I have never bothered with Big Brother, which I regard as pure swill. Nor am I a card-carrying National Party supporter. However, I am unreserved in my admiration for Young Nationals federal membership officer and ex-Big Brother star David Graham for his courageous stand reported in this week’s Star Observer.
The federal Young Nationals have voted to support civil unions for same-sex couples, prompting the Queensland Young Nationals to threaten a split in the party. The majority support for the proposition came as a surprise for many delegates at the group’s annual conference on the weekend, including gay Young Nationals member and former Big Brother star David Graham.
“I had intended to give a speech to try to swing voters, but as everyone else spoke it was quite clear there was already a clear majority [in favour of civil unions] among the delegates,” Graham, who was elected federal membership officer at the conference, told Sydney Star Observer.
Graham, a Queensland farmer, had lobbied to get the topic on the conference agenda along with the Western Australian Young Nationals, who announced their support for civil unions two months ago. Debate on the issue had to be extended to allow delegates time to speak.
Those in favour spoke of removing discrimination for same-sex couples and families, while a number of Christians spoke about the importance of human rights, Graham said.
Those against the motion said homosexuality was a choice and there was no link between it and depression and suicide.
“I said, from my experience, yes, there is,” Graham said. “I talked about the reality of it. I wanted to make it very clear it is a real issue.”
He said he had hoped to “get into the minds of the Neanderthal element of the party” with his speech.
“I said to them, ‘You’re a dairy farmer, you know very well dairy cows root each other. That is a natural phenomenon you allow on your farm. Humans are also animals and we’re no different. We’ve all had dogs that have been exclusively gay or lesbian and we’re all fine with that’.”
The National Party is considered one of the country’s more conservative parties, with strong views on family values and some vocal anti-gay MPs. However, the Young Nationals, made up of people under the age of 30, have been known to discuss issues the main party won’t touch.
His cow-centred argument is indeed quaint, but really it is about time that we agreed that this idea that “homosexuality was a choice and there was no link between it and depression and suicide” is as useful and respectable as believing in pixies, a flat earth, and the moon being made of green cheese, or that Elvis has just left the building, or that women are naturally inferior, or that black people are created to serve white people. It needs to be consigned to the bin of outmoded and inhumane ideas as rapidly and as ruthlessly as possible, continuing as it does to be at the root of much misery, cruelty and sheer injustice.
Which may make some of you wonder about my religious position. Do I believe in God? Yes I do. Can I define God? No I can’t. Do I believe God is masculine and subject to temper tantrums? No I don’t, though one might think so from the Bible and the Qu’ran. Do I believe God writes books that retain their validity for all ages and all places irrespective of culture or context, or that he grants infallibility or certainty to any institution or human agent on earth? No I don’t. Does that make me odd in religious terms? No it doesn’t. Visit the links to the right on “Faith and Philosophy” if you want to explore that further; for example, read this review of a writer I admire, Bishop Richard Holloway, though I haven’t yet sighted this 2006 book How to Read the Bible. Immature religion is, unfortunately, the last thing the world needs, but on the other hand atheism does not protect anyone against bigotry and oppression. It can itself be just as bigoted and oppressive; that at least is one point Alister McGrath establishes in his The Twilight of Atheism. (See Uncommon Sense: The Biggest Lie You’ve Ever Heard.) The histories of the former Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, North Korea, and more, have unfortunately put paid to that idea. (That will annoy a few people.)
There is a wonderful saying in Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong: “It is not people who make interpretations, but interpretations that make people.” Think about that.
Decided to add this from Reflections on the week that was (6 November 2006). 🙂
No special reason… 😉 Except that is David Graham.
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