Vlogger Ethan Hethcote offers some thoughts about the scars that bullying leaves on young gay people, offering a powerful personal story that may resonate with a few of you. His remarks are a reaction to an article by Michael Hobbes published by Highline on HuffPost entitled Together Alone: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness, which is about that subject, but also about the pressures of rejection faced by gay men once they are "out". Notwithstanding advances in rights and legal equality, Hobbes notes, "e;the rates of depression, loneliness and substance abuse in the gay community remain stuck in the same place they’ve been for decades."
Gay people are now, depending on the study, between 2 and 10 times more likely than straight people to take their own lives. We’re twice as likely to have a major depressive episode. And just like the last epidemic we lived through, the trauma appears to be concentrated among men. In a survey of gay men who recently arrived in New York City, three-quarters suffered from anxiety or depression, abused drugs or alcohol or were having risky sex—or some combination of the three. Despite all the talk of our "chosen families," gay men have fewer close friends than straight people or gay women. In a survey of care-providers at HIV clinics, one respondent told
researchers: "It’s not a question of them not knowing how to save their lives. It’s a question of them knowing if their lives are worth saving."
Ethan has some interesting and heartfelt thoughts about his own experience:
My two Christmas requests; a little late, but it is not yet Candlemas, it is but the fourth day of Christmas: (1) May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. (2) The complete obliteration of Santa Claus and and everything to do with him.
This is a submission to the Committee with respect to paragraph (1) of its Terms of Reference, particularly "the nature and effect of proposed exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious bodies and organisations".
I submit that the draft bill has two defects in relation to the proposed exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious bodies and organisations.
First, the draft bill greatly overcomplicates the wording of exemptions. In its present form, section 47 of the Marriage Act 1961 already (and quite properly, in my view) provides ministers of religion with very considerable discretion concerning whether or not to solemnise a marriage—regardless of the reasons. This provision could be strengthened to apply "despite any law" and also applied to other marriage celebrants. The following would suffice:
Ministers of religion and marriage celebrants not bound to solemnise marriages. Despite any law, an authorised celebrant, (whether or not a minister of religion) may refuse to solemnise a marriage.
Similarly, the provision relating to exemptions for religious bodies and organisations could be simpler, more comprehensive and more straightforward, for example:
Religious bodies and organisations may refuse to make facilities available or provide goods or services Despite any law, a religious body or a religious organisation may refuse to make a facility available, or to provide goods or services, for the purposes of the solemnisation of a marriage, or for purposes reasonably incidental to the solemnisation of a marriage.
Secondly, the identification of same-sex marriage as a ground of exemption is: —redundant in view of the overarching nature of available exemptions; and —itself hurtfully discriminatory, particularly as it is in any case redundant.
The news media report that Randwick City Council has banned alcohol consumption in its beachfront parks, especially Coogee, for the rest of summer after Christmas crowds left a disgusting mass of garbage. Fair enough. But what I totally fail to understand is why anyone, drunk or sober, would want to be part of a sweaty, noisy, crowd on a hot summer day … let alone on Christmas Day.