Many of you may have seen the article that the Macarthur Advertiser published two weeks ago advertising the "My Fair Lemon" lesbian fair at WILMA Women's Health Centre. While this article might have looked like the newspaper was supporting our community event, this so-called support was undermined by the headline that ran above the article - the online version read "Men! Keep Out of Lesbian Event". The print version read "Men! Please Keep Away". Aside from the fact that this headline would catch the eye of men flicking through the paper rather than the intended audience of women, it was deliberately provocative and offensive to men. It also put the safety of women attending the fair in danger by publishing the full address of the event under the inflamatory headline.
I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the headline (as did several others), but my letter was not published. Instead, the newspaper published another homophobic rant by Judith Bond under the heading "Sold a Lemon", in which she once again called lesbians all manner of names and ranted on about how homsexuality is unnatural and wrong etc etc.
I urge you all to write a letter to the Macarthur Advertiser BEFORE PUBLICATION ON WEDNESDAY THIS WEEK either in response to Judith's letter, or condemning the paper for continuing to publish her rants. Really, the fact that they continue to publish this rot is nothing short of vilification.
I submitted a short letter this morning as follows:
I found Judith Bond's negative definitions of 'lemon' last week rather queer. Lemons are natural fruits made by Judith's Creator God that are healthy, refreshing, zesty, and tasty. There's nothing unnatural about same-sex relationships. What is unnatural is Judith's self-righteous, hateful homophobia and it's about time this newspaper stopped publishing her offensive rants
I urge all of you to write to the Advertiser so that they get the message that there are a lot of us out here who are offended by their continued homophobia.
For those of you who are interested, my letter to the Advertiser last week read as follows:
I am writing to express my concern at what disappointingly appears to be discriminatory and homophobic reporting by your newspaper.
I am a local lesbian involved in the "My Fair Lemon" event that will take place on Sunday 25 October at the WILMA Women's Health Centre. I had been looking forward to the event, however, after reading the Advertiser's article on the event in yesterday's paper I am now not only embarrassed by the way lesbians in the local area have been portrayed as anti-men, but also concerned for my safety and the safety of other women who will be attending.
I fail to understand why the offensive and deliberately provocative headlines 'Men! Keep Out of Lesbian Event!', as appeared on the website, and 'Men! Please keep out of it!', as appeared in the print version, were necessary. WILMA Women's Health Centre, as a women-only safe space, prohibits men from entering its premises at all times, not just when hosting lesbian-friendly events. Why then, did the Advertiser deem it necessary to emphasise the prohibition on men on the premises when the occasion is a lesbian event? The Advertiser's use of these headlines is offensive in that it carries the implication that lesbians are aggressive, man-hating monsters, an inaccurate and unfair stereotype that unfortunately has plagued lesbians for many years. Homophobic and socially irresponsible media portrays such as the Advertiser's headlines perpetuates this ridiculous myth and continues to create barriers for lesbians becoming accepted as ordinary women within our communities. Of even more concern is the potential for such reporting to incite ill-informed backlash that could well end in harassment and violence. Compromising the safety of women in the community for the sake of a sensationalist headline is never acceptable.
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