We don't live in a great world. QUEERTY reports:
A former contestant on Australia’s Big Brother says he’s lost thousands of followers on Instagram after posting pics to celebrate his engagement to another man.
Dave Graham, 41, appeared on the Aussie version of the show in 2006. He came out to his housemates live on air, and they nicknamed him the “gay cowboy”. The media dubbed him “Farmer Dave”. He also appeared in a reboot of the show last October.
Despite this, it seems many of his Instagram followers did not realize he was gay. Either that or they’ve unfollowed him in disappointment that he’s now off the market.
Dave proposed to his partner, Shazli, a few weeks ago on Lord Howe Island in New South Wales and posted photos to confirm the engagement. Shazli comes from Pakistan. The men met at a pub in Sydney in 2021.
The man didn't change. He's still the same person but homophobia -- a sickness -- runs deep.
In 1965, Jackie DeShannon took Burt Bacarach and Hal Davis' "What The World Needs Now" to number seven on the top forty.
Reminder: Tomorrow is the release date for Sam Smith's GLORIA, Carly Simon's LIVE FROM GRAND CENTRAL and the re-release of Diana Ross' SURRENDER.
It was true then and it's true today.
Maybe you need to hear it from someone else? How about Judy Garland?
Or Dionne Warwick?
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, January 26, 2023. Hate merchant Tony Dungy remains in the news (and should) in the US, in Iraq only some crimes get punished and grasp that will continue to happen as long as outlets like THE ARAB WEEKLY indulges in their fear-based rantings.
Starting in the US, SLATE explores the hate merchants in their latest HANG UP AND LISTEN episode entitled "NBC's Tony Dungy Problem." (Dungy segment starts 26 minutes and 20 seconds in.)
Of course, Dungy is far from alone in spewing hateful and ignorant comments about gay people. Reggie White, the great defensive tackle who was known as the “Minister of Defense” because he was an ordained pastor, repeatedly said inaccurate and offensive things about gay people.
It’s part of the culture in sports, where gay-bashing and homophobic comments and actions have long been allowed, even celebrated. Dungy was supposedly better than the run-of-the-mill athlete, but that has proven not to be the case.
Last week, he repeated an absurd claim that some schools were placing litter boxes in bathrooms for the use of students. A Minnesota legislator advocated for placing menstrual products in boys’ bathrooms.
“That’s nothing,” Dungy tweeted Wednesday morning. “Some school districts are putting litter boxes in the school bathrooms for students who identify as cats. Very important to address every student’s needs.”
That’s a tired and easily refuted claim that right-wingers have been making for a couple years now. But Dungy, who always prepared so well as a coach, recycled this idiotic claim without bothering to check it out.
Why? Because it meshed with his hateful view of some people who don’t meet with his approval, even children who can be harmed by such hateful rhetoric.
A poll conducted of LGBTQ youth in November said 45% of transgender and nonbinary youth said they’d been cyberbullied or harassed online because of increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies, and 24% said they’d been bullied at school.
It is so bad that almost 30% said they did not feel safe going to a doctor if they’re sick or injured.
Words matter. They cause serious pain. The Trevor Project’s 2022 survey on mental health reported that nearly half of all LGBTQ young people, including no binary youths, considered suicide in the last year.
That’s why Dungy’s words and attitude matter. He is entitled to his beliefs, but he needs to expect the response. There was considerable outcry, and Dungy deleted the tweet and, under pressure, issued a statement expressing regret for his hateful and ignorant remark.
But somewhere along the way, something in Dungy snapped. After his oldest son, James, took his own life in 2005, the coach went from speaking at conferences for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to fundraising for a think tank that opposes same-sex marriage. When Michael Sam, pro football’s first out gay player, was drafted by the St Louis Rams in 2014, Dungy said he wouldn’t have wanted the University of Missouri linebacker on his team because of his sexual orientation and the potential distractions it might bring. Mind you, this is the same paragon of gridiron virtue who argued for Michael Vick to be rehired after the Pro Bowl quarterback was federally imprisoned for running a dog fighting ring; Dungy also said he’d welcome Ray Rice back into an NFL locker room after the Pro Bowl tailback was banished from the league for KO’ing his girlfriend.
All the while Dungy rates among the NFL’s worst television analysts, providing the least insight in the most monotone delivery. Only he could make the last minutes of Jacksonville’s wildcard comeback against Los Angeles about as thrilling as Ben Stein’s roll call in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Not even the great Al Michaels, clearly beaten down from announcing too many Thursday night games, could inject any more life into the broadcast.)
