NFSA celebrates the legacy of Australian actor Heath Ledger with a new curated collection, ten years after his passing.
NFSA celebrates the legacy of Australian actor Heath Ledger with a new curated collection, ten years after his passing.
Do you think you have been exposed to HIV? It's vital that PEP is started as soon as possible after any possible exposure to HIV — preferably within a few hours.
As new HIV infections continue to climb in the territory, the ACT government has joined with advocacy groups to craft a new framework to bring the disease under control across Canberra.
Anecdotes of a disabled gay
This video features Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpretation. In this moving and often funny talk, Wayne Herbert challenges some common myths about disability and sexuality.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Australia’s golden boy of comedy… Joel Creasey! To say I was a little nervous to interview the so-called ‘Acid Tongue Prince’ would be like saying the Titanic only sank just a bit. Alas, after overcoming my nerves, and somehow silencing the incessant voice of RuPaul inside my head bellowing ‘DON’T F**K IT UP’, I managed to have a lovely chat with the even lovelier and ever-sassy comedian.
Sex isn’t only a pleasurable experience the act also has health benefits that can be compared to those of exercise. In fact, the physiological response to sex is similar to that of exercise. Landmark studies in the 1960s showed people having sex had an increase in their respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure.
An Egyptian court has acquitted 26 men arrested in a televised raid last month by police looking for gays at a Cairo public bathhouse, a ruling that set off deafening cheers and jubilation inside the courtroom as some of the defendants uncovered their faces and wept openly in relief.
I've had Kadie Elder’s song ‘First Time He Kissed a Boy‘ running round in my head all day!
If you haven’t seen Kadie Elder’s ‘First Time He Kissed a Boy‘, it’s lovely. Not just the gorgeous video, that was beautifully shot in such muted toned typically Nordic colors, but also the song. A stunning electropop number that’s so ethereal and catchy, you’ll be singing it for days after a first listen.
Never mind that it’s such a great video for LGBTI youth to see. After all, isn’t it nice to see a gay positive track shot in such a touching way, and especially with it’s I-don’t-care-I-love-him ending.
As for Kadie Elder, they’re a Danish electropop trio with a lovely 1980s sound. They only have a couple of videos out right now, but if they continue producing music of this caliber, I’m predicting they’ll go far.
You can find out more about Kadie Elder on their Facebook page. And, of course, subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Now watch ‘The First Time He Kissed a Boy‘, smile and, oh yes, dance..
Kadie Elder - First Time He Kissed a Boy [Official Music Video]
HIV/AIDS HAS had a huge impact on communities all over the world.
It wasn’t that long ago when the first case of HIV/AIDS in Australia was recorded in Sydney, October 1982, and the first Australian death from AIDS occurred in Melbourne, July 1983. Many lives have been lost since then, and people are still contracting HIV today.
Last month, my partner and I joined our local community to honour and remember those whom we have lost to AIDS in the Australian Capital Territory and throughout the world.
This year in Canberra, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held for the first time in the beautiful Margaret Whitlam Pavilion at the National Arboretum.
The ceremony was a time to mark the many steps we have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but it was also an opportunity to remember the suffering and loss experienced by many, and to call on the community for greater acceptance and support for those still in need.
The Memorial was hosted by Genevieve Jacobs and included some rousing speeches from Professor John Dwyer, Senator Katy Gallagher and former AIDS Action Council President Scott Malcolm. We listened to cellist Christian J. Renggli as the names of the lost were remembered. And the Canberra Gay & Lesbian Qwire sang as candles were lit and tears were shed. The AIDS Candlelight Memorial is indeed a sombre event, but it is also a day of hope, courage and possibility. We were honoured to be part of such an important occasion.
Here in Canberra there is currently no permanent place for people to gather and remember those lost to AIDS. In response to this, a community group made up of people living with HIV, their families and their friends, together with the support of the AIDS Action Council, have spent many years searching for a suitable site where this space could be created.
During the Memorial we were thrilled to hear that this has finally come to fruition. The AIDS Garden of Reflection will be built at the National Arboretum in the ‘Gallery of Gardens’ located on the Arboretum’s events terrace. The five hundred square metre garden will feature a range of native plants and sculptures by renowned landscape architects, with the objective of providing a peaceful space for remembrance, reflection and inspiration.
