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Opinion/Commentary

The demise of podcast ‘The Sydney Gays’: what does it mean for LGBTQ+ creators?

Podcast microphone
Image: iStock

As a content creator and someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, this story hit me.

The article is about the demise of the podcast The Sydney Gays, which ended after only four episodes.

The hosts, Wil Sabin and Jay Fisher copped fierce backlash after the first episode, Chic or Sh*t. LGBTQ+ listeners were some of their critics; they were accused for perpetuating stereotypes.

On their second episode, Fisher and Sabin apparently peddled back and tried to be more authentic.

The fourth episode, The Dark Side of the Rainbow was the last one uploaded. They spoke about some of the alleged vicious trolling they received. This included being compared to chemotherapy and receiving death threats. Fisher and Sabin claimed they were worried about the affect it had on their loved ones.

The cost of LGBTQ+ rights?

I never heard the Sydney Gays podcast. But when I was reading the article and planning this post, a question came to mind: is the backlash against The Sydney Gays a reflection on the pressure LGBTQ+ people feel to appear ‘normal’? Is that why some of their critics were LGBTQ+ themselves?

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of a non – LGBTQ+ creator being reprimanded to pipe down and act more ‘authentic’.

Is this a cost for the gain in rights that LGBTQ+ people have gained, especially same – sex marriage, which became law in 2017?

Now, it may be that (e listeners found their Sydney Gays annoying. If that’s the case, then, sure, they could tone down the exaggerations and make their presentation more professional.

However, my concern is if the backlash against Sabin and Fisher is a sign that LGBTQ+ creators will have ‘rules’ placed on them that wouldn’t apply to others. I hope LGBTQ+ creators won’t have to repeatedly ‘prove’ themselves to be OK.

What should creators tolerate?

Some creators have criticised Sabin and Fisher for giving up too soon. Music, event and video producer, Dan Murphy pointed out the iTunes charts, claiming that Sydney Gays got a number of listeners people would “kill for”. This would have been driven by both the positive and negative feedback.

Murphy himself is no stranger to negative feedback. Despite rave reviews for an early video that featured a group of drag queens, one of his later videos featuring a mob dance for BMW was blasted. News and marketing website, Mumbrella, crucified it.

While I get that creators should expect criticism and even harshness, death threats are not on. Sabin and Fisher even expressed concern for loved ones and how they could be affected. This has to be condemned. It’s also tragic when that sort of bullying kills someone’s creative pursuit. In a way, the bullies have won because of the collapse of Sydney Gays. But it shouldn’t have happened anyway.

All creators, including those from the LGBTQ+ community should be able to create without fear. Nobody should be pressured by bullies into stopping their creative project. And, most importantly, I hope this isn’t the start of a trend where LGBTQ+ creators are bullied into silence.

Categories
Media

Is ‘de – transition’ the new ex – gay?

Transgender sign
Image: iStock

Lately, there has been a number of ‘transition regret’ stories in both Australian and international media.

On Sunday, Sky News Australia’s/ Win’s Outsiders had Walter Heyer on, a man who claimed identified as trans, but then wanted to transition back to male. The hosts of Outsiders and Andrew Bolt have really lapped up Heyer’s story and others like it.

Other media outlets, including Christian Concern, Daily Telegraph and USA Today have all published stories on people who apparently regret their transition and have worked to get their original sex back.

Is this the new ‘ex – gay’ movement

Are there some people who originally identify as trans, then realise they’re actually cis – gender? Maybe.

Let me clear, if someone originally identifies as trans and then realise they’re not, then that’s fine.

However, what I’m hearing and reading does concern me. I fear that the de -transitioning movement that will force trans/ gender non – conforming people to be something they’re not.

I can hear elements of ‘conversion therapy‘ language in these ‘testimonies’. Using early childhood (usually sexual) trauma as the reason for a person’s identity was very common at the height of the ex – gay movement.

