Organizers of a gay dance party in Australia, Poof Doof, have issued an apology after prejudicial recommendations to photographers set off a firestorm.
These recommendations were outlined in a document that has circulated online, which advised those recording events only to take pictures of "boys with muscles," "hot boys," and "only the best" drag queens.
Wincingly, the document urged no photographs of "skinny boys," "boys with bad skin," "indi boys" -- a reference to indigenous people -- and women.
"Poof Doof is a gay club for homos. No-one is here to see girls. Ever," the brief from the Melbourne-based event declared.
Susie Robinson, general manager of Poof Doof, claimed to the Star Observer, an Australian LGBTQ outlet, that these rules had not been in practice for eight years. "We've changed, and our crowd has changed," she said. However, one event photographer, Ari New, told ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that he saw the document as late as 2014.
An image of direct messages posted to Twitter, appearing to be from Poof Doof, blamed a former event photographer for the release "as a way of retaliating against his termination."
The leaked guidelines sparked a furious backlash on social media from those who have historically felt excluded by Poof Doof -- in part due to its discriminatory photography practices. Moreover, some pointed out that these practices -- while not always outlined in a document -- are still unwritten rules in many gay spaces.
\u201cwhen I was 18 I was repeatedly harassed, mocked and excluded by the Power Poofs aka the types of gay men clubs like @POOF_DOOF cultivated and celebrated. how different would my life be if these attitudes weren\u2019t perpetuated by spaces that claim to be inclusive / safe?\u201d
— tori \ud83d\udc1d\ud83d\udc9b\ud83c\udf3b (@tori \ud83d\udc1d\ud83d\udc9b\ud83c\udf3b)
\u201cMaybe the reason people are attacking Poof Doof is (1) the instructions are gross and discriminatory AND (2) they know it accurately reflects the patrons' prejudices and discrimination that they and their friends enact every day in their lives?\u201d
In response, Poof Doof organizers posted a conciliatory note Wednesday on the event's Facebook page. "We would like to apologise. We made a mistake," read the message, which committed to improving on being an inclusive space.
"If you have ever felt discrimination in our space, that's not good enough and we are taking full responsibility to fix it," continued the note, which linked to a survey where concerned attendees can give feedback.