It’s that time of year again, time to nominate the 25 allegedly most influential fags and dykes in Australia.
I like the idea of celebrating success in environments where it’s tough and challenging to be out and gay. But looking back over previous lists, some inclusions seem, well, strange.
Like Portia de Rossi, holding down a really challenging gig as a same-sex celebrity wife.
Of course some clearly deserve celebrating, like Love Makes a Family’s Felicity Marlowe, or GLLO Melinda Edwards.
There are ‘influential’ out gays and lesbians — even on the SameSame lists — who refuse to use their influence. Won’t front up at rallies to say a few words, sing a song, or just be there, except maybe for a fat fee.
I have my own list of these selfish freeloaders, but thought it would be fun to ask people, who’s on yours? So I did just that on my radio program last week, launching the ShameShame Top 25 — Influential Gays & Lesbians Who Do Jack Shit for GLBTI.
There were nominees who divided opinion, like Molly Meldrum, who was liked for no discernible reason, but also criticised for saying nothing. At least, nothing anyone could understand.
Alan Jones was a somewhat less divisive nominee — no one had a good word for him, with or without his prostate.
Nor for Penny Wong, for putting her career before her community, and for being an out lesbian cabinet member, yet refusing to speak out publicly in support of our rights, and even endorsing the governments ‘separate but equal’ policies.
Jonathan Welch and Julie McCrossin each got a serve for ‘pretending to care about the poor’, as one unhappy listener put it, refusing to speak out against the government’s failure to grandfather the changes to aged pensions that hit elderly gay couples hard.
Do these lists really matter? Isn’t the SameSame awards ceremony just another of those feelgood intra-community events which, like all circle-jerks, are fun at the time but ultimately a wasted opportunity? Is it anything more than a self-serving publicity stunt to drive web traffic to a not especially interesting website that sources most of its content second-hand, unacknowledged and unpaid?
Why else include out, gay and influential nominees who refuse to use their influence for our benefit, like Wong and Brown, or who are simply celebrities who happen to be gay?
These cynical inclusions diminish the honour being done to those who really do work hard on our behalf and achieve their influence by doing so. They are the ones really worth celebrating.
info: You can see the ShameShame nominations and comments to date — and add your own — on the Freshly Doug blog at www.currentaffairs.net.au/shameshame-25/