– Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association is the national peak sex worker organisation in Australia.

This website is maintained by volunteer sex worker skills, energy and passion! To keep up to date with us on social media, like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter!

To join Scarlet Alliance download the membership form or complete the NEW ON-LINE MEMBERSHIP FORM

Scarlet Alliance recognise Australia is a country built upon Aboriginal land, we pay our respect to the elders and custodians of this land, current, past and future, and stand in solidarity with the struggles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are a proud member of the Anwernekenhe National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV/AIDS Alliance (ANA).

COVID-19 Impact and Response for Sex Workers

CLICK HEREfor more information.

Emergency Support for Sex Workers


Scarlet Alliance and our state and territory member organisations have joined together to create an ongoing fund to make your donations directly available to sex workers who need emergency financial relief in order to support them to stay safe, housed and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is being overseen by sex worker organisations and run by sex worker organisation staff and volunteers across Australia. All money donated goes directly to sex workers in need.

For link to emergency fundraiser in SIMPLIFIED CHINESE CLICK HERE

For link to emergency fundraiser in TRADITIONAL CHINESE CLICK HERE

For link to emergency fundraiser in KOREAN CLICK HERE

For link to emergency fundraiser in THAI CLICK HERE

For link to emergency fundraiser in VIETNAMESE CLICK HERE

Release of NEW National BBV & STI Strategies

AIVL & Scarlet Alliance Joint Media Release ahead of World AIDS Day 1 December 2018CLICK HEREfor more information.

VALE Roberta Perkins

Scarlet Alliance and SWOP NSW mourn the passing of academic, researcher, author and trans and sex worker rights activist Roberta Perkins.
Roberta passed away yesterday afternoon 26th June, 2018. You can read more about her work and legacyHERE

Portrait of Roberta Perkins by Nada DeCat

My Health Record Information Brief for Sex Workers

My Health Record (MHR) is an electronic health record and the MHR system is a centralised database that retains all the MHRs. The MHR system has been around for more than five years as anopt-insystem. On the 16 July 2018, MHR will move to anopt-outmodel with a three-month period to actively remove consent to prevent a MHR being created for you by default. Scarlet Alliance has created a briefing sheet for sex workers on MHR and the potential benefits and risks of a MHR for sex workers.CLICK HEREfor more information.

Over 100 organisations support Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015

Organisations from around the world have signed a letter of support for the South Australian Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015 that is soon to be voted on. You can read the letterHERE

National Forum 13-15th Nov, 2018

We held a very successful 3 day National Forum on 13-15 November, 2018 in Meeanjin/Brisbane, Queensland. Presentations, workshops, discussion and consultation combined with member report backs and our AGM & election. Our membership elected a mix of experienced and new committee, representative & spokesperson & doubles for 2018-19. Our Symposium at Brisbane parliament house was sold out and speakers received a standing ovation from the crowd. Our celebration night brought together sex worker political/comedic performance, outstanding hip hop and our favourite DJ plus our acclaimed WOTY Award winners.click here

Each year the National Forum provides a fantastic opportunity for peers to network, share current information on trends and practices, participate in skill share workshops, inform Scarlet Alliance of state based issues affecting sex workers and be informed of Scarlet Alliance and our members’ activities. Our 2019 National Forum will be in Sydney.

Resourced and organised: achieving formal recognition of sex workers’ skills in Australia (SANTAP)

1st December, 2016: A new article has been published on the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers website, showcasing the the Scarlet Alliance National Training and Assessment Program (SANTAP).

“Over the past 15 years, Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Worker Association, has developed and implemented an exciting and innovative national project that recognises the unique skills sex workers use while engaging in peer education within our communities and workspaces.

The Scarlet Alliance National Training and Assessment Program (SANTAP) contains both a learning tool and an assessment framework. The learning tool provides new or existing sex worker peer educators the required knowledge and grounding; and the assessment framework offers sex workers the opportunity to have our peer education and community mobilisation skills formally recognised. On completion of the multi-module assessment process, participants are awarded a nationally recognised diploma….

Click to read full article (opens in new window)

SANTAP (Scarlet Alliance National Training and Assessment Project) Sex Worker Peer Educators graduating with Diplomas

Rose Alliance, Scarlet Alliance, ICW and INWUD Joint Submission: ‘Consultation seeking views on UN Women approach to sex work, the sex trade and prostitution’

We appreciate UN Women’s decision to clarify your approach to sex work, as clarity and focus on sex workers with UN Women could improve sex workers’ access to their human rights and lead to stronger more effective programming and support. However, we must express our deep concern with the purpose and process of UN Women’s “Consultation seeking views on UN Women approach to sex work, the sex trade and prostitution.” Not only has the specific process of consultation been flawed, the premise and framing of the consultation are extremely problematic and pose a threat to hard fought progress to secure the rights and well-being of all sex workers. We demand a transparent, supportive consultation process where sex workers are meaningfully involved.

