THE Star Observer, Australia’s longest-running publication for the LGBTI community, has successfully used crowdfunding to protect the future of the masthead.
The 35-year old publication, a not-for-profit community-owned social enterprise, was founded in Sydney at a time when homosexuality was still illegal.
By the deadline of 3.12pm this afternoon, the campaign, run through the Pozible website, had raised $103,938.
Star Observer chairman Sebastian Rice said the result demonstrated the passion of the LGBTI community when it came to the challenges facing them and the willingness to work together to overcome threats.
“The support we have seen throughout our crowdfunding campaign has been overwhelming,” he said.
“I think it has reminded us all of the importance of keeping a strong independent voice for the LGBTI community.
“While the lives of LGBTI people are safer in Australia today than they were in 1979, when the Star Observer was founded, there are still many challenges facing us all, and plenty of unfinished business,” he added.
“Our thanks go out to the more than 500 individuals and organisations who joined together to protect independent journalism, and ensure the LGBTI community continues to have a powerful voice.
“We can now move forward confidently, continuing our role as the journal of record for the LGBTI community.”
In 1979, the Star Observer could only be found in Sydney’s gay “village” of Darlinghurst. Today, its team of journalists now publish the latest news for the LGBTI community on this website Meanwhile, the Star Observer’s monthly current affairs and arts magazine is Australia’s most widely-distributed free LGBTI publication available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and major regional cities.
Editor Elias Jahshan said the Star Observer continued to play a key role in the fight for LGBTI rights which, in recent years, has seen Australia slip behind many of its peers.
“We have been reporting on the issues that affect our community since the 1970s, applauding moves to equality, calling out hypocrisy and demanding reform,” he said.
“That spirt continues to this day with the Star Observer recently shining a light on homophobia in sport, looking into the rarely-reported community of Indigenous sistergirls and brotherboys and examining the extent of mental health issues in LGBTI people.
“It’s this in-depth reporting and independence which sets the Star Observer apart and that’s why it’s so humbling that the actions of people from both within and outside the community has now ensured we can continue to write about the issues that matter to our community.”
The campaign found support from across the political spectrum, such as the ALP’s Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong and Sydney councillor Linda Scott, Liberal MPs Clem Newtown-Brown and Bruce Notley-Smith and Sydney councillor Christine Forster, Greens leader Christine Milne and MP Mehreen Faruqi, the National’s Trevor Khan and independent MP Alex Greenwich.
Singers Dannii Minogue, Natalie Bassingthwaite and Luciana Caporaso, American Ballet principal dancer James Whiteside, comedians Josh Thomas, Tom Ballard, Pam Ann, Nath Valvo and Joel Creasey and actors Tim Campbell, Magda Szubanski, Kristian Nairn (from Game of Thrones) and Julia Morris also backed the fundraiser on Twitter.
They joined campaigners Peter Tatchell, Eric Rosswood and Ben Cohen, musicians Beccy Cole, The Presets, Sam Sparro, Steve Grand, Eli Lieb, Brendan McLean and Anthony Callea, journalists Anton Enus, Patrick Abboud and Monique Shafter, author Benjamin Law, Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant Courtney Act, trans* icon Buck Angel, and out gay sport stars Matthew Mitcham, Blake Skjellerup, Belle Brockhoff and Jason Ball.
Organisations publicly supporting the campaign included renowned US LGBTI equality organisation GLAAD, Australian Marriage Equality, Black Rainbow, the LGBTI Health Alliance, ACON, the Victorian AIDS Council, Living Positive Victoria, the gay and lesbian rights lobbies in NSW and Victoria, QueerScreen, DIY Rainbow, Harbour City Bears, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Society, and festivals Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Brisbane Pride and Midsumma.