The leading provider of street furniture mounted advertising in Australia and New Zealand, Adshel, has removed posters for a Queensland Association of Healthy Communities (QAHC) campaign encouraging safe sex after a campaign of complaints about the ad from conservative Christians.
The posters show two fully clothed men, one nuzzling the neck of the other, with one of the men holding a condom packet in his hand.
Less than 50 complaints were made against the ad and were clearly variations on a form letter.
All were sent to Adshel in the space of a week.
A condom packet that forms part of a small logo on the posters is described in many of the complaints as being “huge”, implying many complainants had not even seen the posters, while the phrase “The only reason for homosexual men to need condoms is because their sexual intercourse carries with it a very high risk of serious disease” and “any condom ad in public spaces to children [sic] is unacceptable!” are common to many of the complaints.
Descriptions of the ad made by complainants included “Homosexual men are necking and cuddling each other,” and “the advertisement is promoting a type of condom to be used by homosexuals – for safe sex.”
Many of the posters that were complained about were situated in Brisbane’s pink Fortitude Valley precinct.
The posters were removed by Adshel without the consent of QAHC.
The Star Observer understands that the complaint campaign was orchestrated by Wendy Francis of the Australian Christian Lobby Queensland.
QAHC executive director Paul Martin said safe sex asvertisements carried important messages for the entire community.
“We are deeply disappointed by the behaviour of Adshel in removing the advertisements, without even notifying us and without proper reason,” he said in a statement.
“The advertisement is in no way explicit or offensive to the average Queenslander. The complaints claim that depictions of gay people and discussion of sexual health are not appropriate for the general community. We reject these claims outright.
“2010 saw the highest number of people diagnosed with HIV than at any time since testing began in the mid 1980s. 65% of these diagnoses are among gay men.
“Now, more than ever, it is important that we get the safe sex message out to Queenslanders, particularly gay men, wherever they may be.’
Martin said the advertising campaign was “quite conservative when compared with other public advertisements for a range of commercial products and previous sexual health campaigns by the Australian and Queensland Governments”.
“The Australian Christian Lobby has used homophobia dressed up as protecting children to have an important public education campaign removed,” he said,
“ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis has previously been criticised and forced to apologise for sending out a homophobic tweet likening gay marriage to ‘legalising child abuse’. They are now trying have gay people erased from the public sphere.”
During the last Federal Election while standing as a Family First Senate candidate Francis tweeted “Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse”.
The couple who’s photo was used in the campaign are urging concerned people to write, call, fax or email Adshel to show their support for the ad.
A Facebook page set up by the couple with the relevant details can be found at www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123532344395752
What can you do?
Individuals are being encouraged to contact Adshel and demand that the adverts be put back up in their original locations.
Phone: 07 3250 8200
Fax: 07 3257 7776
Email: via website www.adshel.com.au/who/contact
Write: Suite 19, Plumridge House, 36 Agnes St, Fortitude Valley Q 4006