i_want_your_love bannerLaine 420x470Earlier this year the Australian Classification Board refused to give an exemption to a film called “I Want You Love” which was scheduled to be shown at the Mardi Gras Film Festival (February), Melbourne Queer Film Festival (March) and the Brisbane Queer Film Festival (April), but was banned. An exemption was refused on the grounds that it contained explicit sex scenes that were out of context with the narrative.

While I won’t speak to the broader issues around classification or restriction of artistic expression, I do believe this act speaks to a more troubling and mundane point. That even though we have progressed a long way in achieving legislative equality, there is still a part of mainstream society that wants us to stay in the closet. To paraphrase, we can be as gay as we like, but keep it to ourselves. Ironically, being scheduled for queer film festivals, we would have been keeping it to ourselves, but now this film is all over the news.

Regular viewers of television will be familiar with the prevalence of sex crime cases in the forensic investigation shows that fill the weekly program. What does this tell us? It is more palatable to the public to spend an hour focused on violent sex crimes than it is to watch two men having sex.

While legislation cannot regulate the public’s feelings, it does have an impact on what is and is not deemed acceptable in polite society. By blocking the screening of this particular film on the grounds of explicit sex scenes, where almost every Hollywood film includes heterosexual sex scenes, the classification board is sending the message that same sex acts are not a normal part of human existence, and imposing a set of negative values upon our community and the way we live.

Censorship like this endorses homophobia and supports the all too common idea that homosexuality is unacceptable in its difference. This is not an appropriate message for either youth struggling with their own sexuality, or those elements of the mainstream community that would tend towards homophobic thoughts and behaviours.

One of the best things about the television shows Queer as Folk and Lip Service was these shows normalization of gay people, their lives and their sex lives by way of showing it all without any apology.

And nor do we have to apologise for the way we live.

by Lainie Arnold  •  NSW GLRL 

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PRESS PLAY: Check out the trailer for the film that adult Australian audiences won’t get to see

[youtube id=”KEd6-Ue112E” width=”620″ height=”360″]

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