LGBTIQ

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe came out in an interview with Michael Parkinson on July 13. Thorpe is a sporting hero. He has smashed 22 world records and won five gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medals. He retired from professional swimming in 2012 after battling depression. In the interview, Thorpe said: "I'm not straight and this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me."
How 'green' is the Green new Deal? An increasingly popular answer to the ecological crisis facing humanity is the “Green New Deal”, which aims to create “green jobs” to jump start the economy. But, Dan Fitz argues the GND might not provide long term employment and could cause major environmental harm. Mariela Castro on LGBTI rights in Cuba
Moreland City Councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sue Bolton delivered the following speech at the Trains Not Tolls rally in Melbourne on June 28. The rally was organised to protest against the new East West Link motorway. *** It’s great seeing people here from all over Melbourne, because this issue affects not just people from the inner city where the East West Link is designed to go, but it affects people from all over Melbourne and all over Victoria.
March in May rally

Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. In Perth, Alex Bainbridge reports more than 2000 people took part.

Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. The march in Sydney was bigger than the March In March demonstration. Peter Boyle, who took the photos below, estimates it was about 15,000-strong. He said: "It stretched more than two and half times the distance between Central Station and Victoria Park (where it ended). The recent horror budget angered many and the crowd overwhelmingly demanded that the opposition parties block the budget in the Senate -- where they have the numbers until July."
Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. Despite having been called only four days before, thousands took to the streets in Melbourne to take part in the 'Bust the budget' march. The photos below are by Ali Bakhtiarvandi and Tony Iltis. See also photos from the Sydney and Perth March in May demonstrations. Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi:
College football star Michael Sam has made history as the United States' National Football League’s first openly gay player, Democracy Now! said on May 12. The St Louis Rams picked Sam in the final round of the NFL draft, months after he publicly came out. Sam was a first-team, All-American and the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player for the year as a lineman for the University of Missouri. Sam broke into tears as he took the call informing him of his draft selection. The sports network ESPN showed footage of him kissing his boyfriend in celebration.
India's top court officially recognised transgender rights today in a landmark ruling. The supreme court directed the federal and state governments to allow people to identify themselves as outside the binary male/female gender definitions. The estimated three million transgender Indians will have the same access to welfare programs for the poor, including education, healthcare and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges. The court also ordered the government fight the social stigma associated with transgender people through a public awareness campaign.
A historic motion for Ballarat was put forth to affirm support for a “No to Homophobia” campaign at a City of Ballarat council meeting on Febraury 12. The motion was carried unanimously. Greens councillor Belinda Coates put the motion. She said after the meeting: “It was fantastic to get unanimous support for this motion to affirm support for the 'No to Homophobia' campaign and their 'Promise' campaign.
The Kansas Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on February 11 that makes it legal to discriminate against LGBTIQ people in the mid-western US state. This caused outrage across the US. If passed by the Senate, the law would make it legal for private businesses to discriminate against LGBTIQ people and allow public servants to deny LGBTIQ people basic services — so long as their reasoning is motivated by “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Actress Ellen Page, best known for her work in the 2007 film Juno came out as gay in her speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference on February 14. The conference itself was aimed at LGBTIQ youth where, during an emotional speech, Page said she was “tired of hiding” and “lying by omission”. “I'm here today because I am gay,” Page said. “And because maybe I can make a difference.”

It’s impossible to ignore any longer just how cruel and irrational the government’s war on refugees has become after violent attacks in the Manus Island detention centre left one dead and scores injured. The threat of expulsion to Manus Island is particularly terrifying for some asylum seekers given the criminalisation of homosexuality in Papua New Guinea. Amnesty International said last year that staff would be forced to report suspected same-sex activity in the detention centre. PNG can prosecute same-sex people with a penalty of 14 years jail.