Pride in Diversity and the Taxpayer’s Dollar

$17 Million in Grants

In 2021, ACON, the AIDS Council of NSW, received $16.9 MILLION in grant money. ACON’s principal objective is “Ending HIV transmission among gay men and other homosexually active men“.

Almost $2M in Badge Money

In the same year, members of ACON’s Pride in Diversity program paid over $1.9 Million for the privilege of calling themselves members of the scheme.

Each standard membership is $6600. I’ve made my calculations on the basis that all 296 members paid the same.

They have a sample business case on their website to help you convince your bosses to shell out the money. Members get access to events, video training resources, and an opportunity to display a badge on their website or in recruitment brochures. The list of benefits is here.

Slightly less than half a million came from state and federal government agencies. It’s well over $600k if you include local government and higher education.

This doesn’t include additional donations to the Pride in Diversity scheme.

Extras

For example, Australian Taxation Office make a habit of donating $11k per year to the Pride in Diversity Gala dinner. This payment guarantees them Silver Sponsorship status and goes toward canapes and Omni.

SBS is also a “media partner” which indicates that they provide free services in support of Pride in Diversity.

Mandatory Fund-Raising

Pride in Diversity members pay to belong to the program. The membership fee largely supports the Australian Workplace Equalities Index (AWEI) Scheme. But it costs nothing (except your time!) to participate in the AWEI.

Several line items require fund raising and pro-bono work to be supplied to the LGBTQ community.

  • Example: Within the assessed calendar year, we held stalls at LGBTQ community events or participated in pride parades under our employer/company branding. (This may include online community events with prominent employer branding.) Having individual employees wearing t-shirts or marching independently at Pride events will not qualify for points within this question. This must be an official branded participation exercise by your employer to qualify.

Branded stalls and floats often require a donation to the event and a financial commitment and paying employees to attend. Note that the ATO sponsors the AWEI award dinner for this line item. It is worth $11k.

  • Example: Throughout the assessed calendar year, we have provided pro-bono or financial support to LGBTQ charities/community groups. (This includes sponsorships of events, publications or pro-bono accommodation/venue support.
  • Example: Throughout the assessed calendar year, we have engaged in fundraising for LGBTQ charities / communities / groups. (This may include the support of any LGBTQ charity groups within workplace giving programs.)

ACON does not specify who should receive the benefits of this mandated charity.

There is also a mandated “retain external expertise” that also requires spend on “LGBTQ” businesses.

Example: We have access to external LGBTQ support/expertise that we have called upon throughout the assessed year (this may include but is not limited to PID). If you were a Pride in Diversity member within the assessed year, please just state that here.

There are also requirements for suppliers. For example the counselling service needs to have received “specific training” in LGBTQ matters. There are also requirements that staff undertake LGBTQ training. ACON can supply that training – but so can a handful of niche LGBTQ businesses.

Conclusion

The taxpayer is paying for the AWEI scheme in 4 novel ways

Way 1. ACON receives considerable taxpayer funds each year.

Way 2. Part of these grants are spent in operating membership based scheme for which our government and taxpayer-funded organisations pay again in subscriptions.

Way 3. The AWEI scheme diverts hundreds, if not thousands of taxpayer-funded work hours per year across the federal, state, local, “not for profit” and university sectors.

Way 4. Several line-items in the AWEI require the organisation to pay for charitable donations, to spend their time. Further line items require organisations to engage in commercial arrangements and spend additional funds in order to win AWEI points.

GRUNT & PASH: meet the women who want to remove gay men’s sexual boundaries

My last post was about ACON’s website for men who like to “party and play” – NSFW – New Video – How Hard is ACON’s Manual for Risky Sex. Today I’m looking at the ‘little sister’: GRUNT, and some of the women behind it.

GRUNT logo
GRUNT

Two of the “community partners” listed on that site (PASH and GRUNT) are for trans men. The PASH.tm project was founded in 2014 to raise awareness of sexual issues for ‘gay’ trans men. That is to say for straight women.

GRUNT is a project of the PASH.tm team. GRUNT is a website resource dedicated to shoe-horning women into the gay hookup scene. It is a copy of ACON’s HowHard website, dedicated to men who engage in drug-fueled “adventurous” sex. Strangely though while HowHard is proudly proclaimed as an ACON resource, GRUNT is more coy. It merely thanks Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations for support and funding.

Big brother – little sister

GRUNT mimics HowHard in a number of respects, not the least it’s visual style. The site is festooned with photos of nearly-naked men in flagrante. GRUNT tries hard to draw a visual link with the gay hookup scene.

