Color us not shocked at all. Another club/event/group in the LGBT community likes pretty people only. Apparently when you take no fats, no fems, no Asians and flip it down under to Australia, it becomes no skinny, no females, no Indi.
POOF DOOF - a gay club for homos (386 Chapel St, South Yarra / Melbourne, Australia) is coming under fire for a "Brief for Photographers" that was shared/leaked onto social media. POOF DOOF representatives have said the document is from 2011, does not reflect their current policies and practices, and was shared by a photographer that no longer works POOF DOOF events (bad blood? revenge?).
So what does the "Brief" say? The full document is at end of article, but in a nut shell, it directs photographers of POOF DOOF events to focus on certain people. Abbreviated we see that:
- pics should be just taken of hot boys with muscles and drag queens, but only the best drag queens
- pics should NOT be taken of skinny, messy, basic boys with bad skin, no girls (no one is here to see girls) and no Indi boys (we're hoping they meant boys from Indi, a region in Northeastern Victoria and not Indian boys, either is bad).
So they want pics of pretty people, desirable people, people you'd want to lick. They said no to the skinny, pimpled, banal, girls (apparently girls are not homos?), and no people they have shot before. POOF DOOF was scrambling to do damage control and even was chatting with people personally on Facebook as seen here.
So the Brief was real and they admit it. Nic Holland (Facebook says he is PR & Media Manager at Eleven: A Music Company & John Watson Management and HBIC at POOF DOOF) spoke to the validity of the document ina Facebook post. The quality of the screen capture is a little rough (sent from an Australian reader to us) but it states that the brief was from 2011, but was "very lazily used as recently as 2015... there's no excuse, the brief is trash... I can only say as a club we evolved over time."
Apologies don't go far in this day an age, no matter how hard we try. They don't resonate well or as far as negative news does.
Stepping up from personal chats, POOF DOOF posted their response about the leak and how wrong it was. Many called them out for not simply using the word "SORRY", but they did say "we would like to apologise."
The post just before the apology on POOF DOOF's Facebook page was promoting an ALL INCLUSIVE event. It reads:
INTRODUCING All Sorts w/ Seth Troxler at Riva
AN ALL INCLUSIVE BEACHSIDE DAY PARTY WITH EQUAL DOSES OF COLOURFUL, IRREVERENT AND FIERCE FUN FEATURING Seth Troxler & FRIENDS!
People saw the Facebook apology and were pissed and rightfully so! One Facebook comment was posted with a picture of the "Brief" and reads:
Wow POOF DOOF, personally I find this absolutely disgraceful, especially for a “Queer” venue, supporter, event etc. It’s all well and good to say that this I s 7+ years old and that you don’t stand by these virtues, but 7+ years ago Australia LGBTQ+ people were still fighting for equality, and you have the nerve to create this memo(even if it was internal, I wonder what else was for internal eyes only) that literally classes certain genders, identities and personal images as unworthy, subpar and “boring & repetitive” which in turn divides the very people you claim to support and identify as. Shame on you. Damage done.
and another reads:
You know how when you transition you become afraid that you might no longer be welcome at places you used to go run by the most toxic of the gays?
Well, that fear would be well founded.
I mean, theres just so much that is fucked in this by POOF DOOF I dont even know where to start. It's GOLD STAR GAYTRIARCHY.
"No one would be there to see me" now if I went, but luckily I wouldn't ever go again when I'm in Melb.
Melbourne sisters, cancel this bitch.
Are we raking them over the coals? Should we be? Our mouths should not drop that far for we know this kind of chat had to exist and at least we know it is practiced. We now business like the pretty. We know they like to associate themselves with the "more desirable, more lickable" people. How many big gay event advertisements in your country have you seen with "average looking" people on them? Living in Southern Florida, all we see are beach body boys for White Party this and that and the other, which underwear model is going to be showing his goods at the next party, and which gay men's guest house has the prettiest model in their ads. And it if is a bear party, bring on the former twinks and aberzombies that have now let the hair trimming routine go and have found a new home under the labels of muscle bears and otters. all us bears definitely do not look like nor want that, but that is what is shoved up onto the posters because, hey, they have muscles, they must be desirable for everyone.
