Southern Star turns one this week. In the past 52 issues we’ve covered a lot — from the big issues of the continuing fight for equality and end to discrimination to the fun stuff like going bush for ChillOut or getting kinky at Melbourne Leather Pride. Let’s have a look back at what’s happened since that morning last October when Southern Star first landed on the streets.

Southern Star started with a bang, filling the gap in Melbourne’s gay press left by Bnews. For issue one, we got a head start on summer with an eye-popping cover model (we can confirm that he packed his own lunchbox).
The stories:
Whispers put openly gay Gary Singer as a possible candidate for Lord Mayor.
Justice Michael Kirby caused consternation with comments that same-sex relationship registries were “akin to a dog or busker’s licence”.
Controversial ‘virtual strip search’ scanners trialled at airports posed a unique problem for transgender travellers.
We spoke to Axle Whitehead about his penis (“It comes up a lot,” apparently).
Queer Indigenous actor David Page admitted the embarrassing secrets of his past life as a teen-pop star.
Readers lamented the lack of watchable gay flicks, the rise of Sarah Palin (who?), and laughed at the “torrid revelations” of an Austrian right-wing politician’s secret gay affair.

It was a lady-lovin’ month for Southern Star, with cover stars including Martha Wainwright, and the hot girl-on-girl action of the 2009 Bad Behaviour Calendar.
The stories:
ChillOut was awarded a $45,000 government funding boost.
The gay community said a sad goodbye to Christine Nixon as she announced her resignation as Police Chief Commissioner.
Melbourne’s GLBTI radio station, JOY94.9 scooped the pool at the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Awards.
Equality at last, well, almost. Rudd Government historically legislates away years of discrimination in around 100 federal laws recognising the status of same-sex couples as ‘de facto’ for the first time.
Matthew Pond, director of brilliant Vanessa Wagner doco Undressing Vanessa, spoke of his shock at the film being nominated for an IF Award (which he then won!)
Martha Wainwright opened up about her gay brother Rufus’s battle with crystal meth
Anthony Callea spoke about dueting with partner Tim Campbell: the new Sonny and Cher? “We’re not that cheesy!”
The Melbourne Rovers Soccer Club played its first competitive game
Readers asked whether Katy Perry was dangerous or just dumb, debated the merits of gay marriage, and celebrated America’s election of its first black president.

We eased into Christmas with a very sexy Santa, and one of our most popular covers so far — readers snapped up our gorgeous Kylie issue, so much so that we can’t seem to find any copies in the Southern Star office. December also saw the first annual Southern Star Christmas Party, a night that’s gone down in infamy: special mention must go to drag diva Bumpa Love, who literally stopped traffic when she performed All I Want For Christmas Is You from the middle of a rain-sodden Brunswick St.
The stories:
Centrelink estimated around 11,000 people it deals with would declare themselves in a same-sex relationship.
Rainbow families rejoiced in the passing of the ART bill allowing lesbians access to IVF and non-biological parents the right to be recorded parents on a birth certificate.
Much-loved poet and novelist Dorothy Porter died of complications from breast cancer. The Monkey’s Mask author was 54 years old.
Another Gay Sequel himbo Jimmy Clabots got defensive when we asked about the film’s dangerous lack of a safe-sex message amid all the rampant orgies.
Queer NY Collective Hercules & Love Affair (a poof, a dyke and a tranny — talk about covering all bases!) talked about bringing dance back to its gay disco roots.
Lesbian rap duo Yo Majesty were on the verge of breaking up when we were due to interview them, leaving us with a fiery Shunda K mouthing off about her AWOL musical partner.
Readers got angry about Robert Doyle, discussed the worth of the relationship registry, and pondered the good and bad sides of the Centrelink changes to gay relationships.

Our exclusive shot of Ross Watson in the studio with a male model proved popular (putting nipples on the cover never fails), while glamazon RuPaul looked fabulous in her racing gear.
The stories:
Amid reports of a Melbourne syphilis outbreak, more than 200 people were tested at Midsumma Carnival.
Michael John Neal was found guilty of attempting to infect a person with HIV — among other charges — and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Tina Arena proved that while she may have the voice of an angel, she has the mouth of a sailor, peppering our chat with no less than half-a-dozen ‘F’ bombs.
Ross Watson acknowledged the perks of his job, immortalising the perfect bodies of men like Brodie Holland and Paul Licuria on canvas. Lucky bastard.
RuPaul admitted her weakness for anybody — anybody — with an Australian accent.
Diego Luna from the outstanding Milk told us about the Dutch courage he needed to pash Sean Penn (we would’ve done it sober).
Reader excitement at Barack Obama’s election began to sour, ‘grey gays’ had their say about changes to pensions, and many were hopeful that the release of Milk would teach us a little about our own history.

