A special episode of ABC political talk show Q&A dedicated to LGBT issues screened on Thursday night, featuring a panel of LGBT-identifying advocates and NSW Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile.
Predictably, Nile's views differed quite a bit from those of his counterparts. In particular, his response to the first question of the night – in which he brought up the "health risks" of sex between men – rankled the crowd and fellow panelists.
"I campaigned against the law [banning sex between men] being changed... because the law was simple," Nile said.
"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."
"I knew there was health risks and so on involved, in that which I was proved right later with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And that's the reason I was opposed to repealing the law, nothing to do with homosexuals."
Nile helpfully suggested that gay couples needn't have sex to express their love, suggesting "hugging" and "kissing" as other options.
And Twitter was all like:
Other questions addressed whether it's possible to be both gay and religious, the struggles of growing up LGBT in a migrant family and violence against queer youth.
But the unsung hero of the episode was transgender women Julia Doulman, a former bus driver and the subject of a 2001 documentary about her gender transition.
Doulman highlighted a stark reality for transgender people when asked a question about gender reassignment surgery.
A questioner asked how gender reassignment surgery is "good medicine", describing the procedure as a "deliberate damaging and mutilating of otherwise perfectly functioning bodily faculties".
"It's simple," said Doulman. "I'd rather have twisted mutilated genitals than a bullet through my head."
Transgender people in Australia are a high risk group for suicide. Studies have shown that medical treatment and the ability to physically transition is linked to improved mental health outcomes in transgender people.
"I've had reassignment surgery and I'm absolutely delighted with the result. I have a sense of peace of mind that I'd never experienced in my life," Doulman said.
"I'm not repulsed when I see myself in the mirror and at the end of the day I don't go to nudist beaches and the like so it's nobody else's business," she added.
SLAY, JULIA. SLAAAAAAY.
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