The low energy alone would be reason enough for NBC to at least bench Dungy. But he remains a prominent part of the network’s NFL coverage and figures to remain so next season. Sticking by dodgy NFL analysts is a routine play for NBC. Lead announcer Mike Tirico has a graveyard of sexual allegations from his ESPN days, and so does fantasy man Matthew Berry; Michele Tafoya, NBC’s longtime NFL reporter, made a full heel turn to anti-woke punditry after retiring from the sideline. It’s hardly a shock that Dung – a rich, platformed member of the jockocracy–would espouse conservative Christian ideology, or that he’d be tempted to draw sports analogies in his rhetoric. But as long as Dungy has the NFL for a bully pulpit, he’s no less polarizing a football man than Rush Limbaugh was during his brief ESPN stay. Dungy can speak his mind all he wants; you won’t read me telling him to stick to sports. But the NFL might want to think about finding a new human shield. This one’s lost his integrity.
The hate brigade is emerging to try to spread hate further.
Let's note one because I left a Tweet response.
I have never been anything but nice to Antonio Sabato Jr. I've never agreed with his politics -- but online and off, I have been nothing but nice to him. What he just did was one of the most offensive things you can do in my world. It's why I've ragged on Ann Wilson, who I like (most recently for the prig attitude regarding a song she sang that fans made a hit an that she wants to now act like she's better than). I do not tell people who to vote for. I do not use, in my offline life, I do not misuse or dishonor my fan base. I'm very aware that I have what I have because of them. That's why, though I love Ann to tears, it pisses me off when she starts doing things that are insulting your fan base.
Antonio? It wasn't women propelling his rise years ago. It was men. Men responding to his body and his beauty. Without gay (and bi) men, he'd have nothing today in the way of fame. And now he wants to support a homophobe?
Those were photos aimed at a gay audience and don't kid, I know the person over the campaign. And it's why they selected the publications those ads ran in. (And the original creator of the ads knew Antonio's appeal vanished the moment he 'thickened' -- and he was right.)
Antonio has spit on the people who gave him a national name, who gave him support and who were fans despite his meager talents.
He should be ashamed of himself. Again, in my world you do not betray your fan base. You respect them and you thank them. Junior decided to spit on whatever is left of his dwindling fan base.
At OUTSPORTS, Ken Schultz weighs in on Dungy's hate and notes, "In every one of these instances, the only agenda we’re pushing for is for the ability to enjoy sports without that sense of self-loathing weighing us down. And if you interpret our basic human need to belong as an attack on your faith, that says everything we need to know your religious beliefs."
Moving north to Canada, Scott Taylor (SALT WIRE) writes:
Which brings us to Operation Impact, Canada’s ongoing military commitment to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.
This is the one theatre which Auchterlonie feels Canada can safely reduce the number of troops deployed.
Perhaps a better question would be: What the hell are Canadian troops still doing in Iraq?
When Operation Impact was first established in 2014, the fanatical Islamic faction known as [. . .] aka ISIS or ISIL) had poured across the Syrian border into Iraq.
The U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces simply melted away, leaving their U.S. purchased weapons, ammunition and combat vehicles to the [ISIS] extremists.
[. . .]
As witnessed after the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq is rife with factional divisions.
Canada never had a dog in that fight and we would have been better off withdrawing from that region in 2017.
Auchterlonie should press his political masters to reduce his task load and put an immediate end to Operation Impact.
At least it's North America, right? The US still has troops in Iraq and yet no one in the United States of America is writing newspaper columns asking why we are still in Iraq. It's just been accepted by the various hitchhikers on the highway of causes who move flit from one crisis to the next based upon whatever is getting media attention.
On the topic of journalism, let's return to THE ARAB WEEKLY which we called out earlier this week over their desire to pretend Moqtada al-Sadr had made a comeback and how they were lying to themselves and others. They do that because they won't deal with reality. That's made more clear today in a column at TAW by Farouk Yousef:
Iraq has failed to establish balanced relations with the rest of the world because its embrace of Iran has erected a high fence separating it from other countries. Equally, the dominance of Iranian militias over the decision-making process in Baghdad has dragged it onto Iran’s side in Tehran’s showdown with the international community.
That is not all. Despite the existence of three branches of government in Iraq, legislative, executive and judicial, the country’s authorities are, beyond the media halo that somehow surrounds them, mere facades for the rule of political parties, which seem in agreement but are in reality gripped by internal feuds.
No one in the executive branch, for example, can make a decision unless it serves the interests of a strong party against the interests of other parties, which parties can in any case seek to harm the government by digging the dirt on its corruption.
The insanity in those remarks just leaves me amazed. Maybe he thinks it'll play to the west where governments hate Iran. Iran is Iraq's neighbor, they share a border. They've had problems throughout the years, they've had agreement throughout the years. It's only in TAW's mind that they can't get along. If they'd use their outlet better, Iraq could be a better place. Barring anything emerging in the news cycle requiring more attention, we'll go into that tomorrow. THE NATIONAL notes:
Iraq's judiciary has sentenced 14 people to death over the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre.
Baghdad's Central Criminal Court issued the verdict on Thursday under Iraq's antiterrorism law.
More than 1,700 unarmed air force recruits, mainly Shiite, were killed in the massacre as ISIS swept across Iraq.
The killings were one of the worst attacks by the terror group and become a symbol of its brutality.