What are the similarities between HowHard (for gay men) and GRUNT (for trans men)?

HowHard

  • Covers HIV prevention, prophylaxis and testing
  • Nude and near-nude fetish photography
  • Group sex images
  • Prep: Big focus on getting guys to take prep
  • Confusing messages: says both “piss play is safe” and also that urine carries gonorrhea.
HowHard

GRUNT

  • Covers HIV prevention, prophylaxis and testing
  • Nude and near-nude fetish photography
  • Group sex images
  • Prep: Big focus on getting women to take prep
  • Confusing messages: cautions that while most boys are douchine their ‘arse’ before sex, this may be dangerous, but may not be, but might be, and the decision is really up to you.
GRUNT

How do they differ?

HowHard

  • Sex talk: Detailed descriptions of kinky sex (I don’t mean spanking, I mean felching and piss-fking). Straight talk about f-king and cocks.
  • Drugs: Detailed information about drug use.
  • Safety: Tacks HIV-safety messages onto detailed descriptions of sex and drug use.

GRUNT

  • Sex talk: Doesn’t go into detail about sex or pleasure.
  • Drugs: Cautions that drugs can affect capacity to consent. “Sometimes people use alcohol or drugs to cope with the intense feelings of nervousness and low self-esteem
  • Safety: Focuses on safety, and fear of being exposed. “If you are hooking up with someone, and you’ve set it up from an app, let a mate know where you are going.”

What makes you a man is inside you, not what your body looks like.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

How about the gaslighting

Trans guys are just guys

Suggested response to a hookup disclosing trans status: still from animation hosted at GRUNT

In Australia, gaining sexual consent by deception is a crime. GRUNT take a “trans guys are just guys” line to the extent of suggesting you don’t need to disclose your sex to a new partner.

They suggest using a “script” like this that minimises and glosses over the impact of trans status.

“Hey bud, just so you know. I’m trans. That means I’ve got a bonus hole/front hole/extra hard cock to play with. Cool?”

GRUNT – Keep it hot

Being a female is not the same as a male with “a bonus hole/front hole/extra hard cock”. Women smell different, we feel different, we get aroused differently and we respond to sex differently. Gay men have a right to choose sex with other gay men.

Gay spaces are our spaces

GRUNT encourages women to go and hang out at the glory holes because it feels validating to be near gay men.

Don’t be afraid to go to that sex club and hang out at the glory holes the first few times. … it can be a very liberating and validating experience to be in these types of gay male spaces.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

In Australia, sex clubs and saunas will generally welcome trans guys on T (or at least not explicitly ban us). You don’t need to call and check, if you want to go – Go!

GRUNT – Keep it hot

PASH.tm (the group that created GRUNT) made a post on their Facebook page in April 2021 that the project had come out of hibernation to raise the alert about a gay male sauna using transphobic language. Wet on Wellington spa in Victoria put out a patron survey that wasn’t entirely trans-inclusive enough. PASH.tm called the troops and crafted a letter of demand.

Just don’t mention it

If you’re fisting or blowing someone, it may not be a thing worth mentioning. Don’t assume that he won’t be ok with it. 

GRUNT – Keep it hot

What makes you man anyway?

GRUNT assures women that ‘bottoming’ e.g. being penetrated, even being penetrated vaginally, doesn’t make them less of a man. Lots of really macho gay men are ‘bottoms’.

Bottoming in any of your holes does not make you less of a man, in fact some of the most macho cis guys are total bottoms.

GRUNT – Keep it hot

Language

The word “gay” appears only once in relation to the validation trans men get from being in gay male spaces. The site talks about cis-guys.

Where are they now?

The brains behind PASH.tm and GRUNT are co-chairs – Ted Cook and Jeremy Wiggins (Jez Pez) along with Aram Hosie – Laurie Hopkins – Max Mackenzie (MJ Beck) – Ethan Kristy

Now they’re driving the car

Teddy Cook (trans man) – now at ACON as Director, Community Health where she oversees client services, LGBTQ community health programs, Pride Training and Trans Health Equity.

Jeremy Wiggins (trans man) – Executive Officer at Transcend. This is the mother-son charity that worked tirelessly to remove the roadblocks preventing Australian children from accessing puberty blockers and wrong-sex hormones.

Aram Hosie (trans man) – Head of Strategic Communications at Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission

Laurie Hopkins (nb female) – seems to have gone to religion and is a motivational speaker. She was always more gender-fluid anyways.

Max Mackenzie (trans man) – Director of Resilience Enterprises, and named “rural trans activist of the year” in 2019 in Queensland. Not bad.

