Frank McMullan's blog

My post-retirement blog adventures

Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

Archive Post: e-mail to the Ugandan Honorary Consul in Ireland

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Here’s an e-mail I sent early last year that I thought might be worthy of putting on my blog. While the offending legislation [which even provided for the death penalty in certain situations] by now may have gone underground – though we can never be certain of that – it is another indication of what people in other parts of our world are up against.  This has a connection with my previous post on Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo’s visit to Ireland.

To: Mrs Sylvia Katete Gavigan

Subject: We lay our future in thy hand…


I am very sad to see the corner Uganda has backed itself into – apparently under the influence of well-meaning but misguided Christians including some from abroad – as regards the well-being of those in your country who happen, unfortunately, to be homosexual.

One of the great hallmarks of successful countries and cities is their embrace of difference. Where acceptance is the norm, a creative dynamic comes into play and the economy can flourish.  I believe that some of Ireland’s economic success, before the current economic crisis, is attributable to the advances made on the equality front, both in law and in Irish society in general – despite the sad reluctance of our churches on the sexuality front.

I recognise that African culture is radically different from European culture, and that Ugandan culture and Irish culture are different again from each of these in their own way and from one another.  To use that as an excuse for marginalising further people who are already marginalised in both our countries, is akin to wanting to reintroduce slavery And there’s more…


Written by Frank McMullan

6 January 2011 at 16:23

Steve Fulmer’s reflections on the 70s in Portland

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Steve Fulmer from way back then

I got a glimpse of Portland, OR, gay history and culture in the 70s last weekend.  The Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest hosted another in its living history series, this latest entitled: OUR STORIES: “Finding Our Voice – the 1970s”.  The evening was hosted at Portland’s Q Center.  One of the many interesting things that I heard was that the gay rights movement may not have got its initial impetus so much from the civil rights movement as from the anti-war movement.

Featured speakers included Larry Copeland, Cindy Cumfer, Jean DeMaster, Steve Fulmer, Kristan Knapp, George Nicola, Susie Shepherd, and John Wilkinson.  Steve was the founding president in 1980 of Portland Gay Men’s Chorus and it is his remarks that I have zoned in on for this blog post.

As an aside, something about the evening reminded me of a visit I made to Salem in the summer of last year to visit friends, a gay couple and their son.  As they brought me on a walking tour of the city centre we met a woman with her three grandchildren.  I was quite touched to hear that the children had four grandmothers as they were born to the son of one lesbian couple and the daughter of another couple who fell in love and married – remarkable of the moment, but probably not so for very much longer.  The children’s parents were most probably born in the 70s.

This is what Steve had to say:

My primary contributions to the sexual minority community probably came in the 80’s and 90’s Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Frank McMullan

31 October 2010 at 23:38

Posted in Human Rights, PDXGMC

Thai anti-poverty strategies

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Here’s an unusual piece of economic development strategy that may not be quite as offbeat as first appears:

Thailand’s Mechai Viravaidya, aka Mr Condom, shows how child mortality reduction and family planning programmes were two fundamentally important first steps in his country’s recent economic success.  He gives an amusing presentation about a very serious subject which will certainly have its righteous critics.  For me, to be honest, it is truly heartening to see something like this being made to work, despite all the difficulties surrounding it.  Our world needs more practical and effective people like him.

Written by Frank McMullan

15 October 2010 at 10:16

Ireland of the €1,000 welcomes!

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Laddok and friends on a protest march in Dublin, June 2010. Photo: Eric Luke, The Irish Times

My friend Laddok comes from Malaysia. His people speak a language called Kayan, spoken by only 30,000 people in the world. The Kayan are an indigenous tribe native to the Sarawak province of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Many still live in longhouses. They were formerly headhunters. Headhunting has another connotation nowadays: the very worst aspects of it are at issue here…

Today, Laddok had the privilege of paying the Irish government €1,000 simply because he needed to move jobs. Irish work permits are vested in employers, not in migrant workers themselves. Apart from the penal costs and huge adminstrative delays involved – often leaving such workers with an ‘undocumented’ status – this awful system almost invites employers to exploit them.

I am proud of my country. I am excruciatingly embarrassed by my country’s stance on this human rights issue.

Céad míle fáilte romhat [a hundred thousand welcomes] – well a thousand anyway – indeed!

Written by Frank McMullan

30 June 2010 at 23:32