Archive for the ‘Gay’ Category

Why I got naked today…

July 17, 2016

tribeWell, it has been a while since I last muttered away about anything. In fact since my father passed away last year I seem to have had very little to say on here, or in life for that matter. It has been a strange time, life goes back to normal, you go to work, you eat, you chat you move on, but something inside you does not, it stays stuck. I guess that is why I have not blogged, I have been feeling stuck, stuck in this well of emotions that I feel like I am drowning in, but doing nothing to really help myself. Close friend and family have said I should ‘talk to someone’, and they don’t mean the postman. I know I ought to, but I am not really one for doing that, I seem to find it easier to mutter away at a keyboard to no one in particular. I think this way I feel safe that no one if going to challenge me about what I am thinking and why.

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Anyway, why am I posting this now? Well this morning I took off all my clothes and let someone take nude photos of me…. I did it for something called My People | My Tribe, which is a community group focused on telling and sharing LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and diverse sexualities and genders) stories that educate, enlighten and inspire. The group aims to shine a light on a variety of LGBTQ+ areas of interest including a focus on topical issues, history, sexual and mental health.

They recently, had a call out to the Sydney LGBTQI+ community to take part in a photoshoot that tells the stories of 100 locals. Titled #BareNakedTruth, participants are photographed by well know photographer Brenton Parry who said it’s time to showcase we are all more alike than different. “By photographing 100 people from a diverse cross section of the community, stripping them back and telling their story I’m hoping we can see that for all of our differences we have more similarities.”.

Some of the stories that I have read associated with some of those taking part have really inspired me. By participating in it myself it has in fact made me think about my dad a lot.  I came out at 18, around the height of the AIDS epidemic which fed fear and prejudice against homosexuals, and I was not living in some cosmopolitan city like I do now. I did it because I knew that if I could not be honest with others about who I really am and know that by doing so they would love me for who I really was, not who they thought I was, then I could never truly be honest with myself about who I am and grow to love myself. Back then I was gripped with hate and disgust for what I was, and I desperately wanted to not be gay.

And why does all this remind me of my dad, well at the time, we might not have had the best of relationships, it was a struggle for both he and I to accept my sexuality, but he sat me down one day and said he admired me for coming out. He said it was one the bravest things he had ever seen someone do and no matter how difficult things might be or what challenges I might face in the future, he said he knew I would have the courage to face anything after having witnessed me coming out to the world.

It took me a long time to come to terms with who and what I am and many years to truly feel proud of who I am. Today I stripped back my clothes and stood there proud and loving my father for the kindness of acceptance that made me feel loved and cherished for who I really am.

I feel a little less stuck today.

Study highlights risk of suicide among young people who are gender diverse, trans, and intersex

October 17, 2014

If you have seen the films Boys Don’t Cry, Skin I Live In or Transamerica you might think life for gender diverse and trans (an umbrella term which incorporates a variety of trans identities), individuals is a kind of hell on earth, and for some it certainly can be. Little is actually known about the mental health needs of gender diverse, trans, and intersex, young people in Australia which is why researchers at La Trobe University recently conducted a study called From Blues to Rainbows.

This study spoke to gender diverse, trans, and intersex young people aged 14-25 years old. The results found that half of the young people surveyed were diagnosed with depression and two thirds had experienced verbal abuse, a more worrying fact is that almost all of the participants had experienced abuse because of their gender diversity. This ranged from verbal threats to physical violence. Alas for many these threats and eventuated into actual physical abuse, with one fifth reporting this. Some of you will also know that I have written about the devastating effects suicide can have on friends and family, and what I found most shocking in the results is that 90% had thought about suicide in response to the physical abuse they had experienced.

The report also found:

  • 66% of participants had seen a health professional for their mental health in the past year
  • 38% had suicidal thoughts and a quarter had spoken to a medical professional about it
  • One in three did not feel supported by their family and suffered much higher rates of stress, suicide and depression
  • 45% were diagnosed with anxiety compared with an average 25% of the population

Encouragingly the report also emphasized that parental, peer and school support can make a enormous and constructive impact to their wellbeing.

