All posts for the month August, 2009

“We Are Everywhere: A Fiveway Review of A History of Bisexuality, Bisexual Spaces, Look Both Ways, Open, and Becoming Visible” | sexgenderbody

Published August 20, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

“We Are Everywhere: A Fiveway Review of A History of Bisexuality, Bisexual Spaces, Look Both Ways, Open, and Becoming Visible”



Why are Australian Churches Losing their Religious?

Published August 20, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Bishop blames ‘weak’ churches for losing their religious – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The article reports on the views of Professor Tom Frame, concerning why he sees ‘The Church’ failing Christianity in Australia. Professor Frame is the Director of St Mark’s National Theological Centre and head of the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. He identifies three rather clear reasons for a ‘weak’ church losing their followers.

  • “To some degree some churches are caught in a time warp, they’ve got the social and cultural forms of the 1950s and 1960s and have been unable to embrace the 1990s and the new millennium, so they do seem to be locked in time and their message with it,” he told ABC Online.
  • “Many of the churches are totally overcome by internal bickering about minor points of doctrine about which the world could not care less, because they don’t bear upon everyday life.
  • ” the churches themselves have conducted some of the internal debates in public and given the impression that not even the churches are sure about what they believe.

Professor Frame reflects on the

  • Significant changes in religious observation during the last 100 years.
  • Consequences for social welfare services
  • moral and ethical void

He makes one key observation

“And if they can’t articulate a clear message then why should anyone bother listening?”

What can be made of these reflections?

Strangely, I believe the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are even more relevant today than ever in history. Much has changed over the last 100 years in that change it seems the Church has lost sight of Christ’s simple message of unconditional love, respect and acceptance.

However, those who identify themselves as his representative are as barren and corrupt as the priests in the temple that Christ himself condemned. The Church overwhelmed by the bigotry and ignorance of hate, preaches a doctrine irrelevant to the masses that seeks to hold on to the last vestiges of heteronormative privilege. Christ walked the people of the margin, He did not walk with Kings dressed in the silk robes and gold ornaments of social respectability. In one example He stood before the crowd ready to stone a woman accused of adultery and challenged the man without sin to cast the first stone.

What is the message of the Christian church today, how consistent is it with the teachings of Christ?

When Being a Man Becomes Only Another Social Lable

Published August 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Transsexuals declared male without op | The Courier-Mail

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal ruled today in favour of two female-to-male pre-op transsexuals on a matter involving a decision by the WA Gender Reassignment Board refusal to issue them with certificates recognising “the reassignment of their gender”. The board had found against them because they had female reproductive systems, which it said was inconsistent with being male. However, in overturning the board’s decision, the administrative tribunal seemingly premised their decision on the applicants had presented as, and appeared to be, males”.

  • Both applicants had undergone bilateral mastectomies
  • Undergone testosterone treatment as a result of which each had undergone extensive physical changes consistent with being male,”
  • Each applicant intended to continue testosterone treatment for the rest of his life.
  • accepted the medical evidence that each was, and would remain, infertile for as long as he continued testosterone treatment

The tribunal said it noted that a surgical procedure was not a requirement of the state’s Gender Reassignment Act 2000. While it said a female reproductive system was “a fundamental, although not essential, physical characteristic of being female”.

Determining that

“it was not persuaded that the presence of those organs alone, in circumstances in which there was no longer a capacity to bear children … outweighed the other physical characteristics by virtue of which each applicant is now identified as male”.

WA gender decision to become test case

A layperson’s view

There are two points that stand out

  • the weight given to the appellant’s social presentation over biological factors

Therefore, gender is about social perceptions and biological features while relevant seem secondary

Does that mean gender is more about social perception? If you look like a man then you are a man and if you look like a woman then you are a woman.  The conservatives must be spinning on their heads, that a public servants has usurped the ordained order. It may also be an example of a growing view that gender is a social descriptive label, rather than a biological one.

  • Fertility issue

What was the significance around the testosterone treatment if either person chooses to cease this treatment they would more likely be able to reverse their fertility status. While the tribunal  argue the existence of a ‘full female reproductive system was important it was not essential to determining gender. Does that mean any infertile woman could also be defined as a man?

