Thursday, 1 September 2011

Contributor profiles

CONTRIBUTORS to Speak Now: Australian perspectives on same-sex marriage (from the 'Contributors' section of the book)

Dennis Altman is Professor of Politics and Director of the Institute for Human Security at Latrobe University and a prominent public intellectual. Among his myriad publications, his groundbreaking book Homosexual: oppression and liberation (1971) influenced the politics of gay liberation across the world.

Dennis Altman laments the loss of the radical critique that was central to the early gay and lesbian movement.

Barbara Baird is Associate Professor and head of women’s studies at Flinders University in South Australia. She has researched the history and contemporary cultural politics of abortion, and changing discourses of sexuality in Australia.

Barbara Baird locates historical precedents for the political and social significance of same-sex partnering, from colonial times up to the present.

Andrew Barr is the first openly gay Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly and the first to serve as a Minister in an Australian Government. He is currently Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer of the ACT. His partner, Andrew Toms, works in the rag trade.

Andrew Barr shares the experience of his own partnership ceremony, to provide a sense of the human element in this highly politicised issue.

Michael Carden is a biblical scholar with numerous published essays on the Bible, sexuality and religion, and he is on the editorial board of the e-Journal Bible and Critical Theory. His book, Sodomy: A History of a Christian Biblical Myth, was published by Equinox Publications.

Michael Carden revisits church history to show how the ‘institution’ of marriage evolved and argues for a broadening of recognition to include other kinds of relationships.

Rodney Croome, AM, is an honorary lecturer in sociology at the University of Tasmania and co-author of Why v Why: Gay Marriage. Campaign coordinator of Australian Marriage Equality and spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, Rodney fronted the successful campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania, taking the case to the United Nations.

Linking the current struggle to earlier government controls over who could marry whom, Rodney Croome argues that infringement of the freedom to marry is part of a broader ideological vision in which marriage is manipulated to discriminatory, ideological ends.

Elaine Crump moved to Australia from the midlands of England in 1970. After completing matriculation, she joined the Navy as a radio technician and since then has enjoyed careers in commercial radio, business machine maintenance, computer hardware, and data communications and has postgraduate qualifications in professional accounting.

Elaine’s story about marrying ‘across state lines’ underlines the importance of the social recognition accorded by marriage, rather than ‘civil partnerships’.

Sharon Dane arrived in Australia with her parents at the age of 16. She was awarded a PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Queensland. Her area of research interest is the relationship between social inclusion and psychological well-being. Sharon is currently employed as a social scientist at a leading research organisation.

Sharon Dane details research findings on the types of relationship recognition actually preferred by same-sex attracted people across Australia.

Michelle Dicinoski is a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction which has appeared in journals, newspapers, and anthologies, including The Best Australian Poems, The Australian Literary Review, and Meanjin. Michelle is working on a memoir called Ghost Wife which examines same-sex marriage, belonging, and the ghostly family histories that haunt us.
Michelle Dicinoski provides a personal account of travelling to Canada to marry her US partner in Toronto.

Luke Gahan is studying for a PhD in Sociology at La Trobe University while working part time at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. Luke was the founding National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and has remained committed to marriage and parenting equality for same-sex couples.
Luke Gahan’s experience of love, marriage and divorce shows that same-sex couples can face the same difficulties as their opposite-sex counterparts.

Paula Gerber is a senior lecturer at Monash University Law School and a Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. On the Board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, she is an expert on international human rights law, with a particular focus on same-sex families and children’s rights.

Paula Gerber (and Adiva Sifris) analyse some of the crucial legal issues when same-sex partners are also parents.

Evelyn Gray studied biology at University in the UK and qualified as a primary teacher before coming to Australia in 1971.

Evelyn Gray makes a personal plea for the partnerships of both of her daughters to be treated with equal respect.

Ryan Heath is speechwriter for the Vice President of the European Union, Neelie Kroes, and the most senior Australian to work there. Previously, he was Assistant Director at the UK Cabinet Office, and a political adviser to Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd. Ryan has written extensively on social issues for Australian and British publications and founded The Gay Marriage Blog in 2010.

As a political aide in Australia, the UK and Europe, Ryan Heath has gained more than a glimpse behind the scenes of public performance and private political realities.

Lynne Hillier is a social psychologist and Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health & Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University. Her research over the last 17 years has focused on the marginalisation of young people, particularly same-sex attracted youth, and the ways that techniques of domination (such as homophobia) can lead to negative health outcomes.

Lynne Hillier’s long-term research, published as the Writing Themselves In reports, has provided unique insights into the health implications of society’s treatment of same-sex attracted youth.

Crusader Hillis and Rowland Thomson own the legendary queer bookshop Hares & Hyenas, which acts as a de facto community centre and referral service for many of its users, supporting the work of transgender, Indigenous, disabled, multicultural and other fringe artists and writers from the queer community.
They have been together for over 30 years but Crusader Hillis asks why you would bother to get married when you have the respect of your family, your friends, your neighbours and your work colleagues.

