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FUSE61 — Pride and Travel Edition

IN THIS ISSUE: 2019 SpringOut Festival Guide. Muir caps to Jackboots leather community goes hi-vis. Amsterdam, pride & glory. Canberra celebrates 20 years of Pride. Trouble in paradise, Phuket's dark secret. Canberra together. Drag race is heading down under. Lick of approval: marriage equality stamps released... and more.

Alexander Thatcher FUSE Editor“Respect is the foundation of genuine harmony” — Dalai Lama

FUSE61 - Editorial by Alexander Thatcher, Executive Editor.

The 2019 UN World Happiness Report named the Dutch the fifth happiest people in the world. Australia, which currently sits at number eleven, has dropped two spots since the last survey in 2016.

My first visit to the Netherlands, the country where my mother was born, was earlier this year. After spending the summer in Amsterdam, it felt good knowing that the Dutch people seem to have created a grown-up and egalitarian society, where the freedom to be yourself and respect for others are held up as important social norms.

This attitude, known by the Dutch as 'verdraagzaamheid' — respecting people's freedom of choice in their views, beliefs and individuality — has led to progressive stances on social and ethical issues. These include leading the way on LGBTIQ rights, notably being the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, as well as having enlightened approaches concerning euthanasia, sex work, soft drugs and freedom of speech.

By Australian standards, some of these policies would be considered dangerous and excessive freedoms. Sadly, this is not something I see changing soon, considering the current conservative nanny-state agendas of our federal and some state governments.

I believe our right to self-determination is directly proportional to our happiness, which is probably why Australia has dropped two spots on the 2019 UN World Happiness Report. In order to be truly happy and authentic individuals, it's essential we have the opportunity to determine our own destinies, free from government control.

The Netherlands is of course not immune to the rise of right-wing populism and the conservative push for control of all aspects of our lives. Many Dutch LGBTIQ people I spoke to said they were becoming increasingly concerned that their liberty and way of life was under threat, believing that in this current political climate we need to be vigilant.

After spending time there, it's not hard to see why the people of Amsterdam are concerned about the cracks appearing in their way of life; it's a wonderfully free and safe city. As an LGBTIQ travel destination, I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list, and in this issue, you'll quickly discover why.

Starting on p33, you'll find our feature article filled with joyful photos of Amsterdam Pride and the famous Milkshake Festival.

On p37 we have interviews with our cover models and leading members of the leather community who have been travelling throughout Europe to encourage LGBTIQ people to be visible and proud of who they are.

Closer to home, this year SpringOUT celebrates its 20th anniversary. You'll find the full Festival Guide on p07 and our special photo feature looking back at 20 fabulous years of pride in Canberra on p23.

All this and more — there's a lot to discover in our spring issue of FUSE. Enjoy and live free.

Alexander Thatcher
Executive Editor





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