Of course, large projects like this one cost money and as a community we have an ambitious goal — to raise $125,000 which is needed to make this important and long-held dream a reality. You can help by making a tax deductible donation. Visit aidsgardenact.com.au
You’ll find some more information about the AIDS Garden of Reflection on p12. Also in this issue we look at why blocking same-sex marriage has significant economic consequences p17; the new documentary Oriented which explores the lives of three gay Palestinian friends in Tel Aviv p21; what you can expect if you’re dating an air sign p24; we celebrate gay love letters through history p23; and don’t miss our four glorious pages of photos from this year’s 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras p39.
FUSE49 : Love is Love (Boy Cover)
FUSE49 : Love is Love (Girl Cover)
Welcome to our 50th issue of FUSE.
It’s seems that time has gone by so fast and I’m having trouble believing that seven years down the track this is our 50th issue of FUSE Magazine.
In the Autumn of 2009, FUSE was launched at the Hush Lounge in Canberra — a place we remember fondly — and today our strong base of community contributors are still making FUSE come vividly alive each issue.
We are pretty proud of what we’ve done, and what makes it even more wonderful is that FUSE is a real testament to our community working together. FUSE would not exist if it was not for the talents and efforts of many people over the years that have contributed to these pages — some of which have been working with us since the very first issue.
We wanted to create a LGBTIQ magazine where budding and amateur writers, photographers and models could have the opportunity to have their work published in a professionally designed and printed publication. It’s fantastic to see that after 50 issues this has proven to be wildly successful.
I would like to extend a huge and personal thank you to everyone that has ever contributed over the years and of course to all our fabulous advertisers and supporters that help make FUSE possible. You’re all totally awesome!
So what’s in issue 50? With ink on pages we explore ink on skin, and how this most personal art form has gone from the domain of sailors and bikers to a mainstream phenomena. We metaphorically get under the skin of inked LGBTIQ community members as they share their personal body art and stories in our special FUSE tattoo feature. You’ll learn about the history of tattooing — how it changed through the centuries — and what it means to people today. We also chatted to some local tattoo artists who gave us some great inking tips and filled us in about all the myths of tattooing. p21.
On a serious note, Professor Rusi Jaspal writes about what it’s like to be gay and Muslim. The Orlando shooting — a hate crime against queer people — was perpetrated by a closeted gay Muslim man. Many people claimed this was simply a terrorist attack rather than a heinous crime by a deeply disturbed and confused person. It has spread shock waves throughout our communities causing lots of speculation about Islam and homosexuality. The article brings an honest and personal insight to the struggle of Muslims all over the world that are brave enough to be visible members of the LGBTIQ community. p35.
In other stories we interview a gay tattooed rocker from New York, delve into the secrets of dating a water sign, and ponder on better ways to spend $160 million — think plebiscite. Top Queer reviews the new and last Aussie ute, we continue our feature on gay love letters throughout history, plus a heap more great pages filled with glorious ink!
FUSE50 : Celebrating 50 issues (Gay Cover)
FUSE50 : Celebrating 50 issues (Lesbian Cover)
The plebiscite is dead!
If you were just as sick as I was of hearing the words ‘same-sex marriage plebiscite’ then you’re probably just as happy that it’s finally dead in the water. It’s been utterly crazy that the Federal Government has been hanging this monumentally stupid idea over our heads, when marriage equality seems to me (and about 70% of other Australians) to be such a basic right. Even before any decision had been made about the proposed plebiscite, hate speech and anti-gay propaganda had already increased against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Australians. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s promise that the plebiscite would be conducted in a civil and respectful way, had already been pretty much undone.
Like many others, my greatest concern was the negative effects a plebiscite would have had on LGBTIQ people and families. The dangers of homophobia were recently highlighted in a new study which showed that sixteen percent of young LGBT people have attempted suicide and a third have harmed themselves — largely due to homophobic harassment — making them six times more likely to consider taking their own life than their heterosexual peers. Although things are better, the study found there is still widespread homophobic harassment, bullying and violence in schools, in the workplace and at sporting events.
It’s studies like these that make us realise just how dangerous a plebiscite would have been for vulnerable people in our communities — the Government not only sanctioning but paying for negative, closed-minded hate speech and homophobia. Much of this literature is about spreading fear, ignorance and unfounded lies about same-sex families being unhealthy, and attacking initiatives like the Safe Schools Program designed to stop bullying in schools and to support LGBTIQ youth.
