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1 Jun 2011

Gay safe sex ads in Brisbane reinstated after uproar by Christian lobby group

The "Rip & Roll" safe sex campaign posters which feature a real-life gay male couple in an embrace will be reinstated across Brisbane bus shelters after it became clear the complaints were part of a concerted campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby.

ABC reported on Jun 1:

Ad company Adshel has reinstated a safe sex campaign for gay couples after it became clear a barrage of complaints about the ads were orchestrated by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

Michael O'Brien (left), 25, and his partner of six years, Anthony, were selected to appear for the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities in an advertisement about safe sex for gay men. Download poster. A Facebook page created by O’Brien had attracted over 50,000 'Likes' on Wednesday. Jun 1.

The bus shelter poster campaign spruiking the message "rip and roll", features a gay couple hugging while holding a condom packet.

The offending ads were taken down from around Brisbane yesterday after Adshel, Brisbane City Council and the Advertising Standards Bureau received 30 complaints about the ads.

But the ads' removal also caused an uproar on social media sites, with many furious the posters were brought down.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Adshel said many of the complaints were part of an ACL campaign, and that it has reinstated the ads.

"It has now become clear Adshel has been the target of a coordinated ACL campaign," Adshel chief executive Steve McCarthy said.

"This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign, and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect."

Read full story on ABC here. 


Queensland Association for Healthy Communities
Rip & Roll - Queenslanders Stand Up to Australian Christian Lobby

Media Release 1st June 2011

Healthy Communities Welcomes the Return of ‘Rip & Roll’ and Thanks Our Supporters

Healthy Communities welcomes the decision of Adshel to reinstate the ‘Rip & Roll’ campaign to bus shelters across Brisbane with immediate effect.

In a statement released today, Adshel CEO Steve McCarthy stated “It has now become clear that Adshel has been the target of a coordinated ACL campaign. This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect.”

“We thank Adshel for coming to the correct decision and look forward to working with them in this and future sexual health campaigns” said Paul Martin, Healthy Communities Executive Director.

“We’d also like to thank the tens of thousands of supporters who lent their voice, mainly via Facebook and Twitter, to getting the adverts reinstated. Special appreciation must also go to Michael and his partner who appear in the advert and have been such great advocates for the gay community.”

“The response to the removal of the campaign shows that the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders support the need for sexual health promotion, support the gay community and reject stigma and discrimination.”

Complaints about the ‘Rip & Roll’ campaign are still to be assessed by the Advertising Standards Bureau in the coming week.

Read the Media Release from Adshel


Healthy Communities executive director: Campaign to have the ads removed was about trying to have gay people "erased from the public sphere"

Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin said it was disheartening that Adshel had buckled so quickly to the complaints and the response to the Facebook page had shown the people who complained were in the "extreme minority”. 

"Those of us who have been around fighting HIV in Queensland for a while will remember this kind of reaction from days gone by. We certainly don't expect it in 2011." Martin was quoted as saying on news.com.au.

He said the campaign to have the ads removed was about trying to have gay people "erased from the public sphere".

Reader's Comments

1. 2011-06-01 19:29  
maybe the gay community can protest to say it's "offending" the next time they see a poster of a heterosexual couple featured in a similar safe sex campaign lolz
Comment #2 was deleted by its author on 2011-08-13 17:28
3. 2011-06-01 21:28  
What he was trying to say, i guess,,,was not that we should shout back our hatred to the heterosexual ,,,but more of to let them know how it feels to be discriminated for who they are...
4. 2011-06-01 22:14  
religious fundies like these are alot of usless twats.. or dorks.. what ever your preference
5. 2011-06-01 22:14  
religious fundies like these are alot of usless twats.. or dorks.. what ever your preference
6. 2011-06-02 00:34  
Some woman from the ACL was on the news tonight saying how it was her right as a citizen to make a complaint about a billboard she finds offensive.

I guess the next time I see a christian or church billboard spouting some crap about the coming rapture, or how the earth was made for humans to consume with abandon, or some other superstitious nonsense, I can be offended and complain also and demand they be removed from view.