AIVL, Scarlet Alliance, NAPWHA and AFAO Joint Media Release: Australian Communities Unite to Condemn the Mass Murder of People Who Use Drugs in the Philippines (13/10/2016)

Since May 2016, it has been reported that over 3,700 people suspected of using and/or selling drugs have been murdered in the Philippines. These atrocities has been carried out with the explicit endorsement of Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte: who has repeatedly encouraged the police and the general public to kill people suspected of being drug users and/or of dealing drugs. The bloodshed has drawn condemnation from the international community, including from here in Australia.

AIVL and Scarlet Alliance Joint Media Release: For Some of Us, AIDS is Not Over (14/07/2016)

Recent media reports have focussed on announcements made by researchers, clinicians and some community representatives declaring that “AIDS, as a national public health issue, is over.” While it’s true that significant achievements have been made in HIV, the benefits of this have not been experienced by all people affected by the virus in the same way.

Transitional Funds from Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet ensure Tasmanian Sex Worker Project remains open

Scarlet Alliance is delighted and relieved to announce that the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPaC) have provided the Tasmanian Sex Worker Project with transitional funds in order that essential services may continue. We wish to extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the many sex workers, supporters, community organisations, state politicians and candidates and legal sector colleagues for their invaluable support that has ensured this positive outcome. We’d like to give special thanks to the Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman and staff at DPaC for stepping up to ensure sex workers in Tasmania are not left behind.

Decriminalisation Retained in NSW- Best Practice Model of Sex Work Industry Regulation

On the 9th of May, 2016 the NSW government published theirresponseto the inquiry and reaffirmed their commitment and support for decriminalisation as a best practice and successful model of regulation of the sex industry. Scarlet Alliance, SWOP (Sex Worker Outreach Project NSW) and Touching Base issued ajoint media statementwelcoming the decision.

Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim explained, “licensing and the re-introduction of police as regulators would have been a significant step backwards.” Touching Base President, Saul Ibister spoke of the relief they felt seeing, “the NSW Government take a sensible, evidence-based response.”

In their response, the government wrote:

“The NSW Government will continue its current body of work to examine the issues relating to the regulation of brothels, to ensure that any system meets community expectations, combats criminal activity and protects vulnerable individuals from exploitation. The NSW Government has considered the regulatory recommendations of the final report of the Select Committee’s inquiry as part of this work, as well as evidence-based best practice internationally and domestically. However, the NSW Government will not be introducing the licensing model described by the final report of the Select Committee because reintroducing such significant regulatory burdens and police involvement risks creating similar outcomes to recriminalising sex work.”

Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello said: “the evidence from other jurisdictions is that licensing simply doesn’t work.”

Scarlet Alliance CEO, Jules Kim Speaking at the UN General Assembly: Informal interactive hearing with representatives of civil society as part of the preparatory process for the High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS

You can view the videohere.(Skip to 1 hour 56 minute mark to watch Jules speak)

APNSW Pacific Members Set Strategic Priorities

Five priorities that APNSW and Pacific members will work on over the next three years have now beenpublished online.These priorities were the outcome of a meetimg held in Dhaka, Bangladesh with representatives from Friends Frangipani (Papua New Guinea), New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), Survivors Advocacy Network (SAN-Fiji), Scarlet Alliance (Australia) and $carlet Timor Collective (Timor-Leste).

This follows on from a meeting earlier in 2015 where Sex Worker leaders from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia gathered in Sydney for the first planning meeting to form The Pacific Sex Worker Network. Other Pacific countries are encouraged to join. We are working toward a common goal of better representation of Pacific sex workers, and achieving decriminalisation of sex work in the Pacific. Downloadable PDF statement

New Reports on our publications page

Go straight to downloads

• Stepping up the Evidence on HIV and Sex Work: Decriminalise Sex Work Now! Sex Workers at AIDS 2014 Downloadable here
• Key Issues: Sex Worker Policy Issues in Australia – a briefing sheet from our National Forum 2014 Downloadable here

Attention Sex Worker Peer Educators!

Find out more about the Scarlet Alliance National Training and Assessment Program. The program has two parts – a self paced Peer Educator Online Learning process for new Peer Educators and a Diploma of Community Development assessment process for those with at least twelve months sex worker Peer Education experience.Find out more here.

Have you seen Scarlet Alliance’s key policy document drawing together research and information to inform sex work policy development in Australia?

Downloadable here

The Principles for Model Sex Work Legislation brings together current research and information across nine comprehensive chapters covering everything you need to know about sex work policy and regulation. update is the result of sex worker community consultation, is produced by sex workers and includes quotes and content that ensure sex worker voices are heard in policy development considerations. Chapters include: • Addressing myths and stereotypes about sex work
• Decriminalisation is the optimal model for sex work legislation
• Industrial rights and occupational health and safety
• Health promotion and peer education
• Sexually transmissible infections and HIV testing and criminalisation
• Human rights and anti-discrimination protection
• Migration, mobility and freedom of movement
• Local planning and sex industry businesses
• Sex workers as experts: Consultation, inclusion and self-determination.

