This month we get all hot and wet with the latest swim, gym and party wear, but we also take a look back at 2020…
It’s easy to catastrophise. I started making a list of the dire world events we’ve witnessed – and then stopped. And deleted. You don’t need reminding.
That’s why we’ve called our 2020 Review A Dumpster Fire On A Rollercoaster In A Shit Storm. However, Tortsen Hojer, who wrote the story, reminds us that back in January the LGBTIQA+ world was in a better place.
“LGBT+ people are a gorgeous, resilient group of people. Even though we are under one acronym, we are a whole bunch of different communities, with different ages, identities, experiences and backgrounds – and that diversity is quite wonderful.”
Those were the words of Jason Tuazon-McCheyne offering a message of hope and solidarity at Better Together, the Australian National LGBTIQ+ Conference in Melbourne.
Of course, the year did not pan out the way anyone expected and many of us are still struggling with the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the physical and mental health issues associated with both.
Last month, DNA marked 250 issues and our 20th anniversary. We had plans for a party and a special photoshoot to celebrate, but venues closed and photoshoots with a cast of more than one are still not covid-safe.
Two of our most loved photographers were also directly affected by COVD-19. Jorge Freire and Abel Cruz both contracted the virus and spent time in hospital in Miami. Abel was in an induced coma. I had the gravest of fears for them both. Thankfully, they pulled through, but both say they are experiencing “long covid” – the after-effects of the disease.
We look now to 2021, to a vaccine, and a return to some sort of normality. In this issue, we celebrate the “quite wonderful diversity” of the LGBTIQA+ world that Jason spoke of all those months ago. On the cover is Diego Arnary. The Colombian-born actor and model has been a good friend of DNA’s since 2006 when he was part of our Wild Things Mardi Gras Parade group. We’ve been hoping to shoot Diego for a long time… and finally the stars aligned.
We also have a chat with the beautiful Lily Tomlin, actress, comedian, lesbian icon, and champion of the LGBTIQA+ world. She may be in her early eighties but she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Introducing us to her music through the beautiful track Satan’s Tears is trans woman Kyler O’Neal. She reminds those of us who have not been through the trans journey, just how challenging that can be and, while she’s happy with her transition, she describes the process as a lonely one.
We also meet three extraordinary men – Charlie, Justin and Steve. All are HIV-positive and all are challenging the stereotypes and overcoming the stigma that positive people still face from within our own community, despite the success of U=U and PrEP.
In an inspiring DNA Portfolio by photographer Chris Rathore, we celebrate Sarvasheesh Sarkar, 26, of Delhi in India. Sarvasheesh turned to bodybuilding as therapy to overcome his experiences of discrimination and prejudice as a child. We think you’ll find his achievements impressive.
Our Straight Mate this month is Indigenous AFL star, Tony Armstrong. He has plenty of great insights into the effects of casual racism, why marginalised groups should support one another and, let’s face it, he has the best moustache on TV!
Elsewhere this issue we hear from nutrition and fitness advocate Luke Hines about the health benefits of coming out, and author Shannon Molloy reveals the real-life trauma behind his hit memoir, Fourteen.
Yes, there are many colours in the palette this month.
Finally, a special message to all DNA readers. We know this year has been tough and continues to be for many. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to friends, family and trusted colleagues. I would like to thank you all for your support this year. Thank you for reading, for enjoying our images and for visiting our website and socials. Thank you for your feedback and comments – they are always welcome and are invaluable.
2021 beckons. We have hope for brighter and better days. We can get there together.
As always, stay safe, be kind, and love yourselves.