It is totally reckless to tell LGBTIQ Australians, and especially young people, that there is something wrong with them or their families just because of their sexual orientation or gender diversity. Thankfully commonsense has finally prevailed before so many people were put at risk from Government condoned homophobia. Love is love after all.
Knowing this, it’s incredibly important that all LGBTIQ people feel OK with who they are and have unconditional support. So on a more positive note, summer in Australia brings a time where pride festivals start to happen all over the country. It’s a wonderful opportunity for LGBTIQ community members and allies to celebrate diversity and love while connecting with others.
During November our nation’s capital will celebrate with the SpringOUT Pride Festival — and in this issue of FUSE you’ll find the line up of just some of the key events that are being held p06-10. We urge everyone to participate and show their true and most beautiful colours. For the festival’s full program of events visit the FUSE What's On Section and springout.com.au
Enjoy and stay safe, Alex
FUSE51 : Live Proud 'Our hottest issue yet!' (Gay Cover)
FUSE51 : Live Proud (Lesbian Cover)
On Saturday 4 March, I marched and partied with over 250,000 of my best friends... well, maybe they weren’t all my ‘best’ friends, but there is something about the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which seems to bring everyone together with tremendous love and friendship. Although it rained a little on our parade — sorry Fred Nile, I don’t think it was your praying — it was a truly amazing night, filled with glitter, giant smiles and diversity.
This year’s theme was ‘Creating Equality’ and highlighted that everyone should be treated fairly and equally, with no one being discriminated against for their sexuality, sex, gender identity, race, beliefs, age or abilities. The theme literally created a sea of self-expression and I was honoured to be part of it — thousands of people showing their support for the continuing fight for equality and recognition.
As most people already know Mardi Gras originally started as a political protest on a cold Winter’s night on Saturday 24 June 1978. The protest, which was in part a response of the Stonewall riots in New York, sadly ended in violence and the arrest of 53 men and women. Being anything other than heterosexual was certainly not celebrated back then.
Lucky for us many LGBTIQ people have been fighting hard for our rights for almost forty years, and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is now one of the largest and most iconic celebrations of LGBTIQ pride in the world. Although we still have some equality battles to win, it’s amazing just how far we have come.
Next year will be the 40th anniversary and I’m sure we will all be super excited to celebrate this amazing milestone. On p27 you’ll find the start of our special FUSE 2017 Mardi Gras photo feature.
Also in this issue of FUSE we look at some practical steps you can take to keep you safe while using dating apps p19. Find out what makes people fall in love and discover the top ten things that can make sparks fly p24. In the last of our four part series, find out what happens when you date an earth sign p15. See the return of Casey Conway — he talks about his journey from swimwear model to unintentional role model p39. We can’t forget our Canberra SpringOUT Festival photos, which include Fair Day, the FUSE Bake Off and Bushdance p43. And if you love wine and food you better turn to p36 right now!
Enjoy and express yourself, Alex
FUSE52 : Express Yourself (Gay Cover)
FUSE52 : Express Yourself (Lesbian Cover)
THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT
Some people love the cold wintery weather. I’m not one of them. As I sit here all rugged up in our office, uncertain if summer will ever come again, I suddenly realise how blessed I am to have these simple first world problems. Although we still have a way to go in Australia in regards to equality, we can live our lives in relative peace and safety.
Sadly, for many gay men elsewhere in the world, their lives are cold and uncertain on a whole different level to mine.
In the past six months we have all watched in horror as ISIS beheaded numerous gay men, while pushing others off buildings. In April over 100 gay men were rounded up and thrown in concentration camps in Chechnya. Queer men have been stoned to death en masse in Syria and Iraq, while only recently others were publicly whipped and beaten in Indonesia. These are only just a few examples of the absolute horror that some gay men are currently facing around the world. It seems as far as we have come, religious fundamentalists have stepped up their crusade to punish LGBTIQ people in the most cruel and severe ways, all in the name of God. If God does exist I reckon he is pretty pissed!
It makes me realise just how fragile any equality we have actually is. In the developed and undeveloped world, ultra-conservatism continues to be on the rise. Encouraged by this, religious fundamentalists are getting more outspoken and can be found in every country, including Australia. The danger they pose is a real one.
Although I have a pretty positive feeling about the future, I do think we need to stay vigilant and not take any equality we have for granted.
With this in mind, I’m going to end with my top ten things you can do to support LGBTIQ rights here and around the world.
