Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

“Guest Post” — Anthony Venn-Brown

Uganda – a wake-up call for US ‘ex-gay’ and Evangelical leaders

Have you been following the news about Uganda’s Anti-homosexual Bill will is currently being pushed through the parliament. If not, just Google Uganda Anti-homosexual Bill and you’ll get 102,000 pages.

123 The current law allows authorities to imprison suspected homosexuals and AIDS patients for up to 14 years. The new legislation would make the prison term a life sentence. The practice of "aggravated homosexuality" would allow the authorities to sentence homosexuals to death. Members of the public would be required to report acts of homosexuality within 24 hours of witnessing the act. If they fail to do so, they would also be imprisoned for a minimum of three years. The bill also states that the nation would be prepared to cut ties with other countries and stop any commitments they have with them to allow the new laws to be enforced.

How can such regressive and repressive legislation even be introduced?

Firstly it should be noted that colonialism has a lot to answer for. Outdated laws established by the empire builders still exist in many countries years after independence was gained. One of those laws is the so called ‘sodomy laws’ which made any sex, except for procreation, illegal and punishable by death. This can be seen in many parts of the world such as the Pacific, India, Caribbean, Bahamas and of course many parts of Africa. Australia was the last country in the British empire to hang a man for a homosexual act.

Secondly, we know there has been much anti-gay preaching by some ‘ex-gay’ leaders and evangelical preachers which has reinforced already negative beliefs about gay and lesbian people. Preachers and leaders from the US have purposely visited Uganda and other African countries to speak specifically on homosexuality. Their message? Homosexuals are sick, it is a choice and God can cure them. Funding and materials from the US have been given to promote this message.

So there we have it. If people continue to preach messages that promote outdated, ignorant beliefs about sexuality this is how far they can be pushed.

In the US, some leaders have realised how damaging their message can be and have issued statements about the evil nature of the proposed legislation in Uganda that is currently being pushed by many Christian groups.

Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International issued this statement. Of course this probably carries little weight when he, Randy Thomas and others sign the statement as supposedly ‘former homosexuals’. There is no such thing.

Ps Rick Warren of Saddleback issued this video

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has made his first public statement on the proposed anti-gay bill passing through Uganda’s parliament.

Even the Vatican has got in on the act.

One wonders whether this is all too late now the horse has bolted. If this bill is passed, and gay and lesbian people are imprisoned or die we know who are the guilty ones.

It’s time for those in the western Christian church, still living in the dark ages, to wake up and realise that homosexuality is not an illness, choice or sin; it’s an orientation. To preach anything else is not only ignorant, it’s dangerous.

Freedom 2 b[e]


This time last year

This blog came into being.

1 December 2007:

2 December 2007:

3 December 2007 – the Monday:

Now it’s that last one I want to note especially. It was a long post. Here is part, with some links corrected. (The point is “Rampant” is being repeated late tonight on ABC-TV. Watch it if you can.)

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Sunday think space

Just a couple to think about:

See Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.



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Posted by on September 28, 2008 in HIV/AIDS


One year on

Hard to believe…

Final Lord Malcolm reports: Malcolm Gordon Gleeson, died 1 June 2007


See the special page in Malcolm’s honour.

Monday 28 May

His beloved Swannies won at the weekend at least. I told Sirdan I would check in this afternoon and Lord M was less cyanosed: the blue lips were more or less back to normal. His half-brother in Tassie has been in touch and a last bit of organising Lord M is doing as far as he can is to enable his half-brother to come to Sydney for the funeral. Lord M was on the phone about that this afternoon. He told the friend he was talking to to come in ASAP as every minute now was that much nearer the end. “If I can stay alive overnight — and that’s the hard bit — I’ll fix that tomorrow,” Lord M said. “Then I can go peacefully.”

I said as I left, “See you again, if the gods permit.” I put a smile on his face by telling a story about my mother. Years ago we were seeing the Picton great-uncles off the planet at rather regular two year intervals. One was left. My mother, slightly the better for sherry at the time, said, “OK, Uncle. See you in two years.” “You might see me girl, but I won’t be seeing you,” he replied with a bit of a twinkle in the old eye. My mother was a touch embarrassed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 31, 2008 in events, HIV/AIDS, memory, personal


Plug for a worthwhile event from ACON


That I will try to get to. The price is right! The link on that flyer leads to a PDF file about the event.

