From the Print Editor Tim Passmore:
Welcome to our new edition where you’ll find our signature mix of LGBTIQ news, features and events relevant to our local community.
It’s a great pleasure to showcase Queensland comedian Mel Buttle ahead of her appearances at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. We’re also pleased to bring you a thoughtful interview with Dallas John Baker, whose play, Ghosts of Leigh, is about to premiere at Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre. It’s wonderful to see so much LGBTIQ visibility in our state’s arts and entertainment scene. I feel the more our culture becomes accustomed to diversity in public, the easier it makes our individual lives. We’re more likely to be greeted as familiar, rather than eyed as freakish.
The Need To Listen
Our cover story started when we received a think piece from prominent national LGBTIQ activist Rodney Croome. We thought it voiced important questions about how the marriage equality Yes campaign was conducted. It asserted the Yes leadership had vigorously discouraged answering the off-topic attacks coming from the No side.
Croome questioned whether this strategy had been necessary, whether it had been effective, and most importantly, whether it had been worth the cost to those who felt abandoned by their own advocates.
We posted Rodney’s article on our site, feeling it was the right time to publish. The community has had a chance to celebrate and enjoy our new freedom to marry. Now it is appropriate to reflect on how it was achieved and what we can learn from the experience to better handle future public debates.
In reading the Facebook threads on the article I was struck by the generally respectful tone of posters. There was little if any resort to personal insult. Even when people completely disagreed with Croome’s views, or when they thought he was wrong to go public with them, there was nearly always a nod to to his sterling record of advocacy for equality in this country.
I felt encouraged—as I rarely am by social media. There was a real sense of people listening and responding, not just re-iterating their own views regardless of what was being said (which was one of the major frustrations of the pre-plebiscite debate). There was even sometimes a willingness to take time to arrive at a conclusion. My own favourite response was “Rodney – let me think about that.”
To me, this seems a very healthy discussion, one that demonstrates diversity as something we live, rather than give lip service to.
I hope, whatever our personal views on what we’ve just been through with the plebiscite, we’ll always have the time, and the inclination, to give an ear to those in our community who disagree. Especially when they feel attacked.