Each chapter is accompanied by a printable fact sheet with a summary of the issues and recommendations for reform.

Newly updated pages on the Scarlet Alliance website

Are you a sex worker?

Are you a sex worker wanting to increase your sex worker social networks, know where to go for services, get information about your rights and responsibilities as a sex worker, get an Ugly Mugs update or access peer support? Contact your local sex worker organisation.There is a sex worker organisation or project in each state and territory of Australia. Peer Educators provide information with the knowledge and experience of having worked as a sex worker.

Translated information section of this website now live. Available in Thai, Chinese and Korean

South Australian Law Reform- Decriminalisation Bill due to be introduced in 2015

MEDIA: Rally held at Parliament House 5th June,2014. Many local South Australian sex workers including representatives from SIN, SWAGGER and Scarlet Alliance rallied in support of the pure decriminalisation bill.

Sex workers gather at Parliament House International, Adelaide

Sex work is currently criminalised in South Australia under laws contained in the Summary Offences Act 1953 and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935. Currently sex workers in South Australia work in fear of the police, without industrial or OH&S protections and are often forced to prioritise avoiding detection over utilising safety strategies.

In December 2014 a private members bill was introduced to the House of Assembly, by the Hon Stephanie Key, Member for Ashford, which seeks to decriminalise all forms of sex work, include sex work in anti discrimination protections and ensure existing sex work related convictions are wiped from peoples records. Join the FB group https://www.facebook.com/decriminalisesa to keep up to date and find out how ways you can get involved in supporting Decriminalisation in South Australia!

Campaign in Western Australia

People for Sex Worker Rights in WA | Promote Your Page Too

You may have heard about the ongoing debacle of law reform in Western Australia. First the ALP introduced licensing, which failed. Then the ALP introduced Decriminalisation, which was blocked post-election by the state Governor. Now the Liberals want to re-introduce the ALP licensing bill. Sex workers have been denied a fair say in WA about the law reform changes we would prefer. During the first ALP law reform campaign, which saw a licensing bill fail, the sex worker organisation (Phoenix) was undermined and lost its peer staff. WA no longer has a funded peer organisation. To contact the sex worker volunteers who are the voice of the movement in WA, join their face book group (left).

WATCH Scarlet Alliance CEO Janelle Fawkes explain the role of Peer Education in HIV prevention

HIV IS A VIRUS NOT A CRIME – jailing sex workers living with HIV is a travesty of human rights. The recent arrest of a Melbourne sex worker living with HIV is against all good health policy and is not supported by evidence regarding HIV transmission in Australia

updated February 4 2016


Male jogger gang-raped

PEOPLE who flock Queen Hill in St Andrew to jog or walk in the mornings are now apprehensive following the brutal gang-rape of a male jogger in that community early Monday.

The man, the Jamaica Observer was told, is now suffering from serious injuries and mental trauma after the harrowing experience.

A group of joggers reportedly found the victim naked, with his hands and feet bound, sitting on the sidewalk at the foot of the hill close to Perkins Boulevard.

“He was found by some females who were shocked and even more surprised to see that he was bleeding heavily from his rectum,” one man, who said he assisted in untying the victim, told the Observer.

The man reportedly parked his car at a nearby apartment complex and was about to jog when a white car drove up with two armed men who held him at gunpoint. The men, our source said, were also carrying knives.

The hoodlums proceeded to tear off the jogger’s clothes and took turns at buggering him.

“The man was so torn up and ashamed. He had to retrieve his torn clothes in order to get his car keys and someone lent him clothes so he could avoid further embarrassment,” a jogger said.

The incident has driven fear into the people who exercise on that section of the hill daily.

“Several persons have told me that they were in fear and are apprehensive to go back because of what happened. It was not a pretty sight,” the jogger said.

“We used to protect the females and tell them to walk in groups, but it now seems we, the males, are the target. This cannot be allowed to continue,” the man said.

The man said the joggers tried to contact the police but were unsuccessful.

“We called the Duhaney Park and Constant Spring police, but we got no response. I am not sure if he reported the incident,” the man said.

Yesterday, police from the St Andrew South Division said they received no report of the incident. However, it was confirmed by a member of the Queen Hill community, who said the men drove a white car and were armed with a gun and a knife.

