Monday, November 20, 2006

Prahran: Gay, green, and kinda obscene

From yesterday's Sunday Herald Sun:

Green's website sex profile
By Chris Tinkler

November 19, 2006 12:00am

A KEY Melbourne Greens candidate has admitted to declaring on a website a fondness for illegal sexual perversions.

Justin Walker, a chance to win the seat of Prahran (a chance?? who are they kidding. -AOTW), has advertised picking up men in public toilets among his sexual activities on a homosexual dating site.

The 29-year-old, photographed at functions with Greens patriarch Senator Bob Brown, also declared a taste for exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism and self-gratification.

Having sex in public toilets and indecent exposure are both criminal offences.


The story relates to a Gaydar listing that Justin "Juzzy" Walker had for himself, which has since been removed. (A bit of self correction on my part is needed here - the profile has been amended, not removed. -AOTW.)

Andrew Landeryou over at The Other Cheek seems to be getting very hot and bothered over Walker's unusual proclivities. Though I'm not a big fan of Landeryou's take on this fairly mild discovery that a candidate (shock, horror) has an interesting sex life, I am thankful to him for doing much of the journalistic leg work to publish the original source material. You can check out a screen shot of the Gaydar page here. The sanatised, clean - and still kilt-adoring - Gaydar page can be found here.

As for the rest of the world, it seems likely that the scandal will pass rather
quickly. Indeed, in the electorate of Prahran, for many voters frottage and exhibitionism, is, well, kind of endearing.

(Hat Tip to Michael Hudson for pointing me in the direction of this one. And of course to Handy Andy.)

UPDATE, 21/11 5:30pm: I've received correspondence from Justin, who has rightly pointed out that I erred in suggesting that the profile has since been removed. It has, in fact, been altered.

He also requested that I include his comment from the original article in properly representing his position:

Mr Walker admitted yesterday to putting the content on the gaydar.com.au website page, which also includes a link to his election campaign blog.

"I put that profile up four to five years ago, I haven't looked at it since," Mr Walker said.

He claimed some of the information was wrong.

"The information was incorrect and I corrected it," he said.


It was rather unfortunate to draw our attention to this confused version of events. Just like Bill Clinton faced impeachment not because of his sexual activities but becaused he lied about them, Walker's biggest sin might be these half-truthes rather than the events to which they refer.

To suggest that he hadn't looked at the profile in four or five years, and yet managed to include a reference to his Prahran candidacy, an event which would have occurred early in 2006, makes no sense. Short of editing his profile without looking at it, this seems a logical impossibility.

This minor confusion aside, the more I think about the sequence of events, the more I sympathise with Walker and the gutter journalism he has encountered from the Herald Sun and Landeryou. The attack is little more than a homophobic witch-hunt, with the focus of the attack not on the suggestion of criminality, but on the notion that being an out, gay, sexually active man is worthy of shame. It isn't, and any journalist who believes that it's worthy of comment is reflecting their own prejudices in their news judgement.

My decision to retell the story was in part to refer to its insignificance, and also as part of my attempt to catelogue the events of the campaign, whatever they may be. Politically, I think that Walker's sexuality is irrelevant, and the way he has been portrayed says as much about his accusers as it does about him.

As Polly has pointed out elsewhere on this topic, the 'allegations' are more likely to help his campaign than they are to harm it.

4 comments:

Aaron said...

I think the article was designed to discredit the Greens generally, rather than the Greens candidate in Prahran specifically.

I blogged about this on Sunday - obviously annoyed and obviously taking it personally as a gay man with a Gaydar profile of my own.

http://urbancreature.id.au/blog/?p=481

Polly said...

The timing of the appearance of the article is worth considering. It appeared in the Herald Sun a couple of days after the close of registration of HTVs, and the Greens decision to run open and split tickets in some seats instead of preferencing the ALP across the board had become public. If (and that's a big if, maybe anyone who was considering a Green protest vote will see the article for the pathetic attempt at homophobic mud-slinging it is) it will hurt the Greens vote anywhere, it will hurt their potential to pick up some of the anti-major party protest vote in the outer suburbs and regional areas, rather than their core voters in the inner suburbs.
I guess we'll just have to see what happens on polling day.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr Michael said...

Thanks for the link to my blog. It's a first for me and I'll always remember it.