In a climate often associated with shame, silence or misinformation, we’ve partnered with Australian feminist cabaret act Lady Sings it Better (Lady) on a bold initiative presenting a creative approach to woman’s sexual health.
As part of our women’s sexual health project Claude, Lady has filmed a music video of the song Closer originally made famous by Nine Inch Nails. The work plays with the traditional sex education demonstration of the ‘condom on the banana’ by playfully recreating the metaphor with latex gloves and various fruits.
Lady Sings it Better Director Maeve Marsden said they were thrilled to be a part of the Claude project and to work with ACON. “Feminist activism can take so many forms and we try to contribute through music and humour. Our high-camp, high-femme, not-quite-safe-for-work interpretation of Closer is a musical celebration of diverse women’s sexuality” Marsden said.
ACON HIV and Sexual Health Director Karen Price explained that women in LGBTIQ communities don’t always benefit from the same level of sexual health promotion, testing and health care as their heterosexual counterparts. In addition, Ms Price said awareness of this issue among health professionals is low.
“Evidence indicates that women who have sex with women have the same rate of STIs as heterosexual women, however this is not widely recognised. Our sexual health work with women is about highlighting that women in LGBTIQ communities should not be presumed to be at low or no risk of STIs,” Ms Price said.
“Research from the Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey reveals that 40 per cent of lesbian and same-sex attracted women have never had an STI test. We want more women to learn about their STI risk, and how they can prevent these infections, based on their sexual practice,” Ms Price said.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Lady on this project which we’re confident will resonate with a broad range of women thereby encouraging them to access more information about sexual health – it showcases sexual desire, it’s incredibly funny and off-kilter, and really sexy. It’s also perfectly timed for Mardi Gras.”
Dr Viv McGregor who works for ACON on the Claude Project said the Closer video offers an upfront message about safe sex for women, especially about how to use gloves to prevent the transmission of STIs. “A lot of women don’t understand why or how to use gloves in sexual settings. Gloves and lube are important for preventing the transmission of STIs. They also stop the risk of small tears and cuts from fingernails, which – aside from being painful – can cause infection and make it easier to transmit STIs.” Dr McGregor said.
Dr McGregor said what makes Claude such an innovative project is that through art, the site speaks to a very broad range of women about sexual health based on their sexual practices, not through their sexual or other identities.
“The research that led ACON to develop Claude indicated that women in our community weren’t being reached by traditional safe sex messages, so we needed to try a different approach. Claude is explicitly about celebrating the diversity of women’s sexuality and being sex-positive and body-positive to combat feelings of invisibility, encouraging women to be open about sex and sexual health,” Dr McGregor said.
Produced specifically for ACON, the video of Lady Sings it Better’s cabaret twist on the song will be launched at the Mardi Gras Festival’s Late Night Library: Queerstories (a City of Sydney initiative), at Kings Cross Library and will go live on iloveclaude.com on Wednesday 2 March. It will also screen at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association’s premier women’s event Lemons with a Twist from 6pm at Slide on Friday 4 March.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES
ACON – Karen Price, Director of HIV & Sexual Health on 0427 192 721 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lady Sings It Better – Phoebe Meredith on 0415 616 105
MORE ABOUT ACON & THE CLAUDE PROJECT
ACON has a range of services for women including sexual health information and workshops, counselling, substance support, healthy ageing, and support for women who have experienced homophobic, transphobic, domestic and family violence. Find out more here: www.acon.org.au/women For more about Claude, visit www.iloveclaude.com
MORE ABOUT LADY SINGS IT BETTER
Lady Sings it Better are touring in 2016 with performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. For more information please visit: www.ladysingsitbetter.com
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LEMONS WITH A TWIST
More information about Lemons with a Twist can be found on the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association’s website http://www.sglba.org.au/?page=Lemons