Queer Discrimination – alive and well

I was saddened today to see that the QLD & NSW Firefighters Calendar have actively excluded Same Sex Attracted Communities from their launch events.

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This event is “ladies only”. I must presume that they will be checking their deeds of nobility at the door… But all joking aside…

You’ll notice that I say “saddened” and not “surprised”; there’s a history of this sort of thing at events like the Chippendales, Manpower, even the weekly show in Fortitude Valley on Friday night, and more. Apparently these boys are freaked out by the idea that men might want to look at them “in the flesh” so to speak.

To make it worse, it was suggested that perhaps they should also do a “men’s only” night. (Implication of the posters was pretty obviously for the male show.) The response: “if the females do a calendar again.”

SSQLDFFFemales

This sounds to me like not only are the male performers exclusively catering to a female audience, but it is presumed that female performers would be for an exclusively male audience.  Apparently there are no Same-Sex Attracted jollies to be had from the QLD and NSW Fire Fighters Calendar Launches, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.

They say “There’s no offence.”  Actually. They’re wrong.  There is offence. I am offended, and so is the commenter in the above screenshot.  I’m offended by your decision to completely shut out and ignore people who have bought and would buy your calendar unless they’re actually in the act of handing over money and you don’t have to be in the same room as them.

Yes, I understand that they mean “there’s no offence meant”, but a) that isn’t what they said, and b) I have to tell them, if at any point you ever have to say “no offence meant” you’re either a klutz and you’ve realised you’ve accidentally made a double-entendre, or you’re saying something that you know will offend.  Even worse when they say “please let it be this way with no negative feedback”.  I have to say, saying that is like holding up a red rag to a bull.  Why? Because it’s saying “We’ve offended you, and we know it, but play nice and don’t call us on it.” It is basically asking the offended to silence themselves on the issue of their own discrimination for the sake of their reputation

And yes, it is discrimination.  Outright homophobia in fact. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know how I hesitate to apply that label.  But this conscious choice to downplay, ignore, and exclude the Queer community in an in-person setting is homophobic.  The gymnastics required to presume everyone commenting is straight (especially given my Facebook picture is basically a face surrounded by rainbow) belies any other explanation.

I won’t be purchasing the calendar any more.  A part of me is considering burning the two copies I own for the irony factor.

I hesitated to write this article without knowing where the money goes to – I don’t want to damage those causes that rely on these funds. So I’ve discovered from their website that those beneficiaries are the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation and that the support “also assists firefighters to compete in Emergency Services Competitions i.e. [sic] The Firefighters Games.”

Rather than spend $14 per calendar, $3 of which is P&H and another portion of which surely goes to covering costs, can I urge you to donate that $14 directly to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, so that they can do more with your money. Rather than going to the show – which will have cost them money to set up, transport performers, etc, talk to your local fire station about how you can help Firefighters get to competitions.  Because lets face it. You can look at attractive men for free on the internet, you don’t need to buy their calendar.

Why spend your money to allow homophobes to feel good about themselves for raising money.  Spend it making yourself feel good about contributing to good causes – you might even get a tax deduction into the bargain..

For those of you who want to check out their Facebook thread in its entirety: click here

Join me in opposing homophobia, no matter the source.  

Dylan Carmichael

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