Ron Wilson, a news anchor with Australia’s Ten Network, invited Sydney Mardi Gras co-chair Pete Urmson on his program, where he then proceeded to tell Urmson about
the mega parade on Saturday: “Some of the spectacles you’re seeing, I’m assuming would even make you cringe. It becomes an exploitation almost of a sexual image rather than trying to explore the diversity of lifestyle.” And while it appears some of Queerty‘s own readers would agree, Aussie activist Gary Burns is launched a formal complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, because, he says in a statement, “Ron Wilson referring to homosexual people as ‘disgusting’ via a public act (in this case, television) breaches the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. The Mardi Gras may not be everyone’s cup of tea but surely diversity on a night like this is acceptable.”
This year’s Mardi Gras was more prescient than ever, with the country’s activists and lawmakers battling over same-sex marriage.
After Wilson’s remarks, Urmson responds: “Our community is extremely colorful, and we celebrate our diversity through–.” He was interrupted by Wilson, who says, “there’s a difference between colorful and disgusting.” Wilson couldn’t leave the point alone, adding at the end that the events “really do seem to cross the line, though.”
That was following by Wilson arguing, “There’s acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Why not let time take care of the gay marriage issue rather than pushing it?” Urmson rebutted: “Because if we don’t push for it, no one’s going to, and time will just pass by,” you fucking moron.
Then network insists in a statement didn’t do anything so terrible:
TEN Morning News featured 8 minutes of overwhelmingly positive coverage of Mardi Gras. Ron Wilson congratulated organisers on the success of the 2011 event. One small section of the interview raised a question about behaviour by some participants. The phrasing might not have been ideal, and TEN apologises if any viewers took offence. However, it is not unreasonable for alternative views to be put to organisers and the interview talent agreed that while he didn’t hold the view, some sections of society may.
While Wilson himself says:
As a journalist my job is to present an issue from different perspectives. If anyone took offence at anything I said during the interview I apologise. I fully support the gay community in its campaign to promote the issue of gay marriage and I congratulate the gay and lesbian community on the success of Mardi Gras.
Oh jesus, dude. You said some terrible things, exposed your obvious homophobia and intolerance, and now you’re trying to save your job. (You also just revealed your support for same-sex marriage, making you a TOTALLY BIASED JOURNALIST, haha!)
I love how that handsome guy didn’t sink to the level they clearly wanted him to.
Look.. some people use Pride Day and Mardi Gras as a political platform, some of us just use it to have fun and we leave the politics for another day. Why can’t we have one day where we’re allowed to be as crazy and whacky as we want?
Besides, what in that video montage could be considered “disgusting” by anyone? Looked like a bunch of people in wild costumes holding a parade.
HAHAHAHA I wonder whats going on down in TEN NEWS. First that awkward moment and now this.
Kudos to Urmson for not allowing himself to be baited and for having a ready answer to the ridiculous question of why we shouldn’t just let time take care of the marriage issue.
@jasun: You’re right, we get one day a year when we’re allowed to hold hands and smooch in public without fear and these people against us go bonkers. Meanwhile they flaunt their stuff daily, with girls in skin tight dresses, pants and blouses, and the boys with their undies there for all to see, tossing their vaunted modesty to the wind. They can’t hold a parade without battalions of nubile young girls in skin tight leotards showing every crevice and curve of their bodies marching down the street flopping body parts everywhere while macho men along the sidelines drool in fantasy. They can’t hold a football came without a set of boobs there to encourage them to watch the men in such skin tight pants I can read the tattoos on their thighs. These heterosexuals can barely buy a Pontiac without a bikini clad damsel on the hood. They certainly can’t have a movie without the obligatory sex scene. And right now today and tomorrow on Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be some of the most licentious behavior by girls gone wild and drunken heterosexual men pawing booty as they stumble down the street.
They are a most amusing bunch. Like a troop of bonobos.
Does he work for Rupert Murdoch? Another prejudiced homophobic journalist (for lack of a better word_ spouting on and on without objectivity? Shocking. I mean, Typical!!! Fuck him. He should lose his job. Does he so freely do that while talking about other groups of people as well?
It’s pretty fucking clear as has been said this Wilson bigot was trying to pretty much bait Mr. Urmson into responding to his homophobia negatively and creating a flame war, thus making him as a gay representative look bad. The whole “gay lifestyle” and “why don’t you stop pushing the issue” quips pretty much confirm, if it needed to be, this guy is a homophobe. Homophobes always use the “stop pushing homosexuality on us” BS. Heterosexuals do flaunt themselves on an every day basis, so this old ass needs to get over it, and needs to be fired for his remarks.
