Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Briffa

No doubt if you listen to or read gay media, you may find GLBTI as tiresome as I do. It is meant to be inclusive of all. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex. Is it necessary? Maybe.

I exchanged an email or two with the intersex Tony Briffa quite a few years ago now. I forget exactly what it was about now but he was polite, helpful and friendly.

Although his sex was hard to determine at a young age, he was brought up as a girl, and although clearly his behaviour was that of a boy, he was castrated at a young age for no good reason. His is not a great childhood/youth story. You can easily search out his details on the net.

But has that stopped him from being a high achiever? He is now mayor of the City of Hobsons Bay, covering Williamstown, an historic and now prestigious bayside suburb, and also covering Altona, the suburb where Australia's Prime Minister lives when she has a moment of not being PM.

I don't feel me being gay and Tony Briffa being intersex has much of a connection, but it does make me quite proud that a quite ethnically diverse area of Melbourne can elect Tony as mayor of their fair greater city. Onya Tony.


  1. I hadn't heard of this in Sydney, thanks for the posting.

  2. Anonymous7:36 am

    The connection within all of LGBTI? The fact that we are all discriminated against, persecuted, due to homophobia. Yes, Tony included.

  3. As long as he does the job he was elected to do he should be alright, being gay shouldn't matter :-).

  4. I'm curious...if he was born with male genitals why was Tony raised as a girl and castrated? Why not raise him as a boy? He may still have been gay, but that wouldn't matter at all. I'm going to have to search out his story and read more.
    This reminds me of a story from years ago in the papers. A pair of siamese twins were born conjoined from the waist down to the thighs, so there was no genitals to determine what sex they were supposed to be. When they were separated a decision was made to create one girl and one boy.
    To me this was very wrong. Siamese twins are always same sex twins and the twins or even the amniotic fluid should have been tested to determine the levels of testoterone or oestrogen to determine the sex of the twins. Making them one of each sex, means that one of them will grow up in the wrong body. I'm curious as to how they've turned out.

  5. Oh. My. God. Due to circs beyond my control I'm catching up with my fave blogs. Google reader showed 17 (!!!) unread Highriser posts. I have just read them all!!

    And I take my hat off to you. Such an eclectic range of topics - all equally fascinating, well written and appropriately illustrated!! Clearly something to be said for letting the unread posts build up for a bit!!

    Makes me feel a little embarrassed that I only write about one thing ...

    Belated Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to another year of highrising (if that's a verb??)!!!

  6. I'm with Windsmoke on this one Andrew, as long as he's qualified to do the job, what's the problem!!
    btw I am sooooo not a fan of footy, but for some strange reason I found the video of big muscly men doing their 'thing' to Up there Cazaly quite stirring haha!

  7. Victor, it may have been mentioned in mainstream media, but I didn't see it either.

    Is it homophobia really Anon? But your discrimination point is valid.

    He's a pretty decent guy I think Windsmoke, so here's hoping.

    River, it is too complicated to explain here, but yes, a bit of reading will have you up to speed. What you say about Siamese twins sounds sensible to me.

    Thanks Red. I would describe my blog as all over the place like a mad woman's breakfast. Highrising sounds a little bit rude.

    Lol PDP. My computer sound wasn't working when I played the clip. I'll go back and have another look and see if it does the same for me. Soccer players are more my type.

  8. I've always been curious about how some people can overcome the greatest adversity and be so successful while others seem to succumb to the pain of their upbringing and keep letting it get in their way. Good for Tony Briffa!

  9. Nice that Tony has succeeded in spite of being born in the dark ages. Intersex babies were traditionally "fixed" at birth and the "defect" hidden. Now, at least, more enlightened people are allowing such children space and time to identify their gender for themselves.

    The whole label thing is interesting. "Normal" people need labels to identify what they are not [cos they can be negative, see] and the rest of us probably need labels to identify the "reasons" we are treated differently.

    I agree the LGBTI label is an interesting combo, but allows for a subcategory of labelling: i.e. different, and different on the basis of sex. But as someone much smarter than me once pointed out, the most common sexual practice is masturbation therefore heterosexuals are deviants from the norm. Should we add another letter to the LGBTI label?

  10. FruitCake, yes, it is good to allow the child to decide and give them time. Yes, labelling happens and I like to label people myself. It is convenient. How is my algebra? ((LGBTIH)M)No one willl be reading this now but I am a firm believer in masturbation. It keeps men's prostates healthy and keeps me off the streets.

  11. That's why I love Melbourne. And 'Onya' is about the best compliment you can give a person, too. :)

  12. Rich, open and honest diversity makes life and people non boring. And indeed 'Onya Tony'.

  13. Probably Australia wide Kath, but happy for Melbourne to take the compliment.

    LS, I am all for diversity, so long as people behave how I think they should.

  14. I'll have to look up his story, sounds fascinating. Thanks for the heads up.
    Are you attending any of the Midsumma events? I was perusing the program earlier today, some interesting stuff on.

  15. Not sure Fen. I am somewhat tired and haven't had the energy to check yet.

  16. Read the Local Rag.1:22 am

    Briffa sent an email to a woman executive of Mobil Altona in which he delivered threats, insults, and made false accusations against her. He was forced to apologise by the Municipal Association and ordered by them to undertake counselling for twelve months under supervision of the mayor. Seeing he became mayor himself shortly afterwards it means he will be supervising himself.
    Anyone can get elected to council, anyone can be mayor, no one takes it seriously.

    Julia Gillard has never lived in Altona.

  17. Interesting. I certainly wasn't aware of any of that.

  18. Read the Local Rag5:31 am

    Thanks. Like everyone, I'm hoping political contenders will be as sweet once they're elected. In view of his background I thought Tony was a chance. I got a big surprise, really.