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Last Saturday, 13 August, the AFL held their first 'Pride Game' to promote acceptance of LGBTIQ issues and to oppose 'homophobia'.

There were rainbow coloured numbers, rainbow socks and rainbow flags.

The following article, by James Parker, is insightful…  

James describes how he visited Australia twenty years ago and watched football. He says, "I had not long left behind my own involvement at the heart of London’s gay community where I had witnessed a significantly higher than average percentage of men struggle with depression and addiction, with some both attempting and succeeding in committing suicide."

James then goes on to discuss the AFL 'Pride Game' - as well as the health risks of homosexuality and other issues.

The article was printed in Sydney's Catholic Weekly prior to the Pride Game.

FIRST - Who is James Parker?

James spoke in Sydney earlier this year, where he was subjected to protests.

That's because James speaks against the endorsement of homosexuality. Twenty years ago, he was an active ‘gay activist’ and was living with a male partner. Then James became a Chistian. His partner went to church with James, and he was "deeply touched by the word of God”. Initially, they tried to live as a 'gay Christian couple' - but James found that didn't work... James said, "I had to leave that relationship because the call from Jesus was a greater love.” Read articles here and here.

After counselling, which he says is 'NOT conversion therapy' but rather ‘standard psychological therapy’ (see here), James was able to form friendships with men and women, and eventually married a woman and became a father. James now lives in WA with his family.

Read James' story...

The long and winding road: A one-time activist reflects on his journey out of the gay lifestyle (22/3/2016)

Now for James' article on 'AFL Pride . . .

AFL "PRIDE"

by James Parker

I first visited Australia twenty years ago. I had not long left behind my own involvement at the heart of London’s gay community where I had witnessed a significantly higher than average percentage of men struggle with depression and addiction, with some both attempting and succeeding in committing suicide.  

A third of my three-month Aussie visa was spent glued to a television screen in Jannali in NSW watching Australian Football. I became mesmerised by each player’s speed, talent and swift decisive reactions, and by every team member’s phenomenal level of fitness. For me, Aussie Rules took gold on the podium of the sporting elite.

This coming weekend will see Round 21 of the AFL host the inaugural Pride Game between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda. It is being hailed as the first Pride Game for a professional sporting competition anywhere in the world.

St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis is quoted as saying that “the Saints were committed to this game because ‘pride’ is the opposite of ‘shame’”. He states that, “St Kilda firmly believes that communities can only thrive when all people belong”.

We can all agree that people need to belong, but history shows that pride is not the opposite of shame. The pathway through shame into belonging demands humility and raw honesty and not its nemesis, pride. Ask any addict or trauma victim who has truly moved through recovery.

Swans CEO, Andrew Ireland, has said that “the match will help raise awareness and champion change”. But what type of awareness is being raised? And what change exactly is being championed?

Nearly thirty years ago when in the gay lobby, I was in discussions with others how we might desensitize the public to view homosexuality with indifference, or better still to see such a lifestyle as something to be celebrated. Much of the discursive outcome is brandished in the book After The Ball by authors Kirk and Madsen, a marketing and a psychology graduate from Harvard. 

Simply put, the strategy involved encouraging openly proud members of the LGBTQI community to obtain leadership roles in key sectors of society: the entertainment industry, the Media, education, politics, the military, and healthcare, especially psychology and psychiatry. We knew then that the most challenging bastion needing to fall would be the sports sector as this literally embodied male and female. Sport would be the final hurdle before the rainbow winning line.

The only major stumbling block that future leaders would need to quash would be public concerns that might rise about the health risks linked to homosexual practice – and the risks are frightening. It is for this reason we are taught that it is impolite to discuss what happens in, ahem, gay sex. So, let’s look at the risks.

Aside from numerous STIs and physical injuries, some of which are virtually unknown in the heterosexual population, there are high rates of psychiatric illnesses and of cancers. There exists a considerably higher rate of ‘chemsex’ and general drug abuse. Ongoing suicide attempts are not uncommon and epidemiological studies show that gay and bisexual men can lose up to 20 years of life expectancy. I can honestly say that not even copious amounts of LGBTQI promotion, legislation and social acceptance over three decades have significantly changed the outcomes for many who practice homosexually. So is the problem society’s issue, or do the roots lie in the activity itself?

The risks of gay sex, which our young people are being encouraged to consider and practice, are the crack in the dam to be hidden from public examination at all costs. And this has meant keeping many sexually active youngsters in the dark as well.

If ever the entire risks were to be wholly revealed, then any carefully constructed casuistic glitz and pride would rapidly fall away. Society would again be outraged, and rightly so, by the devastating long-term effects of homosexual practice, only this time out of genuine and deep concern for those who practice it. 

The way to keep whistleblowers silent has been to employ homophobia-phobia which involves creating an atmosphere where anybody, including the strongest CEOs of AFL clubs, would be fearful of questioning any matter relating to homosexuality for fear of upsetting the LGBTQI community and their allies. Or even more frightening still, of being seen to be politically incorrect.

But what about the truth? What about humbly and honestly “raising awareness and championing change” first and foremost among the gay community? Why not first consider donating any monies willingly being spent on AFL’s temporary one-day rainbows to raise awareness across the gay community and the sporting world at large of the serious health risks linked to certain sexual practices?

I have also witnessed many times that those who end up infected with any number of ailments as a result of homosexual practice often find themselves further isolated rather than belonging, and clothed more deeply in shame than ever. In the long run, this is the opposite of what Finnis and the Saints seem to wish to achieve. 

Australia’s first religion is sport, and young children often see footy players as demi-gods. To entwine LGBTQI ideology with sport, without notifying young and old alike of the entire risks contained within the dogma being promoted, is tantamount to knowingly advertising the destruction of health. Surely this isn’t the remit of the AFL’s CEOs or its top executive Gillon McLachlan. There would be outrage if footy players were to be linked to the promotion of tobacco, and yet the detrimental effects of homosexual practice are often way more serious than smoking. 

I believe the AFL is unwittingly barracking for a greater injustice of the very people it is seeking to try and support, and all in the name of justice. It’s not as if the AFL’s history doesn’t already have enough sexual and narcotic scandals on its leaderboard without needing to give birth to others that will mature in the future.

Where Round 21 appears to be entirely shrouded in benevolence by the Media and AFL officials, there lies just beneath the surface a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Trying to break down the barriers of what is seen as a patriarchal culture within the AFL is one thing. Rebuilding it with resources from a gaytriarchal culture is another. 

I am left wondering what another groups of saints – the Ugandan martyrs, St Charles Lwanga and companions, who were burnt alive for opposing homosexual practice and ideology a decade after the Sydney Swans and St Kilda teams were founded – might just think of Round 21 of the AFL. An eternal own goal for each team I reckon.

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