I who may well be...

Musings from the perspective of a human being who may well be not locatable completely within the usual categories of male or female or gay or straight or transsexual or intersexed or exploiter or exploited or supplier or consumer or performer or spectator.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Firm Nation

As performed on Sunday (28 May 2006) at the high-powered 50th birthday of Trevor Davies, founder of the South Sydney Herald, for an audience that included the leader of the NSW Upper House Meredith Bergman, the leader of the National Party Duncan Gay, various Green and Labour Members of Parliament, Councillors and aparatchicks, and various trouble makers from the ABC, the Uniting Church, and other tools of progressive and inclusive social engineering, here are the lyrics of A Firm Nation, sung to Savage Garden's "Affirmation":

A Firm Nation

I believe that Scripture’s more important than Humanity
I believe the Catholic Church deserves its Truth monopoly
I believe that saving souls is worth the cost of child abuse
I believe that cross dressers are perverts and there’s no excuse
I believe the Pope is right about abortion and safe sex
I believe in all the sexist racist stuff in ancient texts

I believe you’re either with us or you are a terrorist
I believe the p’lice needs lots more laws to lock up activists
I believe the truth is what we see each night on channel ten
I believe the war on Terror looks so good on CNN

I believe the Middle East Road Map to Peace has got a chance
I believe Bush, Howard and Blair are just victims of circumstance
I believe the Op/e/ra House “No War” criminals are bad
I believe it makes sense to bomb people cos their leader’s mad
I believe Democracy and Oil are well worth fighting for
I believe pre-emptive strikes will keep our country safe from war

I believe you’re either with us or you are a terrorist
I believe the p’lice needs lots more laws to lock up activists
I believe the truth is what we see each night on channel ten
I believe the war on Terror looks so good on CNN

I believe that prisoners are criminal cos they’re in jail
I believe we are not safe if women hide behind a veil
I believe that gay men can’t get married cos they don’t have kids
I believe that lesbians can’t have real sex, they don’t have dicks

I believe you’re either with us or you are a terrorist
I believe the p’lice needs lots more laws to lock up activists
I believe the truth is what we see each night on channel ten
I believe the war on Terror looks so good on CNN

I believe you’re either with us or you are a terrorist
I believe the p’lice needs lots more laws to lock up activists
I believe the truth is what we see each night on channel ten
I believe the war on Terror looks so good on CNN

Lyrics anti-copyright 2006 norrie mAy-welby

Monday, May 29, 2006

URGENT: Gay Books in Daycare Centres - PLEASE SUPPORT Polls

The homophobes are voting big here. Please think of the children. No, really, the kids of lesbian mums, the kids who may have a gay or bi dad, the kids who maybe a little non-gender-normative themselves. Please show support for children's education being inclusive and teaching inclusion and not allowing anyone to be belittled for being different.

Help make a better world. Get your networks to vote in this poll, and show the right-wing (who have obviously mobilised seriously on this) that hate is not as strong as love.



Thursday, May 25, 2006

Response to Evasive Stock Replies from Senators on Refugee Export Industry

Senators Fierravanti-Wells and Heffernan,

You are both deliberately avoiding the point, which is that women and children will be locked up for commiting no crime, on some desert island where church groups and other people concerned with social justice, and not just the vote of the xenophobes needed for re-electing politicians to comfortable salaries, can reach them.

Women and children, fleeing for their lives, will be taken away overseas and jailed.

Nothing you say even begins to address this.

I do not expect you to agree with me without debate, but I do expect you to be capable of engaging with the issues, and not just spew the standard government line about how many well-off immigrants your party of big business has accomodated.

You both claim to support family values, and Christian values. What the women and children arriving by boat? What about the orphans? How do you think Christ would have us treat refugees? Are you really trying to do the right thing, or just trying to safe-guard your re-election?

norrie mAy-welby
below is the reply I recieved from Senator Fierravanti-Wells . It is substantially the same as Heffernan's.

"Fierravanti-Wells, Concetta \(Senator\)"
24/05/2006 03:59 PM

RE: norrie on refugee export industry

Dear Ms May-Welby,
On 11 May the Government introduced the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006 to Parliament. The Bill will strengthen border measures for unauthorised boat arrivals.

Australia’s approach to unauthorised arrivals will continue to reflect our strong commitment to our international protection obligations. Australia has a proud and long tradition as a resettlement destination for refugees from around the world. Australia has taken more than 660 000 refugees since 1945, and today is one of the top three resettlement countries in the world.

