Day 269- May 17, 2010

Eh. Didn’t have my camera with me today. Today’s Photo is a crummy camera-phone photo of some anti-homophobia posters that were up near Union House. Today is apparently International Anti-Homophobia Day, and since I missed Saturday’s rally featuring SIR IAN MCKELLAN, I thought I’d get a shot of these posters. It’s an interesting, quite confrontational approach to the whole issue. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with it, say that that kind of tone will get you nowhere. But I think there’s a place for being assertive. While a lot of these messages can be off-putting, I think that the one on the pink posters speaks the truth. Some people are gay. And there’s not a lot that anybody can do about it. And I really don’t see the point in denying to those people that which is freely available to all the others.

I think I’ll stop now. This post wasn’t meant to be a manifesto of ideals. Because, really, I’m pretty uninformed. It’s not really an issue I’ve followed too much; not one that’s really touched me, I guess. I have the notion that discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong and unfair, but I haven’t bothered to find out much more. Which comes down to self-interest, I guess. I’m not gay, so it doesn’t affect me, right?

I recently read in the paper that Tony Abbott, the leader of the Federal Opposition, pledged to, if elected, freeze public service recruitment for at least two years. I’ve since been told that it’s unlikely this freeze would affect the public service graduate intake, a program I’d be applying for after I graduate. However, this drew my attention to how strongly I react to what directly affects me. It’s pretty obvious, really- who wouldn’t? But it did make me realise that whereas I wouldn’t look twice at a policy that would put thousands out of work, I got all worked up at one that possibly threatened just one of my career options.

It’s the same for everything. Bloodshed and civil war in Bangkok? Follow the story with a detached sense of interest. Melbourne’s trains running late again? Respond with concern and outrage. It’s just not really caring about that which doesn’t affect you. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who really do care about things that don’t directly impact upon them, who work to change and fix the problems that concern others and not just themselves. But I can’t be the only one who doesn’t really.

When I was worried about the possibility of this policy affecting me, I became aware that I’d vote against it, even if it meant voting against the ideals that I can comfortably hold when nothing is threatening me. I can’t be the only one who does that either. It’s interesting how we can have all these beliefs and values in our comfortable, first-world, middle-class lives, and how quickly they might be discarded in the name of self-interest. Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t people who sacrifice their own interests to uphold ideals, or to defend others. But it does make you think.

That’s probably enough incoherent thought out of me. Incoherent but hopefully not too pretentious. I really didn’t mean to write any this apart from a quick paragraph explaining the anti-homophobia posters. But it’s all linked. And it’s all something I thought about today. I guess that’s good enough.

Didn’t really get to anything about my day, but it wasn’t that exciting. Possibly the most interesting part was when I got up to get off the train and almost everything fell out of my bag. For some reason, the coin purse in my wallet was unzipped, and so all the coins fell out, too. Luckily, several people immediately got up and helped me pick everything up so I wouldn’t miss my stop. One of them was a man on crutches. I guess people aren’t always so self-interested.

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