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Gay men forgotten in the anti-porn debate

By Matthew Holloway - posted Monday, 9 January 2012

Over the past decade there has been a revival of debate surrounding the ethics of porn; during the 1970's through to the 1980's there was strong opposition to pornography from both the left and right of politics.

Opposition on the right was from a conservative perspective focused around religious and traditional values, left opposition was focused around human rights issues, the oppression and coercion of those within the industry as well as occupational health and safety standards and lack of regulation.

By the nineties through to naughties the argument disintegrated into the porn lobby championing access to pornography as a civil rights issue, anyone arguing for restricting access or oversight of the industry, was portrayed as a religious zealot or an authoritarian nanny state fascist.


In the revival of the pornography debate a whole section of the community has been forgotten, in an attempt to blame men for the problems of pornography, the issue of men as victims of pornography has been looked over.

The issue for men is broad and complex, it starts from something as basic as addiction to pornography and extends to the effects this can have on a man's relationships and sexual interactions.

The focus on men dominating and dehumanising women has meant that the problem of men controlling and dominating men has been forgotten. This is done through many means including emasculating and feminising homosexual males as well as exploiting men facing financial hardship.

The failure for the heterosexual and feminist communities to discuss the problems of gay pornography has been one of seeing the gay community as separate and not recognising that the fight against exploitation must include homosexuals as part of a broader battle for civil rights and an egalitarian society.

By large the Gay community has also failed to address the problems of gay pornography, there has been an adoption of the self-gratification excuses put forward by the pro-porn lobby who have sold the argument that the right to buy, sell and demand sex is a human right.

In raising this issue there must be a open debate about the role of gay pornography; the issue of liberation goes beyond men and women, it goes to the problem of shadowy industries and power and control.


Gay pornography is not about intimacy between two males, in many cases it demonstrates homosexual males being made subordinate to heterosexual males.

Looking at homosexual pornography from a sociological view, one need only look at some of the mainstream gay pornography which is readily accessible through the Internet.

Much mainstream gay porn includes 'twinks' often portrayed as more stereotypically gay, teenaged or teen looking males who are taken advantage of by 'daddies' or 'muscle men'.

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About the Author

Matthew Holloway is a freelance writer and social justice advocate from Tasmania, where he stood for state and federal parliament and co-founded Tasmanians for Transparency. He has previously written for Tasmanian Times and Eureka Street, Matthew currently lives in Melbourne where he works as a Counsellor in Aboriginal Health and a Social Worker in Catholic social services.

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