Marsh responds to `anti-gay' furore

Illawarra father Warwick Marsh, who was sacked as a men's health ambassador this morning over claims of anti-gay views, responds in an open letter:``It is a wonderful thing when people vilify you and tell lies about you. Certain journalists have claimed that I am homophobic. You be the judge. Is being homophobic bringing a young man into your home with your young family who has the death sentence of AIDS? That same young man needed shelter from the storm. A placed filled with unconditional love. He came from a broken home. He had a father wound. He had been sexually abused by other older men. That same young man ended up working the wall in Sydney. This is not a good place for any young man to have to work. He needed someone to tell him that he was loved and appreciated not for the sex he could give to his paying customers who abused him but because of who he was on the inside a wonderful young man, with a future and a destiny. Is being homophobic giving an award at a public function in Parliament House, Canberra in August 2005 to a wonderful Lesbian women from Melbourne who had the guts to set up an organization to help trafficked women caught in the exploitative web of male driven prostitution. Unfortunately some men still are bastards? Certainly not all but some. White Ribbon Day tells the stories. Is being homophobic inviting a Mayor of a local council in Sydney to give awards to the men who have completed a fatherhood course? That mayor was a homosexual man but as a Lord Mayor he deserves our respect and honour. After all we are all someone's daughter or someone's son and as such we all deserve that same honour and respect. If I am attacked it is because I believe that our children matter. If I am attacked it is because I believe that we should give our children the very best we can give them. If I am attacked it is because I believe every child has the right to a mother and a father. Children need a mother and a father not two mummies or two daddies.The document in question is public information and is available for free download at www.gendermatters.org.au. 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters has 34 different authors and contributors. Some contributed a lot and some a little. Ten are doctors while many are practitioners and counsellors. Several had experienced the gender wound first hand so they are well able to write with both authority and compassion. 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters shows from thousands of studies the world over, that the natural way is the best way and when we break that natural order the statistics show things just start to go wrong. People get hurt. Children are abused. Father wounds are created. Families break up. Relationships break down. Maybe we should rename the 'Father Wound' the 'Gender Wound'? The pain of the Gender Wound is a non-discriminatory pain. This pain is felt by heterosexuals and homosexuals. The story of this pain is well told in the ground breaking Australian movie called the Men's Group.21 Reasons Why Gender Matter was released some time ago in terms of the news cycle. This document is old news. Every Member of Parliament received a copy in the lead up to the last election. So did the media in the press gallery. Why all the fuss now?I don't know where this story came from? I have not said anything about this subject for quite some time. This sort of heterophobia baffles me. A lady from the US in the lead up to international Mens Day www.internationalmensday.com on November 19 called me a ``father's rights advocate''. I would prefer to be called a ``love advocate'' or a ``new way to be human advocate''.My main focus is healing the father wound in the children of Australia and trying to turn the tide of fatherlessness in our nation. Suicide is directly related to fatherlessness. Our children need live fathers not dead fathers. Men are dying almost five years earlier than women. Most of this morbidity is preventable. Men's health has been a much neglected issue. The women of Australia were granted a National Women's Health Policy in 1989. This National Men's Health Policy has been a long time coming.I applaud Nicola Roxon for her initiative in getting this policy off the ground. She is a great women and mother and she is doing a great job. I congratulate the Rudd Labor Government for their courage to tackle the shocking epidemic of male suicide and I am willing to continue as an advocate for Aussie men as an ambassador on their behalf as well as the government. We desperately need a national discourse on a National Men's Health Policy. I am honoured to work alongside such great Aussie men as Professor John MacDonald, Barry Williams, Tim Mathieson and others. All have a story to tell. They need to be heard.It is sad that these vicious unprovoked personal attacks are obfuscating the real message of Men's Health and the many slurs that men still have to endure because of their sex. I have received many encouraging phone calls and emails in the light of these unprovoked attacks upon my character and I want to thank those Australian men and women for their support and encouragement. Warwick Marsh,Fatherhood Foundation

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