I am writing about my disappointment at a recent Star Observer, issue number 117, dated January 13.
In particular, I write about my disgust at one of the depictions used on page 15 to promote Midsumma 2011. Midsumma used to be promoted as a fun day, great for young and old, families and the general community. The picture under the sub-heading of ‘We like to party’ shows what can only be described as a (posed) male gang rape scene, probably taken from a pornography still shot.
Either way, not what I would think is the best image for a popular event like Midsumma.
This year, I decided not to get involved in the event as a personal protest of my disgust and shame as a gay man in Melbourne. This image is the reason much of the gay community is stigmatised as promiscuous, sex-driven and insensitive.
My biggest concern is not my prudish stand, but the fact that your newspaper is free-to-street and therefore, unlike pornography in which a buyer knows to expect such depictions, is a community newspaper readily available in cafes, restaurants etc. The reader of this issue can reasonably be embarrassed and offended to open to page 15. I was!
I am most curious to know how either the event organisers or your production team related male gang rape to Midsumma.
I feel you have breached a duty of care. An apology to Star Observer readers wouldn’t be out of line either.
— Luke

One man’s pathology is another’s liberation (‘Grumpy Old Poof’, SSO 123). The labels you use, “indulgence, narcissism, promiscuity, rampant consumerism” are a celebration of our humanity.
Further, we are not the only ones who partake in this lifestyle. It’s not a symptom of being gay or lesbian, it’s the boon of affluence. To ascribe negative connotation to this behaviour is little more than internalised homophobia.
Now excuse me while I light a few scented candles, paint on a face pack, slip into a bath of bubbles, nibble on a slice of dark Belgian chocolate, nurse a glass of vintage red and plan my next erotic adventure.
— Kaye Sera

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