Out of the Closet

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An American Horror Story turned into an American Love Story for two actresses of the small screen who last week came out publicly about their relationship. Holland Taylor – who The L Word fans will remember as Peggy Peabody – confirmed she was dating a younger woman, who the Internet quickly identified as Sarah Paulson, star of American Horror Story and the upcoming Sapphic Todd Haynes film Carol. The 72-year-old Taylor denied she was coming out, instead saying: “I haven’t come out because I am out. I live out.

“There’s a very big age difference between us which I’m sure shocks a lot of people, and it startles me,” she said, quipping: “but as they say if she dies, she dies.”

The couple have hardly been closeted though – in fact they’ve been posting Twitter photos of them looking cute over dinner and on the red carpet together for months.  

This month Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a symbolic gesture that his predecessor refused to do: he wrote an official note to wish the LGBT community a happy Mardi Gras in the Mardi Gras guide.  

Marriage equality activists have turned to the international community to lobby the Australian government to pass marriage equality laws. International LBGT organisation All Out launched a campaign where same sex married couples from countries like Canada, the UK, Portugal and even South Africa and Uruguay have been sending their wedding photos and videos to our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to encourage Australia to hurry up and allow same sex couples to marry.

After the departure of recently dumped former Treasurer Joe Hockey triggered a by-election in the WASPish North Shore electorate of North Sydney, voters elected their firstly openly gay MP for the House of Representatives.

Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman won the safe Liberal seat comfortably despite a 13% swing against the Coalition. The former North Sydney councillor and former vice president of Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Business Association is committed to marriage equality.

Queenslanders are celebrating the re-introduction of legislation to allow civil unions in their state, which passed by an overwhelming majority. It is the third time Queensland MPs have voted on the issue. The Bligh government passed the civil partnerships just before they lost government to Cameron Newman’s unpopular Coalition government who subsequently overturned the laws.  

In NSW meanwhile, Health Minister Jillian Skinner and ACON took World AIDS Day as an opportunity to announce the expansion of trials of HIV prevention drug PrEP which would allow 3700 more gay men to access the drug, before it is approved in Australia more widely. The roll out of the expanded PrEP trial is expected to commence as soon as February next year.

This comes as a US survey of Grindr users found than nearly 25% of them are already on PrEP, and as France announced it will fast-track access to the drug.

Meanwhile, gay hook up app Hornet has launched a safe sex initiative where men who are committed to their sexual health regardless of their HIV status would have their profiles feature a blue ribbon.

Last Friday, Midsumma launched its official program for 2016. The three week long queer arts festival will kick off as always with Carnival and T-Dance, and will include Pride March a week earlier than usual on Sunday January 31.

This year Midsumma’s premier events include two theatrical premier’s at Gasworks including Elegy – about the experiences of LGBT refugees – and Gone – about a 40-year-old gay man who wakes up with his penis missing. Testing Grounds will host a night of visual arts projections and sculptures, and live acoustic music from Ladyhood on Friday February 5. After Carnival, the girls behind Thursgay will throw their annual HEALTHY party at Transport, while after Pride the after party not to be missed will be YASS PRIDE, which will see CLOSET, Thursgay, GiRLTHING and POOF DOOF come together to throw the first ever Pride after party at Luna Park. More details to come, but for early birds visit midsumma.org.au.

This weekend, while many of Melbourne’s LGBT community will be heading to see Taylor Swift and her girl squad in three sold out shows, other will be heading to Meredith Music Festival. If you missed out on tickets to both of those, or want something more overtly queer, TROUGH X are returning to CLUB 80 for their 20th party on Saturday December 12. From 5pm till 2.30am, Trough X will offer clothing optional clubbing and wall-to-wall boys at the sex on premises venue. Men only. Tickets from  $60+bf.