Walter Jennings runs the Australian operations of a global public relations consultancy. Originally from New Jersey, he has been with his (Italian) Australian partner for more than twenty years and they are raising an adopted (Chinese) child.

Walter Jennings recounts some of the complications of a relationship that has refused to stay within conventional, and national, boundaries.

Tiffany Jones has written for diverse media including LOTL magazine, Sextures, The American Journal of Sexuality Education and—her grandma’s fave—Dolls, Bears and Collectables. She is completing her PhD on constructions of GLBTIQ students in Australian education policy, at the ARCSHS (La Trobe University).

Tiffany’s personal story recalls painful (and comic) memories of a high school crush that led to unexpected but welcome outcomes.

The Hon. Michael Kirby, AC, CMG has had a remarkable national and international career as a distinguished jurist. He came out in Who’s Who in Australia in 1999, naming Johan van Vloten as his long-term partner. While President of the International Commission of Jurists he encouraged that organisation to give more consideration to human sexuality as an aspect of human rights and, as an Anglican, he has expressed disappointment at his church’s stance on gay rights.

Michael Kirby’s illustrious career as a jurist has been informed by his personal experience as a gay man, and we look forward to the publication of his memoirs.

Benjamin Law is a Chinese Australian humorist, noted for his mordant wit. A regular contributor to frankie magazine, to crikey.com and The Monthly, among others, his collection of personal essays about growing up gay on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, The Family Law, has further expanded his audience.

From Law’s richly comic accounts of life in a distinctly white-bread region of Australia we excerpt his droll account of the awkwardness of being gay in a predominantly ‘straight’ world.

Rev. Dorothy McRae-McMahon has been a staff member of the NSW Ecumenical Council, minister of the Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, and National Director for Mission of the Uniting Church. In 1997, she came out publicly as a lesbian. Since retiring she has continued to participate in the struggle of the church and community, in Australia and internationally, to build an inclusive society.

Recognised with many awards over the years for her contribution to the spiritual life of the community, Dorothy McRae-McMahon offers a moving personal testimony.

Victor Marsh is a writer, editor, researcher, lecturer, former television producer and student of comparative religion, who has taught meditation in a dozen or so countries. A research advisor at the University of Queensland, he also teaches writing and cultural studies at Southern Cross University. His critical study of Christopher Isherwood, Mr Isherwood Changes Trains, was published by Clouds of Magellan in 2010.

Paul Martin is Principal Psychologist, Centre for Human Potential, specialising in LGBTI mental health for over twenty years. Paul runs national workshops for psychologists and counsellors on working effectively with gays and lesbians and is an organisational consultant for corporations and government departments.

Paul Martin writes about the insidious effects of shaming, weaving together his personal story of coming to terms with his sexuality and his professional experience as a psychologist.

Alyena Mohummadally and her partner Catherine Roberts are practising lawyers, ostensibly from different sides of a prominent ethnic divide—Alyena is a Pakistani Australian who inspired Catherine to investigate her own Jewish ancestry.

Once vehemently opposed to the very concepts of marriage (a patriarchal institution to be dismantled) and motherhood (see previous brackets) Alyena and Cat are now married and raising a son together.

Chris Morgan is an academic and writer and lives in northern NSW.

Chris Morgan’s personal account of his family network shows how the complexity of lived human relationships simply cannot be contained under a single umbrella.

Wayne Morgan is a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law. He (with others) instigated the teaching of law and sexuality courses at Melbourne University Law School and now teaches such a course at the ANU. He was a consultant to the Tasmanian Government in the drafting of the Tasmanian civil union legislation. He publishes in the areas of sexuality theory, anti-discrimination and relationship recognition.

Wayne Morgan traces the recognition of same-sex relationship as it developed from the feminist lobbying of the 1980s, through de facto law reform and the current debate, to look beyond the privileged ideal of coupledom.

Rev. Nathan Nettleton is an ordained minister with the Baptist Union of Victoria and has been pastor to the congregation in South Yarra since 1994. He has been engaged in dialogue on the place of homosexual people in the churches since his involvement on the Baptist Union’s 1997 Taskforce on the topic. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and their 13 year old daughter and two dogs.

While Nathan Nettleton does not speak for the wider Baptist church, here he provides a rationale for the equal recognition of same-sex marriages contributing to, rather than undermining, the institution of marriage.

Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli is Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her primary areas of interest are cultural, gender, sexual and family diversity and their various permutations. Twice winner of a Lambda Literary Award, Maria is also an External Faculty Member of Saybrook University, San Francisco, the Honorary Patron of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Victoria, and Founding Member of AGMC Inc (Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council).

Maria Palotta-Chiarolli argues that to widen the framing of marriage to include same-sex couples simply doesn’t go far enough, for simply re-inforcing the unduly privileged status of pair-bonding doesn’t accommodate the true diversity of human partnering.