With 66% of this at risk group visiting health professionals it is important that they receive guidance on how best to deal with these and what language to use, given the negative impact the use of incorrect pronouns to address them can have, they are there for help and understanding to getting it right at the very start is key. Many of these young people are subjected to embarrassing questions or simply have their gender dysphoria as a teenage fancy that they will grow out of.

This of course a complex issue but one that needs to be better addressed so that these vulnerable young people get all the support and help they need to live the full and happy lives we all want to live.

Sexy men in shorts, what is not to like…

August 26, 2014

Bingham Positive RGBI have always liked rugby over football (or soccer as they call it here in Australia) and so naturally I have got myself some tickets to go and see the finals of The Bingham Cup that is currently underway in Sydney.  For those of you that don’t know The Bingham Cup, or as it is officially called the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is a biennial international, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament. Yes gay men really do play rugby, but don’t take my word for it just ask Gareth Thomas, who was until 2011 the most capped Welsh rugby union player, with 100 test match appearances until. After an informal invitational tournament, held in May 2001 the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB), came together with the objective of forming an informal invitational tournament which would be an international rugby union competition, or as it has become known the “gay rugby union world cup”.  The tournament itself came to be named after Mark Bingham, a former University rugby star who had played in the May 2001 tournament for San Francisco Fog RFC and was also a cofounder of the Gotham Knights RFC. Mark Bingham died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93. He is generally accepted to be one of a group of passengers (along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick) who fought with the hijackers, which eventuated in the crashing of the plane into an empty filed instead of an assumed target in Washington. Mark Bingham was just 31 when he died in 2001, and the Bingham Cup was established the next year in honour of Mark’s courage, strength and love for rugby union. Back in 2002 eight teams competed in San Francisco, and attracted sponsorship from Nike and Guinness, this year in Sydney over 25 will compete and there are an abundance of sponsors, namely Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, AussieBum, Cannon and Lend Lease and is supported by representatives from across sports, such as Wallabies Dave Pocock and Adam Ashley-Cooper, South Sydney’s Greg Inglis and Australian women’s cricketer Alex Blackwell. This years’ tournament is the seventh in the history of the cup, and I will of course be cheering for the Sydney Convicts. For more information and of course to buy yourself some tickets visit the official website: http://binghamcup.com/

Student welfare in our schools should not be the domain of anti-gay religious groups….

May 27, 2014

Let me start this post by saying I am sure many of the chaplains involved in the Chaplaincy Programs in Australian schools do fantastic work, but money spent by the government, raised by all tax payers regardless of their religion, race, sexuality etc, should not be used for funding for particular religious groups to take the place of qualified mental health professionals or social workers in schools where ALL our children go, not just those of Christians.

There were many cuts in the budget this year that irked many of us, but some of the biggest were to health and education costs, if all goes to plan for the Government they will save $80 billion over 10 years by withdrawing the funding from the states that it provides for services in these two areas.

In terms of education, Tony Abbott’s government will not continue with the fifth year of Labor’s Gonski School funding reforms. This means that rather than increasing school funding by 4.7%, the Abbott government will increase school funding in line with inflation instead. What this means in reality in that they will spend about $130 million less on schools in 2017-18 than the previous government promised.

On top of this there are fundamental changes to University funding and student loans, referred to by Treasurer Joe Hockey in his budget speech as “once-in-a-generation reforms, the government will help build a sector that is more diverse, more innovative and more responsive to student needs”

So while we are on the subject of diversity in the education sector, and being more responsive to what students need, relative to other cuts made, how on earth does the government justify the continued federal funding of the Chaplaincy Programs in Australian schools?

