An Open Letter To Foxtel & AME

On Monday Foxtel’s Facebook page went rampant with posts about an advertisement for the Marriage Alliance “Same Sex Marriage : There’s More To It Than You Think” (see ad here) Hundreds of disgruntled customers and annoyed LGBT Australians and supported flooded the page with messages of anger and disgust over the decision to air these ads repeatedly over the weekend. The ad claims that same sex marriage will lead to changes in sex education in schools, effect children and directs viewers to a website to find more information (you really should check it out!)

Like clockworks customers and the LGBT community and its supporters hit the Foxtel Facebook page, flooding it with outrage. Cancellations and promises of moving to streaming services flowed on their page for days, as well as members of the LGBT community and their supporters tearing down the company for daring to air the ad. I was also one of these people, not a Foxtel subscriber, but a member of the LGBT community and felt outraged that an ad I hadn’t bothered to watch was aired on a service that I did not have. So after I wrote a scathing message condemning Foxtel for daring to show the ad, I actually watched it and realised that it wasn’t anywhere near as offensive as others had claimed, and that I was more offended that the Marriage Alliance seemed to blame the gay community for sinking the Titanic!

Foxtel were not the only one’s to cop it, the Australian Marriage Equality Twitter page was bombarded with messages of outrage, as they had previously confirmed that Foxtel were a corporate sponsor and support of AME. This response was posted by the AME in conjunction with Foxtel :

“Australian Marriage Equality values the support shown by Australia’s business community for marriage equality. Foxtel is among our corporate supporters.

A group opposing marriage equality, known as “the Marriage Alliance”, is currently airing an advertisement through various media outlets including Foxtel. It is their right to express their views.

The feedback from decision-makers in Canberra is that the “Marriage Alliance” advertisement is actually helping our campaign. The ad offers nothing new and and our research indicates that when opponents of marriage equality express their views in the way they have, support for marriage equality increases.

We urge community members who are angry about the ad to turn their anger into positive action.

If you’re outraged with the Marriage Alliance’s campaign the best way to end it is to help make marriage equality happen and recruit everyone you know to help. There are actions listed on our new website www.wecandothis.org.au

You can leave a message in support of marriage equality on our Equality Calling hotline 1300663679. Your message will go direct to your MP and Senators.”

Similarly Fairfax media have aired the ad on Channel Nine and online on their news website. In response they have said a Fairfax Media spokesman said:  “The advertising Fairfax runs is just that, advertising, and not reflective of the company’s position on anything whatsoever.”

It is hard to not get emotional about this issue, Tony Abbott himself confirmed that this is a very personal and emotional subject and it is easy to get upset when the opposite opinion is aired. It is easy to forget that we live in a democratic country that has the openness to show both sides of an argument and it is our job as human beings to respect that there are two sides. We don’t have to agree with it, we don’t have to support it, but we should as human beings and Australian’s at least allow for that other opinion to be heard. Now before you start commenting and biting my head, you should know my stance on the issue. I am a gay man and I support marriage equality 100%. I am not in a relationship so this is not something that is an immediate option for me, but I do have friends who have been in loving and fruitful relationships for many years, who would love the option to enter into a marriage in the eyes of their country.

The good news moving forward is that the five day span of Marriage Alliance ads are now over, in that time we saw a six hour parliamentary debate happen with the current government to decide what to do moving forward with this issue, yes no decision was made, but what did come out of it was more conversation and more discussion within our community. Media outlets like The Project and MammaMia have posted articles and videos in support of Marriage Equality and condemning the speech from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who remains stagnant on the issue. American actor and comedian Jack Black even voiced his opposition to Abbott stating “I personally think the guy’s living in the stone ages, though. He’s not seeing the writing on the wall. The movement of the world is heading towards equality for all people, all sexual preferences. Come on, we’re all the same in the end. Who cares what gives you a boner. Really?”