“There is a suspicious-looking white car that is parked in the community in the mornings and evenings. Nobody knows the men, but a lot of people come up here so we can’t be sure who is who,” the resident said.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


Sexual Orientation and Depression: Statistics and Where to Find Help

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. It affects an estimated 15.7 million adults and 2.8 million adolescents in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression affects LGBT people at higher rates than the heterosexual population, and LGBT youths are more likely than heterosexual students to report high levels of drug use and feelings of depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among people age 10 to 24 in the United States. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths in grades 7-12 are twice as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Adolescence is a difficult time for many young people and can be especially challenging for LGBT youth. Negative attitudes and cultural stigmas put LGBT youth at a higher risk for bullying, teasing, and physical violence than their heterosexual peers.

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released a report in 2013 on LGBT youth that states the following:

  • Fifty-five percent of LGBT youth feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37 percent feel unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • Seventy-four percent of LGBT youth were verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 55 percent were verbally harassed because of their gender expression.
  • Sixteen percent were physically assaulted, either punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon, because of their sexual orientation, and 11 percent of them experienced this type of assault because of their gender expression.

A hostile school environment affects a student’s performance in school and their mental health. LGBT students who experience victimization and discrimination typically have worse grades and don’t perform as well academically.

Challenges for many LGBT youth don’t stop when the school bell rings. How a parent responds to their LGBT teen can have a tremendous impact on their child’s current and future mental and physical health. Many parents react negatively upon learning that their teen is LGBT and may even throw them out of the house, while other LGBT teens run away from home due to conflict or stress with their parents. Because of this, LGBT youth are also at a greater risk for homelessness than heterosexual youth.

The True Colors Fund states that 1.6 million youths experience homelessness every year and that 40 percent of homeless youths identify as LGBT. This number is even more astounding considering that LGBT youths make up only 7 percent of the youth population. Homeless youths are at a greater risk for discrimination, victimization, and mental health issues than those who aren’t homeless.

According to the CDC, stresses experienced by LGBT youth put them at a greater risk for mental health problems and other health risks than heterosexual youths. These health risks include:

  • behaviors that contribute to violence, such as carrying a weapon or getting in fights
  • behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, such as driving without a seatbelt or driving drunk
  • tobacco, alcohol, or other drug use
  • risky sexual behaviors, such as not using birth control
  • depression
  • suicide or suicide attempts

This study suggests that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults also have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders and are at a higher risk for suicidal behavior than heterosexual adults. Depression in lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults is usually rooted in discrimination and victimization from childhood and adolescence. Research on transgender people is still lacking.

Some research aims to study depression in older gay men. It examines cognitive behavioral therapy, its benefits, and how effective it is for gay men over the age of 60.

Support can begin in childhood and adolescence. It’s important that LGBT youths have support, both in school and at home. LGBT youths should feel comfortable and safe in environments that are socially, emotionally, and physically supportive.


Resources to support LGBT teens are still lacking in a lot of schools, but school climate and attitudes toward LGBT youths has improved over the years, according to GLSEN.

The GLSEN report also states that LGBT youths who have access to support do better in school. Schools can do a number of things to make the environment safer and more supportive of LGBT youth, including:

  • implementing clear policies against discrimination and harassment
  • fostering support groups, such as gay-straight alliances, and other student clubs
  • implementing LGBT topics as part of the curriculum
  • having a supportive staff


Parents should be willing to talk openly with their teen about any problems they’re having at home or school and be watchful for signs of bullying or violence. Parents should:

  • talk
  • listen
  • be supportive
  • be proactive
  • stay involved in their teen’s life


Many resources are available online for LGBT youth, including the:

Adolescence is a challenging time, and may be even more challenging for LGBT youths because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They have an increased risk of being discriminated against and harassed, and also an increased risk of physical and mental health issues.

It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. Attitudes and the social climate toward LGBT people continue to improve, and many resources are available to help LGBT youths and adults face challenges.

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Sources: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


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Is there a “gay gene”? Major new study says no

By Dennis Thompson

August 29, 2019 / 8:33 PM / HealthDay

New study finds there is no “gay” gene

There’s no such thing as a single “gay gene” that drives a person’s sexual behavior, concludes the largest genetic study ever conducted on the issue. Instead, a person’s attraction to those of the same sex is shaped by a complex mix of genetic and environmental influences, similar to what’s seen in most other human traits, researchers report.

“This is a natural and normal part of variation in our species,” said researcher Ben Neale, director of genetics with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “That should also support the position that we shouldn’t try and develop gay cures. That’s not in anyone’s interest.”

The international study focused on the genetic profiles of nearly 480,000 people from the United States and the United Kingdom, a group approximately 100 times larger than any previous study of the link between genetics and same-sex attraction, said lead researcher Andrea Ganna, a research fellow with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Analytical and Translational Genetic Unit.

The research team discovered five specific genetic variants that were significantly associated with same-sex behavior, but when combined these variants explained less than 1% of any person’s attraction to their own gender, Ganna said.

Overall, genetics account for between 8% and 25% of a person’s same-sex attraction, taking into account the thousands of genetic traits ultimately involved in shaping a person’s sexual desires, Neale said.

