Our Love and Sex edition is by far our most popular issue of the year, with a 90 per cent pick-up rate. But the reaction to a picture that we published in our Feb. 11 Love and Sex issue deserves to be acknowledged in this space.
For those who missed it, the photo on page 9 showed three consenting adults engaged in an explicit sex act. This photo seems to have struck a negative chord with some readers who have accused us of everything from breaking the law to making Ryerson students look like ‘degenerate transgender porn stars.’
I think that some clarification is in order: First of all, there was absolutely nothing illegal about printing the picture on page 9 or distributing it on campus.
It is also important to note that the image was not pornographic either. The only thing defined within the Canadian Criminal Code as pornography is child pornography, which the image was not. The picture is classified as erotica, and erotic material involving consenting adults is legal in Canada if it is not deemed too obscene. Since obscenity is defined as exploitation of sex or sex and any one or more of the following subjects: crime, horror, cruelty, and violence, our picture was not in any way obscene and therefore it is perfectly within our rights to print it.
Of course, just because something is legal, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily right. We didn’t have to run the picture, but we did. True, it was sexually explicit, but we felt like it was a good photo to illustrate the article. Our photographers didn’t take the picture. It was provided by the owner of Good-handy’s, who said that the pansexual depiction was the best representation of his club.
Most of the complaints have come from people who feel the need to underline the fact that they aren’t prudish in any way. And that they have nothing against homosexuals or transgendered people.
But I doubt that if there weren’t an undercurrent of transphobia, the reaction wouldn’t be so visceral.
That being said, I understand that the content may have been offensive to some readers and I firmly believe that people have the right to choose what they read and see. I would never force anyone to look at the picture on page 9, so that’s why we plaster warnings all over the front of the issue. By opening the issue, our readers engaged in informed consent. Didn’t like what you saw? Can’t say you weren’t warned.