Be loud, be proud and know yourself. Alex
FUSE53 : Know Yourself (Gay Cover)
FUSE53 : Know Yourself (Girl Cover)
I just have a simple message this issue. If we have to vote on marriage equality. Vote Yes!
Here are a few things you should know if it goes ahead.
WHEN WILL I GET THE FORM?
The ABS will send the forms over a two-week period from September 12.
WHAT QUESTION WILL BE ON THE FORM?
The survey form asks only one question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"
WHAT IF I'M AWAY DURING THE VOTING PERIOD?
Contact the ABS information line. You can arrange to have the form sent to a nominated address or authorise another person to vote for you. In limited circumstances, voters will be able to lodge a paperless response using a secure access code.
If your survey is lost or damaged you can ask for a replacement up until October 18.
WHEN ARE THE FORMS DUE IN?
The ABS is strongly encouraging voters to return their forms by October 27. Forms received after November 7 will be deemed invalid.
DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR A STAMP?
No. The package containing the survey form will include a reply paid envelope.
WHAT ABOUT MY PRIVACY?
The identity of voters will be kept separate from their survey responses. Each survey has a barcode but it's being used for "mark-in" purposes only and cannot be used to identify voters.
The completed survey material and envelopes will be securely destroyed within 60 days of the publication of the survey results.
BUT I'M A SILENT ELECTOR
About 113,000 silent electors will be sent their forms by the Australian Electoral Commission. Details of silent electors will be kept confidential.
The AEC has established a hotline for silent electors with questions about this process.
CAN I INSERT GLITTER/COMPLAINTS/POLITICAL VIEWS IN MY RESPONSE?
As much as some of love glitter, the answer to this queation is preferably not. The ABS says: "The survey envelope is designated to be for the survey response only and is not a channel for correspondence, complaints or other communication. Any extraneous material inserted in the envelope with the survey form will be destroyed and, due to processing machinery or possible contamination, may result in the survey form also being destroyed and therefore not processed."
WHEN WILL WE KNOW THE RESULT?
It will be published on the ABS website on November 15.
WHAT HAPPENS THEN?
The result of the survey is non-binding but a "yes" vote will lead to a conscience vote on the issue in Parliament.
If the survey vote is "no", then no vote will take take place in Parliament and that will be the end of the matter.
MPs are not required to vote along party lines or in accordance with the outcome of the survey.
WHAT ABOUT THE HIGH COURT CHALLENGE?
The entire same-sex marriage survey exercise could fall apart depending on the outcome of two High Court challenges, to be heard on September 5 and 6 in Melbourne.
The challenges - one from Australian Marriage Equality and the other from Andrew Wilkie MP - have been brought on similar grounds.
They argue the survey should be dumped because the Turnbull government does not have the authority to use the $122 million in funds for the vote. They also claim the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not have the legal authority to conduct the survey.
DO YOU BELIEVE LOVE IS A VERB.
Like all people, I have many beliefs. I believe in equality for all people, I believe the way we farm animals for food is unconscionably cruel and like 65% of other Australians, I believe that religion has caused more harm than good in our world. I believe that people who are fearful can cause great harm to others and that people who act with love in their hearts can do extraordinary things.
Some of these things you may believe as well, some you may not. But at the end of the day, they don’t make me a better or worse person. What matters is what I do, and that’s what defines me.
For instance, if I believe in global warming but go on with my days without doing something about it, what I believe doesn’t matter.
It’s been a painful and difficult year for the Australian LGBTIQ community. Like many of us before, we are persecuted by some people for simply being ourselves.
Conservative Christians say they believe in love but act in completely contradictory ways, as we’ve unfortunately learnt during the same-sex marriage postal vote. It makes me wonder if these people actually know what love is.
I believe that if any person truly walks with love in their heart, they can’t help but take delight in another person’s happiness and can’t help but act accordingly. Actual love is always true and constant in its purpose and can do no harm.
I don’t think for a moment that every LGBTIQ person is perfect. Like all humans, we are also imperfect — but the hypocrisy of the ‘No Camp’ is staggering. They talk about the virtues of being Christian while preaching hate, handing out literature telling people homosexuality is a dangerous mental disorder and comparing same-sex attraction to child abuse. Apart from being absolute lies (not very Christian), I’m astounded that these people would even contemplate throwing stones when their churches are made from glass.