Deliberate misuse of terms and using, frankly, unlikely stories have been used in the ex – gay and de – transitioning movements. For example, gender dysphoria (which is what many transgender people go through) and disassociate identity disorder (DID) have been conflated.

One unlikely story I’ve heard is a de – transitioned’ man who ‘felt’ he was a trans – woman after his wife died. He ‘felt’ that way in order to be closer to her. While some may realise they’re trans or gender non conforming later in life, I think that’ll be the exception, rather than the rule.

According to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, children begin expressing their gender between two and three. Even transgender people that I’ve heard about who have transitioned much older realised their gender identity as children, not after becoming widowed.

Even if some of these stories about de – transitioning do turn out to be true, I don’t want these stories to be used to give false hope to young people who are questioning their gender or do know they are trans. I don’t want them to be left feeling they should change how they feel, then fail and feel hopeless.. As seen in conversion therapy, this cycle only exacerbates the high suicide rates of LGBTQ+ people.

What the media needs to do

I believe the media has a major responsibility in this. Misreporting and fear mongering about transgender/ gender non – conforming people needs to stop.

De – transition stories need to be told with caution. They should not be used to pressure transpeople to be someone they know they’re not. I’m not exaggerating when I say lives are at stake.

LGBTQ+ people do not need more discrimination. They don’t need more misrepresentation. And they certainly don’t need to be told that who they are is wrong and needs to change. Too many lives have been destroyed.

What do you think about the wave of ‘transition regret’ stories in the media? Helpful or harmful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Prince Harry hits back at media over treatment of Meghan Markle.

I’m not a monarchist per se. However, I have been quite disgusted at the treatment of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

From the start, the – now Duchess’ life has been a media circus, especially with reports of her estranged father and half – sister.

Then, earlier this year, the Duchess of Sussex was slammed for “diva” behaviour at a Wimbledon tennis match. She sparked outrage when photos circulated the media surrounded by empty seats.

The only criticism I do get is the private jet/ climate change controversy. Last month Prince Harry and Meghan went to a Google – hosted climate change summit and then flew in eleven private jets while on holiday. That did make the climate change cause look like class warfare rather than actually preserving the planet.

Prince Harry vs. Dailymail UK

Daily Mail web page on tablet screen
Image: iStock

Things have boiled over between the royals and the media. The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry have decided to sue DMG Media, owners of DailyMail and MailOnline.

Last Sunday, the Duke and Duchess threatened to sue Daily Mail/ Mail Online parent company, DMG Media. The company is accused of breaching copyright after using a handwritten letter addressed to Markle’s father , Thomas Markle. The claim is DMG Media deliberately took passages of the letter without permission.

A spokesman for DMG media vehemently denies the accusations.

Markle, the media and Princess Diana

This is deeply personal for Prince Harry. He has linked the treatment his wife to that of his late mother, Princess Diana.

I lost my mother and now, I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

He has expressed fears that history was repeating itself.

The media and Princess Diana’s death

I was only a eight when Princess Diana died in 1997. Back then, I wasn’t aware of the aftermath.

However, I have come to know about some of the fall out that the royal family and media faced. Since Prince William got married to Princess Catherine, the royal family has been quite protective of her.

The Duchess of Cambridge has hit back at tabloids. In 2017, she successfully sued French tabloid, Closer over topless photos taken of her. She was awarded €100,000 (A$162,163.03). The magazine editor and publisher were fined another €45,000 (A$72,972).

Yes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are royals and public figures. But I think that the media need to be careful and not allow history to repeat itself.

Everyone has got to remember that Prince Harry is now a dad

The timing of Prince Harry’s attack on the media isn’t really surprising. He’s a father to four-month- old, Archie. So much more is at stake for him now. I’m sure parents everywhere can relate to the intense desire to protect their children and their spouses/ partners. Surely journalists and tabloid photographers understand that, too.

Update

According to the ABC, Harry is also going after the owner of the Sun and Daily Mail over alleged phone hacking. Some in British media have lamented that Prince Harry has declared ‘war’ on the media.