FUSE53 — Know yourself
THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT
Some people love the cold wintery weather. I’m not one of them. As I sit here all rugged up in our office, uncertain if summer will ever come again, I suddenly realise how blessed I am to have these simple first world problems. Although we still have a way to go in Australia in regards to equality, we can live our lives in relative peace and safety.
Sadly, for many gay men elsewhere in the world, their lives are cold and uncertain on a whole different level to mine.
In the past six months we have all watched in horror as ISIS beheaded numerous gay men, while pushing others off buildings. In April over 100 gay men were rounded up and thrown in concentration camps in Chechnya. Queer men have been stoned to death en masse in Syria and Iraq, while only recently others were publicly whipped and beaten in Indonesia. These are only just a few examples of the absolute horror that some gay men are currently facing around the world. It seems as far as we have come, religious fundamentalists have stepped up their crusade to punish LGBTIQ people in the most cruel and severe ways, all in the name of God. If God does exist I reckon he is pretty pissed!
It makes me realise just how fragile any equality we have actually is. In the developed and undeveloped world, ultra-conservatism continues to be on the rise. Encouraged by this, religious fundamentalists are getting more outspoken and can be found in every country, including Australia. The danger they pose is a real one.
Although I have a pretty positive feeling about the future, I do think we need to stay vigilant and not take any equality we have for granted.
With this in mind, I’m going to end with my top ten things you can do to support LGBTIQ rights here and around the world.
- Speak out against bullying — it’s a serious matter affecting our community and can lead to mental health issues and suicide.
- Check out Change.org and sign as many petitions as you can that concern LGBTIQ rights worldwide.
- Write to politicians and religious leaders — tell them your story.
- Boycott businesses and companies that support anti-gay groups.
- Use companies like Qantas that actively support LGBTIQ rights.
- Choose not to holiday or support countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Russia, just to name three. There are 76 countries where homosexuality is still illegal — look them up!
- Educate and inform others about LGBTIQ issues — over lunch, at the footy match, with your work colleagues, on social media.
- Support gay marriage, even if you don’t personally want it.
- Watch and support LGBTIQ films, documentaries, theatre and art.
- Lead by example. Be open-hearted, willing to listen and always compassionate.
Be loud, be proud and know yourself. Alex