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LGBTI MOVEMENT MUST THINK BEYOND NATIONAL BORDERS

in AUSTRALIA, 26/01/2014

Australia is becoming a nastier and meaner country under the Abbott Government, but queers are not the target. Indeed, while we lag behind most comparable countries in achieving same- sex marriage, the biggest abuses of human rights in Australia are clearly directed towards asylum seekers, where the government is determined to “protect our borders” at any cost.

The major domestic obstacle to full acceptance of sexual and gender diversity is the continuing truckling to religious prejudices, highlighted when Tony Abbott gave an election address on education at a Christian school that preaches homosexuality is an abomination. I don’t think that Abbott himself is homophobic, but he and his government are unlikely to challenge the various exemptions that religious institutions and leaders still enjoy to preach bigotry.

But on a global scale Australia rates high on what the guides used to call “gay friendly”, and what has been most dramatic over the past year is the increasing polarisation between countries where sexual and gender diversity is increasingly accepted, and those where it is actively persecuted.

On the Pew scale of social attitudes, Australia ranks in the top 10 countries for acceptance of homosexuality, whereas in much of Africa and the Middle East over 90 per cent of those polled founnd homosexuality unacceptable.

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