Even the Daily Telegraph posted an article about the ‘No Camp’ saying, “They’re lying. They’re manipulating situations. They’re relying on shocking double standards and contradictions.” And that’s from the Telegraph!
It is important for all of us to walk with love in our hearts and to remember that it’s our actions more so than our words that matter. Henry Drummond famously said, “You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.”
You can believe in love, but true love is an action, not just words and thoughts.
40 YEARS OF EVOLUTION
Well, I don’t think I am understating things to say that the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was absolutely awesome!Well, I don’t think I am understating things to say that the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was absolutely awesome!
On the ‘night of nights’, under the theme ‘40 Years of Evolution’, an estimated 300,000 spectators filled the streets of Sydney to watch over 12,000 participants take part in the world’s biggest celebration of the LGBTIQ community — the 40th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. Afterwards, we continued to celebrate at Australia’s biggest LGBTIQ party, which was headlined by superstar and gay icon Cher. The party busted at the seams with thousands of joyous glitter-coated revellers in every imaginable colour of the rainbow. It was all very fabulous!
It was an honour and privilege to be able to celebrate and give thanks to our LGBTIQ elders, 78ers and the many other queer crusaders that over the past forty years have given so much to bring change, acceptance and equality to our country.
Although there is always work to be done on many fronts, these brave people have made it possible for myself and my partner — along with all our LGBTIQ brothers and sisters — to live our lives, as we are, in relative safety.
In this our special ‘40 Years of Mardi Gras Pride Photo Edition’ we have ten fabulous pages of Mardi Gras photos for you to feast your eyes on p32. We’d also like to send a special thank you to all our readers, advertisers and supporters who make FUSE a reality every year.
Gay marriage, religious freedom and conversion therapy
In December last year, Australia officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after an indisputable win in the Federal Parliament. Most of us thought that this meant that the rights of LGBTIQ people would finally be respected — sadly this has not happened.
Over the past few months, Christian fundamentalists have been pushing to water down discrimination laws in the name of “religious freedoms”, attacking the rights of trans people and even openly discussing the merits of ‘gay conversion therapy’.
It started the moment Australia overwhelmingly said yes to marriage equality with religious conservatives like David van Gend from the ‘Australian Marriage Forum — Think of the Child’ releasing a statement saying:
“We accept that same-sex marriage will now become legal, but it will only be a legal fiction. It will forever remain untrue, unjust and unnecessary. Untrue to nature and timeless culture; unjust to those future children who will now be compelled, by an Act of Parliament, to miss out on their mother or father; unnecessary, since same-sex couples already have the same legal status and benefits as any other couple in Australian law.”
Unfortunately organisations like ‘Australian Marriage Forum’ and ‘The Coalition for Marriage’ are still blindly convinced that marriage equality puts children, freedom of speech and religious liberties at risk — even though the majority of Australian disagree and there is absolutely no evidence supporting this belief.
David van Gend further stated, “We will now do what we can to guard against restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to defend parents’ rights, and to protect Australian kids from being exposed to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in the classrooms.”
Even more bizarre is that conservative individuals have again been discussing the merits of ‘gay conversion therapy’ — and this has really shocked Australians.
I’m not sure what they expected, but the shit really did hit the fan when this made news headlines, and it has now been revealed that gay conversion practices — cloaked in the terminology of “self-improvement” or “spiritual healing” — has been hidden in evangelical churches and ministries, taking the form of exorcisms, prayer groups or counselling disguised as pastoral care.
The good news, of course, is this has exposed this heinous practice and within weeks of it making headlines both the Victorian and ACT Governments have made moves to ban the practice entirely.
It’s disappointing that we still have to battle so all people to have the fundamental right to exist as they are, and sadly we can’t rest just yet.
In part four of celebrating same-sex love letters throughout history, World War II soldiers express their undying love in a beautiful and heartbreaking letter. The following heart-rending love letter was written by American World War II veteran Brian Keith to in 1943 his lover Dave. Dave was a fellow soldier he met and fell in love with in 1943 while stationed in North Africa. Grab the tissue box people.
Seven men have been jailed for six months in Senegal, after they were found guilty of homosexuality. A court in Dakar heard police caught the men having sex during a raid.
The mother of one of the accused told the authorities her son was gay, but she failed to show up as a prosecution witness at the trial.
A study of gay brothers adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being gay, but the results aren't strong enough to prove it.