Campaign for Age Of Consent awareness & removal of The Sodomy Law in Queensland

*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

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6th April 2000. Letter to Queensland Attorney General Matt Foley requesting official definition of age of consent and for action to effectively inform the public:

 

Attention: Peter Clarke assistant to Attorney General Matt Foley

Office of the Attorney-General

GPO Box 149

Brisbane 4001

From: John Frame

82 Main Avenue

Wavell Heights 4012

Ph: 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561

Date: 6th April, 2000.

Re: Public awareness of Queensland's Age of Consent law.

On 31st March I spoke to you regarding the continuing state of confusion caused by the fact that we have an age of consent of sixteen, but a separate law proscribing anal intercourse until 18 years of age. I have attached a letter which details my concerns.

I have also attached a copy a Courier Mail article from 19th February "Reasonable Age" by Deborah Cassrels and a mock-up of what I believe would be a useful handout.

I believe that consultation with the three groups: Queensland AIDS Council, Family Planning Queensland and Brisbane Sexual Health would establish a base for an effective education campaign.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Regards,

John Frame.

 

Re: Public awareness of Queensland's Age of Consent law.

 

On 31st March I spoke to you about my concerns regarding the continuing state of confusion caused by the fact that we have an age of consent of sixteen, but a separate law proscribing anal intercourse until 18 years of age.

Most of the public wrongly believes that the law applies only to males and that it prohibits all male to male sexual activity for someone under 18.

There are, of course many legal sexual activities, such as oral sex and masturbation, which everyone over 16 may consent to engage in.

A recent full-page article in the Courier Mail (by Deborah Cassrells, 19th February 2000, as attached) further reinforces this erroneous belief. The article makes no distinction between types of sexual activity and it actually states that, in Queensland, a male who has sex with a 17 year-old male is a paedophile.

The Courier Mail did not print a retraction - nor did they print my letter or respond to my telephone calls. They obviously feel that they do not have a case to answer.

I believe that the persistently reinforced and prevalent misinterpretation of the age of consent law creates these serious problems:

  1. Men who have had legal sexual activity with men over 16 (but not yet 18) are at risk of being branded as paedophiles. Regardless of their personal knowledge that their activities were lawful, that risk presents a great threat to their health, family stability, reputation and career security, Those who are unaware of the law, suffer anguish at potential prosecution and are susceptible to blackmail. This pressure was enough to cause New South Wales' Judge Yeldham to suicide.
  2. Men over 16 but under 18 years of age who perceive all sexual activity with other men as being equally illegal, will not be empowered to choose safer sexual activities over those considered unsafe (i.e. unprotected anal intercourse.)
  3. Men younger than 16, who know that they want to be sexually active with other men, but who believe that no contact with other men is legal, until they turn 18 - are more likely to engage in sex regardless.
  4. The prevailing confusion limits the activities of established community health organisations in being able to effectively educate men over16 but under 18 with regard to safe practices in their sexual behaviour with other men.

Personally, I cannot see why there is an 18 year-old minimum for anal intercourse, when vaginal intercourse is legal at 16. The law must be discriminatory in its intent. But until that law is removed, I believe it is the Queensland Government's "Duty Of Care" to ensure that the potential harm caused by the confusion over this law is minimised.

I ask you to arrange, as a matter of urgency, an education campaign to inform the public of the correct interpretation of current Age of Consent and Sodomy laws in Queensland.

Yours faithfully,

 

John Frame.