Midsumma, Mardi Gras, Matthew Mitcham, Marlene Dietrich, Marriage and Magda Szubanski all get mentions as our gAy to Z reaches M…
Ending years of rumour and speculation, actress and comedian Magda Szubanski exited the showbiz closet on Valentine’s Day this year to support marriage equality.
The respected star of hit comedy series such as Fast Forward and Kath and Kim told the crew on TV’s The Project: “I am absolutely not straight, I wouldn’t define myself as bisexual either… I would say I like gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, little bit not gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. But unfortunately there’s not actually a word to describe me!
“But I absolutely identify as gay, and have for a very long time now.”
A couple of weeks later she took to the stage as Sydney Mardi Gras, where the packed-in and sweaty crowd at the RHI gave her rapturous applause and cheers.
“This has been the most emotional, overwhelming few weeks for me,” she told them. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me to finally be able to be here with all of you beautiful people – and be myself!”
Relive the moment below, after the 5-minute mark.
He’s cute, he can dive, he can play the ukulele, he’s our own openly gay gold medallist… he’s Matthew Mitcham.
Winning the 2008 Olympic championship from the 10m platform and making the highest single-dive score in Olympic history really put him in the spotlight, and he was voted as one of Same Same’s top 25 most Influential Australians two years in a row in 2009 and 2010.
What you might not know is, originally Mitcham represented Australia from 1991 to 2003 competing as a trampoline gymnast, however when he was discovered by Wang Tong Xiang who coached the Australian Institute of Sport diving program, Matt’s destiny became clear.
He publicly came out in 2008 in the Sydney Morning Herald, gaining massive media coverage as reporters thought he was the first Australian to compete at the Olympics as an openly gay man at the time of his competition. However Matthew Helm rained on his parade when news came out about how had previously won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, and had publicly come out before the Olympics began. But Mitcham was certainly the first openly gay Australian diver to break a world record.
While some might consider his performance at the 2012 London Olympics a little disappointing, he did however keep fans happy releasing a series of videos of him playing his ukulele, proving that he is talented both in and out of the sporting arena.
Mardi Gras and Midsumma
Melbourne shines in January and Sydney sparkles in February, as both cities cover themselves in sequins, glitter and rainbows to celebrate their pride, culminating in a wild weekend all the Australia – and the world – is encouraged to attend… Mardi Gras Parade and Party Weekend in early March.
The two month-long festivals have lots in common. Both have their picnic days – Melbourne’s Carnival and Sydney’s Fair Day – plus parties, cultural events, thinkfests, comedy, arts, theatre and plenty of opportunities to meet new people… or to spot your crazy ex with their beastly new beau.
Summer’s coming up fast and we’ll feature all the updates you need about both Midsumma and Mardi Gras as soon as they’re confirmed – in the meantime, find Midsumma’s official website here and Mardi Gras’ site here.
An open letter to my senator…
I and my partner have been in a committed relationship for over five years and we and hundreds of our friends, family and acquaintances ask why we are not allowed to get up in front of our peers and express our commitment to each other and it be recognised by the government as a marriage partnership?
I have grown up in this country, Australia, where as a youth it was illegal to be gay in Queensland and Tasmania in the ‘70s and ‘80s. This scared me about my feelings for the same sex. Fear of persecution and hate was motivated by the governments written rules. It is the same case, that the government does not recognise a partnership between the same sex, this shows to me, many gay couples and many fearful youth, that their lifestyle is not supported by their government, which only promotes this fear and feeling of not being accepted.
Not until the community as a whole, which is already in the majority accept gay marriage and of course if it is written in law and the government shows acceptance, will gay youth feel that their desire to be with a person of the same sex is acceptable as a part of the community.
Drugs, alcohol, suicide problems in the gay community are symptoms of the fact that gay youth are scared of their feelings – feelings they cannot control, as these desires are part of who they are.
If the government stands up and says it is OK to be “you” and “if you wish to have a life partner of the same sex and wish to marry them, then we will recoginse this and we accept you both as a part of the community.” this will help deter fear, hate and the impression that we are somehow unworthy of lasting love from a partner, friends and family.
