FROM THE EDITOR.
Apparently, Bette Midler is homophobic. You’ve probably read her tweet: “Trump and Putin are meeting in Finland next month. That’s a long way to travel for a blowjob, but hey – Putin’s got the money.”
You’ve probably also seen the outrage it stirred online with many people accusing Bette of being homophobic.
You could say that the joke demeans both men by suggesting they’re going to have gay sex – but it’s only demeaning if you think being gay is demeaning. Bette Midler doesn’t think that. She’s a champion of the gays, and has always loved a bawdy bathhouse joke.
Bette’s tweet was not made at the expense of gay people. It’s a joke about the relationship between Trump and Putin.
It’s a joke that would horrify both men to read, and would be insulting to the LGBTIQ community if they were actually gay. They’re not. It’s aimed squarely at Trump, a heterosexual philanderer who treats women like commodities; a man who would be mortified at the prospect of giving another man a blowjob. To me, it’s obvious that Midler meant no malice towards us, and you need to be working pretty hard to be offended by it. If anyone has earned the right to make gay blowjob jokes, it’s Bathhouse Betty.
Another celebrity who, I believe, can be afforded a little license is Bert Newton, an Australian TV legend who, at the recent Logie Awards, described himself as “a big old poof”. In this instance, people were offended by the use of the word poof. Sure, it can be a bad word in most circumstances, but not this one. Bert intended no malice.
I’m a big old poof and so are some of my friends and there is no homophobia, internalised or otherwise, in me saying so.
Bert has earned the right to use the word poof in a benign, gentle context. If seasoned homophobes like Andrew Bold or Miranda Divine or a Footy Show boofhead had used the word, I’d be a bit worried but, again, it would depend on the context and their intention.
I don’t doubt that those who were offended by Bette and Bert were genuinely offended; I’m not going to dismiss their opinions as “concocted outrage”. But I often wonder where these voices are when serious cases of homophobia are reported. For example, it worries me that more people seemed outraged by Bette Midler’s blowjob joke than, say, the gay soccer fans
who were beaten into a coma by homophobic Russian thugs at The World Cup. You want to be angry about something – get angry about that.
In the last month we’ve seen two incidences of parents killing their own children because they suspect they’re gay. That’s homophobia. Indonesia plans to criminalise consenting gay sex between adults. That’s homophobia. Get angry about that.
The more we scream and stamp our feet about the little things, the less we’ll be listened to about the big things.
has been hectic in DNA land. I jetted off to Austria to cover Vienna’s Pride celebrations. You can see two of my photo stories from Vienna Pride on the DNA website and read more about Euro Pride in 2019 in our up-coming Travel issue (#225).
Meanwhile, three stories we’d been working on for a while came to fruition this month. I’d wanted to feature Aussie actor, Tim Draxl for months. He’s well known for his role as a gay doctor in A Place To Call Home, he supported DNA’s #Yes campaign during the marriage debate, and I knew he was in top physical shape and would photograph beautifully.
Finding a gap in his busy filming schedule in Sydney was the challenge, but see the stunning 007-inspired results in this issue. You’ve never seen Tim like this before!
Months ago, Brisbane photographer, Russell Fleming suggested a shoot with Mitchell (our gorgeous cover star). He’s big, and bulges in all the right places, and with that magnificent beard we thought he’d be perfect for the Grooming issue. He is!
And speaking of beards… Ladybeard! I wanted a feature interview with this intriguing Aussie for a while but he, too, has a crazy schedule. So I was thrilled to finally talk with the man when he called from Japan. Not only does he have a great sense of humour, he’s taking ideas about gender and sexuality in some challenging directions within conservative Asian cultures and turning himself into a superstar.
I hope you enjoy this issue. There’s stacks to read and some beautiful photography. Visit our website for daily updates and follow us on social media. Next month is our Sexiest Men Alive issue. See you then! Andrew Creagh, Founding Editor