“It’s effectively impossible to predict an individual’s sexual behavior from their genome,” Neale said. “Genetics is less than half of this story for sexual behavior, but it’s still a very important contributing factor. These findings reinforce the importance of diversity as a key aspect of sexual behavior.”

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, said the results show that sexual orientation is just another normal piece of the human experience.

“This new study provides even more evidence that that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life, a conclusion that has been drawn by researchers and scientists time and again,” said GLAAD Chief Programs Officer Zeke Stokes. “The identities of LGBTQ people are not up for debate. This new research also reconfirms the long-established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves.”

The results also call into question the Kinsey Scale, a long-utilized rating scale of sexual attraction developed in part by sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, Ganna said.

“We discovered that the Kinsey Scale, which really places individuals on a continuum from basically exclusively opposite-sex partners to exclusively same-sex partners, is really an oversimplification of the diversity of sexual behavior in humans,” Ganna said.

“That can’t be a single line,” Neale added. “The results are not consistent with that being a single line, but they don’t actually tell us what those other dimensions are” that shape human desire.

Researchers are now considering whether a person’s attraction to men and to women should be considered separate from each other, with the two characteristics shaping the person’s overall sexual identity and desires, Ganna said.

The findings were published Aug. 29 in the journal Science.

The results did show that genetic variation has a stronger influence on same-sex sexual behavior in men than in women, possibly demonstrating the complexity of women’s sexuality, said Melinda Mills, a professor of sociology at Oxford University who wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.

“This reflects voices from the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+) community arguing that a range of sexualities exist,” Mills wrote. “Sexuality is dynamic, with the ability to express and realize sexual preferences, and is thus also shaped and regulated by cultural, political, social, legal and religious structures.”

The five specific genes related to same-sex desire cropped up in odd places, the researchers noted.

For example, one was located in a stretch of DNA that contains several genes related to the sense of smell, Ganna said.

“We know that smell has a strong tie to sexual attraction, but its links to sexual behaviors are not clear,” he said.

Another gene was associated with male baldness, which is closely linked to how the body regulates sex hormones and might suggest a relationship between hormone regulation and same-sex desire, Ganna said.

Despite their overall small effect, “these genetic variants could hint at some biological pathways that may be involved in same-sex sexual behavior,” Ganna said.

First published on August 29, 2019 / 2:58 PM

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Is SpongeBob gay?

Is SpongeBob gay? Maybe not, but the Nickelodeon cartoon character draws gay fans for his flamboyant lifestyle and tolerant attitude

Is SpongeBob SquarePants, Nickelodeon’s buoyant cartoon character, a friend of Dorothy? Or of Queer Duck and Mr. Smithers? He might be, according to the Wall Street Journal. Certainly plenty of his fans are gay, the Journal says, noting that stores in New York and Atlanta that cater to gay customers can’t keep SpongeBob merchandise on the shelves. As one adult SpongeBob fan tells the paper, ”He’s not very masculine for a male character. And he’s soft.”

Consider: SpongeBob lives in a pineapple in an undersea locale called Bikini Bottom. His best buddy is an ebullient pink starfish named Patrick. Another friend is a finicky squid named Squidward who enjoys bubble baths and classical music and talks like Paul Lynde. SpongeBob and Patrick are occasionally seen holding hands and enjoy watching a superhero TV show called ”The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.” As an article on the Gay Financial Network’s website puts it, ”You do the math, folks.”

OK, maybe SpongeBob isn’t as overt as Tinky-Winky, the purple, purse-wielding Teletubby who was outed in Rev. Jerry Falwell’s National Liberty Journal in 1999. When Tom Kenny, the comedian who voices SpongeBob, appeared on ”Late Night with Conan O’Brien” last month, he was cryptic about the sexuality of the show’s characters. ”It’s never been addressed by us on the show,” he said, but he added, ”All the main characters are hiding horrible secrets of their own.”

While Nickelodeon tells the Journal that the characters on ”SpongeBob SquarePants” are not gay, and that the show is aimed at kids ages 2 to 11, the channel acknowledges an adult fan base, airing the show as late as 11:30 p.m., or as late as 11 p.m. on sister channel MTV. Nielsen ratings indicate that a fifth of the show’s audience is between 18 and 49.

Not only are mature fans buying SpongeBob items in stores in gay neighborhoods in New York and Atlanta, as the Journal reports, but in West Hollywood and San Francisco, too, PlanetOut.com reports. ”They are pretty good sellers especially with young gay kids, and guys in their 30s think it’s hilarious,” Raymond Riddering, the assistant manager of the Don’t Panic store in San Francisco’s Castro District, tells the website. ”I don’t think anyone has bought it because they think he’s gay. He doesn’t have anything on him that screams gay. But the gay population likes him.”