First off, i would like to state that I do think the anchorman was wrong in his assessment of this gay pride parade and the need for gay people to stand up for their marriage/other rights.
However, the issue of what is appropriate is one that I have had for a long time with gay pride parades. I love that gay pride parades can be a time for costumes, skimpy clothing, laughter, fun, and an all-out celebration of the many aspects of gay culture. But, when there are public displays of genitals/simulated sex, I just feel very uncomfortable bringing my family to the event. Yes, I am an adult male, and I am not phased by these sights. But, if my young children or parents were there, it would be a very different story.
Some may say that the event is intended for children or the prudish. True, and that point is well taken. But, an important facet of gay culture is gay parents and families. Do we disregard their need for a parade slightly more PG-13?
A solution might be for a specified time or place during these parades that are more “family friendly,” while the rest of the parade can be raucous enough to make Lady Gaga blush. lol
(1) I meant to write:
Some may say that the event is NOT intended for children or the prudish.
(2) It wasn’t stated, but I am a gay man in my late 20s, who is married to a wonderful man, and we have two young children.
@Karthik: what you describe IS inappropriate, but it is also SO vastly in the minority that it is almost not worth talking about.
When you team wins a tournament, and there are parades in the streets, do you call for a ban on those parades because SOME people get rowdy drunk and cause mayhem/destroy property?
Have you taken a good look at the Rio Carnavale? Most of the costumes consist of a few feathers and some dental floss. Yet no one calls for a ban on the parade there because of the “obscene nature” of the costumes. And THOSE costumes have been sexually enticing and scandalously revealing for far longer than what is seen at your average gay pride parade.
This is a sickening double standard applied to gay pride parades. Show a bit of skin or outrageous behaviour, and suddenly it’s all obscene and “in your face”.
But Caribana, Rio Carnavale, and all of their ilk, are FAR more “decadent” and “in your face”.
@Karthik: Not every event is for everyone. That’s true of events for all kinds of people.
The party under discussion here was a Mardi Gras celebration. What did anyone expect?
I’ve loved reading the comments on this particular post, because this is one issue that has always made me angry.
When I was younger and far less comfortable with anyone knowing my “horrible” secret, I went to the March on Washington in ’93. You would not believe how some of the people were dressed. I saw lesbians marching shirtless, men dressed in the most flamboyant, outrageous costumes, and everywhere I looked there were men and women that were happy, excited, glad to be alive and thrilled to have one moment when they could be as open and free as they wanted to be. If people were allowed to be who they were 100% of the time instead of once a year at most, maybe some would still choose to dress flamboyantly. I hope they do. But I do know that every last one of them (myself included) would be grateful if a gay parade would be a celebration of love instead of a once-every-year chance to feel reasonably safe expressing our differences.
I probably said that all wrong and I apologize for ranting, but I am so sick and tired of people – and you know who you are – insisting that gays will never be treated seriously unless they “act” like straights, whatever the fuck that means. We should embrace all facets of our “community” – and that means the effeminate, outlandish, exuberant ones too.
I say bring it on. If the world can’t accept gays in all our varied shades and hues, then we’ll never be equal.
@Tommy Marx: Honestly, every comment made here is valid to me. I certainly relate to both sides of the flaunt/don’t flaunt too much view on gay pride. Especially how heteros don’t see their hypocrisy/ blind spot when they claim gays flaunt their sexuality. Straights announce their heterosexuality EVERY FUCKING DAY year round!!!
I do agree that some people go too far, but he sounded ignorant saying it was disgusting.
Kudos to the Mardi chairman guy, Peter. He was absolutely impeccable in his countanance and vigor to fight back with such stupendous civility. I mean, i had to rewind like five times to see his facial expression when retorted back that we have to talk it,no one else will. He did not flinch a bit. He glared back like a lion and responded with calm emotionally undisturbed wit. The anchor did not particularly seem a typical homophobic dimwit. He just came off as an indifferent, detached silly heterosexual who just felt ‘a little bit’ uncomfortable. The newsman basically was asking Peter to shush his flamboyant community and thereby enhance his comfort. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL You know, you gotta love the Australians or the Brits—do you think an American Mardi chairman would have been this calm when faced with such a provocation?An American chair mardi gay person, would have screamed and hissed his way through our TV screen. Its good to use your brain rather than your emotion sometimes. LOOOOOL
Actually his name is Pete Urmson , not Peter. Sorry lol
The Mardi Gras organizers have over-sexualized and over-fetishized the Mardi Gras. It’s supposed to be a fucking rights parade, not a fetish parade. No wonder people are becoming concerned as to the direction of the GLBT community in Australia.
It’s as if a bunch of businesses got together and said “let’s exploit every fetish and stereotype that the GLBT community adheres to”. Voila…you’ve got the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras.