MSM… sounds more like a Cadbury Chocolate or a wonder drug for erection problems rather than what it actually stands for: Men Who Have Sex with Men.
Why is the term around? Used in the context of HIV/AIDS in the 1990s, it’s a very clinical term, created by epidemiologists in order to study the spread of disease among men who have sex with men, regardless of how they identify. Yes, we once lived in a world where men chose not to accept or identify as gay or bisexual for many reasons and in some parts of the world today, sadly they still do.
What’s the difference between MSM and Gay? MSM and Gay refer to different things: behaviours and social identities. MSM refers to sexual activities between men, whereas gay can include those activities but is much more universally seen as a cultural identity.
Do you know of any gay men who identify as MSM? Not me. Even Ricky Martin would once have been identified as a MSM for research purposes before he came out… who knew?
“In Europe, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman – we make love with anyone we find attractive.”
We’re probably going to piss someone off here, but Marlene Dietrich was the original Madonna. She was the Queen of reinvention and performed well into her 70s, plus she was bisexual and polyamorous, often appearing in tuxedoes, men’s hats, and men’s tailored suits. “I am at heart, a gentleman,” she cooed.
Marlene spoke her mind – she wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything, not even the Nazis.
We’ll always love listening to Lili Marleen from the Singing Detective, pretending we’re Marlene Dietrich with her bedroom eyes.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected into public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Moving from New York to settle into San Francisco amidst a migration that saw gay men from around America and the world moving to the Castro District in 1972, he used the growing political and economic power of the neighbourhood to promote his community’s interests, running unsuccessfully for political office three times. However, he eccentric and theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, finally winning a seat as city supervisor in 1977.
He believed that the “invisibility” of the homosexual population contributed to the negative social stigmas of the time as many gay and lesbian people of the ‘70s lived in the closet. So the election of an openly gay man proved to be a major milestone in the gay political world, encouraging many people to step out and make their voices heard. He also believed in the importance of being seen as a person and not just as gay person. After sponsoring a dog mess bill forcing owners to clean up after their pets, Milk said “All over the country, they’re reading about me, and the story doesn’t centre on me being gay. It’s just about a gay person who is doing his job.”
Milk only served in office for just under 11 months. On the 27th of November 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone, Milk was assassinated by recently resigned city supervisor Dan White, a man who originally assisted in making Milk’s election possible and was a key component in a shift in San Francisco’s politics.
Despite such a short career in politics, Milk has become an icon and a source of inspiration for many. His campaign manager Anne Kroenberg paid tribute to the friend and colleague she was proud to support: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.”
Common abbreviations beginning with ‘M’:
M-M – Male to Male
M8 – Mate
MA – Middle-Aged
Masc – Masculine
Massage & Relief – Massage with a sexual element…
MBA – Married But Available
M4M, MSM – Male for Males, Male Seeking Male
MILF – Mum I’d Like To Fuck
MIRF – Mum I’d Run From
MLIA – My Life Is Average
MLL – Mid-Life Lesbian
MOSS – Member of Same Sex
MtF – Male to Female Transgender
MYOB – Mind Your Own Business
And not forgetting…
Love her or hate her (especially as she cancelled her Australian leg of your tour!) Madonna’s ever-changing looks, zeitgeisty collaborations and shock tactics have fascinated the world for an amazing 30 years now.
First bursting onto the music scene with her the hit ‘Everybody’ in 1982 and followed it up with ‘Holiday’, ‘Like a Virgin’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Like a Prayer’, ‘Vogue’ and ‘Erotica’, just to name a few of the hits that helped her shift over 300 million albums worldwide.
With her catchy, sexually overt, and at times controversial music, you can see why she was an instant hit with the gay community… even during that strange ‘Sex book’ phase with naked celebrities lining up to pose with her in various provocative images.
With her recent album MDNA and nipple flash in Turkey, political stance in Russia for Pussy Riot and gay rights in St Petersburg, this is one 54-year-old who still knows how to gain the world’s attention and stand up for what she believes is right.
This page was co-written by Chad St. James, Ceri Kidby-Salom, Matt Akersten, Matt D’Silva and the team at ACON.