Midsumma: Not In My Name


pic: In Sappho We Trust

Dykes on Bikes, Vic Leather & Rainbow Families withdraw from Midsumma Carnival
over the tie-up with News Corp

Dykes on Bikes Melbourne (DOBM) will no longer donate money raised by their annual Pillions for Pride raffle to Midsumma.The money, which was to have been split 50/50 with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) will now all go to ALGA.

DOBM said that financially supporting an organisation which partnered with the employers of Bill Leak, Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine “is not in the best interests of the LGBTI community”. DOBM President Jo Bangles told LOTL Magazine

Many of our members have children and feel that aligning ourselves with Midsumma and News Corp would contradict our values. We …will still lead Pride March in 2017 as a sign of solidarity with the LGBTI community. Dykes on Bikes lead pride marches all over the world and this tradition is too important to be broken.

Pride March was always about the community coming together to fight for equal rights, it doesn’t feel like a protest march anymore, it’s too polished and heading in a corporate direction. It’s time the LGBTI community took back the march.

The news comes after Vic Leather and Rainbow Families also withdrew from Carnival. Rainbow Families Victoria said it was “utterly inappropriate” to have News Corp as a sponsor, calling for the development of an ethical corporate sponsorship policy for future events.

We intend to a) not to participate in Carnival and b) make sure at Pride March that we not only celebrated our diversity, our resilience, our families and our successes of 2016 but also will stand up against the continued News Corp attacks on our LGBTIQ communities.

Rainbow Families Victoria will still march at Pride March on January 29 with the aim of calling out the continued News Corp vilification of our LGBTI communities.

Felicity Marlowe of Rainbow Families Vic spoke to The Informer on Joy 94.9, saying that our community deserves better from our principal festival.

Midsumma won’t advertise with News Corp in 2017

VicLeather will not run a stall at Carnival because News Corp publications have attacked the Safe Schools program and other parts of the LGBTQIA+ community. The values of News Corp and VicLeather were not aligned, said their statement. But they too will still take part in Pride March.

Meanwhile News Corp continues its attack on our community, with more anti Safe Schools commentary, more Bill Leak cartoons, and, opening up a bizarre new line of attack, comparing drag to blackface and questioning LGBTI community support for the art form.

Caroline Overington wrote in The Australian

…we’ve all seen, and probably know, gay men who get off on mockery of women, sneering at pictures of those of us who are old, or looking like little fatties, and who are therefore disgusting. Who refer to women as “fish” and to their own friends as “fag hags”. Who take to the audience at drag shows, squealing with delight as one caricature of a woman after another wobbles on to the stage wearing over-the-top make-up, and costumes designed to lampoon.

It’s blatant misogyny and, worse, not funny. Black-face we condemn, but drag shows, which are basically mockery of women for being old, fat and sluttish, is apparently fine.

Midsumma is said to be very concerned in case anyone tries to use their participation in Pride to “tarnish” the News Corp or Midsumma brand. Neither organisation seems to need much help in that regard.

the stirrer hears that both the CEO and Chair of Midsumma have declined interviews of Joy 94.9 Saturday Magazine unless they are given all the questions in advance.


DOBM would like to clarify our position with regard to Midsumma Festival 2017.
Recently we announced that Midsumma would not benefit from our annual Pillions for Pride raffle and this remains the case. This decision was made based on Midsumma’s partnership with News Corp as well as a lack of engagement from Midsumma regarding the raffle. Despite Midsumma’s recent announcement that they will not use the advertising provided in the sponsorship agreement, the lack of enthusiasm for the work DOBM have done in raising money for the Pride March event mean that we feel the funds would be more appreciated at ALGA.

DOBM will continue to participate in Carnival and Pride March as these are both community focussed events and our history of support and protection for the LGBTI community will continue.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)