Who defines what it is “supposed” to be. It’s “supposed” to be about being proud of yourself, isn’t it? Your attitude Jason sounds like someone who argues that if a girl dresses “slutty”, she’s asking to be raped.
No. 3 · Elloreigh “Kudos to Urmson for not allowing himself to be baited and for having a ready answer to the ridiculous question of why we shouldn’t just let time take care of the marriage issue.”
While the use of “lifestyle” is an example of misleading/loaded language (as used in the U.S. – not 100% sure about Australia), that particular question was a reasonable one to ask, not to bait Urmson but to give him a chance to say something that would help to educate less enlightened viewers.
The anchor was absolutely correct. You cannot come into the public square and demand to be treated with respect and dignity, when you debase yourself or turn yourself into a minstrel act or a fetish display. The moron from Mardi Gras yammering on about the “colorful” diversity of the “BLGTQIA” community is like some sort of caricature from South Park.
Anyone who can use the term “BLGTQIA” with a straight face is not quite right in the head to begin with, so he is hardly one to advise the Australian public on how they should accept public displays of lewdness.
christopher di spirito
If Ron Wilson finds Sydney Marti Gras “disgusting” then don’t attend. No one is pointing a gun at his head?
Straight people are such idiots.
Explicitly sexual displays in public are disgusting, whatever the sexual orientation of the participants. It is inappropriate and disturbing for people to use the event for debauched public displays. How can the public take the quest for gay marriage seriously when the community’s most visible images are so sexually explicit and unrestrained, on the public streets no less? If gay Aussies want respect,they need to conduct themselves in a respectable manner, not as debased hoochies and immature exhibitionists.
Not that any Americans in this room would care, but political gay rights events are held during the PRIDE parades in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, the gold coast, Darwin etc.
Sydneys mardi gras and melbournes Misumma are there as a celebration of our community and an excuse for a party.
the worst thing is that he repeated over and over again the expression “alternative lifestyle.” you can clearly hear a bias from the journalist.
@Orlando: Ha, I know your type, you “straight acting” uncle tom. The movement doesn’t need self hating gays like yourself.
I’ve thought the same about this question for thirty years, when I stepped out of the limo into The Parade the last year it was held on Polk Street. First thing I said was, ‘this is bad pr.’ There’s no moral judgement about it. And maybe you flaunters are the self haters, sabotaging our movement with public vulgarity.
The news reader was an ass.
But I’m also glad to live in a country with free speech and expression — where some whiny jackass can’t go run off to an “anti-discrimination committee” to complain when someone says something he doesn’t like.
While I don’t agree in the slightest with overtly inappropriate actions (and I don’t think I need to explain further there), there is no fucking reason we should change our own rules and tone down on our own day just for “acceptance”. No. It’s not about straight people on gay pride, it’s our day, and we should take that liberty and BE GAY. And BE LESBIAN, TRANS, BISEXUAL, WHATEVER the case is. Period.
@Karthik: you know, i just don’t get why you pick up on the few people of so many that are prancing around the way you say? Just tell your kids that other people are going through some STUFF or don’t go to the parade at all. It is not a romper room for kids and it never was supposed to be.
@Karthik: There are straight people taking their clothes off too so next time you speak about kids and subliminal morality, would you please also include Mardi Gras and Carnival in your comments? Thanks. You can always teach your children the truth which is that at many street festivals and parades all over the world there are some people who get drunk or drugged and act in ways they may not if they weren’t.
@Karthik: You reminded me of the time years ago when i was walking down Castro street next to a big lesbian dyke with humongous jugs flapping in the air and this guy with a child in a carriage reached down and covered the kids eyes. I just had to laugh because it was the fathers issue not the kid. Let’s face it, we were not in an elementary school or nursery dedicated to child care. You will just have to get over it.
The only disgusting thing I saw in that video was the news reader.
What a chump. You all might enjoy this: http://reallyreallyreallytrying.tumblr.com/post/3715892351/ron-wilson-settled-down-on-the-couch-and-took-a
@Francis: What do you mean “change our own rules”? Is there some rule that all gays adhere to about walking around with our bits and pieces hanging out and catching a breeze? And why do gays feel the need to tone anything *up* in the first place just because it’s our day? Why is it that being gay is equated with these displays in the context of pride and parades? It’s like you are saying that we have to violently project our sexuality in the most blatant (and tasteless) ways, in order to celebrate. I don’t really think that’s true.
@WillBFair: There’s a case to be made that the “flaunters” are just as responsible for gay advances as the more conformist among us. It’s difficult to demonize one group in favor of the other, although I understand what you are getting at.
