#MarriageEquality in 2019: @burgewords says just you wait and see

After you’ve done all the lobbying, it seems what you have to do in Australia to achieve LGBTIQ equality, is wait. MARRIAGE Equality will be legislated in Australia no sooner than 2019. I know many will fly into a rage about that assertion, but let’s get real for a few moments: the current Coalition will never independently instigate a change to the Marriage Act allowing equal access to same-sex couples. Even this week, Malcolm Turnbull told us it’s a plebiscite or nothing, and despite the fact that he has no money for a public vote, he means it. Before you lose your shit at me, you need to acknowledge that the majority of the […]

I am my first book: @burgewords reports from #bwf16

We were inside the building. We belonged, inasmuch as new students belong in new classrooms when they change schools UNDER the general theme of ‘belonging’, the 2016 Brisbane Writer’s Festival (BWF) set itself up with few boundaries, and writers have been rushing to traverse the intentionally unfenced territory across the city. As an independently published author, I was pleased to find the door open to my memoir, which has national significance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex (LGBTI) equality movement. It was written in Queensland about the battle to maintain my next-of-kin status after the death of my same-sex spouse in New South Wales in 2004. But my indie book about […]

Divorced from reality: @burgewords comments on the Coalition’s #MarriageEquality problem

The Coalition will just have to take care of itself, because the political wedge has finally hit its target. AFTER the Coalition’s narrow win, the plebiscite on Marriage Equality should be getting ready to kick off, yet the same election promise has been blamed for the major swing against Malcolm Turnbull. And the paradox has all the hallmarks of failure. In one of his delayed post-victory interviews, Malcolm Turnbull conceded the plebiscite would have to be pushed ahead to 2017. His reason: “My commitment to have it dealt with as soon as practicable is there, but we… have to obtain the support of the Senate,” Mr Turnbull told Leigh Sales […]

Better ban the Bard if #SafeSchools scares you: @burgewords comments on Australia’s #NeoPuritans

Hated by the Puritans, the complete works of William Shakespeare was firmly entrenched in the Australian school syllabus decades ago. WESTERNERS have lived through many periods in which extreme Christians distributed anti-gay propaganda and thereby got the ear of authorities, and this month’s spat from Australia’s hard, religious right shows not much has changed in four hundred years. It’s an old war, that between conservatives wanting to put the brakes on equality, and progressives trying to touch the accelerator. During the reign of James I (1603-1625) in England, the fires of Puritanism were well on their way to blazing a lasting wound through societies in many continents, burning until well after the Salem […]

LGBTI versus Christians, an unnecessary war: @burgewords comments on #SafeSchools

This is not a suffering competition for martyrs, it’s a legislative process taking place in a secular nation. THE Turnbull government has no firm plans for a public vote on marriage equality. We only know it’ll be ‘after the election’, an Abbott three-word slogan for ‘on the never-never’; and that it will be a non-binding, $160-million-dollar opinion poll that won’t be compulsory for any Australian voter or politician to participate in. But that doesn’t really matter. While Malcolm Turnbull wasn’t watching, a war cabinet has been plotting against LGBTI dignity from the Coalition backbench, spilling from the party room into the media this week when the Safe Schools program came under attack. […]

#Homophobia for the holidays: @burgewords on creating #LGBT characters

It would surprise most people to see what a strong thread of prejudice runs through families. Spending time with family over Christmas and New Year can be a challenge for anyone, but journalist and author Michael Burge explains how his first collection of short stories grew in the fertile ground of familial homophobia. WHEN I began writing fiction, I didn’t understand at first that the theme I was really exploring was homophobia. After years of churning out scripts in the corporate world, which was not sustaining me in any kind of career, I decided to turn my hand to short stories. Over the course of about ten weeks in late 2009, I started […]

#QuestionableDeeds in action: @burgewords in conversation with @margokingston1

WHEN I asked Margo to help me launch my non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love and my first collection of short stories Closet His, Closet Hers, Tony Abbott was still Prime Minister and marriage equality remained on the never never. When we met this week at Avid Reader bookshop in West End, Brisbane, I remarked to Margo that much had changed, although a free vote on marriage equality for same-sex attracted Australians had been traded for power by yet another prime minister. What ensued was a fascinating night of insights into the ongoing debate, the changing of hearts and minds, and the nature of writing about pain, loss and politics. […]