The amendments will widen the class of unauthorised arrivals who will be covered by the existing offshore processing arrangements. This expanded group, referred to as ‘designated unauthorised arrivals’, will include the existing group of people who arrive unauthorised at offshore entry places and persons arriving unauthorised by boat on the Australian mainland. With effect from 13 April 2006 people who arrive in Australia by sea without authority may be moved to offshore processing centres in a declared country, outside Australia, for the assessment of any asylum claims.

The arrangements ensure that people taken to offshore processing centres are safe and cared for and have access to a reliable refugee determination process. In reference to Nauru, unauthorised arrivals would be accommodated under Nauruan visas and an open centre arrangement which will enable women and children to move freely at any time during the day.
Any people found to be refugees will be provided with protection while they await resettlement in a third country, including Australia where appropriate, or plan voluntary return to their homeland.

Some 1550 people have been processed under these arrangements since 2001 and not one person found to be a refugee has been returned to their homeland against their will.

The Refugees Convention does not set down any particular process for signatory countries to use in deciding who are refugees. Australia’s offshore assessment process is modelled closely on the process used by the UNHCR and has delivered comparable outcomes on Nauru to the UNHCR process. Australia’s process has allowed a person found not to be a refugee to obtain a fresh merits review of their case by another, more senior, departmental officer.

The Convention also does not provide asylum seekers with a right to choose the country in which their claims will be assessed or where they will be provided with protection. Under the Refugees Convention it is open to a country to make different arrangements to address its refugee protection obligations for people on the basis of whether their entry to the country was lawful or unlawful. The Convention itself contains different provisions for dealing with refugees depending on whether their entry to, or presence in, a country is lawful.

People found to be refugees under the offshore process will remain offshore in safety until resettlement to a third country is arranged.

Yours sincerely,

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Liberal Senator for New South Wales

eugenics and prisoners families

OPEN LETTER TO BOB DEBUS AND MORRIS IEMMA (respectively NSW Attorney General and Premier), regarding a bill to stop prisoners having access to IVF or to store semen.

It is alarming that what your government is considering will punish people who have not committed a crime.

The wives and children of male criminals have not committed any offence, but they are to be doomed to be single children, if they have no brothers and sisters prior to their father's incarceration, or to be forced to commit adultery if they are wives who are childless and want children, or if they don't want their child to be an only child.

Some women still take seriously the religious instructions around marriage, and it is unfair to sentence them to choose between childlessness for them and their family (because this also affects potential grandparents and so on), and committing adultery.

It may not mean much in secular life where the only concern is making money for the private companies profiteering from the incarceration of human beings, but this proposal directly violates the sacred instruction "Those whom God hath joined together, let no one set asunder."

There are other values to consider in public life besides the base appeal to vengeance thought necessary to secure re-election. Please, consider the rights of those women and children, and the rights of everyone not to suffer cruel and unusual punishment, and the right of everyone to not be criminally punished when they are innocent. Blind vengeance is NOT justice.

[Background material follows]