Some of the organisations in the program have clear connections to homophobic campaigning and yet they will continue to benefit from the government funding. The proposed budget has allocated nearly $250million to this program over four years; it offers schools up to $24,000 per year to pay for a chaplain approximately two days a week.

ACCESS Ministries is one of the key providers of chaplains, providing approximately 330 schools in Victoria with “Special Religious Instructors”, yet it has been revealed that they have distributed homophobic materials that the Victorian Education Department’s own investigation concluded was “inappropriate and offensive”.

Rob Ward who is General Manager of Development and Communications at ACCESS Ministries, and the former Victorian State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby,  has campaigned against same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption and is on record as not wanting non-heterosexual orientations as being seen as ‘normal’.  When the “Fair go, sport!” program, an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of sexual and gender diversity in sport, was launched he said “The suggestion that the aim is to have the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender sportspeople…so public that it’s normal, so people don’t think about it is very troubling.”

In addition, Darren McMahon the Director and Presenter of Your Dream Incorporated in Sydney that runs chaplaincy programs through NSW, has significant ties to Hillsong Church, which has had a contentious relationship with the gay community regarding their involvement with the Mercy Ministries and the Living Waters Australia, which both ran ex-gay and conversion camps.

It is a documented fact that LGBTI youth have higher rates of suicide and depression than their heterosexual counterparts and as Jacqui Tomlins, a founding member of the Australian Equality Party, has said “Young people,  especially those who might be questioning their sexuality or sexual identity, need access to good, non-judgemental counsellors who can provide advice and guidance that is not based on any religious foundation”, yet it is via the Chaplaincy Program that these children would be dealt with.

To make matter worse the Abbott Government has changed the conditions to prevent School Principals from being able to elect a secular student welfare worker instead of a chaplain, non-religious student welfare workers could get access to funding under the previous Labor Government.

So just how Mr Hockey does the government propose to ensure we build a sector that is more diverse, more innovative and more responsive to student needs with this program?

Not only was I annoyed enough to write this blog post but I also signed this petition: https://www.allout.org/en/actions/australia-budget-thanks

Remembering Lex Watson

May 8, 2014

Lex Watson who passed away this week was the first president of the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) and a Co-founder of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP), in addition to being the founder of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, in short he was one of the most important gay rights activists in Australia.

We forget how things have changed over the past few decades and the fact that we have so many rights not afforded us in the past is in no small part down to the work Lex and others like him did on our behalf. He played an important role in the foundation of many of the LGBT rights groups in New South Wales. In 1970 he was one of the first gay people to advocate openly for their rights on Australian television, a very brave act indeed back then, to many LGBT people in their teens, twenties or even 30’s just how brave and pioneering an act this was would be hard to comprehend in a world where an openly gay person won Big Brother in 2012.

Homosexuality was legalized in New South Wales in 1984, 14 years after the start-up of CAMP, and in that time activists like Lex were at the forefront of the fight for equality and endured more than most on our behalf to ensure our rights were recognised. For example in 1976 whilst on a current affairs program on ABC Lex was pelted with human excrement during a debate, his response to this act…. was to point out that that was precisely the kind of persecution that homosexuals had to put up with, touché .

In his later years Lex  served as the President of Sydney’s Pride History Group, Lex Watson is part of our history, he was a pioneer for the LGBT community and one I hope history never forgets.

Do you love Sex…..

February 19, 2014

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Love Sex Durex… now that is a tag line I like. Durex are sponsoring the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this year and are embracing the promotion of same-sex relationships as part of the initiative.  They are not the only sponsors this year, other sponsors are ANZ (principle sponsor), SBS2 and 2day FM who are the broadcast partners and Fitness First, Air Asia, Google, Gaydar, Finlandia (it’s a vodka), as well as NSW NOW, Destination NSW, City of Sydney as strategic partners.

Not all partners are launching campaigns to tie in with their sponsorship, but Durex have taken the opportunity to do just that with their Durex Love Same Sex. It is primarily a social media campaign, which aims to focus on and celebrate the years of “love and commitment of long-term same-sex relationships in Australia”.