Every time I see one of those posters, I think, yep, seen him on the ad for the event in 2015, 2009, and 2001, but I've never seen him actually at an event. Bars look to put their best foot forward. The look to sell the fantasy. What we need to let them know is our fantasy is often just a fun reality. We know we are not going to see that model you are airbrushing onto your ad at the party. Show us someone that will be there!
When we added more contributing writers to the pool here at Instinct, I was excite to have a variety of age, race, geographic, flamboyancy, masculinity, body sizes, likes, dislikes, and so on. What was interesting was, I didn't go searching for it. We just put an ad out for writers that wanted to contribute and a nice healthy mix of applicants rose to the surface. It just worked out that we have variety.
POOF DOOF just posted on January 5th new pictures to their POOF DOOF POWER POOFS album and have referenced to it after the "Brief" scandal hit. They all still look beautiful and cream of the crop to me, no?
Well, the second picture. Who is that?
If you didn’t know, I’m Dawn Lee and I currently live in Melbourne, Australia. For some insight, let me tell you all about who I am. I first started working in the Melbourne queer scene in February 2017. I am a 23 year old trans WOC.
Dawn does a great Facebook post about the situation. It's lengthy and spot on. She tells us a little about our history and her being hired to work at POOF DOOF in June of 2018. The whole post is a good read (and at the end of this post), but what I want to draw you to is her last paragraph. She basically says, yes, there is a problem, an internal one, let's talk about it, remedy it, stop being the victims, and then fight the bigger fights.
I’m sick of this community waiting for a Knight in Shining Armour to be our saviour to rescue us, instead of being our own saviours and doing it ourselves. What I have taken away from this all isn’t about just the dated criteria, or that everyone’s so self absorbed in trying to be the victim that the wrong people are being punished. It’s that there is really no hope for this community. We have a chance now to come together as a community to educate, continually grow and help each other like the adults we claim to be- not tear each other down at any and every opportunity like we’re back in high school again. There are bigger demons for us to be killing together as a community, instead of revisiting something that is dead. You all make statuses needing help or wanting someone to stand up for the community, when are you going to stop viewing yourselves as the victims and help the few of us fighting for the community alone?
I think we needed that Dawn. I think I needed that. I had my pitchfork at the ready!
We drop our mouths, point the fingers, take to social media to vilify and detest, degrade others with a tweet and a text, and move on. And here I thought it was just the 'Merikan't way of doing things, but it seems that it is worldwide.
Here's a scenario ... My friend Christian decided to not go home for Christmas this past December and he will never talk to his parents again. Why? Even though he had a healthy relationship with them in November and has had one for a good 12 years, because they said some anti-gay things over a decade ago, before he came out, he decided to bring their comments back up and put it between him and his family. Is that the right thing to do? Hell no! How many of your parents said negative things about LGBT people before you came out and how many need a little help or correcting when it comes to transgender topics?
The scenario mentioned above is fake, of course, but is it not too far from the truth and how we have acted recently? Doesn't it seem that we have a huge hair across our asses and we love it! We woke up on the wrong side of the bed and we're waiting for someone to poke the sleeping bear. Okay, enough of that. We already have issues affecting us, but it seems that we are ready to jump the gun for the next scandal, to see how we can be the victim, how we can put our hurt into a scenario a half a world away, LITERALLY! I am in no way saying the practices mentioned in the "Brief" are acceptable, but we react before we try to learn more.
Let me repeat something from the very beginning of this post:
POOF DOOF representatives have said the document is from 2011, does not reflect their current policies and practices, and was shared by a photographer that no longer works POOF DOOF events.
I'm mad too that the document existed in the first place. I'm mad too that it took so long to have people support marriage equality in the United States. I'm mad too that Hillary Clinton didn't support marriage equality from the beginning. Is it time to bring that last one up so we can vilify her and make sure she doesn't run for President again? She didn't believe we were equal then so she can't now! Here! Here!
If POOF DOOF is no longer practicing what is in the "Brief for Photographers", we wish them the best of luck in getting out from under the avalanche of hate coming their way.
If you have not changed POOF DOOF, now is the time to do so. Use this as a call from your people for inclusion. Look for the people that have their hand out. Some will come to you and say, how can we help. Others will be still standing there with pitchforks and picket signs. And maybe the sharing of this "Brief" will affect other businesses in the community and a call for sharing pics of every day people and not just the supposed elite.
And those that feel people cannot change ... are you going home for Christmas next year?
This piece is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other contributing writers.