From: Arthur Chesterfield-Evans
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 19:48:39 +1000
Subject: Negative eugenics Bill
To People Interested in Civil Liberties
The Corrective Services Legislation Amendment Bill has been passed
through the Lower House and will be introduced into the Legislative
Council . It will probably not be discussed tonight. There is Private
Mmbers business tomorrow until 5pm, and then only another one and half
hours of government business. It may therefore not come on until
Tuesday 30th.
It prohibits inmates who are serving sentences for indictable offences
from providing reproductive material for storage, and demands that
inmates who have already stored reproductive material to pay for such
According to my sources, this involves a minor involved in a rape case,
who needs treatment for lymphoma and wants to store his material.
Apparently there has been another case who also had a type of lymphoma.
I do not think that there is any evidence for the proposition that
violent tendencies are inherited. Presumably everyone can be
rehabilitated and castration is not part of the sentence, yet this is
effectively what is happening. My understanding is that this amounts to
negative eugenics.
I attach the Bill and the second reading speech is below. Frankly it
is likely to get through with the support of both major parties.
If people want to take action, they could email the Minister for
Corrective Services, Tony Kelly, the Attorney-General Bob Debus, or the
Premier, Morrris Iemma. The media is your hands.
Contact details are at:
Bill introduced and read a first time.
Second Reading
Bill introduced and read a first time.
Second Reading
Mr PAUL McLEAY (Heathcote-Parliamentary Secretary) [11.21 p.m.]: I
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill introduces amendments to the Crimes (Administration of
Sentences) Act 1999 that were recently foreshadowed by the Premier. The
amendments will prohibit inmates who are serving sentences for serious
indictable offences, or who are awaiting sentencing for such offences,
from providing their reproductive material for use, or storage, for
reproductive purposes at hospitals or other places, and will require
inmates who have had their reproductive material stored for reproductive
purposes to pay charges for the storage during any period in which they
are imprisoned.
The bill amends the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 by
introducing new section 72B within division 8 of part 1 of the Act.
Division 8 of part 1 deals with miscellaneous issues including
health-related issues affecting inmates. The bill also amends the
Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987 to provide that new section 72B of
the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 applies to juveniles
subject to control in detention centres. The bill therefore applies to
males and females, adults and juveniles, who are imprisoned for
committing a serious indictable offence.
Application of the amendments to both adult and juvenile offenders is
necessary for consistency of operation, particularly in the case of
offenders who progress from juvenile detention to adult custody on
reaching the statutory age. Application to both male and female inmates
is intended to ensure that the legislation cannot be challenged on the
basis of breaching the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
Restricting the prohibition to inmates in full-time custody for
committing a strictly indictable offence will ensure that only those
inmates convicted of very serious offences will be subject to the
ban-inmates whose crimes the community abhors and to whom community
concerns apply.
I now turn to the detail of the bill. Schedule 1 item [1] inserts
proposed section 72B into the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act
1999. Section 72B (1) defines expressions used in the proposed section.
Serious indictable offender is defined to cover inmates serving a
sentence of imprisonment for a serious indictable offence, or awaiting
sentencing for such an offence. A serious indictable offence is an
offence that may be dealt with only on indictment, and includes offences
committed elsewhere than in New South Wales which, if committed in New
South Wales, would be serious indictable offences, and various terrorism
offences. Examples of offences covered by the definition are offences
such as murder, sexual assault and kidnapping.
Section 72B (2) prevents the granting of leave of absence to a serious
indictable offender for the purpose of the offender providing
reproductive material for use, or storage, for reproductive purposes at
any hospital or other place. Section 72B (3) makes it an offence for a
serious indictable offender to provide reproductive material for use, or
storage, for reproductive purposes at any hospital or other place. This
section imposes a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units or imprisonment
for 6 months, or both. One hundred penalty units is the maximum penalty
applicable under comparable legislation, the Human Tissue Act 1983, for
obtaining or using a sperm donor's semen for an improper purpose. A
custodial sentence is desirable as an alternative or additional penalty
for an inmate who may not be deterred by the prospect of facing only a
financial penalty.
Section 72B (4) requires prisoners other than serious indictable
offenders, who have their reproductive material stored for reproductive
purposes at hospitals or other places, to pay a charge for storage of
the material. Section 72B (5) requires serious indictable offenders
whose reproductive material was stored for reproductive purposes before
the commencement of the proposed section to pay a charge for storage of
the material. Schedule 2 amends section 29 of the Children (Detention
Centres) Act 1987 to apply the new section to be inserted by schedule 1
to persons subject to control within the meaning of that Act. I commend
the bill to the House.
Debate on motion by Mr Thomas George adjourned.
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MLC
NSW Parliamentary Leader
Australian Democrats
ph: 02 9230-2303
fax: 02 9230-2866
email: ace.mlc@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Get a new perspective on NSW at ACE's website,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Question and Answer With John Shelby Spong

From this week's Question and AnswerWith John Shelby Spong


Norrie May-Welby, via the Internet, writes:
In one of your recent Questions & Answers a woman asked about her friend saying “Go to God” for the ethics on homosexuality and you interpreted this as “go to the Bible.” You asked her to question the Old Testament principles that, as you point out, include not only homicidal homophobia but also ruthless misogyny and regulated slavery. Fair enough, but one can also point to God’s promise that no one who seeks him is excluded and his refutation of the use of laws to oppress humans. But on the point of “Go to God,” may I share that as a gay teenage Christian (thirty years ago), I had questions arising from the condemnation others put on my own romantic attraction. I didn’t go the Bible for answers. I went to God in my heart. I then knew deeply that my Creator neither hates me nor made me to be hateful nor hated and that my profound romantic love for a certain guy at school, a homosexual love if you like, was a divine gift. It may be that for many people if we “go to God” in our own hearts, we may have some feelings indicating whether we should buy into hateful divisive prejudices or find it in ourselves to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Dear Norrie,
Thanks for your beautiful letter and for sharing your personal story. When a fundamentalist condemning homosexuality says, “Go to God and you will find that my condemnation is also God’s condemnation, I am sure they mean read the Book of Leviticus! I go to the Bible daily and I find there Jesus quoted as saying, “Come unto me all ye,” not “Some of ye.” I find the God of Israel commanding that the people care for the stranger and embrace the outcast. I find Jesus stating that his purpose is to give life and give it abundantly.
Whenever we diminish life in the name of God, which is what every prejudice does, we are violating the deepest purpose that we claim for the worship of God.
Religious systems are not divinely created. They are intensely human, bearing all the marks of our survival-oriented self at the center of world humanity. Yet as you have experienced it, it has transcendent moments that change hearts and expand life. God is not bound by human religious systems. God is not a Christian; God is not a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu or a Buddhist. Yet every system can lead its adherents beyond religion and into all that God means. Our hope for humanity lies in that path. We need to honor the pathways to God that millions walk in this world. If they lead us to a deeper humanity, they are all of God. If they result in our attempt to dominate, control, persecute or kill in the service of our religion, they are all destructive and evil.
The Christian faith has produced its share of horror in 2000 years – The Crusades, the Holocaust, religious wars, the Inquisition, various persecutions, the diminishment of human life through slavery, the abuse of women, children and gay and lesbian people just to name a few. Christianity has also, however, produced lives of such transcendent beauty that they stand out from the rest of humanity in clear relief. I do wish that we would concentrate on producing more of the latter and less of the former. Your story will help by inspiring others to love their neighbors as themselves.
John Shelby Spong