This month, we tipped our hats to Michael Kirby, asked the tough questions on the thorny topic of gay marriage and looked north for the huge party that is Mardi Gras.
The stories:
Pride March drew a fantastic 45,000-strong crowd in St Kilda.
The Sydney Mardi Gras parade included a special tribute to Black Saturday victims.
We reported that 48 couples had ‘tied the knot’ since the creation of the Relationship Register in December.
Lesbian guitarist Kaki King proved something of a ramshackle interviewee, as we spent more time on the phone to her dog (!) than her.
ChillOut headliner Leo Sayer told us he was hugely excited before the gig, and loved it so much he immediately begged to come back next year.
Letters included messages of support for victims of Black Saturday, a call for more Government support of Pride March, and discussion of the endless Ian Thorpe ‘is he/isn’t he’ saga.

MARCH 2009
We explored the dire state of gay rights in many corners of the world, had exclusive interviews with gay icons Margaret Cho and Annie Lennox, and bid a sad goodbye to Vivien St James, Melbourne’s most glamorous showgirl.
The stories:
ChillOut was a huge success, despite fires that threatened Daylesford in the days leading up to the festival.
PLWHA held a forum on barebacking in porn.
The Australian Human Rights Commission handed down its long-awaited Sex Files report on legal recognition of sex and gender diverse Australians.
The Opium Den launched their Miss Jumbo Queen search for a plus-sized drag queen.
Janeane Garofalo’s shows at the Comedy Festival may have been something of a mixed bag, but she was in fine form when we spoke to her. “A gay following is a mark of quality,” she said.
Margaret Cho discussed anal bleaching, her haunted vagina and how she doesn’t get mobbed when she’s in gay bars because “everyone’s more interested in getting dick”. Such a dull woman.
Annie Lennox proved her credentials as a humanitarian with an impassioned interview about Africa’s HIV epidemic.
Tributes poured in for Vivien St James, one reader found fashion accessory ‘Bandangles’ in poor taste, and another from Malaysia reminded us how lucky we are — in his country, the film Milk was heavily edited and ‘de-gayed’.

APRIL 2009
April saw Southern Star’s cover move to a newsier format, as we gave readers more bang for their front-cover buck. But our cover stars, including Judith Lucy and Adam Elliot remained.
The stories:
A lesbian storyline in Home and Away sent shock-jocks and mainstream newspaper columnists into a predictable frenzy.
ChillOut announced a record $25553 fundraising profit from its 2009 festival.
We spoke to the 100th couple to register their relationship with the Victorian Relationship Register.
We went to Adam Elliot’s house to talk about his masterpiece, Mary & Max — and he let us hold his Oscar. OMG!
Judith Lucy was at her self-deprecating best when she warned us that if her Comedy Festival show didn’t go well, “I might kill myself”.
We got a scoop from Choir Oof Hard Knocks creator Jonathon Welch when we spoke to him the very week he acrimoniously split from the organisation and launched a new choir for the disadvantaged.
Readers didn’t have much sympathy for George Pell, or much patience for queer columnists declaring their love for Julia Gillard. The PLWHA also wrote in to mark their 20 years of activism.

MAY 2009
Cover stars this month included Spanish choreographer Raphael Bonachela and members of the Victorian Police force who joined queer activists in supporting the International Day Against Homophobia.
The stories:
The Rudd Government officially rejected the idea of civil unions for same-sex couples.
The VAC felt the effects of the GFC, losing up to $25,000 in corporate sponsorship.
Scottish gay pop icon Jimmy Somerville didn’t hold back on his thoughts about the current crop of queer pop stars: “I hate getting lumped in with that lot. I want to shake them or slap them!”
The Melbourne debut of the very gay puppet musical Avenue Q proved the perfect opening for a litany of hand-up-the-arse puns,
Many shared fond memories of the late David Hiscock, one reader called the queer lobby “politically naive”, and another called for more support for civil unions from within our community.

