The LGBTI festival season around Australia is almost coming to an end, with Brisbane holding Big Gay Day and Daylesford’s ChillOut festivals happening last weekend. However, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival was just launched this week, and in our latest edition, we had a chat with the director of one of its standout films, Zoe.Misplaced.
In other news, we provide the latest news and developments in HIV treatments, chat to some former high school students who attended last year’s Same Sex Formal in Melbourne (the only one of its kind in Australia), have an exclusive interview with Brian Henson – the son of the late Jim Henson – who is bringing his latest show to Australia for the major cities’ comedy festivals – and much more.
Finally, our opinion pages tackles the ongoing debate of the LGBTI acronym and the president of OII Australia takes the time to explain what it’s like to be intersex and the issues they face.
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STUDY FINDS HIV TREATMENT REDUCES TRANSMISSION CHANCES TO NEAR-ZERO

A NEW study has found HIV-positive gay men on effective antiretroviral treatment have a near-zero chance of passing the virus on to a HIV-negative partner during unprotected sex, prompting cautious optimism from HIV organisations.

The news comes amid a raft of positive announcements made around HIV research during the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston last week.

The Partner study looked at 282 serodiscordant gay male couples (where one partner is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative) where the HIV-positive man was on effective antiretroviral treatment with an undetectable viral load and the couple were having unprotected anal sex. The study reported no HIV transmissions in these couples over the course of a year | Read more

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NSW: PERMANENT LGBTI MUSEUM ON THE AGENDA

SYDNEY Council could soon approve a new museum in tribute to the LGBTI community, if a motion proposed by Cr Christine Forster passes council early next week.

In a statement sent to the Star Observer, Forster stated that such a facility in the Oxford St precinct would have a lasting influence on the cultural and academic wellbeing of the LGBTI community and its allies across Australia, throughout the entire year.

“The pop-up museum that operated during the 2013 Mardi Gras was a massive success,” she said | Read more

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QLD: BRISBANE COUNCIL FACES MORE QUESTIONS

BRISBANE Council is facing more questions after a copy of talking points provided to council call centre staff in regards to how to respond to public enquires about a controversial Brisbane Queer Film Festival promotional poster surfaced last week.

Censorship of the poster in question, perceived homophobia, responsibility for its removal and conflicting reports over the timeline of events have all come under public scrutiny during the past weeks.

In the ‘script’ that was released on February 21 and updated on February 28, call centre staff are directed to repeat council’s original position over the poster, stating that it was “held in order for a review to be conducted by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB)” | Read more

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CHILLOUT MARKS 10 YEARS OF DOLLY DIAMOND

OVER the Labour Day long weekend in Victoria the ChillOut festival turned the country town of Daylesford into a bustling haven for the state’s LGBTI community.

The biggest and longest-running pride festival in regional Australia, this year saw impressive crowds turn out to regular ChillOut events like the Bush Dance and the Street Parade, which took over the town centre of Daylesford on Sunday.

Stunning weather drew thousands to Sunday’s Carnival Day in Daylesford’s Victoria Park, with entertainment from musical acts like Ella Hooper, Nicolette Forte and 100% Kylie.

This year also marks the 10th year ChillOut was hosted by community royalty Dolly Diamond, who celebrated in style | Read more

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US MILITARY ‘MANNY-NUFF’ FOR ITS FIRST-EVER DRAG SHOW

WHILE Australians were enjoying the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade earlier this month, a historic moment took place in Okinawa, Japan, when six US Air Force personnel performed in what has described as the US military’s first-ever officially sanctioned drag show in support of LGBTI Americans.

Donning heavy make-up, paper fans and stylish outfits, the performers — gay, straight and lesbian — from the 18th Wing based at Kadena Air Force Base had names such as Manny-Nuff, Chocolate Sunrise and Artemis Faux.

Mainly organised by the Okinawa chapter of Outserve-SLDN, a volunteer group that advocates for American LGBTI military personnel, the fundraiser saw over 400 tickets sold over a matter of days | Read more

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BRISBANE’S BIG GAY SUCCESS

ONE of the biggest days on Brisbane’s LGBTI calendar not only went off without a hitch, but $25,000 was also raised for four Queensland-based LGBTI charities.

Despite just a touch of the forecasted showers, a near-record number of revellers attended the 14th annual Big Gay Day held at one of the city’s favourite gay haunts, Fortitude Valley’s Wickham Hotel. An impressive line-up of performers made sure that Sydney was not the only city to have all the fun with Mardi Gras the weekend prior.

Revellers were treated to an entertainment line up that featured local Brisbane band Rawr Vanity, along with fellow Australian artists The Potbelleez and Sarah De Bono.

Meanwhile, international headline acts included an exclusive DJ set by Boy George, along with New York rapper Cazwell and dance acts Luciana and The Freemasons | Read more

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GAY CATHOLICS ACKNOWLEDGE POPE’S SHIFT IN SAME-SEX UNIONS

HOPES the Vatican might be about to relax its stance on gay marriage are little more than blind faith, according to leading Australian gay Catholics, but the ground could be shifting on papal acceptance of same-sex unions.

In a recent interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis suggested same-sex unions had some validity.

‘‘Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care,’’ he said.

‘‘One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.’’

The Pope’s comments have been interpreted as a significant shift in Vatican doctrine | Read more

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HISTORIC PRO-LGBTI COURT RULING IN LEBANON

A HISTORIC court ruling in Lebanon has made it the first Arab nation to no longer consider same-sex relations a crime.

The decision came from Judge Naji El Dahdah of Jdeide Court in the capital city of Beirut, who dismissed a case brought against a trans woman on January 28. The Lebanese state had accused the unnamed trans* woman of having a “same-sex relationship with a man”.

However, in El Dahdah’s ruling that was revealed this earlier week, he stated that same-sex relations were not “contradicting the laws of nature” and therefore not considered a crime.

El Dahdah reportedly based his decision on a previous ruling by Lebanese LGBTI lobby group Helem, which stated that gender identity was not only defined by the legal papers and that homosexuality was an exception to the “norms” but not unnatural. Hence, it rendered article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which prohibits sexual relations that “contradict the laws of nature”, as invalid | Read more

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MARDI GRAS’ ‘SAME LOVE’ CLOSING ACT VIDEO

SOCIAL media has been a buzz about a music video clip that was created for the closing act of this year’s Mardi Gras Party.

The song, a cover of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Same Love, was performed live by Adam George, Nathan Mohen and Marcia Hines.

However, in the video, which was published online shortly after the party and reportedly already has over 100,000 views, director Elvis Di Fazio used the original version of hit song | Read more

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SAME SEX FORMAL A CHANCE FOR YOUNG COUPLES TO BE THEMSELVES

WHEN Jess Panczel invited her girlfriend to her year 12 formal, she was surprised at the hostile reactions of her fellow students and even some teachers.

“I went in pretty naive, thinking that everything was going to be fine. I didn’t think it was going to be an issue. We held hands at school around our friends, so I just thought it was all going to be the same,” she explained to the Star Observer.

“I thought we were pretty open about it, but a lot of people didn’t seem to know — they were looking and talking and murmuring.” | Read more

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© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine September 18 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.