”He’s a sponge; how can he be gay?” Cathy Renna of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation tells PlanetOut, though she adds that she does wonder about. SpongeBob’s tomboyish squirrel friend, Sandy Cheeks. She points out that ”SpongeBob” is a hit among straight adults as well, but she says of gay viewers, ”I think our community has a finely tuned sense of what is fun and campy, and the show is definitely fun and campy.”

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg, who tells the Journal he’s not gay, says, ”I always think of [the characters] as being somewhat asexual,” but he says he understands why gay people might respond to his creation. ”I do think that the attitude of the show is about tolerance. Everybody is different, and the show embraces that,” he says. ”No one is shut out.”

If gay fans are reading more into ”SpongeBob” than Hillenburg intends, there’s a reason. As 36-year-old fan Ryan Breneman tells the Journal, ”When you grow up without your own culture, you have to take things from the culture and make them your own.”

  • TV Show
  • Stephen Hillenburg
  • Nickelodeon


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    The Official Pride Toronto Website

    Pride Toronto is a not-for-profit organization that supports the LGBT2Q+ communities of our city and beyond.

    Our Mission

    Throughout June we will continue to show our Pride with an online portal to showcase the best of what’s happening in our city. We’ll be highlighting local collectives, artists, makers, and performers who work so hard all year round and some of whom have been part of Pride Toronto for 20+ years. Our virtual festival will be our best representation of what you would have experienced on our physical footprint, with a heavy focus on implementing visual arts and community-focused programming

    The events listed might change without notice. Please check the site for the most up to date info.

    Virtual Pride

    Watch Our Twitch Stream

    Export Events

    We are led by the communities we serve and supported by an incredible network of volunteers. Our collective diversity allows us to foster important conversations at the intersection of age, geography, race, religion, socio-economics, and experience.

    We are supported by the writers of the company theresearchpaper.com who do Research Papers for Sale Online

    We are proud to reflect and serve such a multifaceted membership- one that is united in its desire to be our true selves without fear.

    June 30, 2020 ANTI-BLACK RACISM AD-HOC COMMITTEE Pride Toronto has five full-time staff and seven contract staff members. Within the first week of Pride Month, four Pride Toronto Black and Bi-racial staff members (two full time, two contract) formed an

    Toronto’s Drag community is rich and vibrant, full of a wide diversity of gender expression and performance and Drag Kings are an integral part of it. With Drag Queens oftentimes taking center stage in mainstream culture and Toronto’s LGBTQ+ club

    The city’s LGBTQ+ community has always had a connection with the Toronto Islands. On August 1, 1971, 30 to 50 brave individuals gathered for Canada’s very first openly queer picnic on Hanlan’s Point in celebration of queer pride. Proudly christened

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    The Pride festival would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors and partners.


    Here are the best gay dating apps, since meeting people IRL is hell

    We compare LGBTQ-specific apps plus the ones straight people also use, letting you know which are best based on what you’re looking for.

    Best for queer women


    HER is where you can meet nearby lesbians you never knew existed, plus read up on LGBTQ news and local events.

    See Details

    Best specifically for gay men


    Grindr is a classic choice for gay men who want a ton of options, very little small talk, and instant meet-up opportunities.

    See Details

    Best for inclusivity


    OkCupid’s matchmaking algorithm plus its queer-friendly options makes for a massive LGBTQ following.

    See Details

    All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

    By TEAM COMMERCE2018-09-06 21:45:37 UTC

    Dating. Whether you hate it a little or hate it a lot, it’s a rite of passage for most of us.

    It’s also particularly challenging for members of the LGBTQ community, who’ve traditionally only had access to hetero-based sites and apps. When I was on the apps in the late aughts, queer women could barely be found. I met so many cis straight men who checked the “women seeking women” box so they could match with queer women who, they fantasized, would magically change their sexual orientation just for them. (Nope.) 

    Some of that hasn’t changed in 2018. But as the number of out LGBTQ people has grown, so too have their opportunities in online dating spaces. Queer-friendly dating apps and sites are multiplying, and there are even a few that are — wait for it — pretty damn good.

    If you’re LGBTQ and hate leaving your home, you’re not alone. Here are the best dating apps and sites that’ll maximize your opportunities while minimizing your human contact. Bless.

    They’re all worth a look or a swipe for that next hookup or serious relationship and are available on Android or iPhone. Some have paid versions, but prices aren’t anywhere near the (ridiculous) ranks of the eharmonies of the world.

    Best for queer women

    Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f828646%252f5070b88e 8dee 45a8 81d2 5d68bfab0f4c.jpg%252f480x0.jpg?signature=dvwrsgtxh l9m77zbl0khoxttcq=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

    Image: her

    The Good

    Find hookups or something long term • No male profiles • Numerous gender identity options • Local community involvement opportunities

    The Bad

    Bios tell you nothing • Up and coming user base

    The Bottom Line

    For when you’re just plain over the heteronormativity of Tinder, HER will seriously widen your dating pool of lesbians.