Ethan Kristy (trans man) – graduated from photographing lesbian orgies staged to look like gay male orgies, and went on to become an artist capturing the queer experience.

NSFW – New Video – How Hard is ACON’s Manual for Risky Sex

See my video deep dive into the site

YouTube removed the video.

  1. stream on Canva:

2. Watch on my Google Drive – 62MB

Read my overview

ACON’s site How Hard is an outreach to the gay “sexually adventurous” community.

Fine. Whips, chains, have at it. The discussion around BDSM is one for another time.

But I have an issue with the risky behaviours promoted on this site, the way they are displayed in a sexualised setting, and the dehumanising language used to describe sexual partners.

Every page contains pornographic images.

The information on drugs is comprehensive and informative. Each drug is described for the reasons it is “great for fucking”.

The information is inconsistent

For example – One page states “Piss can carry STIs like Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Herpes” and then a paragraph later “Piss play is safe“.

Promotes erasure of boundaries

Dehumanising language

The site talks of dominating, breaking taboos, eroding boundaries. It reduces sex to fucking and being fucked. It splits people into tops (fuckers) and bottoms (fuckees).

The site is put together by a team of people with inhuman names.

Men aren’t sex robots

The content and tone of the site presupposes that, left to their own devices, men would be non-stop fucking to the extent of having to take drugs to keep themselves awake to prolong the party.

How is this a healthy image to promote to anyone? Mechanical sex supported by drug use.

This image supports the misogynist myth that men naturally need more sex than women, and the sex they ‘need’ is transactional, mechanical and dehumanised.

Trans Day of Remembrance

It’s Trans Day of Remembrance. 2021 has been a terrible year for trans murders.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

375 transgender people were killed this year (2021), a figure that has risen since last year’s total of 350.

The report authors say this makes 2021 the ‘deadliest year’ of violence against gender diverse people since records began. One in four of those murdered were killed in their own home.

Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiewareham/2021/11/11/375-transgender-people-murdered-in-2021-deadliest-year-since-records-began/?sh=51eef80b321c

Those 375 murders are a global figure. The figure includes murder for any reason, even if unrelated to trans status.

How many people are being murdered?

The TransRespect / Trans Murder Monitoring Project collects statistics of murdered trans people from around the globe. It paints a grim picture. Lots of colour on that map.

Trans Murder Monitoring

But let’s just go back to graph reading school for a moment

Colour Key

Here grey is given as “no data”, implying that no one collected evidence of murders. There is no separate code for zero murders. They imply that the grey is somehow hiding evidence that will soon come to light.

Banding 2-50 together intensifies the seriousness of this classification. Two murders is very different to 50 murders. Two might be an accident or a robbery gone wrong. Fifty is a serious public issue.

Time scale

The map represents the data for the period 2008 to 2021. The black classification of “>1000” is a lot of lost lives over a 13 year time period. While tragic, it does not represent an epidemic.

What is being reported?

Let’s just ask TMM.

Trans Murder Monitoring project reports all kinds of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people. The classification of the murder of a trans/gender-diverse person as a hate crime is often difficult, due to a lack of information in the reports as well as the lack of national monitoring systems. Although the brutal violence and other circumstances in reported cases suggest that quite a lot of them — even most or almost all cases — are transphobic hate crimes

https://transrespect.org/en/research/tmm/

These numbers do not represent people who were murdered because of being trans. A trans person who is murdered in a robbery and a trans person who is killed in an anti-trans attack are treated the same.

This builds a false picture of violence against trans people.

Looking at the map year by year paints a different story. Year after year the same countries show high rates of murders.

Brazil is has the most murders each year.

But what does this mean in the context of the 212.6 million inhabitants of Brazil?

In a country where 45k murders represents a significant downturn, where there are 1350 women are killed because they are women, where huge numbers of people live in overpopulated favelas, where drugs and prostitution go hand in hand with poverty, where homophobia and racism are rife, is it possible that not all of these murders were due to transphobia?

Transgender,
murdered for any reason
Femicide
(murders committed
against women because
of their gender )
Homicides
202192
20201571350
2019115133045 503
2018168122957 956

Assumptions

As I write about the trans murders, my mind automatically goes to trans-woman. That is: to men.

I check myself.

Isn’t it likely that vulnerable women would be the likely target of a transphobic attack? Lesbians who are smaller than men, but who challenge misogynists and homophobes. The TMM does not disaggregate by sex, leaving room for speculation about who is being murdered.

Who’s behind it, globally

Check out Gender Critical Woman’s analysis of TMM and where the money comes from. It comes from the ARCUS foundation.