The brand is encouraging people in Australia that are in same-sex relationships to celebrate the number of years they have been in a relationship, they do this by visiting the Durex Australia Facebook page and pledge their years of commitment. There is a year counter on the Facebook page that tallies the total years all participating couples have been together, so far it stands at 4,345 years.

The brand was also present at Fair Day this year where they set up a booth and got over 3,500 couples to pledge there years of commitment, one such couple was Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster and her partner Virginia Edwards who celebrated seven years together.

This is a great fit with the Mardi Gras event and nice to see them doing this, but as mentioned before this is not new, brands have been targeting the LGBT communities more and more over the past decade, and especially around events such as these, as written about here before.

Did gay ad prompt Queensland Government to call an unnecessary inquiry?

April 17, 2013

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Does Queensland need tighter regulation of outdoor media? The industry stats would indicate that currently there is no evidence to suggest so. Last year there were 3,640 complaints submitted across all media to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) of these only 5%, yes 5% related to outdoor advertising.

However, bowing to pressure from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has announced an inquiry that will examine if new laws and classifications are needed to crack down on sexually explicit material on billboards.

Some background to why the ACL has put the pressure on the Queensland Government, last year the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities launched the ‘Rip and Roll’ campaign (pictured) which featured a homosexual couple. This ad is about promoting safe sex, but the Australian Christian Lobby found it far to offensive and took action, they put pressure on Adshel (the company that carried the ads on their sites) to remove them, and unfortunately they did. They then had to make an embarrassing u-turn and reinstated them following a barrage of criticism for having done so.

What was refreshing was at the time, Goa Billboards refused to remove the messaging and instead countered the pressure they got from ACL with digital ads displaying the message “Our God loves everyone gay & straight”.

What is more the ASB later dismissed all complaints about the “sexual nature” of the campaign and found it did not break any advertising or marketing codes of ethics.

Clearly the ACL are not happy at the fact that they were so robustly defeated in their attempts at censorship, but alas they may have the last laugh. After receiving a petition from the ACL recently the Attorney-General said “It is difficult to avoid outdoor advertising in everyday life and such advertising can be seen by children, with no ability for parents to restrict access if it is inappropriate,” he went on to say “Whatever regulation is in place, we need a system that when complaints are made, adequate action is taken. I don’t think that is happening at the moment” this could almost be the ACL speaking.

Alina Bain, CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, said there is no evidence that the current self-regulatory system is not working, and pointed out that “advertising works on a national level so to expect an advertiser to have one billboard for Queensland and another for the rest of the country is plainly absurd,” .

What is more the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has also hit back at the Queensland Government’s probe into the regulation of outdoor advertising, branding it “redundant” and “absurd” and their chief executive, Charmaine Moldrich, questioned the need for the review saying “the facts speak for themselves. There were no nation-wide complaints, in the area of sex, sexuality and nudity upheld against OMA members in 2012.”

So why this inquiry? Where is the evidence that one is even needed? And is this ad featured here really so offensive in its own right to justify such an inquiry?

It is hard work being gay….

March 13, 2013

You have to maintain a 32inch waist no matter how old and lazy you get

You have to have a gym membership even if the heaviest thing you want to lift is the post off the door matt

You have to have an assumed knowledge about all things to do with women’s fashion even if you don’t have a single fashionable female friend

You have to know the words to every song ever performed by Kylie, Madonna and Bananarama and at least 3 other 80’s pop stars

You have to know what all the ‘in’ bars and restaurants are, even if you have lived like a hermit for years

You have to wear clothes that are in fashion, but not look like mutton dressed as lamb if you are an ageing gay

You have to pretend NOT to fancy the hot straight guy in the office

You have to look at least ten years younger than you are, and make it look effortless

On that note, you have to have immaculate hair even if you have just got out of bed after 12hrs of sleep

