Queensland's Queer Press

By Robinson, Shirleene | Queensland Review, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Queensland's Queer Press


Robinson, Shirleene, Queensland Review


Since the 1970s, there has been a strong and active gay and lesbian press in the southern parts of Australia. This press emerged later in Queensland than in the southern states but today it reaches many queer Queenslanders and performs a vital and multifaceted role. (1) While this press provides essential representation and visibility for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) population of Queensland, it also embodies a number of tensions inherent in this community. This article charts the development and history of the print media run by and for the queer community of Queensland, particularly focusing on the two major GLBTIQ periodicals currently available in Queensland. These are Queensland Pride, published monthly, and Q News, published fortnightly. The article explores the conflicts that exist in that queer print media, arguing that Queensland's queer press has struggled to adequately represent what has become an increasingly multifarious and diverse GLBTIQ 'community'.

These periodicals posit themselves as being driven by community service. This role is constrained, however, by their dependence on advertising revenue. This revenue is necessary for their survival but clearly limits the extent to which they can provide independent advocacy or representation for the GLTBIQ community. There are also potential conflicts of interest involved in running advertisements from what is still a small GLTBIQ business community. Problems of unequal representation are also inherent in this press. To a very large extent, Queensland's queer press has targeted a gay male audience, as opposed to a lesbian, bisexual, transgender or broader 'queer' audience. Regional Queenslanders also do not receive equal coverage and some younger Queenslanders do not identify with the queer 'scene' as articulated by these periodicals. Moreover, the internet and mainstream media have challenged the primacy these periodicals once possessed. Despite these conflicts, these periodicals do provide a vital forum for the dissemination of health and welfare information particularly pertinent to the GLTBIQ community. Moreover, they also help to create some sense of community and culture by presenting codes of non-heterosexual behaviour to a queer audience. Thus, despite the friction present throughout the queer press, these periodicals play an extremely important role in queer Queensland life.

Although gay and lesbian publications have played an important role in furthering the gay liberation movement, there is still a paucity of material on these publications. The study of Australia's homosexual past more generally is a recent field and there are many areas that require further exploration. The release of Clive Moore's valuable Sunshine and Rainbows in 2001 illuminated many aspects of Queensland's queer past. (2) Due to the large scope of this book, though, the role that queer newspapers play in the Queensland GLTBIQ community was not explored in detail. Moore did devote some attention to the role and meanings of male-to-male personal advertisements in both the queer and 'straight' press, and has followed up this research with subsequent publications. (3) Felicity Grace has also examined advertising in the GLTBIQ press of Queensland. (4) Rather than exploring the rise and role of the queer press in this region, Grace was primarily concerned with the nature of commercialisation and advertising. The role of the queer press in constructing contemporary gay male identity has been adeptly explored by Yorick Smaal. (5) The majority of work on GLTBIQ publications, though, has tended to focus on the southern queer press. (6)

Origins

The emergence of gay and lesbian newspapers has been integral to the success of the gay and lesbian liberation movement. The gay and lesbian press serves not only as the first point of reference for many GLTBIQ individuals but also provides a forum for the challenge and transformation of anti-gay policies and views. …

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