But that would be being petty and nasty. What would Jesus do?
7. 2011-06-02 02:35  
they're extremely good looking.. that's why i read this news..lol
8. 2011-06-02 02:43  
The ACL also claimed that the rights of a church run school to expel students for being gay, when exercised in a proper manner, is a "loving response". Well, perhaps it is if the kids then don't have to put up with the harmful attitudes of their educators to their sexuality and can find a more supportive environment elsewhere.
9. 2011-06-02 03:05  
Ah good Christian values rear their ugly head again. Oh please don't post public service ads that might offend my delicate Christian morals instead allow the spread of a deadly disease among a community I love not at all. This isn't surprising, what is surprising is how quickly Adshel pulled the ad, 30 complaints, REALLY!! Sadly it appears Adshel also doesn't value gay men's health much either, shame on Adshel!
10. 2011-06-02 03:24  
Oooh, such delicate sensibilities....then again, why are christian/ religious fundies not offended by the rampant sex abuse - homo AND hetero- occurring at such alarming frequency within their very own communities???? Strange.
11. 2011-06-02 03:45  
Reminds me of the immortal lyrics of John Lennon's Imagine

"And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace "

Enough said.
12. 2011-06-02 06:41  
yes #3 pretty much said what I was going to say but I don't "hate" heteros I just hv an issue with homophobes. In saying that, I usually stand on the fence on sexuality issues coz I do hv bi tendencies myself so I'm not taking any sides.
13. 2011-06-02 08:24  
It is fundamentalist groups such as ACL that give other Christion denominations a bad name. Look at the hospics and homes for AIDS patients run by the Catholic and Anglican churches.
I would challenge any member of the ACL to show me any single sentence in the Gospels where JESUS speaks out about Homosexuality. There is not one!
14. 2011-06-02 10:58  
Religion is like every other cult. They love to get the clueless to follow them. More people have been hurt by religion than anything else in the world. I hope they are gone sometime soon and we get smart enough to see how foolish it all is in following them.
Comment #15 was deleted by its author on 2011-06-02 11:04
16. 2011-06-02 11:03  
Just like vegetarians, I love christians......they taste like chicken.....
17. 2011-06-02 12:29  
Religion is such fiction and the "believers" are oftentimes among the worst sort of people. So many atrocities have been been committed in the name of religious belief, it's just sickening. And no institution is more frightened of sex (of any kind) than religion.

Glad to see their wicked ways didn't work this time around.
18. 2011-06-02 13:56  
glad that there is a happy ending to this story
Comment #19 was deleted by its author on 2011-08-13 17:29
20. 2011-06-02 18:13  
Wow...what a bravo poster .... hehehe Wondering what will happen if this poster found in Malaysia?....LOLsss - Simon (Not Leeb)
Comment edited on 2011-06-02 18:15:17
21. 2011-06-02 19:37  
Isn't it amazing that what any religious person believes about "What God Wants", and how He wants (other) people to behave, and e.g. what posters they should be allowed to see, always, but always, matches that person's own prejudices.

As for ACL Brisbane it looks like it only has a total of about 3 members, no wonder the 30 emails were so similar.
22. 2011-06-02 19:54  
once again the religious cant see beyond their own bigotry to read the real message carried by the posters. It will be a great day when the religious of all persuasions start to think for themselves
23. 2011-06-02 20:07  
Hey I just realised it's a year since a pastor and some others from the giant megachurch in Singapore were arrested for financial irregularities. I wonder what's happening on that.
24. 2011-06-02 21:17  
How many gays do ACL members have to give birth to before they realise that it is THEIR God's plan to have gay people in this world?
Comment #25 was deleted by its author on 2011-08-13 17:29
26. 2011-06-03 11:21  
Homo, Bi, or Hetero, Poly, Pan, Trans or Asexual, we are what we are, we can be who we want to be, and believe in who we choose to. While it is nice to believe, we should strive to be spiritual not religious. However, until we find that one moment of revelation in any philosophical belief system, we must be a human being first. All of us should accept, tolerate, and inspire by our human flaws before striving to be perfect, to be stain-free, and to point fingers at each others without staring at our own reflection. It's so sad how lifetimes after lifetimes, and generations after generations of humanity and civilization, there is still too much hatred in the world. But everything must balance, it is because of hatred that we found love, from despair that we found hope, and from silence we can found our voice.

I am a human before I am gay, I bled red under my coloured skin and I taste salt in my tears, I am still a son even when I feel like a daughter, and I don't love or hate of who I am or what others are, because I have no right to judge, to blame, or to decide. All I have is my inner peace, and all I can offer is my rainbow of colours.

I love this site, I love you all, those of 6 genders or trans-gender: be strong, and most importantly be together. Kiss!!!
27. 2013-01-04 14:48  
"Religions", Believes". WHAT JOKE.
I believe that "All religions as the opium of the people".

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