The media asked the 2012 London Paralympic games organisers why they were making it difficult for people in wheelchairs to buy tickets to events; every single media-trained person said: What a gr8 job we are doing. It would have been easy to admit: yes, it was an oversight, here’s what we will do to make amends. But perhaps the media machine, wound up to full force, is too well known and too fierce to be encountered, too gratuitously wrecking of the best of intentions and the least blame-worthy mistakes.
I have encountered similar overtrained obtuseness in my local council bureaucracy, but that’s another story. I wanted to explore, yet again, my own community, gays and lesbians, the aspect of us as voters and our pitiable expectations as electable public officials. Over the weekend I voted in a by-election described as south-eastern Sydney, normally a Labor held seat. With my house-mate/friend I strolled to the local school; I could see Fred Nile’s Christian Democrat party were running a woman candidate, as were the Democrats and the Greens. The Liberals declined to waste money in a sure fire win for Labour.
The visit was not marked with incident, after the people distributing how to vote cards rushed at us, thrusting papers into our faces, an act that in another situation would attract a police charge of assault.
Today, a friend walked up the footpath, five doors away from her house; she had distributed how to vote cards for the Democrat candidate she described as openly gay. My friend is Greek and was shocked to hear the Christian Democrat rep say to a voter in Greek, why are you voting for that poofter, it’s a sad day in our democratic process when we have gays in our house of parliament.
I suddenly felt like a guy in a wheelchair trying to buy an expensive ticket to an event that should have represented what I believed in.
Not of course, that this homophobia should surprise anyone; the party leader the reverend [sic] Fred Nile is known for his openly abusive comments; he annually prays for rain to fall on the mardi gras parade. One year he led a Reclaim the Cross demo through Kings Cross and I happened to be on the street just as his sadly misled followers trooped into Darlo Road, the old guy was carrying the wooden cruciform of torture, trying to appear solemn. Strangely, he was surrounded by an unmistakably butch group of bodyguards. Their purpose soon became clear as a group of bystanders rushed the head of the procession, equally butch combatants took on Nile’s minders, another wrenched open Nile’s jaws and a quite pretty & healthy looking young gay guy attempted to deposit oral fluids into his mouth. I can’t call it a kiss. But I guess there’s a truth in that saying from the I Ching, that if you challenge evil it takes to its weapons, and that opposites meet and look alike. SAD.