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Posted by on April 15, 2008 in Australia, events, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, HIV/AIDS


Brian Leung, “Lost Men”

“You sit here,” Mrs. Cheung says as they reach the kitchen. She taps a chrome chair with yellow vinyl upholstery that matches the Formica tabletop. The chicken is flopped into the sink. “I clean outside in a minute.” She sits opposite Westen, hands folded in front of her, embroidered orange maple leaves on her sweater vest, each surrounded by small beveled rhinestones that could be rain or sunlight breaking through a fall canopy. “Your auntie ask me talk to you. Why you not a happy boy?”

“I’m happy,” Westen says, but he knows there is no conviction in it.

Mrs. Cheung places her hands flat on the table and stands. “Wait,” she says, exiting the kitchen. When she returns she is holding a pad of paper and a large red book with gold Chinese lettering. She asks Westen a series of questions: his birth date, the time he was born, how to spell his first name. With each query she consults the book and writes on the pad of paper. Her work is certain and officious, as if she is interviewing a job applicant, her lips thinned in tight concentration. Westen watches her blunt fingers press the pencil, embedding dense Chinese characters into the paper. Mrs. Cheung makes a single nod with each notation. In a quiet moment when she is double-checking her work Westen watches a drop of water collect at the lip of the kitchen faucet until it relents to gravity. “Maybe I should go find Uncle Cane,” he says when the drop falls.

Mrs. Cheung looks up from her pad. “They drinking. Don’t worry. I take you home.”

Westen knows he will not see his uncle for the rest of the day.

“You will visit China,” Mrs. Cheung says, pointing to her math. “But I think you will be an unhappy boy and an unhappy man until then.”

Westen cannot comprehend the forecast, but he makes an attempt. “China will make me happy?”

“No,” she says emphatically. “Nothing make anyone happy. But I going to help.” She reaches into her pocket and retrieves four items: a thin red ribbon, matches, a candle, and a palm-sized box covered in worn blue velvet. She ties the ribbon around the box, leaving a bow the size and shape of a small butterfly. “My mother give me before I come to U.S. I give you now.”

There is something about this gesture that comforts Westen as he watches Mrs. Cheung light the candle and drip dense wax onto the knot of the bow. “My mother do this too. She tell me I’m unhappy girl after my father die.” The pair sit quietly looking at this new red-winged creation sitting atop the blue box. “Now you open in China only at right moment,” Mrs. Cheung continues. “Maybe you be happy. Before that, no good. You tell someone, no good. This only your box.”

“When will this happen?”

“Wait for your father like I wait for Mr. Cheung,” she says. “He come back. You put away until then. Be a good boy and remember to listen to your auntie. She love you.”

Westen feels a flush of heat and hope at the prospect of his father’s return, but he wonders just how long he is going to have to wait. Picking up Mrs. Cheung’s box, he carefully feels its weight. “Is it magic?” he asks.

“No,” Mrs. Cheung says firmly. “It hope.”

That is an extract from the first chapter of Lost Men by Brian Leung (NY, Shaye Areheart Books 2007).

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Posted by on January 3, 2008 in America, Best read of 2008, book reviews, Chinese and China, Fiction, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, HIV/AIDS, humanity, reading, USA


US Presidential: the Republican side

I haven’t been following (or commenting on) this at all. Thomas, currently very festive on his blog, has taken an interest in the US Presidential race and does seem very well informed. See for example Bad polls, good polls:

Shed a tear for all Republicans. Mike Huckabee polled a … wait … wait … get your belief-goggles on … polled a massive 22 point lead in Iowa! Newsweek released their latest poll, and he had the double-digit lead over second placed Romney. This is terrible news for the averages, as it boost Huckabee’s lead 5.2 points. He’s been swapping the lead with Romney for a few months now. I hoped that by not reporting about it, it would disappear …

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Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague


A bit of must-see TV on ABC tonight.

