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May 17

The Words Less Spoken: IDAHO 2012

Being invited to write a blog post for the International Day Against Homophobia aroused a large number of conflicting emotions within me–there’s just so much to talk about. There’s the attempt to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in Uganda, our straight brothers and sisters being jailed in Russia for supporting the cause of equality, the still entrenched racism in the Gay community itself or the evils of religions still peddling their so called ‘gay-cure’ remedies.

All of these are serious issues, but there’s one story that we often forget to talk about–those people who are outside the GLBT (or LGBT or GLBITQA or whatever alphabet soup you choose to use) community who are championing the cause of equality. Some of them do it loudly, some not so loudly, but a lot of them do it without a lot of recognition or thanks. And some of them do it in the face of being told by their religious or cultural leaders that they shouldn’t, and quite often their faith or beliefs can be demonised by the GLBT community. So I thought, for today, in addition to giving away an ebook copy of The Secret of Talmor Manor, or my short story, Mr. Perfect, and directing you to other amazing blogs around the internet, I wanted to bring you stories and experiences from our heterosexual allies, because it’s often too easy to forget that we are not alone.

So I put a call out for people to share their stories with me, and I got a few amazing responses, some of which I hope to share with you today, as well as some video footage from the Equal Love Rally from Saturday the 12th of May. So enjoy, be inspired, please share your stories and take inspiration from the people who are all around you–all you might need to do is reach out and maybe have a cup of tea with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to.

Oh and before I forget, simply leave me a comment (and don’t forget to fill in your email address) to go into the draw to win one of my ebooks–and if you can correctly tell me which Teletubby was at the May 12th Rally, you can get an additional draw in the competition!

Kerrie Bietzel of PFLAG Victoria speaks at Equal Love, May, 2012

Kendrie Coonan’s Story:
Kendrie Coonan is a married mother of two with strong links to the Amateur Theatre scene in Melbourne, Australia. Although we share a number of friends in common, we’ve never met.

I want nothing more than for my children to grow up to be accepted and respected regardless of their nationality, religion, or in this instance sexual orientation. As parents we try our hardest to bring up well balanced, caring individuals and we want them to be judged always and only for the people they are, not their circumstance.

Our kids know that when they grow up and fall in love, that person may be male or female. They understand at 5 and 2 years of age that, that is their choice and either way is more than fine with us. When my son is snuggling me on the couch and I jest that in years to come some little girl or boy will be snuggling him instead of me he giggles. Having homosexuality and heterosexuality both viewed as normal and natural in our house is paramount. I will not have my children ever question my support of them or be concerned for my acceptance. They will know from small daily interactions that our love and support is a given.

A proud moment occurred when out for dinner with some extended family recently. A member of Gen Y in conversation exclaimed “That’s so gay!” and before I even needed to say a word my 5 year old scolded him immediately with “You can’t say that. We don’t use that word like that!” We were all taken back and the desired result prevailed when the Gen Y male replied with “I’m sorry Will, I shouldn’t have said that.” A little dent in a big battle yes, but little moments like this can make a difference. Having your homophobia and ignorance challenged makes an impact, especially when you are being pulled up by a child.

The real victory will be having a new generation of openly accepting, loving individuals. People who know love is love regardless of the packaging it arrives in. I look forward to the time when our children can’t believe how primitive and conservative the ideas of the past have been towards homosexuality. That to me will be a great day.

-Kendrie’s full story will be posted soon.

 

Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens at Equal Love Melbourne

Helen Manont’s Story:
Helen ManoutLiving in Perth, WA, Helen has been known to swim with dolphins, bake rainbow cakes and quietly exposes people to new ways of thinking.

I have a long term close friendship with my daughter’s ex-boyfriend. (He is 24 and I am 53). He came out some months after they separated, and we have remained very close for about 7 years. He has in turn introduced me to many of his friends, and they graciously allow me to socialise with them. I assume this is because I relate to them in a recreational way, rather than in a motherly or judgmental capacity, whilst maintaining my own values and principles.