    1. HER

    HER is where you can meet nearby lesbians you never knew existed, plus read up on LGBTQ news and local events.

    • Free version: Yes
    • Paid version: $9.99

    See Details

    Gay men have so many great/sometimes problematic apps to choose from — Grindr, SCRUFF, Jack’d, Hornet, Adam to Adam. And queer women basically have one: HER. Thankfully, HER is a non-offensive, user friendly app good for folks seeking long-term relationships as well as those who want a more, uh, temporary arrangement. Initially launched as Drattch in 2013, the app rebranded as HER in 2015 after receiving money fromY Combinator. Aside from a dating app, HER also acts as a sort of Facebook group for the queer community: Go to local events, find new LGBT movies to watch, bash the government, and connect with anyone who shares a post you like.
    Bonus: The site doesn’t assume that all of their users are cis women and allows folks to identify as genderfluid, non-binary, and otherwise. 

    Details to remember:

    1. HER is totally free to download. Bonus services, including unlimited swipes and the opportunity to view who’s liked you, are available via their subscription service, which starts at $9.99 per month.
    2. Accounts are verified and linked to people’s Facebook profiles, so you’re less likely to find fake profiles and trolls.
    3. There’s less room for a bio in HER than there is on Hinge or Tinder. Users have to be incredibly selective about their words and corny jokes. It can sometimes take several message before you realize the person you’re speaking with is way too into Harry Potter.

    Check it outhere.

    Best gay app that hetero folks also use

    Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f828872%252f61720019 99fb 4ab8 aa09 092fd2e90a45.jpg%252f480x0.jpg?signature=hqrevtwho1uw7 uehguucdcq9 y=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

    Image: tinder/mashable

    The Good

    Massive user base • Decent amount of gender options

    The Bad

    Still get opposite sex suggestions • Straight couples constantly ask for threesomes

    The Bottom Line

    If you can get past possibly getting carpal tunnel from swiping (including past the gender you didn’t ask for) Tinder offers borderline infinite match opportunities.

    2. Tinder

    • Free version: Yes
    • Tinder Plus: Starting at $2.99/month
    • Tinder Gold: Starting at $4.99/month

    See Details

    More than 50 million people use Tinder monthly, and not all of them are straight dudes hiking mountains. Queer and trans folks head to Tinder because its dating pool is colossal. In 2016, Tinder announced that it would allow users to select from more than 40+ gender options. The app worked with GLAAD, the cast of Transparent, and trans activists to make sure it met the diverse needs of the trans community.]
    In December of last year, however, Tinder came under fire after a group of transwomen reported that they’d been repeatedly kicked off the app. The users contended that they were removed from the site after male trolls submitted multiple false complaint reports. Despite all of this, Tinder has made notable efforts to be more trans and queer inclusive over the years by offering an above average number of gender options. That’s more than most apps its size, which typically offer a grand total of … two.

    Details to remember:

    1. Tinder is free to download. It also includes an optional tier for $4.99 a month that allows users to see who likes them.
    2. More than 50 million people use Tinder, and chances are you’re going to see someone who you work with on the app. Awkward! Predictable!
    3. Because of its popularity, Tinder is the app people love to hate. This doesn’t mean the haters don’t have a point, but in general, the quality of people you find on Tinder is no better or worse than you’ll find anywhere else. No matter where you go in life, crappy people will follow <3 <3 <3. Have faith!
    Check it out here.

    Best for men looking for a relationships

    Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f828686%252f082dddaf 7557 444a 8982 30a5c7e09c65.jpg%252f480x0.jpg?signature=ib mkcenogcuffmwowav1ohjkhm=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

    Image: chappy

    The Good

    Can specify what you’re looking for • Relationship-focused

    The Bad

    Only available in three cities • Requires a Facebook

    The Bottom Line

    Setting itself apart from the hookup-obsessed Tinders and Grindrs of the world, Chappy aims to take things a little more seriously — in the cities where it’s available, that is.

    3. Chappy

    • Free version: Yes

    See Details

    Chappy is the latest app to cater to the relationship-seeking crowd among gay men. In 2017, Chappy was introduced in three major cities: Los Angeles, London, and New York. Chappy brands itself as an app that caters to three demographics — people who are looking for long term relationships (“Mr. Right”), those who are looking something more casual (“Mr. Right Now”) and those who don’t know what they want (“Mr. Who Knows”). The app was backed by Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder of Tinder and CEO of Bumble. “Both of us identified that all the apps out there at the moment are very much casual dating apps which focus on facilitating hookups,” co-founder Jack Rogers told The Independent in an interview.
    It’s unclear whether Chappy will produce longer and more satisfying relationships for me than traditional apps like Grindr. If nothing else, the app at least gives people the illusion that such a partnership is in their future. Delusions schelusions, we’ll take it.   

