*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
22nd February 2000The initial letter, hand delivered to the Courier Mail as a follow up to my phone conversation the same day with their Features editor Ian McGoldrick. I asked for a retraction or correction regarding their 17th Feb 2000 article by Deborah Cassrels:
Date: 22nd February 2000
Re: Courier Mail article wrong on homosexual age of consent
The article "Reasonable age" by Deborah Cassrels, (CM Monitor 19th February, 2000) states that "according to Australian law, homosexual sex between consenting males must involve people over 18. Sex with a 17-year-old female is legal in most states. But sex with a seventeen year old male is paedophilia". The laws actually vary between the states, but in Queensland 16 years is the age of consent for sex (except anal intercourse) for everyone - and anal intercourse is illegal for men AND women under 18 years of age.
Men who have sex with men aged between 16 and 18 need to know that the law only proscribes anal intercourse. Young men of 16 and 17 years especially should be aware that they can engage in lawful sexual activity with other men, if they choose. They are more likely to make safe choices in the kind of sexual activity, if they know that they are protected by, and acting within the law.
I know men who have engaged in consenting oral sex or masturbation involving men aged between 16 and 18, and who have suffered great distress due to the persistent misrepresentation of the age of consent laws in the press.
Your article's misinformation endangers the health and well being of some of my most valuable friends.
I believe that you must prominently print a retraction or correction. It would be negligent to perpetuate the suffering and very real fear of the prospect of being branded a paedophile, due to your paper's inaccurate reporting. This stress was enough, as your article states, to cause Judge Yeldham's suicide.
I can't afford to lose any of my friends.
(I am happy to discuss this matter at any time.)
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012
Ph: 07 3350 1562 Mobile: 0409 501 561
P.S.:- I spoke to Ian McGoldrick on 22nd February and suggested that this topic could be dealt with in connection with the release of the acclaimed British feature film "Get Real" which opens at the Dendy Cinema on 16th March. "Get Real" deals with a sixteen year old confidently-gay man, Steven Carter, who has been sexually active since his early teens and who develops a mutual loving relationship with his school's most admired athlete. It shows that sixteen year old men can know who they are, who they're attracted to, and also what they want, both sexually and emotionally, from their partners. What they need is open support and acceptance from parents - and recognition of their equal right to engage in lawful sexual activity.