No. 34 · TheRealAdam wrote, “Is there some rule that all gays adhere to about walking around with our bits and pieces hanging out and catching a breeze? And why do gays feel the need to tone anything *up* in the first place just because it’s our day? Why is it that being gay is equated with these displays in the context of pride and parades?”
I will note that the San Francisco Carnaval parade (a Latino event) has every bit as much skin showing and nobody complains about them “flaunting their sexuality”: http://www.carnaval.com/sf/sf_carn.htm
Let’s just say that there seems to be a double standard (people in San Francisco don’t get uptight about either event, but people from elsewhere sometimes get upset about the gay event but ignore the Latino one).
“There’s a difference between colourful and disgusting”… try telling that to Tony Abbott would of been my response.
Guess the Ten network wasn’t happy with Ron Wislon’s comments, I see the video has now been removed, presummably on their demand. Get a life Ron Wilson this is 2011, freedom of speach is great, but freedom in life is also great and so is this event
This guy is clearly homophobic. His insistence of calling homosexuality a “lifestyle” in and of itself, was ignorant.
@Joseph: I think the incident you are refering to was with a Channel 7 reporter, not TEN. Channel TEN has had a recent change of ownership though (well, majority shareholding and board as it’s a publicly listed company), which may explain the sudden change in editorial style… then again maybe I just don’t know what your refering to 🙂
As others have pointed out, it’s Interesting that it’s only “Disgusting” in a GLBT parade…it’s “Colorful” in an Ethnic or other Cultural event.
Here in the Deep South you have Mardi Gras where Het women are wearing “2 bandaids & a cork” but a Gay guy in beachwear dancing like Het women in EVERY CLUB IN THE US is “overly Sexual”…
Not changing our own rules is a simple concept——we shouldn’t in any situation allow ourselves to be dictated to by HETEROSEXUALS on gay pride day. Period. It’s our day, so we should do as we please, of course with responsibility and self-dignity. It’s not about flaunting ourselves, or toning-up anything, but it IS about being a NON HETEROSEXUAL and being PROUD of that, and taking liberty to be open in your own skin, the way any particular individual knows how. All of this “well, we are promoting stereotypes” or “how do we gain acceptance doing this”, who cares? It’s not about these things.
As for the double standards, that’s solely because our lives are basically considered sexual in nature. People like Ron Wilson base our existences on sex, so of course seeing a lot of gays in one place, equals a lot of uncomfortable images in his eyes. When he sees (imagines) some of those sex acts being a reality, it’s too much for him and people like him. Other groups don’t have to deal with that, because their lives aren’t solely based on sex in the eyes of bigots. This is why it’s so obvious most homophobes have personal insecurity issues of some sort because truly secure heterosexuals don’t concern themselves with such things.
…That parade looked very tame and modest. What was the news anchorman talking about “disgusting’?!
Pride is a celebration of LIBERATION..letting our hair down and having fun with no worries to think about. It is extremely poignant for us to have Pride events throughout the world to showcase our PRIDE in being gay. Especially in the face of closet cases who feel that if you are proud of who you are, you are “flaunting” it…the few commentators above bashing Pride festivals are the evry reason Pride festivals are essential. The close case crowd who tries to blend in with heterosexuals because of their shame and insecurity in who they are…are not seen as part of our community and are more than welcomed to stay home. But for the rest of us who live our lives for ourselves and don’t sit around worrying how every action of ours should be perfection to appease heteros…we’re going to enjoy our pride, enjoy being comfortable in our own skin and enjoy the celebration of unity amongst healthy minded LGBT individuals (sans closet cases). Pride events were never designed for gays who are uncomfortable with being gay and reserve being gay strictly in the bedroom then live with shame about it elsewhere. These events werent for you, so no worries, stay home. I went to my first Pride in South Florida/Miami last year and it changed my outlook to see so many happy, fun loving, spirited gays being gay and OK with it.
This jackass uses legislation open to him.
The Sydney Gay Mardi Gras used to be great when it was about rights. However, it became corrupted along the way. Now it’s about fetishes. It’s now a fetish parade, not a rights parade.
No wonder the Australian gay rights situation is lagging behind many English-speaking countries. Australia’s gay people have been devoting most of their energies to buying leather harnesses, glitter and cock rings. Sad, sad, sad.
Oh, and did I forget to mention gym memberships?
The pride events are great and enrich the community to bring people together and celebrate who they are. I look forward to going to Sydney mardi gras soon as all my friends there who go say it’s unbelievable, filled with hundreds of thousands of partiers. Sounds fantastic!
I really don’t see anything offensive about the question. It may be critical of certain behavior, but so what? Nothing gay people do can be criticized?
If we want respect we have to be able to face criticism and answer hard questions honestly. This is a tempest in a tea dance.
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