Thursday 28 July 2022

Wearing a "pride" jersey

or a rugby jersey with "pride" stripes across it or not wearing it is now apparently a matter for some heated debate. Why? How have we reached such a divisive place?

One of the interstate rugby teams apparently had a new jersey designed with "rainbow pride" stripes across the chest to "support the LGBTQI plus" community. Apparently the players were not "fully consulted" about this. As a result seven of them from a "culturally different" background who are "committed Christians" have sat out a match in protest.  The "gesture" goes against their beliefs.

It would be really good if their stance put a stop to the whole of this ridiculous business of "supporting" this "community". I recognise it probably won't and that I am likely to get heavily criticised for my own stance on this issue.

Let me state here. My only cousin is married to his male partner. I love them both. T...'s partner is someone I like being with because he is wonderful company. The same goes for my good friends R.... and his partner. They are great company. I know other "gay" men. I know "lesbian" women and I know other people who are "sexually different". None of them flaunt their sexuality. That is not to say they are not open about it. They are. They just do not feel the need to display their sexuality to others at all times and in all places.

The way in which so much is being made of gay, lesbian and trans sexuality in the media is actually something which they either have no interest in or they feel a little uncomfortable about. For all of them their sexuality is a private affair.  It has nothing to do with "equality" or "support" from the rest of the community. They have welcomed some changes to their legal rights in respect to such things as being acknowledged as "family" and "inheritance" but they don't go to "pride" marches or "gay bars". T...and his partner have been a couple for forty-one years. R...and his partner have also been a couple for many many years. They feel no need to go on marches. They do not want the rest of the community to "support" them in this way. They simply want to be accepted as a couple for legal purposes and social events. 

To me that is the way it should be. If two people of the same sex want to live together then that is fine with me. It's not my choice to make. It is theirs. It is doing no harm to others. They are the people who have the right to decide. The continued insistence on emphasising the need not to "exclude" them is actually making an issue where, for most people, there is no issue. 

It doesn't stop them playing rugby or any other sport. If they are excluded from employment on those grounds then there are laws to deal with that sort of thing. Equally if they are prevented from attending the funeral of their partner's mother because their employer refuses to grant leave or they are told that "only family" can visit or them in hospital  or that they cannot inherit when their partner dies intestate then there are laws to deal with this sort of thing.

While it might give people a nice feel-good sort of buzz there is no need for "rainbow flags"  to be flown on local government buildings. Are "gay pride marches" really still a protest movement or are they a "look at me I am different" statement? Of the forty or more people I know who do not have a mainstream sexual orientation none of them has ever been on a march. They have apparently never felt the need to go. To the best of my knowledge they do not even watch the televised marches.  

There are the sports and other events for all manner of disabilities and "human interest" stories in the media. People with disabilities actually form a far greater percentage of the population  than those who have a "different" sexual orientation. There are laws which are supposed to prevent negative discrimination and, perhaps, encourage positive discrimination. The reality however is  that many people with disabilities face some form of discrimination on a daily basis. Despite that and despite endeavouring to speak out they do not get the almost daily news coverage that the LGBTQI plus community gets. Nobody suggests wearing a "disabled pride"jersey in their support.

If people want to wear "pride" jerseys that's okay with me - just don't criticise those who decide not to do it. Their reasons for not doing it might just have more to do with inclusion than exclusion.

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