    Details to remember:

    1. Chappy is relatively small and young in app terms, so don’t expect the overpopulated dating pool you might find on Grindr or Scruff.
    2. The app requires users to have Facebook for verification purposes, so it won’t work for those who’ve rightfully abandoned the platform. You’re disproportionately likely to find people like this on the app. 
    3. Chappy is free to download, though as their user base grows, so too might potential in-app purchases. 
    Check it out here.

    Best for inclusivity

    Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f828744%252f276f20b4 76b8 4957 b530 349da1b8a254.jpg%252f480x0.jpg?signature=vgocsmvmp1uxjzqhbivf ftjijy=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

    Image: okcupid

    The Good

    22 gender and 13 orientation options • Large user base • Trusted matchmaking algorithm • Woke for a not exclusively LGBTQ app

    The Bad

    A-List can get pricey • Not LGBTQ-specific

    The Bottom Line

    As their slogan says, “Dating deserves better.” OkCupid has made serious strides in the world of inclusivity, adding to their already-trusted matchmaking algorithm.

    4. OkCupid

    OkCupid’s matchmaking algorithm plus its queer-friendly options makes for a massive LGBTQ following.

    • A-List Basic: Starting at $4.95/month
    • Free version: Yes
    • A-List Premium: Starting at $19.90/month

    See Details

    It would be great if someone developed more queer- and trans-specific dating apps. It’s also not likely to happen anytime soon, due to the scale of investment required and the audience served. Dating apps need lots and lots of users to be successful, and with Tinder and OkCupid already sort of serving the community, I don’t expect new ones to make major inroads anytime soon.
    However, OkCupid was impressively much faster than other apps to expand their orientation and gender identity options. In 2014, OkCupid began offering their users more than a dozen different ways to identify. The app currently offers users 22 different genders and 13 orientations to choose from, and also includes helpful descriptions of each for folks who are unfamiliar with this kind of stuff. 
    And unlike Tinder, OkCupid gives so much more room for people to write profiles, answer questions, and explain their possibly questionable worldview. While it’s impossible for the app to screen out all the haters, you can get a decent sense of user’s views on trans and queer people and whether they’re gonna be an asshole because you love cable TV.

    Details to remember:

    1. It’s free to download, but you’ll have to pay to enjoy their Premium A-list features. 
    2. If you want more people to see your profile, you can pay to have it promoted like you would on Twitter.
    3. OkCupid also collects really interesting data about users on their OkCupid blog. Sure, some of their data collection services might be a wee bit invasive, but I’m not aware of any services that aren’t.
    Check it out here.

    Best specifically for gay men

    Uploads%252fcard%252fimage%252f828834%252f3d540534 595d 4d6c b130 8ba8b1fd5564.jpg%252f480x0.jpg?signature=jxdiar8oikbu67pvxwj tdcfuha=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

    Image: Grindr

    The Good

    Massive selection for gay men • Well-done online lifestyle publication • Dick pics galore

    The Bad

    Almost no boundaries • Most dick pics are unsolicited • Selection is less robust in less populated areas

    The Bottom Line

    As NSFW as it can get, Grindr still holds its place as the granddaddy of gay dating apps with a huge, diverse user base and instant meet-up opportunities.

    5. Grindr

    Grindr is a classic choice for gay men who want a ton of options, very little small talk, and instant meet-up opportunities.

    • Free version: Yes
    • One month of Grindr XTRA: $9.99/month
    • Three months of Grindr XTRA: $6.99/month
    • Free version: Yes

    See Details

    Grindrbrands itself as the world’s largest dating app for gay men as well as queer andtrans people. With a dearth of functional trans-specific dating apps on the market, it’s no wonder the app attracts a sizable segment of this population. Grindr lacks the boundaries other apps provide, so don’t be surprised if people you haven’t liked on the app message you. The app isn’t exactly known for it’s, uh, lovely and harmonious conservationsabout race, either. Still, it’s a blockbuster app with a diverse dating pool. The company has conducted some pretty illuminating research about its international user base. Added bonus: Grindr just started a brand new LGBTQ digital media publication called Into, which weprofiled here.

    Details to remember:

    1. Like most apps, Grindr is free to download but also offers additional features through its subscription service.
    2. Grindr is more than just dick pics, but it’s also definitely dick pics.
    3. With close to 6 million monthly users, it’s one of the largest apps in the game.

    Check it outhere.

    So, look: There are plenty of decent apps out there, and even more that are up-and-coming. For people who are queer and want to connect, fear not. There’s no need to go to the cheesy bar down the block. Bust out your phone and let your index finger do the hard work.


    Topics: Culture, gay dating apps, Grindr, LGBTQ, online dating, sex-relationships, shopping-ziffdavis, Tinder