The NSW Department of Health has been accused of discrimination for inconsistently applying COVID-19 health orders when it comes to Sydney’s gay sex on premises venues. 

According to the current health orders and restrictions, sex service premises(brothels) and strip clubs are allowed to open to all vaccinated adults.

Advertisement
Sex on premises venues, however, continue to remain closed to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. 

Reopening Pushed Back After Perrottet Became Premier

Sydney Sauna questioned the motive of the NSW Department of Health for keeping sex on premises venues closed.  In an open letter to Health Minister Brad Hazzard, released Wednesday afternoon, Sydney Sauna stated that, “it is extremely concerning that this one industry has been particularly singled out as having its reopening date pushed back rather than brought forward or even maintained.” 

“The fact that the industry in question is one that exclusively services the LGBTQI+ community raises the uncomfortable question that the decision to delay the reopening of sex on premises venues has a discriminatory effect on this minority group.”

The letter contrasted this with the fact that, “the sex service industry, which traditionally services the heterosexual or heteronormative community has been reopened.”

Advertisement
Sex on premises venues were originally scheduled to be reopened when NSW reached 80% (aged 16 and over) double-dose vaccination threshold, claimed the venues. This was pushed back till December 1st soon after Dominic Perrottet became Premier of NSW. 

Sex On Premises Venues Check Vaccination Status

357 Sauna’s Post On Facebook.

According to Sydney Sauna, by keeping sex on premises venues closed in the name of fighting Covid 19, the NSW Department of Health is incentivising sex arranged through “’hook-up apps’, in public ‘beats’, or at unregulated house sex parties.” 

Arguing that sex on premises venues are more Covid safe, as they are able to check vaccination status and can facilitate contact tracing, Sydney Sauna charged that, “the inconsistency could be mistaken as deliberately placing (a) marginalised community at greater risk.”

Ty Dovans, manager and owner of 357 Sauna, echoes this concern stating that, “people have to show their vaccination certificate to come in, it’s properly ventilated, it’s properly run, and it’s really safe for everybody. You know boys going to beats and parks, we’re going to back to the 80’s and the way things were before”

Dovans stresses, “this is like an RSL club for people. We got a bar on the top floor. They sit and have a drink, they talk to each other. It’s not just about sex.”

According to Professor Kane Race of the Gender and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Sydney, sex on premises venues “provide a place for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to meet for sexual and social purposes, free from the risk of homophobic violence, abuse and entrapment.”

A NSW Government spokesperson admitted, “The reopening NSW roadmap published on 4 October incorrectly advised sex on premises venues could reopen when vaccination rates reached 80%. This error was corrected. The NSW Government continues to meet weekly to discuss the Covid reopening roadmap.”

 

© Star Observer 2021 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.