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1300 Boat People land in Melbourne!

Wednesday's Daily Telegraph (page 44) reported the landing in Australia of more than 1300 boat people refugees. Apparently no attempt was made to turn them back, nor to report or deport them to the regime they were fleeing from. Nor is there any suggestion this number of non-English speakers will swamp us, nor any indication that they and their children should be sent to rot on Naruu for four years.

Because they arrived in 1957, when we were still a civilised nation.

[Letter to the editor sent today, inspired by their "On This Day" historical eature.]

The authoritarian state tortures and kills

For anyone who thinks the atrocities uncovered at Camp X Ray or Abu Graib (sp?) were unusual for the civilised Americans, have a look at this documentation of the systematic torture and murder inside US jails and youth detention facilitities.


Please feel free to delude yourself that conditions are totally different in Australia, where about 25% of the Indigenous population are locked up, along with a high proportion of our mentally ill population.

Letter from President of Iran to President of USA

A most moving letter, from the President of Iran, to the President of the USA, appealing to their shared faith in God and Jesus, to re-assess what America has been doing against the standards of Bush's professed religious beliefs. and of civic benevolence. It's long and detailed, and I wonder if Bush will ever have any of it read to him, and I doubt that he is capable of understanding it, but it's a work of compassionate intellect, and worthy of great exposure.

In this time when the RightWing"Christians" and fanatical "Islamists" claim to be on the side of the Loving Creator God in their campaigns of war, hatred, torture and death, it is most encouraging for a prominent religious figure to point out the unifying principles common to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, while not being silent on the crimes being perpetrated on God's children (such as the Palestinians under military occupation, the people tortured in Gitmo, and the victims of the WTO attack).


Friday, May 05, 2006

Hypocrites Supporting Discrimination

I'm damn pissed off with these hypocrites who use religion and God to treat certain kinds of people, all God's creations, as unacceptable. It is even more hypocritical when they do this in the name of Jesus, who pointedly welcomed to community even those rejected by pharisees, priests and scripture.

It boggles my mind how can anyone profess to follow Christ and not follow Christ's very strong principle of inclusiveness. Yet today the self-righteous seek the right kick out the lepers and eunuchs. Well, I'm a eunuch, and Jesus in the Bible says God loves and values me, and I'm sick of hypocritical authoritarians claiming the mandate of religious correctness. Exclusion and unfair discrimination are against the inclusive values of both Christianity (as espoused by Jesus in the Gospels) and any sustainable secular society.

norrie mAy-welby
learned nothing as a child at sunday school that told me I was an abomination unto the Lord

I wrote the above in response to MP David Clarke’s opposition to legislation against workplace discrimination in NSW. The following Greens press release sums up his position well, or you can check out his self-righteous diatribe against anyone who is different from what he sees as acceptable in Hansard.

David Clarke confirms Liberal position:

‘Values’ over anti-discrimination

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has today expressed disappointment that the Liberal Party will oppose her Anti-Discrimination Amendment ( Equality in Education and Employment) Bill which would remove loopholes allowing private schools and small businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

David Clarke, the leader of the Liberal’s religious right faction, yesterday spoke to the Bill and repeated the Liberal Party position that vague ‘values’ are more important than preventing discrimination.

Mr Clarke stated: “…if homosexuality or transgender sexuality are portrayed…to students through the demeanour, practice or conduct of t eachers…there is a potential problem.”

