An Australian lawmaker has come out as gay in his maiden speech to Parliament. However, he went on to say his sexuality does not define him and he sees no need for LGBTQ+ people to have their own festivals or flags.
Joe McCracken is an MP for the Liberal Party in the state of Victoria. In Australia, the Liberals are a center-right party. “Liberal” in this case means small government and allowing businesses more freedom to make money.
McCracken was elected to the state’s Upper House last November. Before this, he served as a councilor, deputy mayor and mayor at Colac Otway Shire. He was the youngest person ever to be elected councilor in the region, aged 28 in 2016 (so he’s in his mid-thirties now).
He gave his first speech today. Toward the end, he revealed he has a male partner.
“Most people would not know this about me, and it may come as a shock to some. I actually do have a partner in my life, but my partner is a he, not a she,” McCracken said.
“Jack, I want to thank you for all your support and care over the last period of time. It has been so appreciated.
“I do not know what I would have done without you. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this. I have experienced doubt, shame, anxiety and many other things.”
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He went on to say that he “hates identity politics.”
“I have never really talked about it much or made an issue of it, because I never wanted to be defined by it.
“I hate identity politics, and I will fight against it whenever I can.”
He continued, “I have always struggled with the concept of defining a person by one aspect of who they are.
“A person is made up of a large set of diverse characteristics – age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, occupation. Why do we need to take one of those characteristics, amplify it and define a person in that way?
“Gay people do not need to be treated any differently to anyone else: no separate doctors, no separate radio stations, no festivals, and no separate flags,” McCracken added.
“And I question the need for a separate flag to identify the LGBTQ community: The rainbow flag. Flags represent nations and countries. And the only flags I’ll be saluting is the Australian flag and the Victorian flag,” he said.
“They are the only flags that do not discriminate on the people they represent.”
McCracken’s comments come as Australia is gearing up to host WorldPride at this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Businesses across the country are marking the occasion by displaying rainbow flags or putting on other displays of pro-LGBTQ+ allyship.
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McCracken is not the first gay MP to serve in the Victoria Parliament. Labor MP Harriet Shing was out when elected in 2014. Fellow Labor MP Steve Dimopoulos came out last year. The local Green party also boasts queer MPs Aiv Puglielli and Gabrielle De Vietri.
Puglielli also gave his maiden speech in the Upper House today. In contrast to McCracken, he has been photographed at many queer festivals and is a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In his speech, Puglielli said, “As a queer person, I have seen my LGBTIQA+ community be used as a perennial political football.
“We are championed for cynical political gain when it’s electorally advantageous, but we are cast aside when it’s politically expedient.”
Referencing the bitter public debate on marriage equality in Australia, he said, “Only six years ago, our human rights were the subject of public, often vitriolic debate, in the Marriage Equality plebiscite.
“I know what it’s like to have my rights, my way of life, on a public trial. To this community, I promise that I will work hard every day to make this parliament more inclusive and compassionate.”
Jow McCracken… is his brother the elusive and mysterious Phil McCracken?
Gerald Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzgerald want to know.
This guys sounds like he’s a lot of fun at a party!? /s
Launching out the gate like this has got to be some kind of strategy. He’s clearly against preferential treatment. Perhaps this is a thing that resonates with Australian voters. I certainly hope he’s also just as strongly against discrimination, which functions pretty much the same way. So, no big money grants and kissyface to the LGBTQ+ communities, but also no big money grants and kissyface to the conservative, religious and corporate mobs.
What do you mean by “preferential treatment”?
Being gay doesn’t define him??? LOL – Rightly or wrongly, most of the world would disagree.
This man has no appreciation for the struggle and sacrifice of countless others who shaped a world which gives him agency and protection. ‘Pay it forward’ is a concept beyond his comprehension.
he’s a conservative millennial, ‘Pay if forward’ isn’t in the vocabulary.
He is one of a VERY small number (like 3) who hate our community out of Vic Liberals. Most of them were voted out last year’s election!! He won’t last long
And gay conservatives wonder why no one likes them. “I’m coming out and taking advantage of all the things gay activists did before me but I’m going to trash their legacies for political points of the conservatives who also don’t really like me.”
The guy is in an Upper house seat (similar to the Senate). Also in opposition so there is very very little that he could (if he could) achieve in an upper house opposition seat. Not like the US senate that just seems to be a filled with the same balance of maybe 1 seat determining the vote. Plus the upper house in the State sits for (if lucky) 8 weeks of the year.
Another anal orifice…
The “liberals” (pause for laughter) haven’t been CENTRE-right for a good twenty or thirty years. They’re now much like the Republicans – opposed to anything progressive, still effectively climate change deniers, in the pocket of big business, and massively corrupt in office.
Clay Aiken tried this exact same thing when he ran for office “Being gay isn’t defining me, and I will focus on things important to this district, blah blah”, even going so far as to say we should hear Trump out when Trump was first elected.
He lost and finally backtracked and said Trump was a dumpster fire, but these guys seem to hope that if they attack their own they can turn to right wingers and say “See, I’m one of the GOOD gays!, Is it ok if I come to the club? Don’t worry, I’ll enter by the side door and stay quiet!”