Written by Y, a by Julia Wiese, CNN A small protest in Melbourne against food restrictions on the way condoms and birth control medication are sent to gay people in Asia.
Protesters in Melbourne held a demonstration Thursday against the strict laws in Australia which make it easier for men to send condoms and birth control medication to the Philippines and other southeast Asian countries.
Men in Australia face fines of $3,250 (£2,200) or up to five years in prison if they attempt to send condoms and similar medications overseas for people traveling there on gay tours. Under current laws, condoms and contraception cannot be sent without a permit.
While the protest was ostensibly led by the group TransHumanity, organizers said the event was in no way an organized opposition to the laws — but rather a reaction to “bigots” who use the law “as an excuse to harass and discriminate against gay people.”
“There’s a political line that we’re fighting for people, and we’re saying there is room for diverse ideas in Australia,” said Laura Matthews, who attended the protest with her two-year-old daughter.
“One can absolutely support people who go overseas and buy condoms and contraception from different pharmacies, and then bring them home or ship them back, just as a normal thing.”
The New South Wales state government began enforcing condoms and birth control regulations for gay men in 2016, citing public health and safety concerns.
In July, the NSW government told CNN’s Rene Marsh that it wanted to “streamline the procedure for issuing prescription forms, and the laws for giving and receiving them.”
According to the Department of Health and Wellbeing, gay men accounted for 10% of Australians traveling overseas on “gay tours” last year.