The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bye bye freedom

In his recent show at the Opera House, the English cabaret, drag and performance artist David Hoyle urged the audience to kill politicians. "Do it as a group – kill them collectively, so they can't pin it on anyone," he said. While John Howard is an obvious and natural target, Peter Costello surely comes a close second after his pathetic plan to fine individuals and groups who organise boycotts against businesses. It's yet another example of the trend for governments to be puppets of corporations, run for the benefit of greedy, unethical companies and not for the good of the common person.

Let's look at what his plan means for queers. Suppose a major company – say a car manufacturer, or a furniture supplier – aligns itself with the Christian right and comes out with a homophobic statement. GLBT groups, quite rightly, forward this information by email as widely as possible, calling on queer people and their families, friends, colleagues etc not to buy anything from this company on moral and ethical grounds because they are promoting discrimination and hatred towards the GLBT community. Those groups would, if the Federal Treasurer has his way, be prosecuted and ordered to pay compensation to companies targeted by boycotts.

Holy crap. Did I blink and miss the concept of free speech and consumer choice being removed from our supposedly democratic society? It's as disconcerting as reading in the mainstream newspapers how a group of protestors who objected to the visit of a war criminal (US Vice-President Dick Cheney) were not allowed to walk though the CBD lest it 'disrupt' traffic, but it's perfectly fine for local residents to be subjected to loud helicopters and parts of the city being locked down to accommodate Cheney's trip to Sydney. And what's the betting Costello's proposal will only be applied selectively. I can't imagine Christian fundamentalists who organise a boycott against the adult industry on moral and ethical grounds will have to stump up compensation to the local sex-on-premises or porn shop – can you?

It's not that I have a problem with all big businesses, such as those who sponsor queer events such as Mardi Gras. New Mardi Gras could have done a lot worse than picking Gaydar as a sponsor – kudos to them for not opting for a pharmaceutical, petrochemical or tobacco firm, for example. But that said, when community organisations and businesses such as Sex Pigs and Pink Sofa aren't allowed a stall at Fair Day or a float in the Mardi Gras parade, there's surely something just a bit wrong with that picture.

It's just something to think about. In the meantime, every cloud has a silver lining and fantastic, positive things happen to counter the negative: I'm about to get unlimited, free laser hair removal and facial photorejuvenation treatments, and Labor Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd called John Howard a "threat to national security". Priceless. Happy Mardi Gras!


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