What is the Right Way to Promote Gay Men’s Health?

“There is something about billboards featuring two men in a pair of white briefs with their arms around each other that seem to work up the homophobes.”


That’s the opening line of Shibu Thomas’s recent Star Observer piece THH’S SEXUAL HEALTH AD CAMPAIGN SPARKS HOMOPHOBIC BACKLASH.

Thomas states that the Thorne Harbour Health sexual health campaign called “The Drama Downunder” started back in 2008, and 13 years later, people are still getting worked up over seeing men in tight white underwear, but not in a good way, well, the way us gay/bi men would. 

Australia’s Ad Standards receives complaints every year like clockwork when the ads are refreshed. The complaints even earned the ads a spot on the top 10 most complained ads in Australia in 2019.

So wait, is there butt sex? erections? visible penis lines?  No, that’s only in ‘Merika. But is either one man standing there or other ads have two men in their underwear standing next to each other, sometimes embracing each other in a non-sexual way. That’s enough for the homophobes to get all worked up about it. 


“It’s blatant homophobia and stigmatizing views like these that remind us how important it is  to have health promotion campaigns like the Drama Downunder clearly depicting gay men and  taking the shame out of having a discussion around sexual health.” – THH CEO Simon Ruth

So how do you campaign for gay men’s health?  What is the best way? Do we not show women in bras for ads or campaigns for breast cancer? Shows have even gone so far to show men rub their testicles on live television to check for testicular cancer (Rugby Team Checks Testicles For Cancer On Live TV).


The 2021 campaign is designed to pop up four times a year to remind us all, well all the Australians about the importance of testing every three months.  I think most of us in the US think about testing twice a year.  I know I do with getting tested in November around thanksgiving and my birthday in April, a nice 6 months apart.

Should us as gay men start writing in to the powers that be about breast cancer adverts that may show women in bras and say how inappropriate those are? No, for that would be foolish. But Thomas reports once again the street posters in Melbourne had many again claiming to be offended by the photos. 

“Sexually explicit images of  two men, suggestive, compromising and grotesque, 24/7 in full public view , without any  consideration of who sees these images and how they might impact children, religious persons,  conservative people, foreigners and many more. We do not openly promote prostitution, alcohol use & smoking and not normal sexual behaviour, but gay love is displayed like a car advert? It is utterly revolting!” wrote one complainant.  – Star Observer

Closed minded people exist everywhere and Australia is no different.  But we should thank them as it is showing how other nations work on bettering gay men’s health.  


What does your nation do to promote gay men’s health?  What does the US do?

For more details, visit The Drama Down Under website. All images present in this post are from there. 

Source: Star Observer


Leave a Comment