Proposed Surrogacy Law Changes – Queensland

Published August 18, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Surrogacy changes

The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today outlined in Parliament the Government’s plan

“…to decriminalise an antiquated law which prevents Queenslanders who want to have children from seeking the help of a surrogate mother.

Legislation decriminalising altruistic surrogacy – in other words, surrogacy where there is no financial gain – will be introduced to Parliament by the end of the year. It will also cover same sex couples wanting to have children.

I know that these are issues, which will cause a moral dilemma for some people.

But first and foremost this is about acting in the best interests of children born in these circumstances.

Decriminalising altruistic surrogacy will offer fresh hope to people who really want to become parents and bring us in to line with what’s happened in other states and territories right around Australia.”

Qld to include same-sex couples in surrogacy law changes (ABC News)

Australian gay and lesbian law blog on proposed altruistic surrogacy law changes

Current consultation activities : surrogacy –  QLD Department of Justice and Attorney-General

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan

Published August 17, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

My gay remarks misquoted – Heffernan | The Courier-Mail

Oh Bill Bill Bill, what more can be said of Senator Bill Heffernan (NSW Liberal), other than his reputation for being a first class drongo precedes him. The Honourable Senator seemingly engaged his mouth without putting his brain into gear once again. In several recorded cases Heffernan has sought to act in an inappropriate way and been subsequently called to apologise for making outrageous, inappropriate, inaccurate or simply rude statements. It may be by coincidence or that Heffernan is simply a diehard misogynistic homophobic xenophobic conservative dinosaur, which is up to you to decide.


Heffernan under parliamentary privilege accused a presiding judge of making private use of Commonwealth cars. It was found to be Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia, the accusation was found to be in breach of parliamentary standing orders. Justice Kirby our first gay high court judge came out in 1999


Heffernan was forced to make an apology to Julia Gillard Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. in May 2007 after questioning whether she could fully understand her electorate because she was a childless woman.  Ms Gillard is the first woman – and the first foreign-born person – to hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister. She is also unmarried


The above article reports on one such occasion involving Heffernan supposedly comparing gay men to paedophiles during the National Marriage Day Breakfast held in Canberra on 13 August. Gay rights group Equal Love accused Heffernan of making the following statement

“I don’t mind gay people. I just want you to stop f**king the kids.”

The article goes on to report Heffernan denial

If he did not make said statement, why did he need to apologise? Oh, he was misquoted it was somebody else that got it wrong. The Honourable Senator also supposedly contacted reporters to seek a retraction and clarification. This convoluted little faux pas gets even weirder, Heffernan as reported said

“I wish to clarify the alleged media comments in respect to gay people being paedophiles. This is incorrect,” he said.

Therefore, Bill clarifies the mistake made by the media, but not by him, going on to say

“I actually said `everyone knows that I conduct a continuous war on people who use kids as sex objects and I don’t intend to change now’.

The question here being how does his unrepentant campaign against child abuse relate to marriage, he goes on to say

“I did not refer at any point to gay people only.”

The reason for this apology and retraction for not saying what he didn’t say, be explained by comments from prominent Sydney gay activist Gary Burns said

“It is these kinds of ignorant comments that keep alive the myth homosexual men are perverted, sick and dirty child molesters,”.

Burns also admonished Heffernan by saying

“People in the powerful position should be aware they have responsibilities as well known public figures, because it is their comments that lead to gay men becoming a statistic of a gay hate crime.

There are hints of covert political pressure here and possible threat of legal action however, this is but an observation.

Then last week Heffernan was at it again when he flicked the bird at Senator Penny Wong current and first Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water. Ms Wong is also the first openly gay member of the Australian Commonwealth cabinet, and the country’s first Asian-born federal minister. The Minister was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia to a Malaysian Chinese Hakka father and an Australian mother.

It seems Heffernan serves some purpose for the Coalition otherwise he would have been got rid of by now. While it seems that Heffernan may represent either a dated 1950’s Australian worldview, he has stood and been successfully re-elected on several occasions. The scary question here being is he really a social dinosaur?