Gays In The Pink

pink powerLast year Australian Marriage Equality ran a newspaper ad featuring the logos of “53 blue-chip brands” which signed on to their push for same-sex marriage. Later, a media industry group ran a follow-up ad bearing the headline “442 Brands want Change”, explaining how the initial campaign lured a swag of new brands onto the bandwagon. It all sounds impressive enough, until you consider the contradiction at the heart of this pitch. How can gays demand the indulgences accorded to oppressed minorities and, at the same time, boast support from 442 companies, including many of the country’s largest and most powerful corporations?

Whatever their intended message, the ads point to an altogether different reality. In 2016, and more so as time passes, gays – in the broad sense including lesbians and other categories – are anything but an oppressed minority. They are one of the most powerful demographics in the country, wielding political and media influence beyond the dreams of most citizens. And more: it’s arguable they are the most powerful cultural arbiters in the western world. It isn’t 1978 anymore.

Notwithstanding recent attacks on the Catholic Church over claims that it tried to pressure Telstra, one of the “442 brands”, the media’s pro-gay reflex is long past its use-by date, and not just because the gay lobby itself engages in commercial pressure. Public companies are extremely protective of their brands. They wouldn’t be falling over themselves to support same-sex marriage if there was much risk or downside. Now that gays are firmly entrenched in the country’s social elite, in fact, it’s the safest of PR plays. Opinion-makers should wake up to this power shift and its implications.

The persistent claim that gays are subjected to oppression is a clapped-out myth. It has no foundation in social indicators like education, employment, income and wealth. Over the last 40 years, white-collar services grew from 54 to 77 per cent of the Australian economy, and higher-end professional jobs surged from 11.3 to 22.4 per cent of the workforce. This transformation delivered a cornucopia of well-paid, satisfying careers to the expanding cohort of university graduates, and a step onto the escalator to la dolce vita, the cosmopolitan good life available to Australians at a certain level of affluence. Far from being denied access to the escalator, gays have ascended at a substantially higher rate than average.

Drawing on 2011 census data, the ABS reports that “people in same-sex couples tend to be more highly educated than people in opposite-sex couples … 42% of people in same-sex couples had a Bachelor degree or higher qualification, compared with 23% of people in opposite-sex couples”. From this it follows that “same-sex couples also tend to have high labour force participation rates and employment to population ratios … 89% of people in same-sex couples were participating in the labour force … compared with 69% of opposite-sex couples”.

The ABS found that “people in same-sex couples were more likely than those in opposite-sex couples to work in highly skilled occupations such as managers or professionals … Over half of the people in same-sex couples that were employed worked as managers or professionals (53%), compared with 40% of people in opposite-sex couples”. From this it follows, again, that “people in same-sex couple relationships were more likely than those in opposite-sex couple relationships to have higher personal incomes … 18% of men in same-sex couples earned $2,000 or more a week, compared with 14% of men in opposite-sex couples … for women, the difference was even greater: women in same-sex couples were nearly three times as likely to be earning $2,000 or more a week as women in opposite-sex couples (11% compared with 4%)”.

As urbanist Alan Davies confirms, gays are more likely to live in upscale, inner-city areas like Potts Point, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst in Sydney, cheek by jowl with the densest concentrations of lifestyle and cultural amenities — art galleries, museums, art-house cinemas, theatres, antique shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and night-clubs. Of course, these localities have also experienced sky-rocketing property asset values. To say gays are doing better than average is an understatement. And as for their totemic issue, over time the rights and privileges formerly confined to marriage were extended to de facto couples, including same-sex couples. They enjoy all the substance of marriage, if not the form.

Socio-economic status translates into political and cultural power, the signs of which are everywhere. What other demographic can count on absolute commitment to their agenda – absolute in the sense that any reservations are automatically condemned as bigotry – from two and a half political parties, Labor, The Greens and a chunk of the Liberals, from progressive independents like Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, from a wall of media outlets, including the ABC, SBS, Fairfax, The Guardian, The Monthly, The Saturday Paper and a host of online journals, from most of the education establishment, certainly the universities and public schools, from many professional associations, and from virtually all public sector agencies?

As we have seen, increasing numbers of private sector businesses are also falling into line, including household names like Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, Foxtel, Google, David Jones, Optus and, of course, Telstra. More than just capitulation to the gay community’s clout, for some corporate bosses this is a cost-effective way to appease progressive forces yapping at their heels over financial scandals, tax avoidance, “responsible sourcing” and fossil fuel investments. As Winston Churchill put it, though, “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”. By pandering to progressivism, “socially aware” executives are fueling a social movement that’s out to dispossess their shareholders.

