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From the Editor

Overage, not a woman… and not-so-subtle discrimination in Australia…

When discriminatory acts are also actually legal in developed countries, it stings more for people of color who experience them there. All because of the BS they sell us that the world will be better off if we’re like them. Though apparently not…

Photo of the outside of one of the bars in Melbourne, this one located in Chinatown (NOT CODE, which is located in Bourke Street).

“It’s an 18-22 bar,” flatly stated this bald over-22 bouncer – who happened to be also serving as the door bitch – of CODE, this bar in Bourke Street in Melbourne. “Plus you need to get a ticket beforehand.”

Now here are some things to consider about this:

  1. The bouncer/door bitch was – himself – over 22;
  2. Women (or new adults, as they’re only 18-22) were allowed to enter sans the said ticket (the more women, the merrier, as they’re to be used as bait for men of their same ages to go there); and
  3. Some of the performers exited the venue, and when asked where to buy tickets, they said you can buy online (which was no longer an option) OR just buy from the door (which you won’t access if the door bitch won’t allow let you in, in the first place).

I was just dragged to visit, so… I really shouldn’t be as affected. But that was a sobering experience for a companion, 19-year-old Jules from UK/Amsterdam, who was told by a female friend to check it out. He may be in the age demographic targeted by CODE, but sans a vagina, he’s of no use to them (as he rationalized, he thinks he won’t add to what such venues could “use” to attract paying male clients). Either way – me as over 22 (obviously, and thankfully) and him not having a body part to be used as front for (to be extremely blunt here) a version of sanitized flesh selling (in Asia, we just call this prostitution) – it was discriminatory. Particularly since this female friend of his actually belatedly told him that, oh, she forgot to say to bring a girl with you if you want to be let in. Makes you wonder how they’d have reacted if I was in drag…

CODE lures 18-22 year-old women to go, and be wild in its spaces, seen as a move to lure men to also want to be there. In this place in Melbourne, it’s called partying. But in Asia, where we’re more blunt, we just call this prostitution.
CODE is “hosted” by the Royal Melbourne Hotel, making this venue – basically – an enabler.

It was – in a gist – an experience to show that… discrimination rears its head for us all to see, and because they are systemic, we actually see them as “normal”.

And so welcome to Australia… where people may claim to be egalitarian, truly accepting of all. But apparently not always.

This is, by no means, the only experience I had of such a practice in Australia.

Years back, walking along a major road in Newcastle, where I studied, young people in a passing car actually started shouting “Go back to your country!” at me and a friend (Darryl Anesi). You tend to ignore it as it happens, particularly when you weren’t in any physical risk anyway; but in truth, that experience stays with you.

And even now, in Sydney, hostels actually blatantly promote their discrimination – e.g. some venues don’t allow those over 35 to access them (e.g. in Sydney, Maze won’t allow those over 40 to stay in shared dormitories, while Mad Monkey Broadway and Sydney Backpackers won’t allow those over 35). They actually advertise this. They openly promote that they discriminate. Just check their accounts in Booking.com and Agoda.com (which become enablers). And nothing is being done about this/them. They get away, even earn from, discriminating. Mainly because businesses may make/implement their own policies to grow their profits. Yeah, including discriminating against specific sectors. Not too different from when private schools are allowed to discriminate because they can do so under the guise of “academic freedom”.

These days, in the Australian LGBTQIA community, a more specific call is being made – i.e. not allowing churches to be able to discriminate against LGBTQIA persons. This actually ought to be a reminder to everyone drafting anti-discrimination policies, as these often fail to have foresight by appeasing religious harlots to say that these laws will not discriminate against them, and will still allow them to discriminate… until that is just no longer sensible so changes have to be made. Sadly, LGBTQIA are often involved in the making of such policies, so some of the fuck-ups are from within the rainbow community, and then these same LGBTQIA “leaders” are suddenly forced to revisit their errors, this time creating a new “cause” to contradict what they themselves created by pandering to haters, and which they now wish to amend…

It’s that same thing happening in allowing businesses to implement their own policies so long as they profit – i.e. the creation of monsters who actually get away with being monstrous.

This actually seems trivial when considered against the plight of more discriminated sectors. Like… don’t even get me started with the repeated mentioning of the original owners of Australia in public speaking (e.g. in events, and even TV broadcasts), with emphasis that we are all merely caretakers of this land, thanks to those who were here before us, amen. This is all good as it finally openly states that Australia is, basically, stolen land. But words can be tricky when they don’t come with actions, always risking to become virtue signaling. Because try to ask if there’s political representation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, if they’re given budget to fund grassroots-surfaced issues, et cetera, then you’d be in for a shocking surprise. Because – sadly – white people still gatekeep minorities, so that even what we think is good for us needs to be approved by them. Let this be a discussion for another day…

Because in the end, just know that even “developed” countries have backward policies that harm its people. In the Land Downunder, it can also be seen in this disallowing of people to be in spaces. To Aussie friends, I say, mates, this country was established on the backs of oppressed people, of those who were not given their own spaces in the proverbial table (both the original owners of the land, and the convicts who were shipped out by the monarchy). Everyone bloody hell knows what discrimination is and the harm it does, why now practice the same?

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And that’s a glimpse of not-too-subtle discrimination in Australia for you… 😜🤭😂

Now back to the 19-year-old companion, the experience actually sorta shook him. His night was somewhat ruined; though more than that, his ways of seeing further challenged (n.b. he’s political, so he should be fine). Because yes, developed countries mess up. And when they do, it stings more, all because of the BS they sell us that the world will be better off if we’re like them. And my dears, apparently not…

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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