When I mentioned to some of my friends that I was writing this, the only comment they all agreed upon was that they now feel less and less need for approval from the greater community. On a personal level, I have managed a dental surgery for 19 years, and one of the dentists, who is now 42, has always displayed typical homophobic tendencies. I also have a 23 year old receptionist, who has been raised a devout Christian  (issues abound). In the past 3 years, I have slowly “infiltrated” the patient database with my friends in the GLBTIQ community. This gradual exposure to my colleagues has resulted in an encouraging acceptance, and a complete turnaround in their approach, demeanour, and attitude. Indeed, my receptionist is now on very good social terms with many of them! My other small but meaningful achievement, has been the banning of the term “that’s gay” both at work and at home. While I am not directly involved in political and social sides of solidarity, which optimistically are more frequent and acknowledged by the media than ever before, I find it heartening that many of our politicians are now voicing their views in respect to the rights of the GLBTIQ community.


Comedian Charlie Pickering speaking at Equal Love Melbourne

Oh and if you’ve made it this far, yes I should remind you this is a blog hop. What that means is there’s over 200 other blogs out there with posts going up over the next few days. And all of them are offering a prize–a book perhaps, or some swag, or a donation in your name to a great local charity. And just to remind you, I’ll be giving away two ebooks: a copy of The Secret of Talmor Manor, and one of my comic short, Mr. Perfect.

To enter the competition–simply leave a comment below (don’t forget your email address), and remember, for an extra draw, watch the videos and tell me which teletubby was present at the Melbourne Equal Love rally. The two winners will be announced on this blog once the blog hop is over (come back on the 22nd), and will also be contacted by me.

Find out more about the blog hop and other sites to visit on the official IDAHO blog hoppers blog! Note that this page in particular tells you where you should go to get other great freebies.


Comedian Tommy Little speaking at Equal Love Melbourne

Found the teletubby yet?

For other resources, I suggest checking out my friend Dan Witthaus’ site, Beyond That’s So Gay, which has some useful fact sheets distilled from his one man trip around Australia with Bruce, his gay truck, and also check out his book, which contains resources for combating homophobia in your local high school.

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Comments

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23 comments

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  1. Erica Pike

    Oh no! I missed the Teletubby in the videos. I listened to the whole thing and kept my eye on it most of the time, but I’m multitasking so I’m going to have to take a wild guess. Okay, not so wild guess and I’ll tell you why: Tinky Winky, the purple one, is rumored to be gay because of his red man-purse! The shows were even banned in one of the Latin America countries because of it a few years back. That’s just silly because Laa-Laa owns a ball and wouldn’t that make her lesbian because balls are for guys? Oh wait, this is 2012 where both girls and boys can kick around a ball and wear a handbag? Not that I’d mind Tinky Winky being gay – I think it would be great if he was ^.^ So, my guess is Tinky Winky.

    Anyway, I loved the videos. Must have been so much fun being there. Aaahh, the Australian accent. So cute ^.^

  2. NJ Nielsen

    Thank you for this very interesting post. And thanks for taking part of our great adventure.

  3. KimberlyFDR

    This is a wonderful post! And thanks for taking part in the hop 🙂

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

  4. Kaje

    You know a couple of very cool ladies (and one amazing five-year-old.) I really enjoyed the post.

  5. Matthew Lang

    Actually Kaje, prior to doing a call out for this blog post, I’d never heard of either Kendrie or Helen, and I haven’t met either of them. I contacted them cold after mutual friends suggested they might be good people to ask and its says a lot about their generosity and kindness that they said yes.

  6. Eden Winters

    Wonderful post! They are so right. We should lead by example, quietly enlightening folks one by one.

  7. Andi Anderson

    Awesome Post, Matthew!

  8. Andrea

    Thanks for posting this.

  9. Rush

    Loved the stories as well. I thought that things in Australia were better than here in the US where acceptance & respect was concerned. Now I’m guessing we’re all in the same boat trying to fight a battle that sometimes it might seem so exhausting!! I’m a mother of 4 whom part of them are part of the LGBT community. I’m also very passionate when it comes to equality for my children (adults now) as well as others.

    As with Erica Pike, I watched all four vids. and did not see a Teletubby either. The videos were interesting and I could feel the passion and excitement of those present. More has to be done, voices have got to remain loud and active. I know my voice will never be quiet as long as I’m alive!!! If we as parents don’t fight for our children’s future, who will?
    This is a great thing you guys are doing today. Thank You!!!

    Sandra Rush
    taina1959@yahoo.com
    http://enchantedrosegarden.blogspot.com

  10. Michele L Montgomery

    Wonderful words of wisdom, not only from you but from your new found friends. We need an eraser. To erase that homophobia word from the small minded people’s minds.