Courage on the streets kept AIDS in check

IT WAS a warm November day in 1982 when a young, fit New Yorker was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst.

After much deliberation the 27-year-old gardener, in Sydney on holidays, was diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Six months later, having been discharged, he was dead, and Sydney would never be the same again.

Since then AIDS has swept the world, 25 million people have died and 60 million are infected, but in Australia the death toll stands at less than 7000, and infection rates have been steadily declining for more than a decade. In some parts of the world they have soared.

Now two film-makers have made a television documentary detailing how Sydney, led by an unlikely gang of gays, prostitutes and junkies, managed to hold back the wave of death and destruction that swept over cities such as New York and San Francisco, saving tens of thousands of lives.

The film, Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague, which screens on the ABC tonight as part of the 25th anniversary of the first diagnosis in Australia, outlines how authorities here took a different tack to the rest of the world by setting up a needle exchange program, enlisting sex workers to insist on condoms and using gays to promote the safe sex message, while countries such as the US were insisting on sanctions and abstinence.

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World AIDS Day 2007 — 2


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Posted by on December 2, 2007 in faith and philosophy, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, HIV/AIDS, humanity, South Sydney Uniting Church


World AIDS Day 2007

Everything earlier than this post is archived from an earlier blog.

aids_ribbon.gifI cannot contemplate this today without recalling Malcolm Gordon Gleeson (25 May 1957-1 June 2007).

The Age of AIDS.

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Posted by on December 1, 2007 in events, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, HIV/AIDS, humanity


Looking for the “gay lobby”

Andrew Sibley has faith in its existence. Writing on the UK Creation Science Movement site (presumably not an anti-gay lobby group) he says with amazing confidence:

Channel 4 presented a programme of poor quality by Rod Liddle, The New Fundamentalism, Dispatches, 8pm 6th March 2006, that was nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on evangelical Christianity and creationists by a self confessed liberal Christian…

God called men and women to respect each other and engage in life long committed relationships, but Liddle seemed to ridicule children for their stand preferring the negative social consequences that a liberal attitude to sexual activity brings. He failed for instance to acknowledge the link between condom use and promiscuity. Condoms are about 95 to 98% effective, meaning they have a 1 in 20 to 1 in 50, failure rate. If the rate of extra marital sexual activity increases by more than a factor of 20 to 50 through contraception use then the incidence of unprotected sex will increase with damaging consequences for people and society. The issue of whether a gay gene exists or not is also an important one because many people suffer from confusion or mental illness, as a result of popular culture and the gay lobby teaching children and young people that gay sentiment is genetic, and not cultural. There is no evidence that a gay gene exists, although Jesus did acknowledge that some are born as eunuchs, this as a result of the fall. But God did not create people to be gay and our genes do not determine the thoughts we choose to think. While we have sympathy for those suffering confusion over their identity, it is important to maintain a correct understanding of our make up. Gay sentiment has more to do with exposure to a cultural replicator and nurture, perhaps through negative experiences in childhood…

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Planning a banquet with Lord Malcolm

Lord Malcolm and I had a wonderful lunch at Chinese Whispers in Crown Street, Surry Hills. The duck dish was the best of its kind we have ever had. Towards the end, Lord Malcolm raised the idea of a banquet for his 49th in May, and we agreed this was the place to do it, so that is what will happen, God willing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 26, 2006 in friends, Gay and Lesbian, HIV/AIDS, local, Lord Malcolm, personal, Sunday lunch, Surry Hills


Building Bridges

Image hosting by PhotobucketHere is a site I had never seen before, but I am glad to have found it, as I did when searching for information about my friend the late Father Ken Sinclair.
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Lord Malcolm

I spoke last night to Sirdan and hope to speak to Lord Malcolm, perhaps to see him, today. He is likely to be in hospital for some time. Our Christmas plans are on hold.

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See also The Body: HIV/AIDS Resource; UNAIDS;; HIV AIDS Positive Stories; Aids Council of NSW.

Note Stages III and IV of HIV Infection. Lord Malcolm has been living with Stage III for some time. And doing it brilliantly. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 22, 2005 in friends, Gay and Lesbian, health, HIV/AIDS, Lord Malcolm, Sirdan