Australia ‘not marred’ by homophobia

Australia 'not marred' by homophobia

Updated: 15:49, Friday March 18, 2011 SkyNews.com.au

American author and gay rights activist Armistead Maupin says he has never felt more welcomed by a country, despite his partner being the target of homophobic insults at an Alice Springs hotel.
Mr Maupin said his partner asked a bartender where the men's bathroom was while they were having lunch last Friday and was told to go across the street to use the public toilets because the hotel's toilet was reserved for 'real men'.
Mr Maupin, 66, said he and his partner left the restaurant after the comment was made and reported it to the tourist information centre.
'Impressively we received an email apology from the bartender that afternoon,' Mr Maupin wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
Later in the week, Mr Maupin wrote that the community of Alice Springs had responded to the homophobia 'like a champ'.
'Just to be clear: there are no apologies necessary from either Alice Springs or Australia.
'I've never felt more welcomed by a country.
'This was a lone gunman, and we just handed him his balls on a platter. It's over.'
Equal opportunity campaigner Gary Burns - famous for suing radio personality John Laws for calling gay men pillow biters - said the people of Alice Springs were 'now flyblown with the pernicious tag of being known as bigots and homo haters'.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr Burns called on the city of Alice Springs to 'deal with its intolerance'.
'Does this same boofhead bartender also believe women should remain in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant?
'Does he believe homosexual men are all nancy boys sitting at home playing with barbie dolls?
'Does the bartender also believe Australia's Indigenous folk still run around naked with spears all painted up like cannibals looking for a feed?
'We are all part of the Australian family regardless of who shares our 'Queen Size' bed,' he said.
Mr Maupin was in Australia to take part in Perth's International Arts Festival.

Author: Garry Burns

Gary Burns is an Australian anti-discrimination campaigner. He successfully tested the homosexual vilification provisions of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 with a complaint of personal homosexual vilification against broadcaster John Laws and Sydney radio station 2UE that concluded in his favour in 2002.[1] Burns went on to front public interest cases against high profile figures and media establishments for unlawful homosexual vilification.

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