It seems like a good thing, doesn't it? It's not. The incident alone? Sure praise that sentencing. But grasp that many more crimes are going unpunished and grasp that THE ARAB WEEKLY could be using its platform to push the current government of Iraq to address some of those crimes but would rather write demented anti-Iran pieces instead.
We'll close with this from GLAAD:
Pope Francis shared a message of solidarity with the LGBTQ community in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, along with a call-to-action for millions of Catholics around the world.
Laws criminalizing gay people is “unjust”, and being gay “is not a crime,” said Pope Francis.
The Pope also called for the Roman Catholic Church to play an active role in opposing and repealing LGBTQ criminalization laws, recognizing that some bishops who advocate for criminalization and discrimination laws against the LGBTQ community must undergo “a process of conversion,” welcome LGBTQ people into the church, noting “it’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
For Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO, Pope Francis’ declaration is an explicit call to keep the momentum for LGBTQ decriminalization and equality.
“Pope Francis denounced laws in nearly 70 countries that criminalize LGBTQ people and called on the Roman Catholic Church to take an active role in repealing those laws. His historic statement should send a message to world leaders and millions of Catholics around the world: LGBTQ people deserve to live in a world without violence and condemnation, and more kindness and understanding. Other influential voices in faith, government, business, sports, and entertainment should now similarly speak out on outdated laws that criminalize the lives and relationships of LGBTQ people and that negatively impact travel and business in these countries," said Ellis in a statement.
“Today’s statements from Pope Francis are a game changer in the fight to decriminalize LGBTQ people and also illustrate the work that needs to be done with religious leaders to finally show that being LGBTQ is not a sin,” Ellis continued.
Last week, GLAAD continued their work to raise awareness about the criminalization of LGBTQ people around the world by speaking at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
The AP notes more than a dozen states in the U.S. have anti-sodomy laws on the books despite a Supreme Court decision in 2003 declaring them unconstitutional. In his concurrence in the decision overturning Roe v Wade, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas called for the Lawrence ruling to be reconsidered.
In the U.S. about 90 anti-LGBTQ laws have already been introduced, 67 countries criminalize same-sex relationships of consensual adults, 46 of those countries deliberately target women in same-sex relationships, with 11 using the death penalty as punishment.
Yet, each year more and more countries decriminalize their anti-LGBTQ penal codes. This year Singapore, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda have taken action toward decriminalization of LGBTQ same-sex relationships. At the same time, several countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ghana, and Indonesia, have recently passed various laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people and organizations.
With this said, Pope Francis did not speak on behalf of the laws, crimes and violences facing the transgender communities of the world. In 2022 there were 327 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people in the world at the hands of anti-trans violence, according to ILGA-Europe's annual Trans Murder Monitoring Report.
Religious organizations and leaders share Ellis’ sentiment to protect LGBTQ communities in the U.S. and beyond, while changing hearts and minds in the process.
“An immense step forward. Pope Francis calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide,” Tweeted Jesuit Father James Martin
DignityUSA, the self-proclaimed oldest Catholic group advocating for LGBTQ rights, say the Vatican's stance on LGBTQ rights could improve the lives of LGBTQ people world-wide.
“Since the Vatican led the opposition to a 2010 United Nations proposal to decriminalize homosexuality DignityUSA has repeatedly challenged our church leaders to reverse this stance,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s executive director. DignityUSA has led nationwide witnesses at cathedrals across the U.S. for this purpose, while advocating for Pope Francis to make a statement like this when he visited Africa in 2015. Duddy-Burke, who was also an advisor to the State Department on faith and LGBTQ+ issues during the Obama administration, urged both Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama to make LGBTQ acceptance their top priority when they visited with Pope Francis.
"It is critical that the church’s bishops immediately end any support they have given to laws that make being gay or same-sex relationships illegal. We also call on Catholics in our own country and around the world to support equality and non-violence for their LGBTQIA+ neighbors,” said Duddy-Burke.
New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DiBernardo shares much of DiginityUSA's sentiment.
"Most important, the pope highlights that being LGBTQ+ is not sinful and criminal, but harming one’s neighbor is most certainly both. That simple principle is a bedrock of Catholic teaching," said DiBernardo in a statement. "It is shameful that in some nations where criminalization exists or has been proposed, Catholic bishops and other leaders have been in the forefront of supporting such abhorrent measures. The pope’s statement will help end this tragic record of church leaders’ complicity with the scourge of criminalization."
DiBernardo offers a call-to-action himself. The pope, from January 30 to February 5, will take an apostolic journey to South Sudan. There DiBernardo hopes that he will speak out against Sudan's LGBTQ criminalization laws and continue to spread his message as he's announced to the AP.
Additionally, Charlotte Clymer, former press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, says the pope's statement "... is arguably the strongest statment of support for LGBTQ rights from Francis since the beginning of his papacy," in a Tweet.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, reiterated Pope Francis' sentiment for global LGBTQ support in a Tweet.
The following sites updated: