It was disappointing to see the gay press focus solely on the City of Sydney Council election. Sydney City is one of the least populated councils in NSW, yet in an election that was always going to be won by a queer-friendly candidate, the political headliners have attracted all the press coverage.

In the two most populated areas of Sydney, Canterbury City and Bankstown City, the homophobes have been allowed to spread their message largely unchecked. There is a lot of homophobic literature and documentation from the Liberals, One Nation, independents and of course, the Christian Democrats. To make matters even worse, the local paper Bankstown Torch has again refused to publish any responses from CBD (Canterbury-Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Club).

Whether they won or not (and some of them did), their message is still out there, making it even harder for young suburban gays and lesbians to come out, or for our community to achieve the rights and privileges so often taken for granted by inner-city residents.

It’s not just Canterbury-Bankstown either. There were many local government elections on 27 March right across Sydney and NSW, yet all we heard about was the one that will affect the fewest number of people. It’s time for our community to wake up. The mayor of the City of Sydney, and those on the council, mean absolutely nothing to anyone who doesn’t live there. Sydney does not dictate to suburbia or rural areas, in fact on a political level, it’s the total opposite.
-” Alex Day, CBD president

I concur entirely with the sentiments expressed by David Polson, who wrote to you regarding the level of unsafe sex at Sydney sex-on-premises venues. I too have been horrified by the wanton disregard for the safety of others by those who choose to practise unhealthy and unsafe sex practices.

Likewise there are many who promote bareback sex via the internet chatrooms, and at times when I have confronted these people I have been met by a barrage of verbal abuse.

I am at a loss to know what can be done. I enjoy going to sex-on-premises venues, but am worried by the many who choose not to use condoms and who will expose themselves and others to HIV/AIDS.

It seems to me there must be greater responsibility from those who run the venues. If this means safe-sex police, then I am all in favour. The NSW WorkCover Authority enforces occupational health and safety legislation, so what would be the consequences if a complaint was made to that authority? If the owners of the venues can’t provide a safe environment and show a duty of care, then they should be investigated and forced to comply.
-” Barry Thinn, via email

Thank you David Polson for reinforcing the notion that our community is somehow inherently defective and therefore has to earn respect from the straight folk out there, this time by whacking on a condom.

If we are going to base respect for fellow human beings on their sexual behaviour, including whether or not they practise safe sex, then it seems to me like we are taking some pretty giant steps backwards. Bring on the missionaries to check that nobody is doing it doggy! Barebacking is an issue that needs to be discussed in terms of individual and community health, not a public relations exercise.
-” Cath Davies, Camperdown

Whilst I don’t want to became embroiled in a debate with John Douglas, in reply to my previous letter, I would rather be taken for a nag, John, than a goose.

Sure, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink. But with a little education and perhaps a little nagging, John, we could get the horse to drink to prevent it from dying, and maybe we could do the same for our fearless barebacking brothers!

OK, so forget respect from the straight world if you want, but surely a little bit of self-respect would go a long way and maybe even save a few lives.
-” David Polson, Potts Point

The Howard Liberals seem to want to push a wedge into our community over ACT laws. This will open up precedents for similar overturning of laws throughout the nation, putting the GLBT community’s hard-won struggles and reforms back 20 years.

Stick a wedge into the Liberal Party. Join up, take leadership roles and get preselected. Change this culture from within, now before it is too late! To not stand up in their forums gives them carte blanche to enact legislation against the community. Complacency is the first form of surrender. Taking the issue right up to their forums is the only means to eradicate this nonsense once and for all. Act now before they get re-elected!
-” Richard Kings, South Yarra, Vic

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