Ron Hughes: Sticks and stones
In the news this week, Alex Dunkin has a word with Barry Taylor from the MindOUT! Project.
It was also interesting to read that speakers at the Sydney Mardi Gras pushed the cause of marriage equality as a mental health concern. Of course it stands to reason that abolishing discrimination is going to ease the mental burden on those who are discriminated against, at the very least in raising self-esteem and increasing a sense of belonging in society.
Meanwhile Dr Ruth McNair of Melbourne University is telling doctors and other health professionals to be more proactive in dealing with their clients’ sexuality, saying even though society has improved in many areas, coming out can still be a traumatic experience at least for some. I rather liked how she put it: “While legislative frameworks have largely been reformed under human rights and social equity principles … repeated negative public statements by high-profile individuals point to ongoing and pervasive homophobia in our society.” And that affects people’s lives, their mental health and their propensity to harbour suicidal thoughts. Because they are made to feel society rejects them, does not value them, perhaps even hates them.
At the very least LGBTI people can feel they are being brushed off as insignificant. Take the case of Liberal MP Joanna Gash who accused Stephen Jones of “wasting time” on gay marriage. If you don’t know, Jones is the Labor MP who has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to legalise same-sex marriage. Gash said he should be concentration on things like manufacturing which is important to the people of his electorate. Like, equality and ending discrimination presumably are not? I do wish some of these pollies and the self-appointed “Christian” (and I use the term loosely) moral-watchdogs would think about the harm they cause even in being as casually dismissive as Gash.
The old adage is not true. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but sometimes words can harm me.
Ron Hughes is the editor of blaze.