Youth Forum - on
Age Of Consent Equality in Queensland:
The Youth Forum on age of consent equality which was held on Saturday afternoon, 28th June 2003, at the lovely and spacious NASH Theatre drew a total of eight attendees:- James Kellett, Scott Grimmett, Kalven and myself from Queer Radio, Tireka and Dominic from radical youth activist group Resistance, Peter from SYAC (Qld State Youth Advisory Council) and Peter's friend, Tracey.
Six of the eight are bona-fide
Though the attendance was small, the results were good - especially in establishing an effective connection between the three represented groups.
We recorded a very good "round-table" discussion on the issues surrounding our state's 1990 Sodomy Law with all youth present speaking of their own experiences, observations and opinions. The edited recording should be aired on Queer Radio within the next month.
Hopefully now that the first official steps are being taken by youth to demand reform, the Government will also start to take heed, and stop pretending that their "non-discriminatory" Sodomy Law doesn't have any inherent and truly damaging problems.
I warmly encourage other youths to be prepared to be proactive and ensure that future actions toward law reform are fully supported - reform will only occur on this issue if youth themselves demand that it happen.
What the forum was about:
A peer forum
for youth to openly discuss the issues surrounding
The age of consent is stated as being 16, but in 1990 laws prohibiting all sex between men were removed and a new law installed which prohibits the act of anal intercourse (sodomy) to anyone under 18.
The state government has never explained the law to it’s own agencies, let alone to the public and consequently most people believe that all “male to male” sex for those under 18 is illegal (rather than just that one activity) – and they treat 16 and 17 year old male youths accordingly.
These young men need to know they are OK just as they are. They are just as legal, just as acceptable, just as good and right-thinking as their heterosexual friends and associates. The only way to ensure our society will be empowered to give them that knowledge and to accept them as they are, is to change the law NOW.
Our Premier, Peter Beattie, actually chaired the 1990 Parliamentary Committee which accepted expert advice and recommended there be no differing legal age for any gender or for any sexual activity. Mr. Beattie knows we’ve had an inferior law for the last 13 years – he needs to hear you demand a truly equal age of consent.
Print an accurate brochure on the current age of consent law (Word file 38k): www.queerradio.org/AOCpamphlet.doc
(for full background information on our age of consent inequities see www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm)