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Current Affairs - The opinions of a grumpy old pouf

 
Doug Pollard is a veteran gay journalist, columnist, commentator, and broadcaster specialising in GLBTI issues, based in Melbourne Australia. He often works with Rob Mitchell of the RJM Trust, "We are separate independent and unaffiliated guerilla campaigners and advocates, and the best of mates: nimble, fast-moving, unconventional and above all aiming to drive rapid change", he says.

Educating dinosaurs

Aflosaurus Demetriousus

Some dinosaurs were so large and slow that their arses could be eaten half-off before the pain of the first bite got to the dim little brain up the front.

So they developed a second even dimmer brain – well, not so much a brain, more a nerve-ganglion - down at the arse-end, capable of a quick and dirty response, like automatically lashing out at any faggy-toothed tiger game enough to risk a bite.


The Aflosaurus Demtriousus is a good example: attack it, and the arse-brain throws out quick and dirty responses: a shiny DVD, a supportive letter. No need to bother the proper brain at the head end, placidly chomping its way through all that government and sponsorship lettuce.

ARSE-BRAIN
Last week a campaign by amateur footy player Jason Ball gathered 25,000 signatures urging the beast to get off its half-eaten arse and finally do something about the endemic anti-gay culture of the AFL.

The arse-brain kicked in immediately with the usual automatic ‘manage expectations’ routine. Don’t ask too much, it said. Why should we be the ones to do anything? Not our problem.

But slowly, slowly, the main brain is becoming aware that the old answers just won't wash. 25,000 signatures in just about one week! If it hadn’t been for the tragic death of John McCarthy, who knows how high the total would have gone.

MAIN BRAIN

Like it or not, this time the AFL is going to have to put significant time, effort and dollars into fundamentally changing the culture of footy over an extended period of time. Quick and dirty fixes won’t do.

A Pride Round will of course be an excellent start, but it’s still only an arse-brain answer, albeit a bloody good one. Flying a few flags and painting a rainbow on the turf doesn’t mean main brain can safely forget us the rest of the year.

It has to be backed up by an ongoing program to effect behavioural change at every level of the sport, not just in the elite clubs.

DON'T REINVENT THE WHEEL
Fortunately there’s no need for endless committees and studies and other delaying tactics, no need to reinvent the wheel.

Just such a program already exists at Hockey Victoria, who, in association with the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Equal Rights Commission, have had great success with the Fair Go Sport initiative.

Supported by the Australian Sports Commission, Fair Go Sport aims to promote sexual and gender diversity in hockey clubs across Victoria. It can easily be adapted for rollout throughout the AFL, VFL and VCFL clubs.

This will not come without cost, of course, but then the Aflosaurus is top predator in the sports jungle, and should have no trouble scaring people into coughing up enough lettuce.

PLAYERS ROLE
AFL players can play their part, too. Being players, they are much more nimble than the administration, and have big fast brains. They figured out something would have to be done years ago.

But you can’t say much with an Aflosaurus sitting on your face.

Now that the old dinosaur is standing up, however, wouldn’t it be a great for ALL the gay AFL players to come out during a Pride Round? That way no-one has to bear the searing tabloid blowtorch alone, if indeed there would even be one.

One gay player comes out? Big story. Fifteen gay players come out? Meh.

FINALS FOOTY
Check out Jason's petition, and if you haven't signed it, please do. There may still be time - just - to get the first token gesture at the Grand final on 29th.

Meanwhile there are lots of opportunities to fly the Rainbow Flag in the runup to the main event - why not take your pride to these events? Go in numbers, to be safe, and have fun. That, after all, is what footy is supposed to be about. For ALL of us.

PS for all those people who keep asking me for links, just click on the highlighted portions of text!
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Comments
2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]
1. September 19th 2012 @ 23:08. Doug Pollard Says:
Rob Mitchell has just pointed out to me another reason why a few PR stunts like a Rainbow Round will not be enough. What happens, he asks, if, encouraged by all the hoo-ha, some kid at a local footy club comes out, and is then bashed/shunned? Because footy failed to prepare the soil first?
2. September 20th 2012 @ 00:53. Doug Pollard Says:
It's also pointed out to me that if the AFL need a model of how to embrace and celebrate diversity, Telstra, one of their major supporters can show them how.

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