Here’s to the magnificent 78’ers, those brave souls who stood up for their rights and tonight celebrate 40 years of Sydney Mardi Gras. These civil rights champions were brutally bashed, arrested, taunted and harassed and still they marched for their friends, for the freedom to be their magnificent selves, for equality, for ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ Thank you to the warriors who fought for the freedom to love freely and to be equal citizens. Rainbow beauties I salute your courage. Your selfless actions made Sydney a more fun, more colourful and more inclusive place. I can’t imagine dancing on Oxford Street in 1983 without you.
As I hope for glitter not blood on the streets tonight, I’m shedding a few tears for the beautiful loved ones we lost when AIDS ripped through our lives in the 80s and 90s. I know tonight they will be there in spirit. I’m also thinking of the people who work so hard for Bobby Goldsmith and ACON and my friends decorating floats. Party on beauties. I feel nothing but love and pride when I see you shining.
Last night I came home late and found this piece of junk mail in my letterbox delivered by the coalition for marriage.
These unChristians could be spending money sheltering homeless people or sending aid to the Rohingya people, Mexico or Puerto Rico, but instead they waste their money on printing their lies about LGBTQIA families, based on made up fairy tales and their limited definition of what it means to be a family. As a single mum, I also object to being told that my family is not the norm.
What is normal? Urban Dictionary says, that normal is a word used as a tool of conformity. It is not normal for Christians to promote hating their fellow man.
Coalition for the disparagement of truth, every word they have printed is a lie. Promoting hate and division is not what Jesus did.
As Maya Angelou said,
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
My 90 year old mother has dementia. The word dementia comes from the Latin dementiae. In the dictionary, it is defined as, madness, distraction or folly. The mum I knew is slipping away and all I can do is massage her dry skin with rose scented cream, hold her hand and try to bring her some joy.
Some weeks the phone calls from my mother are so numerous, angry, repetitive and bat shit crazy, that I find myself glancing at shite online trying to distract myself while I listen to her tell me stories that I’ve heard 100 times. These conversations become so bad, that reading updates on LinkedIn seems like a good idea.
But this week I found the upside to my mother’s dementia.We had a cup of tea and then she handed me her mail.
“Do you know what to do about this?” she said. I looked at the envelopes and realised that amongst the bills and a letter from Centrelink, was the ABS voting form for the Same Sex Marriage survey. I grinned.
“Yes mum, yes I do. If any of your friends here in the nursing home need help with this, I can help them too.” Helping people, that is what Christians who want to heal the world can do.
In a world where Destroy The Joint often triumphs over misogynist Twitter trolls, it’s easy to think that we girls are winning since we decided to put our knitting down and come out of the typing pool to run the world fairly, but we are a long way from the ideal of equal rights for all.
Today is the UN International Day of the Girl child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.
Consider these facts;
1 in 7 girls is married before the age of 15
Every 60 seconds a girl dies giving birth
Girls are persecuted more than any other political or religious group
Around 90% of child workers are girls aged 12-17
Girls are three times more likely to suffer from malnutrition than boys
One in every four girls are sexually abused by the age of 18
And these from the UN website:
The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.
Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child recognises the power of the adolescent girl, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.
“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls,” said Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General. I donate to Plan Australia, their Girls Fund is doing great work in the world.
I may be just a girl but I hope we educated gals in the west can go to bed knowing that we gave our sisters in other parts of the world an equal chance. As my 20 year old daughter said four years ago,
“What if the cure for cancer is trapped in the brain of a girl like Malala and it can’t get out because she’s not allowed to get an education?”