Saturday, September 11, 2004

Gay and Lesbian Kingdom 

The Pink Paper's main feature this week is about a group of dissatisfied Australians who left the mainland in June to set up their own state, the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands. A constitutional monarchy (in the great British tradition), its anthem is 'I Am What I Am' and its flag the rainbow flag.

Here's the Declaration of Independence (which contains an unfortunate typo: 'Prime Minister Howard and the Liberal & Labour parties are supporting legislation to forever ban gay and lesbian people from marring and adopting children' - my emphasis). It combines the US Declaration of Independence with Theodor Herzl's essay calling for a Jewish state. Where the Americans listed grievances against King George III, we have here a list of sufferings which include movements by several governments against gay marriage, gay-friendly taxation and inheritance laws, general gay-bashing and killing.

This is almost certainly a stunt, or at least poorly planned. I'd love it if a real queer state were established, but I just don't think one could survive on a small set of hurricane-prone islands outside Australia. Nevertheless, they've drawn on interesting sources. The comparison of the situation of gays with that of Jews is quite fair, since both have been targets in all spheres, economic, social and political, and both were victims msot obviously of the Nazis. And like the Puritans, this group has left native soil (on a boat called the 'Gayflower') to avoid persecution and put into practice an idea, or several ideas.

It's certainly the most interesting political protest/stunt I've heard of, and is based on some real grievances which I share. I'd prefer it if it were less obviously male-dominated, and more queer than gay, but I'm still quite impressed by it and hope the community there can continue for a while longer and gain more attention at any rate.

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