Whatever your thoughts on Fred Nile, you had to admit a certain steeliness of character to have fronted up to Q&A last night. On the panel, hosted by gay comedian Tom Ballard, were Julie McCrossin, the self-described “friendly, suburban face of Australian lesbianism”, cabaret theatre performer Paul Capsis and Katherine Hudson, the founder of Wear It Purple, which aims to grow acceptance for gay and lesbian schoolkids, plus Julia Doulman, a transgender woman.
The leader of the Christian Democratic Party stuck to his guns, making headlines all around the world by saying it was dangerous to promote homosexuality in schools. To put this statement into context, a young audience member shared his experience of coming out in school.
Mr Nile’s response, which followed other, more supportive responses, was ,”My observation is that teenagers are going through sexual development and it can be quite dangerous, I think, to promote homosexuality in schools to children”.
He went on to clarify his position that if you tell a 14-year-old boy the reason he prefers to hang out with guys than chase girls is because he’s gay, then he will believe it.
This was one of many inflammatory statements. Early in the night Tom Ballard asked Mr Nile, “Is your position in fact that homosexuality is morally wrong?”
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“Ah, homosexual acts,” Nile responded.
“A lot of people say there was a law banning homosexuality or banning homosexuals, it only banned or prohibited the sex act. In fact they had the old-fashioned words, the crime of buggery or sodomy,” he added.
Surprisingly, there was no shouting, mud slinging or personal insults during the session, As the Guardian reports, “What transpired was essentially two conversations happening across each other: one about how far all elements of Australian society have come since the ‘poofter bashing’ of the 1970s, and another about ‘the sin of buggery’ and victimisation of Christians by ‘homosexual activists’.”
Fred Nile reiterated that he does not hate gay people. “Find anything I’ve ever said where I expressed hatred for anybody – for homosexuals, or anyone else. That’s how you get misrepresented,” he said.
Tell us, do you think Fred Nile should have been involved in what was essentially a discussion about gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in Australia? And do you think it took courage to go on the show?