Trans Murder Monitoring Project is funded by the ARCUS foundation. You can see Jennifer Bilek’s work on ARCUS. It is an LGBT charity controlled by pharmaceutical heir Jon Stryker. The ARCUS foundation uses money to drive adoption of a medically-dependent lifestyle.

When you click on a country, a list of criteria for trans rights comes up. It’s a categorised list that gives a snapshot of the legal, social and political position of trans people.

For example:

  1. LEGAL SITUATION
    Legal Gender Recognition: Change of Name
    Change of name possible
    Pathologization requirement
    Sterilisation/SRS/GRT requirement

The implication is that if we can knock over these barriers then we can guarantee trans safety. It is an impetus to law-makers. “We have to stop the murders!”

This ignores that the overwhelming number of trans murders occur in the context of prostitution. Murders occur at the hands of homophobes. They occur in countries where life is cheap. Fast-tracking access to surgery will just put money in the pockets of big pharma and the medical industrial complex.

Who’s Behind it in Australia

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day observed internationally where people come together to read out the names of people murdered in transphobic attacks. We observe it in Australia too, even though we have registered only 4 murders in 13 years.

Just look at this picture on the TDOR website. Huddling together against the cold and the dark.

https://tdor.org.au/

A beautiful website and a calendar full of events. There’s money behind it. Far from being a grassroots initiative, TDOR is sponsored by multiple organisations, many of whom are powered by government grants.

CharityGov Grant Incoming
(last posted income)
TGV$160 000
Gender Centre$933 000
Parents of Gender Diverse ChildrenHas the VIC Gov logo on their site,
but no financial documents available
Y GenderSupported by Albert van Moorst Memorial Trust,
who last posted a statement in 2015
TransFolk WANon-government donations
A Gender Agenda$600 000
https://www.acnc.gov.au/

Of course there’s also a grift on the TDOR page. Donate, buy a badge or book training to “Make your school or workplace a safer place for trans people”.

My point here isn’t than community groups shouldn’t receive grants. It is that between them, these groups are presenting an incorrect picture of violence against trans people. There is no evidence of risk of hate crime, but this narrative pushes trans people into the arms of these support organisations. Organisations who’s bread and butter is to medicalise and mutilate.

These groups get money to serve their communities and improve the community as a whole. They don’t get the money to make slick websites that promote a false narrative.

Inflating the numbers

In 2019, trans woman

Mhelody Bruno was killed by an intimate partner. It’s not a very nice story. It’s not a story of transphobic hate, however. There is no epidemic of anti-trans violence in Australia.

The Gender Centre sponsored Eloise Brooks to do historical research and uncover the names of historical murder victims who may have been transgender. He found 15 names from the 1970s and 1980s because accurate records were kept and noone was falfisying birth certificates during that time. Oh isn’t it ironic.

Brooks told ABC that the names being read out represent anyone who dies for any reason. Again, widening the scope of TDOR and presenting a false narrative of violence.

“If you pass away for whatever reason, we’ll read your name out at our memorial and you will be remembered by your community for who you were, and honoured and cherished.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-20/today-is-transgender-remembrance-day-australia-acknowledge/11718366

If any of these people were serious about stopping violence, they would stop pretending. They would diagnose the causes and work to address them. But they are happy to sit in splendour, reading out the names of people who were not victims and pretending to be solving a problem which does not exist.

Further reading

https://fairplayforwomen.com/trans-murder-rates/

https://www.the11thhourblog.com/post/all-roads-lead-to-arcus

https://kareningalasmith.com/2021/04/21/counting-dead-trans-people/

https://www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au/resources/shark-attacks-australia

I was groomed by the Internet and all I got were these lousy puberty blockers

4 Corners is an investigative / special interest news show in Australia.

Isabelle Langley is an 11 year old at the time of filming, but is describing experiences which happened much earlier.

This transcript and clip demonstrates a young child diagnosing themselves after finding a Jazz Jennings clip on the internet. The parent going along with it, and a national news broadcaster treating this as a perfectly natural course of events.

This is an enormous red flag for grooming. This poor child’s distress is wrapped up in a neat little package named “transgender” and none of the adults in the room dare let him know what that means for his future self. Being tied to medication, body-altering drugs, sterility, loss of a sex life he will never know and the constant feeling that he’s about to be found out.

“Being Me” ABC 4 Corners 2014


ISABELLE LANGLEY: I tried stopping it but I couldn’t really.

JANINE COHEN: Did you fight against it for a little while?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I was trying to. I didn’t really know there was anything to do about it. I started looking up things.