You have to know someone that your straight friends can buy pills from, and I am not talking paracetamol, even if you have never even so much as puffed on a joint your entire life

And finally you have to be happy in the face of adversity, there is a reason you are called gay, now go face that firing squad with a skip and a hop and a great big smile on your face…

Who wants to be a daddy Part 4

December 20, 2012

photoWow, it has finally happened I have become a daddy, twice over to two adorable little boys. Charles and MacArthur were born on the 6th December and I have fallen in love with them a .little bit more each day since then. I was very calm in the lead up to the big event, I think having waited so long and tried so hard to become a dad a part of me was waiting till they were both here and I could hold them in my arms before I really truly believe it was all real and happening.

On the day and all through the process I stayed calm and focussed and in awe of what a great job mum to be was doing. The babies had to go straight into a special care unit for 24hrs (just precautionary) and I went with them while mum was in recovery and it was not till that moment that it struck me that they were here in the world and I was their dad and would forever have them in my heart that I suddenly was overcome with emotion and shed a few tear, ok I blubbered a little, all those years of yearning to be a dad finally coming to fruition, it was a moment I will treasure forever, especially when they are misbehaving and driving me crazy.

I wrote a little while back about how the family I was looking to create is a somewhat modern family, and although I had a little bit of negative response, on the whole most people were very supportive and encouraging, and I have been blow away by generosity of support we have received and want to publicly acknowledge my gratitude for this.

My journey to becoming a dad has finally ended, but my journey as a dad is just beginning.

Earlier postings relating to this topic: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Political Parties chasing the Pink Vote

August 28, 2012

I know I have talked about brands targeting the Pink Dollar before https://macarthursmutterings.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/big-brands-wise-up-and-target-the-lgbt-community/ when I looked at Coca-Cola and Grey Goose supporting the Winter Party Festival (WPF) in the US and Mardi Gras here in Australia being supported by Virgin Australia, ANZ, Google and Finlandia Vodka, for example.

Well this time I want to talk about Political Parties chasing the Pink Vote. We have some elections coming up in Sydney which sees the  political fight for dominance of Sydney Council being taken to the LGBT Community, why is that?

Well is it one of the few electorates in Australia where the ‘pink vote’ can and does make a difference. If you have spent much time in places like Darlinghurst and Surry Hills you will know that LGBT individuals are both an important and integral part of these communities, and their voice not only matters but is worth listening to.

With this in mind, and with elections just around the corner, the council recently announced some new funding, if all goes to plan Mardi Gras would get $400,000 in funding over the next two years. This might sound like a lot, but a conservative estimate of the average number of spectators a year is 300,000. It is estimated that MG delivers an annual economic impact of $29 million to Sydney and NSW. This is the direct result of international and interstate visitors travelling specifically for Mardi Gras events, so $400,000 is not all that much really, they could be doing more.

Labor’s candidate for the position of Lord Mayor has claimed a Labor run Town Hall would commit $3.2 million to MG and Aids Council of NSW (ACON) over four years, no small sum. And apparently a future Liberal Government will work with MG to ensure “it grows as one of Sydney’s most important cultural and social events and as a major tourism driver for the state”, although I am unaware of any actual sum of commitment in dollar terms.

Don’t get me wrong, all this ‘possible’ support and funding is crucial and long overdue, but LGBT voters don’t just think about how the parties support them at election time only (ok for some that may be true). Like any constituent they think about how political parties represent then (or don’t) most of the year and as such maybe those who want to win, and stay in power, in Sydney ought to pay more heed to the Pink Vote all year round and not just at election time.

Has the KFC Colonel come out of the closet?

August 7, 2012

“Yep, let it be known that Colonel Sanders loves the gays. Hell, I might even be gay” proclaims John Goodman as the famous KFC Colonel.

This is in a video that was made for funnyorDie.com in reaction to the storm sparked in the US by a competitor to KFC, Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay marriage stance.

