Intended for healthcare professionals


Tasmania's rear guard action

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 22 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1562

The Tasmanian parliament is debating the repeal of its law that outlaws homosexual acts. Having passed through the lower house, it is not expected to pass the upper house. The opposition to homosexuality has historically been concerned with outlawing sodomy. But why has outrage always focused on gay men when heterosexuals not uncommonly engage in the practice too? On any given night in Tasmania many more penises probably enter female rectums than enter those of other men. If, as local politician Ron Cornish argues, “sodomy is an unnatural act and unhealthy” where is the commensurate outrage about what many men and women do together?

Australia has not yet conducted a national randomised survey of sexual activity. The 1990-1 …

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