Anthony Mundine looking confused. Picture: Jerad Williams
Anthony Mundine looking confused. Picture: Jerad Williams

OPINION: ‘Thanks for being a homophobe’

OPINION

AS A gay man I want to thank Anthony Mundine.

I want to thank him for his ongoing, bizarre, fascination with people like me and for his comments that appeared to suggest gay people should be executed.

Because I support them? Are you kidding me? Because they have merit? Hell no.

Because every time someone like Mundine, a high profile Muslim, comes along and spouts their vile brand of bigoted trash, it's a wake-up call.

A wake-up call that at a time between the first gay weddings and the 40th anniversary of Sydney's Mardi Gras, at a time when it can seem gay people are so everyday we're actually getting a bit dull, along comes an idiot to make us realise pockets of unfettered hatred are still out there.

Mundine's mouthfarts are hardly new, or unexpected. Following September 11 he said: "America brought it upon themselves."

Of course, he was going to kick off on I'm A Celebrity. Why else invite him on? And he delivered in spades.

Australia’s reaction at hearing Anthony Mundine’s comments after he hotfooted out of I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! Picture: Nigel Wright/Network TEN
Australia’s reaction at hearing Anthony Mundine’s comments after he hotfooted out of I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! Picture: Nigel Wright/Network TEN

Talking to the Daily Telegraph's Jonathon Moran, he casually linked paedophilia and homosexuality, always the desperate last resort of a homophobe whose other arguments have fallen flat.

"[Paedophiles] want their rights just like gay people want their rights with sexuality. Now they're going to claim they have the rights." Yeah, no. Gay people are adults in consensual relationships. Suggesting the two are linked is just gross and dumb.

Wittering on, he then backed up his beliefs by attempting to lean on his indigenous background.

"If we were to live in a society, just like in Aboriginal culture, that homosexuality is forbidden and you do it and the consequences are capital punishment or death, you think they are going to do it? Or think twice about it."

Anthony Mundine has a history of incendiary comments.
Anthony Mundine has a history of incendiary comments.

Just so I'm clear, your advice is we punish people for being who they are, something that harms no one, because of your precious sensibilities? Got it.

And as for Aboriginal culture forbidding homosexuality? Well Dameyon Bonson, the founder of Black Rainbow, a mental health and anti-suicide organisation for LGBTI Indigenous Australians, calls BS on that.

"There's no basis in his argument. You hear that he's such a nice guy but he's just a homophobe," Mr Bonson tells news.com.au.

Mr Bonson, who ironically was a finalist for the Anthony Mundine Courage Award at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards precisely for his work in suicide prevention, said he'd like to meet Mundine "to ask him what evidence he has, where all this is coming from".

"The problem is other people listen to him and support him but his comments can have an impact - they can even lead people to kill themselves."

And make no mistake, LGBTI people are killing themselves. Between the ages of 16-24, suicide attempts run at five times the average. People like Brisbane gay teenager Tyrone Unsworth who in 2016 took his own life after being relentlessly ridiculed by his peers.

Tyrone Unsworth, a gay teen who took his own life.
Tyrone Unsworth, a gay teen who took his own life.

And yet, a program to prevent bullying against LGBTI people has effectively been axed across Australia.

Globally, things are still tough for gay people. Bermuda has become the first country to repeal gay marriage; Indonesia is on the verge of outlawing homosexuality; there are countries where gay people are still sentenced to death.

That is, of course, absolutely not the case here in Australia. Just months ago, getting on for two-thirds of this country said yes to their fellow citizens being able to wed regardless of gender.

Mundane Mundine is a washed-up relic, a quitter who extols executions for others but crumbles under the pressure of being on a TV show. If he's a role model, he's a pretty weak and ineffectual one.

 

 

 

Many will condemn Channel 10 for giving Mundine the profile, if not the platform, that allows him to bring his views to the wider public. They will say that people whose beliefs are so clearly out of step with the Australian public shouldn't be giving a megaphone to extol them.

My view will not be popular with some, but I disagree. Mundine's hatred - and make no mistake this isn't mere opposition to say gay marriage, this is raw, visceral, death penalty advocating hatred - makes us realise that homophobia is still there, bubbling under the surface with some, looking to rear its ugly head.

We don't live in an Australia where hatred against gay people has been abolished, any more than we live in a world where sexism or racism is a thing of the past.

So give him his megaphone and let him hang himself with his own words, so we can realise how far as gay people we've come - and how far we have to go. And let a thousand other megaphones, be they from solid role models like former league player and proud indigenous gay man Casey Conway, who has called Mundine "vile" for his homophobia, or regular mums and dads, sing right back at him condemning him for his hate.

Like the rainbow flags that flutter along Sydney's Oxford St, I commend Mundine for showing us his true colours, and reminding us what a tool he is.

But I suggest he doesn't head down to Sydney Mardi Gras next month. When he sees the float full of gay Muslims, it's going to blow his tiny mind.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14



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