Oxford St is there for straights as well as gays, whether we like it or not.

Yes, the hoons will not care for signs. However, their friends might and the people around them.

Policing on the beat, signs, equal rights, better laws, more lighting, security cameras, press-button emergency phones and even an advertising campaign in straight venues, movie theatres, television etc. might be worth considering.

One strategy alone will not solve the problem of violence, but many strategies will.

-” Andrew, Merrylands

MCFADDEN GAFFE

I don’t understand why you are willing to dismiss Brian McFadden’s homophobic comment. If this comment was the opinion of John Laws, Alan Jones or Fred Nile, you and many others would be screaming homophobia and demanding an apology.

How dare McFadden suggest that I’m not a whole man because I’m gay? McFadden obviously needs some serious reeducation or he should take his talentless, hetero-centric music and piss off back to Ireland.

As for your paper’s opinion about it just being a silly gaffe, wake up and smell the homophobia for what it really is and stop making apologies for what is a clueless and damaging comment.

-” Aaron, Surry Hills

THANK YOU

I would just like to shout out a big thank you to all the people who voted for me in this year’s inaugural most popular female performer category at DIVA 2008.

Winning an award such as this is really quite humbling, and I would like everyone to know how very much it meant to me.

I must thank Steph Sands for putting the flyer together for me, but the biggest thank you is to go to my girlfriend Ann-Marie for campaigning so hard for me and believing without a doubt that I would win it. Thanks also to DIVA for acknowledging the women in our community.

-” Shauna Jensen

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