KFC are obviously using this opportunity to win over some of those pink dollars that will have been lost by Chock-fil-A as a result of it having donated $4 million to right-wing groups that oppose the legalization of gay marriage. The company’s president said last month they are “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

Dressed in the Colonel’s signature white-suite, Goodman uses his exaggerated impression to clearly mock Chick-fil-A. “I love all gay people always have. And, we’re open on Sundays,” he says, Chick-fil-A is only open Monday through Saturday for religious reasons. And to impress his point of view on the audience he goes on to say, “The only church the Colonel attends on Sunday is the church of chicken”.

But what I find most refreshing is the fact that the “Colonel” says he doesn’t actually care about beliefs and that in the end it all comes to money.

Watch the video here: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/e86050c415/kfc-loves-gays-with-john-goodman

The Gap goes gay….

May 11, 2012

Ok, I know I have harped on about brands targeting The Gay’s recently but the Gap’s latest ad got my attention for two reasons. One I like Gap, I have fondness for the brand that goes back over years, when I moved to Sydney I was sorry to discover that they did not have stores here. That was rectified recently with a new store opening here. Ok so it’s not the biggest store and maybe I am getting a little too old for Gap clothes, but that said I did walk out of there a few weeks back with three new pairs of jeans and an armful of t-shirts. And reason number two this ad got my attention was of course the fact it features two rather nice looking chaps (no not those kind of chaps, that really would be taking Gap down a new path).

As a brand it has always been popular with gay community so I wonder why it has taken them so long to do something  like this, if they have done it before please someone do tell.

Back in the 90’s the brand had a real vibe of being cool as the kids would say, however it is fair to say it has lost that edge it once had and I assume it is now trying to recapture some of that vibe again, I’m not 100% convinced this will do the trick but I applaud them for going with an ad targeting the LGBT community.

The fact that even Obama has now come out in favour of same-sex marriage, might encourage even more brands to take the plunge and start showing same-sex couples in their campaigns (the Pink dollar is not to be scoffed at).

There is no doubt that there still a lot of mainstream homophobic prejudice out there so I understand that brands will need to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of targeting the LGBT community, but how many of them properly research and understand just how loyal LGBT consumers are to brand that support and are loyal to them?

And by that I mean brands that don’t just make a token effort to appeal to the community but commit to them as a loyal customer base that just might have a significant contribution to make in their brand’s efforts to reinvigorate sales and enlarge its customer base.

One obvious example of a brand that has taken a brave step in this direction is JCPenney, under its new “Fair and Square” tagline, it has gone against conservative pressure groups like One Million Moms by partnering with Ellen DeGeneres (she is gay by the way) and making her the brands spokesperson. In addition to this they recently featured a lesbian couple and their daughter on their Mother’s Day catalogue.

These may be baby steps but at least they are steps in the right direction…

Big Brands wise up and target the LGBT community

February 28, 2012

It’s party time, well it is for the LGBT community, or as we say in Sydney Happy Bla de Bla. We have the Winter Part Festival (WPF) taking place over in Miami and Mardi Gras is well under way here in Sydney with the main event taking place this weekend. This can be a very busy time for the party minded girl or boy about town with heaps of events to choose from and lots of parties to strut your stuff at.

However, this year there are others coming to the party, big brands are wising up to the power of the Pink Dollar and as such are doing more and more to try and target the LGBT community at this time of year. Some brands are only just catching on but others have been on board for some time now. For example Showtime in the States has been a key sponsor of some ground breaking shows such as Queer as Folk and The L Word, and this year will be will be promoting Nurse Jackie (which has a bit of a cult following among Lesbians, I wonder if my sister watches it?). And here in Australia Clinique, which is a newer player in this area, have opened a pop up store on Oxford St, a key focal point for Mardi Gras visitors.

Note these are not small-fry brands, they are brands with international reputations and lots of credibility within their own sectors. And they are not alone; WPF is being supported by Office Depot, Coca-Cola and Grey Goose while MG is being supported by Virgin Australia, ANZ, Google and Finlandia Vodka.

