Suicide Hopelessness

With the recent revelations that missing 13 year old Declan Crouch committed suicide. I'm not sure whether this will turn out to be the coroners final determination but it's still a horrible thought. Throughout the roughly two months he was missing the media thought he was just a missing person. But in this latest revelation it really is a strange end. Why someone so young would kill themselves is a difficult thing to come to terms with. 

 

It was strange because yesterday I happen to have peen listening to my random podcasts which are varied and two of them turned out to be about this topic. The day before I was presented with a study on gay & lesbian youth and suicide was a big player in that topic. Then suicide was back in the news with reports that show that Queensland has the highest rate of suicide among males in Australia. 

Suicide is a topic that really concerns me. I work in an area where suicide is a daily reality, and it's never something that is easy to understand. Personally I have an interest in the gay and lesbian area and want to get involved in issues that surround in particular youth. The one thing that I am certain of is that self esteem and a feeling of being alone are two of the primary things that lead to suicide. 

I have spoken to a lot of people about this topic and there is so many who actually want to help but are frustrated when they can't find out how. It seems that in general people want to do something but just can't find ways to do it. There are some organisations out there that do a great job in their area such as Beyond Blue, Open Doors and similar but there seems to not be a lot. I think one of the frustrating parts of this is not the services that are already there but more how to get to those people at risk. I don't have the answers but I do endeavour to work on this. I am talking with organisations at the moment to work out the highest areas of need and what I can do so we will continue on this path. 

It would be great to know what others are doing in this area and what has worked. Again I don't have the answers but am determined to make a difference. Look for the signs in those around you. I am not the expert so check out the web and learn as much as you can. 

The PM should have thought twice

As some of you may have heard, the PM Julia Gillard is about to have dinner with three gay & lesbian couples who support marriage equality. How did it happen, well the dinner was being auctioned off for charity and the AME & Get Up! won the auction who are sending three gay couples to the dinner. Sweet justice really. 

Julia has been struggling to distance herself from the fight for marriage equality for a long time. There are a lot of stories out there that state secretly she supports marriage equality however follows the party policy and is desperately trying to maintain support which appears to be in the balance of the Christian Lobby. Considering the PM has avoided and refused to meet with supporters of marriage equality and the issue is becoming very heated, this will be the last straw. 

A better version of the story is linked to at the bottom, but my 2c worth is this. The polls are showing that the majority of Australian's support marriage equality. The PM's approval rates are in the gutter. So seriously, she would have nothing to lose by showing support for this. The PM is so concerned that she will lose the votes of the Christian Lobby (which she will), that she doesn't realise she has stopped leading this nation. Yes, it will politically be a risk for her to show support for this fight, however as a leader she needs to make these decisions. By making these decisions she may just find renewed support. This is a woman who really underestimates the power of the gay vote. What we are looking for is a leader who is willing to do what is right. This isn't just a gay issue, but a whole nation one. Each time an election comes around it's a choice of picking which party is the least disturbing. What this country needs is for a leader who doesn't bullshit and who is willing to stand up and be counted. 

Politics has many flaws, but one of the biggest is that the current system does not encourage honesty. One of the problems is that the process of replacing a party leader is as simple as a vote by the party. However in this situation the Labor Party need to realise that it's not just Julia that is unpopular at the moment but the whole party. It's time to wake up and realise that what you are doing isn't working. It's time to take some risks. There is always going to be some opposition to decisions in the public but you need to weather these and make change that is better for the country. 

You can read more about it HERE

Rip & Roll



UPDATE: Ads reinstated after support - check it out HERE





 

As you will see from the poster, it displays a gay couple and a strong message about using a condom. It’s targeted towards prevention of HIV. The strange thing is I pass a billboard with this poster on it quite regularly and my impressions were completely different (maybe understandably) to what is now being said.

When I saw this ad, I never once thought anything about it being a gay couple. I just saw a good message. I thought the poster was tasteful and not sexual in nature and it came with a great tag line of “Rip N Roll” I never even considered the fact it had a gay couple on it. In retrospect now that it has been drawn to my attention that it is I still don’t see anything wrong with it. I wouldn’t have minded who the couple was on the noticeboard whether it be gay or straight. I just think it’s a representation of the fact that not everyone is straight.

The arguments being spread and the complaints that were received in part state they don’t want any ads about sexual matters used because children may see it. Well this is a naive thing to say. Kids know about sex and this stuff at a very young age. I didn’t think there was anything inappropriate in this.

However if you look at the complaints received  you will see that the issue of sexuality comes up constantly. Not surprisingly most of the complaints are identical showing this was a targeted campaign. Showing a gay couple on advertising isn’t that uncommon in this day and age and for me there should be more of it. Not because of any other reason then it shows the world that there are a variety of people in this world. That’s why commercials show a variety of ethnic groups.

The Christian Lobby Director Wendy Francis made the statement she objected to the sexual nature of the ads, not the fact the couple pictured were gay. Ms Francis was last year forced to apologise publicly after a Tweet likening gay marriage to legalising child abuse. Her argument is week. There is nothing particularly sexual in nature about the image and now she tries to use an excuse for attacking gay people. I doubt very much she would have done the same thing if it was a straight couple. It’s a stretch in my mind that she believes this billboard is showing “Foreplay”. If that’s what she thinks foreplay is about than she really needs to look again.

Looking at the poll at the bottom of the new article at the time I wrote this blog post 84% of respondents agreed “It’s a great ad and should have been kept”. It really is a shame that the ACL has got away with this and that once again this country has failed to show it can be a progressive leader in showing it’s open mindedness.
I really do love my country but get so disappointed at crap like this. I remember growing up being taught that Australia is the best country in the world and is a country that is laid back and accepts everyone. This is also a view that people overseas had. It appears more and more that we have a country where our leaders are bigots and bow to those who can pay them the most money. After all, every poll shows that the majority of the country support equality for the gay population and marriage equality.