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04/19/2007


4-Year-Old Writes Australian PM Urging Him To 'Let Boys Marry Boys And Girls Marry Girls'

Letter

Same-sex marriage advocates get started at a young age in Australia, as evidenced by four-year-old Sabrina Franco's touching, sincere letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. In the letter, Sabrina asks that Abbott allow "boys to marry boys and girls to marry girls." The consequence should they be kept apart? "...they'll be sad forever." In addition, the young advocate asked that Abbott not cut funding to, and effectively shut down, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company).

Sabrina-FrancoThe Star Observer reports:

Sabrina penned the letter, complete on Disney princess paper  (pictured below), after learning about how her mother’s friends Lukas Picton and Greg Stone went to New York, USA, to get married because it wasn’t legal or recognised in Australia...

The letter reads:

“Dear Tony Abbott,

Don’t get rid of the ABC because we love it. And let boys marry boys and girls marry girls if they love each other or they’ll be sad forever.

Thank-you.

Sabrina.”

Picton, one of the two men who got married in New York, thought the letter was inspired.  

Not only does Sabrina have an excellent grasp of the English language for a four year-old, but she is also incredibly social aware,” he said.

“This letter really shows that prejudice and discrimination are engrained traits that we teach our children and that acceptance and understanding of equal love comes naturally to them.”

Prime Minister Abbott has yet to respond to Sabrina's letter. 


Jesse Tyler Ferguson Pledges $10K to Australian Gay Marriage Fight

Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson has pledged $10,000 of his own money towards the marriage equality efforts in Australia.

Wrote Ferguson on his marriage equality organization Tie the Knot’s website:

Jesse tyler fergusonLike many marriage equality advocates we were saddened to hear that Australia’s High Court recently overturned the law that legalized same sex marriage in their great country. A marriage equality bill had JUST passed the parliament in October, so our hearts went out to those people who were suddenly stripped of those rights. Couples who had wed in that short window had to face the reality that their marriages were now annulled. Having been through a similar situation with Proposition 8 here in California, we could really empathize with the frustration and sadness of those who supported and fought for marriage equality. Newlyweds ourselves, Justin and I kept thinking how devastated we would have been if suddenly we were no longer recognized as a legal couple.

Tie The Knot has always focused its efforts on marriage equality in the United States, but there is no doubt in my mind that this is a great opportunity to bring attention to the journey toward marriage equality that Australia is currently embarking on. We have great faith in their strength and perseverance…. so much so I am personally pledging $10,000 toward the marriage equality efforts in Australia.

It was announced last week that the cast and crew of Modern Family would be heading to Australia to shoot an upcoming vacation-themed episode. 


Australia’s Victoria State to Erase Criminal Records of Men Convicted of Homosexuality

Victoria

Denis Napthine [pictured below], Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, has announced that his state will become the country’s first to expunge the historical criminal records of men convicted for having gay sex. The Age reports:

Denis napthineThe move will end decades of anxiety for countless men who were prosecuted before homosexuality was decriminalised in Victoria in 1981. Before decriminalisation, men who had consensual sex with other men were convicted of crimes such as ''buggery'' and ''gross indecency with a male person'', restricting them from travelling, volunteering or applying for jobs such as teaching.

[…]

''It is now accepted that consensual acts between two adult men should have never been a crime,'' Dr Napthine said. ''The Liberal government, led by Sir Rupert Hamer, recognised this and decriminalised homosexual sex in the 1980s. We also recognise the social and psychological impacts that have been experienced by those who have historical convictions for acts which would no longer be a crime under today's law.''

The changes follow similar laws recently introduced in Britain by David Cameron's Conservative government, which allow an estimated 16,000 convictions to be wiped from police records.

Experts believe thousands of convictions may have taken place during the "witch hunt" and police entrapment era before homosexuality was decriminalized. 