JUNE 2009
It was all about queer pop with attitude on this month’s covers, as our exclusive shoot with the Blow Waves was quickly followed by a cover interview with gay heroes The Gossip.
The stories:
We delved inside Melbourne’s sauna scene, and found some things you’d expect — namely, a whole lotta sex — and some you might not.
The AFL announced extensions to its vilification policy in a bid to stamp out homophobia.
JOY94.9 rattled the tin for their annual radiothon.
A poll of 1100 Australians showed 60 percent supported gay marriage.
A long-awaited pathology report concluded evidence for the Jamie Koeleman petition-for-mercy case, leaving Koeleman supporters awaiting an outcome from the Department of Justice.
Queer Faker frontman Nathan Hudson spoke to us on the eve of the band’s biggest gig yet — supporting Pink on her record-breaking Australian tour.
Melbourne disco-punk homos The Blow Waves prepped a new EP and spoke to Southern Star before jetting off on a European tour.
Gossip drummer Hannah Blilie proved Beth Ditto isn’t the only member of the band worth listening to, with strong opinions on everything from Katy Perry to male hecklers.
New one-nighter Gay Bash riled some readers, opinion was split on Sydney’s changes to Mardi Gras, and columnist Doug Pollard copped a serve from one reader for his “vilification of children”.

JULY 2009
We paused for thought as the Federal Government removed a string of laws that discriminated against same-sex couples, and gave you the lowdown on the Spring Migration festival.
The stories:
The girls at Pinkalicious were given a VCAT exemption allowing them to refuse entry to men.
Monash Medical Centre’s Gender Dysphoria Clinic reopened after negative publicity about its practices.
The cast of Wicked said goodbye to Melbourne after a one-year run. We’ll miss Millsy’s tight pants most of all. “You see it all,” he helpfully pointed out.
Gay couple Robbie and Dan told us they had what it takes to win Channel 9’s Australia’s Perfect Couple. Unfortunately, we all stopped watching after the first episode, so we’ll never know if they were right.
Kate Ceberano caused a stir when asked about the Church of Scientology’s views on homosexuality. “Beauty is beauty,” she cryptically told us.
We asked, “Is Bruno the messiah or just a naughty boy?” Opinion was divided between those who thought he was a brilliant skewering of straight prejudice and those who considered him another tired stereotype.
One straight reader told us he wouldn’t get married until his gay best mate could (aaaw!), while another took the opportunity to count the ways he hates Sacha Baron Cohen (he came up with nine — frankly, an even 10 would’ve been more satisfying).

Cross-dressing ballet troupe The Trocks made for an interesting cover, while Gina Riley proved she’s rather a foxy moron when she gets out of her moccies and tizzes up.
The stories:
Around 5000 people turned up in Melbourne to show support for gay marriage at Equal Love Day.
JOY94.9 underwent a staff shake-up as its board signalled a change in direction.
The Freemasons, the duo responsible for some of the gayest music of the past few years, gave us the lowdown on working with everyone from Our Kylie to Will Young.
Local diva Mzzz Erin Tasmania prepared to do what no woman since Bette Midler had — put on a show in a sauna. “I love being able to talk about sex and cocks and fucking cute men!” she enthused.Feedback:
One reader accused the gay community of being “hypocritical whining bastards” in response to the Government’s Centrelink changes, while another asked why recent homophobic murders in Tel Aviv had not been publicly condemned by any Australian gay rights group.

September was Melbourne Leather Pride month here at Southern Star, with two covers devoted to the three-week long celebration of all things leather, fetish and kink.
The stories:
A spate of verbal and violent attacks in the Commercial Rd area prompted calls for a crackdown on violence.
A survey of men in Melbourne’s gay social scene found 10 percent were unaware they were HIV Positive.
The Spring Migration festival was deemed a success, with numbers up on last year, but not as high as expected.
Melbourne got Gleeked when the cast of the hit show came to town. We spoke to gay comedy goddess Jane Lynch about playing the world’s most deranged gym teacher.
Banshee-voiced electro ranga La Roux said that while the pressures of sudden fame were proving difficult, she was enjoying being a role model for “all the androgynous, tomboy girls”.
Readers took beyondblue to task for its apparent lack of attention to issues of gay mental health, while one reader found that the door policy at some Melbourne gay clubs left a lot to be desired.

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