At the same time others, who may not be sponsors are running marketing activity aimed at the LGBT community, Durex being a great example with a print ad featuring a huge cock (that got your attention, it’s a feathered kind) here in Australia. It’s great to see these brands making an effort to target what many say is a ‘loyal’ consumer group, according to a recent survey by Harris Integrative “7 out of 10 LGBT consumers say they are likely to remain loyal to a brand they believe is friendly and supportive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community even when less friendly companies offer lower prices or are more convenient”.

However, LGBT consumers don’t just spend at this time of year, like any consumer they shop all year round and in the States this equate to an “annual buying power nearing $1 trillion” (Harris). Most research into possible figures of the size of the LGBT community estimate that 1 in 10 are same sex attracted, that’s over 31 million Americans and 2.2 million Australians, that’s no small consumer base and these brands ought to be thinking about how to target this group throughout the year, not just when we come out and party.

As Ben Mulcahy of Pink Media Group puts it, “Smart, forward thinking companies are starting to develop long term strategies to communicate with this demographic. Gay and lesbian consumers are savvy, we will support organisations who support us”.

Now on that note, I’ll be off to spend some of my Pink Dollars….

Remembering Tania one year on…

December 2, 2011

December the 9th will be the first anniversary of the death of Tania Lienert, a very close friend of mine. She was a person that contributed so much to the LGBT community as well as her wider local community in Lismore and the Northern Rivers areas in which she lived and worked.

It seems odd to think that a whole year has gone by since she died, she was a bright light in many people’s lives and this past year has been a little darker without her in it.

Tania was a much respected intellectual and her achievements in both the academic and LGBT scenes were highly regarded. Many remember her for the good work she did with Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) in the Northern Rivers area where she was manager. Tania’s last role was working with the University Department of Rural Health in Lismore where she was co-ordinating a primary health care research development programme. Tania always applied a great deal of passion to provide and improve services to the gay and lesbian community. She really did make a difference to people’s lives.

Earlier this year a number of community members and past colleagues of Tania’s along with Tania’s partner Deb established an annual memorial lecture in Tania’s honour, ‘The Dr Tania Lienert Memorial Lecture for Social Justice and Diversity’. The first lecture took place in June this year, with the renowned writer and human rights activist, Arnold Zable, delivering the lecture which had as it’s subject these as ‘The Healing Power of Story’.

About 300 people attended the lecture which is testament to the great affection she was held within the community at large.  Tania had an immense sense of compassion, understanding, respect and forgiveness for others and I thank her for the impact she has made on my life and  remember her fondly, she will forever be in my heart.

I have a wedding announcement to make…

September 19, 2011

I first wrote about Kevin, the first ever gay character in the Archie Comics, back in September 2010, he made a real splash back then and the issue in question sold out and they even issued a reprint which was the first time in Archie Comics history.  Well I have some more news about him for you, he is all set to get married.

He is back in town after having spent some time serving in the Army (a man after my own heart) and not only does he tell his fellow comic book friends that he meet Mr Right but he announces his wedding.

When he was first on the scene (no pun intended) it was Veronica that was trying to make a play for him, although I was hoping it would be Jughead that Kevin would make his move with, alas that will have to remain a fantasy of mine….

Kevin’s upcoming same-sex marriage (not civil partnership) is another first for the Archie Comics, and will be the first one depicted in mainstream comic books in general. We wished him well in his adventures back in September and it’s great to see the character, grow and be so well received.  In fact writer Dan Parent, was nominated for a GLAAD award for his creation. Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater said last year in relation to the creation of Archie’s first gay character: “The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive.” And it is great to see that they are continuing the good work.

Kevin’s wedding will appear in the January 2012 issue of Life With Archie, a spin-off series that follows the central characters as twenty-something adults, with his own solo series rumoured for a release early next year also. Watch this space….