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Rip ‘em a new one, roll back the ad embargo June 2, 2011

Posted by Danjamin S. Meow in : Uncategorized , trackback
Rip & Roll Campaign Ad

Ad deemed too offensive by ACL; rest of community deem ACL too offensive.

I love this picture so much: two people in love, sending a message about protecting ourselves that’s not overly sexualised or offensive. Right?

Yesterday Australian Christian Lobby/Family First’s Wendy Francis gloated about coordinating a campaign to have these ads taken off bus shelters for her usual gripes (promoting homosexuality as a lifestyle choice, being too sexual, not wanting to have to explain to her children what condoms are). Not disclosed: successfully removing positive portrayals of healthy homosexual relationships reinforces homophobia, instead of the gentle but positive impact on reducing it that such an image can have when social acceptance of same-sex attraction, if not marriage, is almost complete.

Her gloating, combined with an overnight response of 7,000 ‘attendees’ to a letterwriting campaign on facebook and a rally outside the Adshel offices of Brisbane saw the ads reinstated. They were down for less than 24 hours.

ACL’s short sightedness is astounding. I don’t care what people believe, but when they try to push harmful and wrong beliefs like homosexual relationships are unhealthy for those within them, they put others at risk. Rate of LGBTI suicides correlates to homo/transphobia (as measured by illegality of same-sex marriage).

Denying access to a safe sex campaign when HIV infection rates are the highest they’ve ever been, because of misguided opinion and laziness (seriously? Not wanting to spend two minutes or less talking to your child about a condom at a level acceptable to their age?), is going to harm more lives than even they could think they were going to save with their “stop promoting gay love, it’ll turn the kids gay. Or worse, make the public realise that gay people are human too, and maybe they’ll make the connection that their rights are no different from mine” rhetoric. THAT’s what I think society should find offensive.

Facebook event page: Homophobia – NOT HERE – Adshel Caves to Homophobic Pressure

Less than 50, total, public complaints about the ads, mostly incited by the Australian Christian Lobby if Francis can be believed (or written or coached by, if you look at the similar writing style and repetition of phrases)

QAHC press release on: http://www.qahc.org.au/

Further coverage by Brendan Maclean on Mama Mia

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Queenslander Benjamin Law’s complaint email to Adshel

My complaint email to Adshel:

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like to petition to have the “Rip & Roll” advertisement reinstated in Queensland bus shelters. As a youth sexual health education worker, I have seen many Australian ads promoting sexual health which are far more sexual than those paid for by The Queensland Association for Healthy Communities.

To claim that the ad is indecent because of its sexual subtext can only be a lie on the part of the Australian Christian Lobby, whose leader Wendy Francis has owned up to and been made to apologise for homophobic comments in the past.

This is a lobby group who wrongly believe that a homosexual relationship is damaging for those within one, and on this ground fight against the right for gay people to marry. (In fact homophobia itself is measurably more damaging to the LGBTI community than individuals entering into a relationship – far more LGBTI suicides occur in regions in which gay marriages are illegal).

The ACL would therefore stand to win ground by having representations of healthy homosexual relationships removed from the public eye; since their arguments themselves do not hold water they rely on homophobic tactics to maintain the status quo. May I ask (or allow you to ask yourselves) how many advertisements of straight couples in a similar context as the two fully clothed men in the QAHC ads they have lobbied against? Or how many clients’ advertising space they have lobbied against for sexualising young women, for example?

Whilst Family First (the political party with whom Francis has previously run, unsuccessfully) would like to see only child-friendly rated ads publicly displayed, currently no ad-rating standard exists, this has not been enforced by legislation and I doubt that most parents would find these ads violate this non-existent standard as both men are fully clothed, and no sexual act is explicitly displayed.

The children this lobby group alleges to protect would most likely be unable to identify a condom until they are at an age deemed appropriate for sex education and thus the message if not the entire “sexual subtext” would be lost on them. Thus I fail to see how you have found it less damaging to remove an advertisement which targets the spread of a deadly sexually transmitted infection (which has an infection rate higher than it has ever been) than to leave it in place and risk offending a misguided minority group determined to not only remain uninformed themselves, but to deny the rest of the community an important public health announcement.

Thank you for reading, and in advance for your support.

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