  11. kerry

    Thank you for sharing this with us today

    musings-of-a-bookworm@hotmail.co.uk

  12. Wade Kelly

    Great post on the blog hop! Thanks for posting the videos too!

    Wade

  13. Trix

    I’ll say Tinky Winky too, because I remember Jerry Falwell being so outraged that toddlers were being warped by him and his purse. Yikes. Australian LGBT writers and media have taught me so much, even though I’m not that well-exposed to them in the US. Even when I see DNA magazine on the newsstands, and open it up hoping for some eye candy, there are always some really enlightening and fascinating articles in it about gay life there and abroad. As a straight woman, it’s really educated me.

  14. Yvette

    Thanks for the great post.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

  15. Alix Bekins

    Thank you for the reminder that there is a whole community out there, supporting this!

  16. Foretta

    Thanks for participating in the hop. This is a great cause that I pray one day will not be needed.

    forettarose@yahoo.com

  17. Nancy S

    Small steps are what lead to giant leaps. I’m encouraged by what I have read so far on this Hop.

  18. gigi

    Great post. Thanks for participating in the HOP.

  19. L.M. Brown

    Thanks for taking part in the hop and for posting your friends’ stories (and thanks to your friends for sharing them).

    I am also a straight female and am hoping by the time of next years hop I will have more personal stories of my own to share about how I have done something to make a difference out there.

    Sorry, no idea which Teletubbie is which. 🙂

    lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

  20. Ashley E

    I loved Kendrie’s story in particular. I hope to raise children like that some day! Thanks for finding these lovely ladies to share their stories with us. 🙂 I didn’t really look for the teletubby… I may have been somewhat traumatized by them as a tween….

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

  21. Penumbra

    I’ve never watched the Teletubbies so I have absolutely no clue, lol.

    Thanks for participating in this great blog hop. I’m enjoying all the posts 🙂

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

  22. peggy

    Thanks for the post.

    Peggy1984@live.com

  23. Adrien

    How long have Teletubbies been around anwyay? I think my kids were beyond the age of watching that kind of programming when they came on the scene. Mine grew up watching Sesame Street and they and I watched and loved that together. My grandkids I don’t think have ever seen Teletubbies and I don’t know why? Well, they aren’t all that big on watching full programs -commercials have always been their big interest although the grandson LOVES Elmo and Dora; his sister did watch Dora. But the subject of guns now, that’s something else. I had a holster and 2 guns, plus a cowgirl outfit when I was a kid -about 50 years ago it was that my aunt and uncle got it for me and there was never any flack given out by my Mom over it. I even wore it to school -holster and guns too, come to think of it! Where we live -in central Penna. -is kind of the hunting capitol of the country I think. Folks here eat, breathe and sleep, hunting, rifles, handguns too (for the occasional snake in the grass ya know.) I grew up though with no uncles who hunted although a couple of my Mom’s first cousins did and most of our neighbors did too. My ex did not however, hunt and truthfully, I probably owe my life to that because no hunting meant no gun and no gun in the house was a good thing when you’re married to an alcoholic who was a bit of a lunatic at times. My son then, like me, was not raised around guns being a normal part of the home but ALL his friends were and he never had a lick of interest then or since in hunting or guns, etc. Cars though -oh my how he loved them then and still does. And he taught his little sister all kinds of stuff about cars. Their Dad is an auto mechanic and daughter Mandy here can converse with her Dad about cars with the best of ’em! My son-in-law is a hunter -well, when he can get a license to hunt deer anwyay that is. Two years running his application was too late and he couldn’t hunt then. So now there is a rifle, as well as a handgun in this old house. Yes, they are locked away in the gun cabinet he has in the basement but Kurtis shows no interest whatsoever in any type of toy gun (nor does Maya) with the exception of squirt guns! And then, they are only for the sole purpose -and fun -of seeing how wet you can get someone, in their minds. (Or the dog or the cats too on the getting things wet.) Granted they are still young and who knows, as they get older, gain more information about such things, they might decide they want to go hunting but it wasn’t an innate thing in the grandson, that’s for sure. But again, the cars thing -that bug bit both Maya and Kurtis very early on and they both love cars, trucks, fire engines, trains -anything that runs! They were drawn to them before we ever even bought a toy car or truck for either one of ’em! So, some stuff does have to be nature and yet, not too! Sometimes this stuff really does make a person stop and just do the head scratch thing ya know.

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