Kerryn Phelps, AM, was the first female president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) where she fought for many public health and social issues. Known through her work as a health journalist, she and her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps have worked for legal equality for same-sex relationships since their marriage in New York in 1998. Prof. Phelps was honoured in the 2011 Queens Birthday honours list, being made Member of the Order of Australia for ‘service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the Australian Medical Association, to education and community health, and as a general practitioner’.

While initially a somewhat reluctant public spokesperson for same-sex partnerships, Kerryn Phelps has worked long and hard to bring them the equal respect they deserve. Her stirring speech to open the 2011 Mardi Gras in Sydney directly challenges the Prime Minister’s view that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Damien W Riggs is a lecturer in social work at Flinders University. He publishes in the areas of critical race and whiteness studies, gender and sexuality studies, and parenting and family studies (and the intersections of these three areas). Titles include Priscilla, (white) queen of the desert, Becoming parent: Lesbians, gay men, and family, and What about the children! Masculinities, sexualities and hegemony.

Damien Riggs draws our attention to the often-ignored racial dimensions of the national conversation.

Donald Ritchie is a writer and criminologist, living and working in Melbourne. Donald was a finalist in the 2008 Mardi Gras short story competition and had a story published in the Australasian Anthology of Short Stories by Spiny Babbler. He is currently writing a novel.

Donald Ritchie describes an encounter with Customs and Immigration that brought home the inequity of the second-class status accorded same-sex partners.

Wendell Rosevear, OAM, is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of GPs and runs a busy medical practice in Brisbane. Known for his counselling work in prisons, he lobbies nationally to generate understanding about drugs, addiction and recovery, sexual assault, relationships, and suicide prevention.

Wendell Rosevear believes passionately in the value of each person, including those in prison for violent crimes. Here he identifies some fundamental shifts in understanding that promote healing at the personal and social level.

Lulu Shapiro is a former nurse now working in recruitment for the health sector and she also works with the long-term unemployed. Her partner, Jannine Lockyer, a sales and marketing expert representing national and international organisations in development and sales roles, is currently owner-operator of a recruitment agency.

Many people can no longer accept that to be in a same-sex partnership precludes having and raising children. Lulu and Jannine share insights from the real world of a very human family.

Adiva Sifris is a senior lecturer at Monash University Law School who previously practiced in Family Law and she has a particular interest in same-sex parenting. Her publications include the book Children and the Lesbian ‘Homo-nuclear’ family: A Challenge for Australian Family Law in the New Millennium and she co-edited the collection of essays Current Trends in the Regulation of Same-Sex Relationships (2011) with Paula Gerber.

Adiva Sifris and Paula Gerber analyse some of the crucial legal issues when same-sex partners are also parents.

Peter Tatchell is an Australian-born human rights campaigner, based in London. He is coordinator of the Equal Love UK campaign, which in February 2011 filed an application in the European Court of Human Rights to overturn Britain’s twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

Peter Tatchell here argues to extend the ‘marriage’ model so that it might embrace a variety of supportive, caring relationships.

Yantra de Vilder is a composer and sound artist who has worked in film, television, radio and advertising for over twenty years. Her eclectic blend of musical talents encompasses composition, arranging, direction, conducting and performance. A versatile collaborator and consultant, Yantra is Creative Director of Labyrinth Studios.

Yantra de Vilder found that a lot of conflicting feelings were stirred up when she decided to tie the knot with her partner, Suzanne.

Zenith Virago is a celebrant, consultant, educator, facilitator, speaker and author who has been working in Byron Bay and beyond for over fifteen years. As a celebrant, she offers support for weddings and commitment ceremonies, and consults on natural and holistic approaches to dying, death and funerals.

Zenith Virago testifies to the blessings that accrue when same-sex partners have their relationship honoured and celebrated before their communities of family and friends.

Kees Waaldijk is Professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Writing about homosexuality and the law for many years, he was responsible for major comparative legal research projects, and involved in influential test cases and legislation on same-sex partnership, parenting, and marriage in the Netherlands and North America.

Kees Waaldijk contributes an important record of the legislative steps taken when governments decide to acknowledge marriage equality.

Deb Wain is a poet, short story writer, freelance writer and marriage celebrant, with a passion for our environment.

When marrying her husband, Deb Wain was shocked to hear that the celebrant was required by law to assert that marriage could only be between a man and a woman.

Tim Wilson is an international public policy analyst who serves as Director of the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs. A commentator on TV and radio, he is regularly published in journals and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and The Australian. In 2009 The Australian recognised him as one of the ten emerging leaders of Australian society.

Tim Wilson proposes a new model of recognising unions that would give equal respect to the civil rights claims of same-sex couples wishing to marry, while acknowledging the long history of practices associated with marriage within conventional religious settings.

Tim Wright is a committee member of Australian Marriage Equality and a former convenor of Equal Love. An adviser to Australian Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison from 2006 to 2008, he interned for US Congressman Dennis Kucinich in 2009. Voted one of Australia’s twenty-five most influential gays and lesbians, he currently works as the Australian director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Tim Wright describes how legislation that cut across the basic principles of equality that he was studying at law school inspired his move into political activism.

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