Lesbians and gays oppose racism


Lesbians and gays oppose racism

By Michael Schembri

SYDNEY — The national gay magazine, Campaign, is embroiled in controversy over a racist letter run without an editorial disclaimer, which was dropped for a late advertisement. Act-Up activists graffitied the magazine's offices, and Asian gays sought an apology from editor Andrew Creagh, who replied that he published the letter to highlight racism in the gay/lesbian community.

Campaign publisher Leo Cameron said the letter was published in the interests of free speech and democracy, adding that David Phillips, the author of the offending letter, was a survivor of Auschwitz. Cameron said free speech didn't exist in "China and other parts of Asia", and Phillips had "been through a lot more than a Chinese person in Australia".

The Sydney Star Observer also leapt into the debate with a front-page article and many letters on both sides. Meanwhile, several groups and individuals lodged complaints with the Anti-Discrimination Board under the Racial Vilification Act.

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, in consultation with Asians and Friends, an Asian gay men's social and educational organisation, called a public meeting, which resulted in an organisation to fight racism.

A February 15 organising meeting decided to call the group Gays and Lesbians Against Racism. The group will organise workshops and seminars, monitor racism in the gay media and conduct education campaigns and other actions as necessary. The first action was a contingent in the February 29 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The official launching of Gays and Lesbians Against Racism will take place at 2 p.m. on March 14 at a public meeting at the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Centre, 74-78 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. GLAR may also be contacted c/- PO Box 9, Darlinghurst NSW 2010.

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