So where to from here? I can confirm that Australian Marriage Equality have their own ad coming and it will run for a lot longer than the five days given to Marriage Alliance, just like you I jumped down Foxtel’s throat without thinking, without investigating further what would happen with Foxtel’s alliance with the AME and how this will change things in the future. If you look at Marriage Equality in other countries, it has passed when both sides have been given time to air, because in the end love wins. Showing the ad from the Marriage Alliance highlight’s the ignorance and exploitation of children, while AME show’s nothing but pure and beautiful love, love that should be celebrated, love that should be encouraged and love that should be accepted.

I guess this is a really long way of me personally apologising to Foxtel for jumping the gun and posting my ill-informed message on your Facebook wall. At the time I withdrew Novastream affiliation for Foxtel and affiliated streaming service Presto with our upcoming podcast The Streaming Show, we now would like to reinstate our full support and thank Foxtel for supporting the AME and airing pro marriage equality ads on their channels. We look forward to the day that Australia finally achieves marriage equality, until then there will be plenty of debate around the issue and remember, in the end love always wins!

Looking Season 1 Review

Looking – HBO

Looking is the latest in the HBO family of series to be given the greenlight and follows a long tradition of gay television shows being made into hits. Looking premieres a mere 8 episodes and then has now been greenlit for a second season. The show is set in San Francisco and follows a group of gay guys on their many different paths and most importantly relationships.

The main character is the meat of this show, he is the HGN (Hot Gay Nerd, something that we don’t see a lot of in pop culture. He is about to turn 30 and works in the video game industry as a designer and finds himself completely misunderstood by the community, unable to find an area to fit in and more importantly struggles with relationships.

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Sexy is something that HBO tends to not shy away from, and this is the part of this series that disappointed me the most. While there are several scenes it is nothing compares to the steaminess of Sex & The City or Boardwalk Empire. This show is taking place at such an important time in history when as a society we have accepted homosexual as no longer a choice, rather now as actual human beings and not to get all Lady GaGa on you but “born this way”.

The show touches on important issues like the introduction of gay marriage and deals an interesting conversation about how this has been done to make us seem “normal” and this is a chord that stuck with me.

Issues of age and life events are tacked head on, and this is something only seen in shows like Queer As Folk who push the “old man on young man” thing instead we see a 39 year old, dealing with being a waiter for 10 years straight and needing to do something more before he turns 40 because of past relationship and has kind of being standing still. This storyline is a little flimsy as really who is going to believe that no one in San Fran has ever heard of or had peri peri chicken before?

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Dealing with race and inter-racial relationships is another topic that I haven’t seen in a gay themed show and is dealt with.

The gay group of friends that are the central point of this show are not your usual fare, yes there is the token hag, the old one, the couple, the single fat one, the main character.

Some of the story arcs are surprising and take a weird turn and come out of nowhere. A surprise fight between three characters is kind of weird and comes from nowhere.

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The main character can’t deal with conflict, instead makes snap decisions attempting at band aid fixes for issues that the other can’t get past.

The show delves into issues of money and how things are portrayed in gay culture and how all of this is reciprocated. Sometimes things aren’t always as easy as we think, sometimes they don’t ring true to who we are or what we want.

The underlying message of “Looking” feels like we, the audience are looking at gay culture, getting a glimpse of real world type situations and people that aren’t a caricature or overcast stereotype. It is through this that an organic vibe eminates from every angle of this show.

Dealing with mother and son relationships and stereotypes is also something that is explored well in this show. Blaming parents for how we act in relationships is all too familiar and is explained in intricate detail in this show.

Overall this show delivers an engaging 8 episode story arc, the characters are complex and engaging, the setting of San Fransisco is a welcome change from the tired streets of New York. Complex relationships between friends, lovers and family shouldn’t feel so fresh, but this show presents in this way. It is inspiring that a show can hook me in just 8 episodes and provide a season worth of material to keep me hungering for season 2. If you are looking to get hooked on something in the impending desert of TV then this is it!

Looking gets 4 and a half peri peri chicken steaks out of five.