These advances proceeded hand-in-hand with rising visibility in the popular culture, to the point where gay themes are almost obligatory. It’s hard to find a movie or television drama, or reality or talent show, that doesn’t feature a prominent gay character or participant, ostensibly for the purpose of “showing the world as it really is”. Except that as homosexuals constitute a minuscule 3.4 per cent of the population, it’s more a case of showing the world as it really isn’t. Yet in addition to the mandatory gay presence on mainstream fare, we have ABC2 and SBS2 scheduling gay oriented programs regularly, and a crop of specifically gay and transgender shows like Orange Is The New Black, Transparent, The L Word, Looking, Glee, Please Like Me and Caitlyn. Two movies in this year’s Academy Awards were of this type, Carol and The Danish Girl. Even the Eurovision Song Contest is identified with a bearded woman (or a bearded man dressed as a woman?).

In Sydney, most of February and early March are now given up to Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras related festivals and events, often publicly funded to promote “tolerance” or tourism. This resembles no less than a Pink Lent overlapping the Christian Lent ending in a Pink Procession pre-empting a Holy Week Procession. The Mardi Gras parade has evolved from civil rights protest to litmus test for admission to right-minded circles and naked demonstration – in some cases literally – of social ascendancy. There’s also a paramilitary whiff about it, an intimidating roll-call of contingents from the defence forces, police, fire-fighters, prison officers, emergency services and ambulance officers – amidst the revelers, celebrities and politicians – all marching in homage to the new Moloch. Ironically, this march for “equality” attests to the gay community’s elevated status. Heterosexuals would never be permitted to parade down a major city thoroughfare simulating a range of exotic sex acts.

Collaboration between the authorities and gays is now so intimate, in fact, that on Wear It Purple Day, another event on the gay calendar, New South Wales police, fire-brigade and ambulance officers wear purple versions of their regular service uniforms. Clearly, this over-steps the proper function of police and paramilitary services in a liberal democracy, and echoes the sinister role played by coloured shirts in twentieth century totalitarian movements (a similar point can be made about politicisation of the RAAF for White Ribbon Day, an annual domestic violence event framed by feminists, which includes fly-overs by Hercules aircraft bearing large white ribbons on their tails).

On the premise that they are an oppressed minority, gay activists and their progressive allies have claimed the right to silence opponents by delegitimizing them as homophobes and bigots, and then use media power to drive them from the public square. Since the starting premise is demonstrably false – gays aren’t oppressed, but privileged and powerful – these authoritarian tactics have no place in a democratic culture. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be subjected to the same critical scrutiny and accountability as other powerful interests. Perhaps the media can entertain this novel thought during the forthcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

8 thoughts on “Gays In The Pink

  • Mr Johnson says:

    “Perhaps the media can entertain this novel thought during the forthcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.”

    Seriously John? We live in an age where even tying to post this essay to Facebook might get the post deleted, or your account suspended. The only thing that might cause a rethink of gay lobby tactics is where two of the media’s most sacred cows – gays and Muslims – lock horns. Until then, keep your head down, and hope we have a courageous conservative leader one day.

    • Jody says:

      Excellent!!! Can’t wait for that day. Meanwhile, why anybody would want anything at all to do with Facebook is completely bewildering to me.

      • ianl says:

        > … why anybody would want anything at all to do with Facebook is completely bewildering to me.

        Ego pandering. Just an addition to the look-at-me phase of adolescence.

    • pgang says:

      Unfortunately there will be a great deal of irreparable damage in the process. There is something we can do, and that’s to vocally and actively support Christianity and the churches, rather than wallowing in this interminable whining we get from the secular outlets. Whining won’t make a difference.

    • Lo says:

      Perhaps you mean you hope we have a courageous conservative leader again one day.

  • Simon2808 says:

    While in Adelaide the latest ‘rainbow crossing’ is set to cost City of Adelaide Ratepayers $80’000. So much for a couple of sticks of coloured chalk.

  • Rob Ellison says:

    It seems much more fundamental to the classic liberal tradition to argue that – in as far as marriage is a religious sacrament – that government should not be involved at all. Let government provide civil unions and churches marriage. A government making a law on religion violates fundamental human rights based on the principle of separation of church and state. Preserve marriage for religions.

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    The old man, born and bred Aussie, announces that he is leaving Australia for good. What on earth for, his friend asks? Because of homosexuality, he answers. What’s that got to do with you, the friend queries? Well, he replies, when I was young, it was illegal, then it was legalised, now it is celebrated, well, I’m getting out of here before it becomes compulsory. – It rather tells the story, doesn’t it?

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