JANINE COHEN: Where did you look them up?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: Just on the internet. I just looked up what to do if you feel like a girl and I found all these websites and they were saying that you’re able to get special surgery and that you can actually come out that way and I found some videos too about some other children feeling that way.

CUT TO TV SHOW ON iPAD

HOST: She’s here in person, tonight. So say hello to Jazz.

(Sound of applause)

JANINE COHEN: It was American transgender girl Jazz Jennings who made the biggest impression.

JAZZ JENNINGS, TRANSGENDER: Thank you so much, Kids and teens out there, I just want them to know that it is okay to step out of your shadows and just be who you are. Just be true to yourself and express yourself.

CUT BACK TO MOTHER

NAOMI MCNAMARA: She had tears in her eyes like she just said… oh, you know I’m just so glad I saw that. Like it was, she felt less alone and just came with… just a million questions came out of that for her. Um and she watched it over and over again.

ISABELLE LANGLEY: It’s made me realise that there was ways to sort of cope.

JANINE COHEN: And before you saw Jazz, did you not know?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I didn’t think there was anything to do about it.

JANINE COHEN: What was it like when you realised you could do something?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I felt very happy then and I told my mum that night.

(I want a) Girl Like You (to support my gender transition while I live rent-free)

I wanted to write a review of #GirlLikeYou, which is ABC’s portrait of coercive control.

However someone’s already written in for us!

As a little extra – just look out for the flashbacks to the childhood videos. The despondent child in the corner. Is he a victim, or is he just petulant? How would we know – the mood images are presented as evidence that Lewis lived on the brink of suicide. But we don’t know that at all do we?

I’m Spartacus! (Can women consent to prostitution?)

Today I listened to a kid’s history podcast about ancient Roman gladiators. Among other facts I learned that most gladiators were volunteers. Not all, but most. Many were slaves, but most chose the life.

It wasn’t as bad a life as we might imagine either. Fatal battles were rare and pre-arranged. Gladiators formed unions to bargain for good conditions. They courted fame and fortune – earning money and becoming celebrities.

In a similar fashion, last week I learned that very few of the workers building the pyramids were slaves. Most were free and a good portion were skilled knowledge workers. Engineers, mathematicians, logicians and managers.

Although free, these groups of people had little control over their lives. Gladiators’ diets, schedules and sexual partners were controlled by their keepers. Yes – they were treated like stud animals.

There was one gladiator who sold himself into the life. Then eventually bought his freedom. After a time he returned to the life. He bought his freedom four times, eventually retiring to Sicily. He was happy choosing a risky profession, a life without control.

You might see where this is going.

Prostitution

Yes. Sex work is work. It is a job. A hard job. Sex workers should have representation and collective organisation. Individual women (and a vanishingly small number of men) may freely choose it and even work under good conditions.

Does that mean it is a good job?

Does that mean it is a job that is good for society?

I don’t believe so.

Gladiators can choose to live under the control of a keeper. They can choose to be trained like athletes and brought our to perform on cue like a K-Pop boy band. They can choose to be bred like animals.

Spartacus (1960) - FILMGAZM
Spartacus didn’t choose to be a gladiator, even though many did

As individuals they choose to make human life a spectacle. In doing so they cheapen human life for society. They make death a spectacle to be cheered, booed and wagered upon. While a good gladiator might choose a fight and expect to win, gathering fans and increasing his fee, that isn’t true of all gladiators. Many have no choice (or no economic alternatives). It does nothing for the slaves who are not gladiators, but who suffer because their masters see human death as entertainment.

An individual woman might choose to be a prostitute. She might love it. She might command a good fee, choose her hours and love her coworkers. But even the best-kept prostitute is playing a dangerous game. She is exposed to hazardous fluids, bodily damage, abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace.

She also sets a standard for how all women are treated. Women who haven’t signed up for a risky profession. Prostitution tells men they it’s OK to buy the inside of a woman. That her body is for sale. It is property, and as property it can be bought or even stolen. There is no similar calculation for men’s bodies because men (for the most part) are buyers not sellers.

That’s really all. I’m no expert.

I have read widely on the pros and cons of prostitution. This includes politics of it and also the experience of women who are prostitutes. Some commit and make it their livelihood long term. Some find camaraderie in brothel life. Most find their way into prostitution by force, coercion and grinding poverty. People consent to things that aren’t great for them. They can consent to move up incrementally from bad to slightly better. People grit their teeth and endure.

Does that mean it is a good job?

Does that mean it is a job that is good for society?