Anti-Homophobia 'Principle 6' Campaign Now an Official Sponsor of Australia's Olympic Bobsled Teams

Bobsled

As a show of solidarity with Russia’s LGBT community, both the Australian Men’s and Women’s bobsled teams have announced partnership with Principle 6, the protest campaign that uses the International Olympic Committee’s own charter language to push for LGBT non-discrimination. Buzzfeed reports:

“We’re against discrimination in sport, full stop,” said Heath Spence, captain of the Australian Men’s bobsled team. “That means we also oppose discrimination against gay and lesbian athletes.” […]

Starting this week, the Principle 6 Campaign becomes an official sponsor for the men’s team with its logo appearing on its bobsled at the World Cup event in Lake Placid, New York.

“We don’t just believe that on principle – some of our most loyal supporters have been gay,” Heath said. “They’ve supported us, so it would be hypocritical of us not to support them. All of us bobsledders are the biggest, the strongest, the fastest athletes in the Winter Olympics. And there’s two or four of us jammed into a sled. If we can support gay rights, why can’t everybody else? We’re proud to have the Principle 6 badge on our sleds.”

The campaign already has the backing of over 40 Olympic athletes, including out snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, runner Nick Symmonds and tennis star Andy Roddick.

[photo via Principle 6 Campaign] 

 


Intersex Children And The Battle Over Their Gender

The New Yorker recently published an article entitled "A New Era For Intersex Rights" that follows Jim Ambrose (pictured), a man who was born with ambiguous sex organs. His parents decided to surgically remove his organ and testes when he was still a newborn and began raising him as a girl named Kristi.

JimHe started taking female hormones at age 12 and planned to have a vaginoplasty at age 18, but he also felt depressed and suicidal. He didn't know why until he discovered the circumstances of his birth — he was born with a condition that inhibited his testosterone development. Gradually, he began taking testosterone, had his breasts removed and began living as Jim.

Approximately one in every 2,000 children is born intersex, that is with a "reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that doesn’t seem to fit typical definitions of male or female." These children are not necessarily transgender "as their status is not related to their gender identity" but moreso to their biological makeup.

New Yorker writer Emily Greenhouse states:

"Today, we pride ourselves on letting children defy antiquated gender stereotypes. Boys can now have dolls, and girls Erector sets; we agree that the salient differences between genders are social constructs, and give little leeway to those who insinuate that, say, women have less aptitude for science and engineering.

Yet, even as many fight against the persistence of rigid gender norms, we still separate the sexes as soon as kids are old enough to be potty-trained; when gym class arrives and locker rooms are needed, we push the boys and girls even farther apart. For all the progress that has followed from the enlightened credo that gender is but a construct, we keep hesitating at the notion that sex, too, does not obey strict binaries.

Some people aren’t just pushing away from prototypes of sinewy maleness or delicate femaleness; they were born with bodies that don’t conform to the “M” or the “F” boxes on the census form. There are children, in other words, whose genes have not defined for them which bathroom to use, or where to change for gym class; babies can be born with XX chromosomes in certain cells, and XY chromosomes in others—mosaic genetics."

Keep reading and watch a short documentary AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Intersex Children And The Battle Over Their Gender" »


Gay Australian Olympian Pledges to Wear 'Principle Six' Protest Merchandise at Sochi Games

Belle Brockhoff

Belle Brockhoff, the Australian snowboarding Olympian who came out back in August as a show of solidarity with gay and lesbian athletes, is now throwing her support behind 'Principle Six' - the new line of protest merchandise that uses the IOC's own charter language to push for LGBT non-discrimination. The Courier-Mail reports:

"Ill wear what I have to wear for the team because I am representing Australia but apart from that I'll definitely be wearing P6 stuff.

"It's kind of a way of protesting but not really. It's directed towards te IOC, it's not directed to the Russian government so if athletes want to wear it around the Games they will be quite safe doing so.

"It's simple, it's powerful and I think it will change a lot of things after the Games."

Brockhoff joins numerous U.S. athletes who have also committed to working with the campaign, including runner Nick Symmonds and tennis star Andy Roddick. It remains unclear, however, if the IOC will take any action against athletes wearing this form of protest merchandise. 

Check out Brockhoff and other athletes who came out in 2013 in our year-end wrap-up, I'm Gay: The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013.


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