FROM THE EDITOR.
It has always been my intention that DNA be a celebration of all the best things about being a gay man. It starts with the cover. The sexualised male body is still a major taboo in our culture – especially when it comes to men looking at other men. So whoever is on our cover, the subtext is always the same – look and enjoy without fear or guilt or shame.
Inside the magazine, on our website and social media, it’s all about the people, places, music, movies, icons and, yes, the swimwear we love. And packed with eye candy! This issue is no exception but… an unexpected theme emerged as we were editing this month. Despite all our progress towards acceptance and civil rights, we are still, constantly, under attack. It’s political, social and economic and it’s there, just beneath the surface of our everyday lives.
The Warwick Rowers pose nude to raise awareness of homophobia in sport. There’s no fullfrontal nudity, but their online images are censored.
For example, I interviewed photographer Paul Freeman about his two new Larrikin books. They’re great; very sexy images that capture naked men in a rough-and-ready naturalness. They’re beautiful, quite innocent images really – nothing revolutionary. And yet, the US tech giants that control our online lives take issue with Paul’s work and he finds himself censored, banned and barred from advertising.
It’s a similar story for the Warwick Rowers, also in this issue. You’re probably familiar with their annual fundraising calendars in which the boys of the rowing club pose nude to raise money and awareness around homophobia in sport. There’s no full-frontal nudity and it’s all, again, rather innocent and tasteful. But even they find their online images censored.
But these are trivial issues compared to those faced by LGBTIQ people in Uganda or Russia. In our Rainbow Riot feature this month, we reveal how a music project in Uganda ended with a hostage-taking siege, reminding all involved that LGBTIQ people are not tolerated in that country – let alone allowed to express themselves culturally through something as universal as music. Still, it’s an inspiring story because it feels like progress, however small, is being made.
And Russia… well! Young gay kids being beaten by security forces may be the prevailing image we have of modern LGBTIQ Russia, but it hasn’t always been that way. Our story Free, Gay And Russian looks at the history of homoacceptance and homophobia in that country. It also suggests that progress towards greater rights and freedoms is coming with the activism of a new generation.
This month sees the release of the muchanticipated feature film, Boy Erased. It deals with the practice of “gay conversion therapy” in which LGBTIQ kids are “counselled” into praying the gay away. Of course, it doesn’t work. Worse, it’s psychologically damaging and has longterm health implications including self-harm and suicide. The film, starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges and Troye Sivan, is attracting great reviews, and we take our own peek.
So, I apologise if these stories seem a bit grim (did I mention we recall the life and sad death of River Phoenix, too?). They are, nevertheless, worth reading.
Elsewhere this issue you’ll find a lot more up-lifting and cheerful stuff. Hilarious New York pop star Pillo Bytr has heaps to say about being queer and his idols Pete Burns, RuPaul and Childish Gambino. We chat with the actor Ethan Panizza, who plays a gay AFL star on Playing For Keeps. Marc Andrews reviews an album from a gay Brit that he says, “Will change pop forever”! Heady stuff.
Finally, there are two shoots in this issue – Mario and Johnny – and they are both spectacular! Whatever your taste in men, I think you’ll appreciate the beauty of these two models. Comments to my in-box, on the DNA website and our social media are, as always, most welcome!
Next month, it seems mad to say, is the Swimwear Issue, which means we’re at December already. I can’t wait to shoot the swimwear story and share it with everyone next month. I promise tons of behind-the-scenes shots and video!
Until then, happy reading. Andrew Creagh Founding Editor