“Just which values is the Liberal Party defending?” Ms Rhiannon asked today.

“The value that says it’s OK to punish someone for being gay or lesbian? The value that says it’s OK to expel a student for coming out?

“The Greens are happy to put our values on display – tolerance, compassion, fairness.

“The Liberal Party’s values of homophobia and exclusion are shameful and an insult to NSW’s lgbti communities,” Ms Rhiannon concluded.

A final vote on the Bill will take place in coming weeks. The full Hansard of debate is available at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Trans activists call to change UN Human Rights Declaration

I am quoted in this story published in SX News (a Sydney queer free newspaper), on line at http://www.evolutionpublishing.com.au/sxnews/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=295&Itemid=41

Thursday, 27 April 2006
Local campaigners this week urged the gay and lesbian community to support US transgender activists’ calls for the United Nations to revise its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

GenderEvolve, an online community for transgender people, has launched a petition to ask the UN to replace references to “all men and women” with “all people”, and to add ‘gender’ as a category under Article 2, which lists circumstances under which a person may not be discriminated against, including race, religion and sex. “The term ‘women and men’ is exclusionary of all people whose gender cannot be described by either category,” the organisation said, adding that the addition of gender as a category would afford protection for transgender people “whose human rights are being violated because of their exhibited gender, not their biological sex”.

Sex and Gender Education Australia (SAGE) supports the campaign to amend the Declaration. “It’s a long overdue change,” steering committee member Tracie O’Keefe told SX. “Biology, psychology and sociology now show us that there are more than two sexes and genders, so bipolarisation of sex and gender in a modern society is discriminatory.”

SAGE spokes-person Norrie May-Welby added: “We are absolutely in favour of the change because the phrase ‘all men and all women’ doesn’t make clear that it includes all people and it is a declaration of human rights. Most intersex people will identify as men and women but there are some who don’t, and some people identify as androgynous or not as men or women; I’d certainly be happy to include myself in that category and would like human rights to be extended to me. I can’t tell you what gender I am unless you tell me what that means to you but I know I’m a human being and I want to be included in human rights.”

To sign the online petition, go to:www.petitiononline.com/xgender/petition.html ~KATRINA FOX

Monday, May 01, 2006

refugee export industry

This the email I sent out to my local Federal MP and every Federal Senator last week. Underneath it is the first response.

norrie on refugee export industry

Under the proposed excisment of the whole of Australia from our migration zone, children will be forced to grow up in detention. Behind razor wire. For no crime. For no humane reason. And for the profit of the company or third world junta running it.

Our whole immigration policy is shameful. It does not meet the minimum standards of what I would consider to be Australian values, which most definitely do not involve turning a deaf ear to a cry for help, or sending out the bloody troops to lock up orphan refugees far out of sight. Please don't let it become even worse, hiding refugee atrocities on some island where we ordinary folk can't get to to help them at all.

Howard keeps calling us a Christian country, but this is not about bashing gays (on which Jesus did not say a word anyone thought worth putting in the Bible) but it is about aiding the stranger. This is also a sound secular value for a healthy society. I'm not asking that Johnny goes as far religion-wise as never bearing false witness, but at least he should let Australia be a Good Samaritan.

Thanks for your attention, and peace be with you.


Reply from Senator Ursula Stephens

Dear norrie,
Thank you for email expressing your concerns about the federal government's changes to Australia's refugee policy.

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments - there is no fairness or equity in the proposed changes, which are designed to placate the Indonesian Government because of our appropriate action towards the West Papuan refugees.

Australia's refugee policy should stand up to the scrutiny of the United Nations conventions - these changes make our nation's policy fall far short of them.

You are absolutely right about the use of children as political pawns in this process. Their rights, and Australia's obligations are enshrined in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

the fact that the Australian government has deliberately placed new refugees and asylum seekers (who arrive by boat) in offshore detention will deny them access to the Refugee Review Tribunal, legal advice and legal representation. It will also prevent the Federal Ombudsman from reviewing offshore cases of long term detention.

What does it say about a nation that enjoys the highest living standards in the world that we are prepared to avoid our international responsibilities for humanitarian aid, asylum and refuge to the poorest of the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed? There is something very wrong about a nation that has everything denying anything to others - on a technicality.

As you have asked, I will continue to express my opposition to these changes,

thank you again for sharing your concerns,

Ursula Stephens
Labor Senator for NSW
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water & Science
P.O. Box 1112
Tel: 02 48228155 Fax: 02 48228156 1300 301987
Visit www.ursulastephens.com to subscribe to my e-news.