Home' LOTL : December 2004 Contents The lush un-stylised, non-sexualised images depict lesbians
as gorgeous, sexy and ordinary, with whole lives
and whole minds. Women, in fact, just like you. Now that
The inspirational calendar, created by Aren with photographs
by her straight friend Lianne de Gunzbourg, did, admittedly, have
extraordinary raw material to draw on. From Cira the Lismore
potter to Rachel the shoemaker, the twelve Northern Rivers
lesbians glow with passion and aliveness. The images are intimate,
respectful and tantalising. You will want know more about who
these women are.
"We wanted the images to be lively and action packed," said
Aren, who has lived in the Byron Bay area for the last eight years.
"You have to look at them for a whole month, so they had to
include so many things. We wanted serious and wild. Mostly we
wanted to show how diverse and amazing the women are."
The calendar, launched in Byron Bay last month, to a large
crowd, was a knockout with local lesbians. Sold out on the night,
women pursued the depicted lesbians for autographs, and
according to Aren, for the occasional date. "The energy at the
launch was fantastic. All the women in the photographs loved it.
We hope it's given them something back," said the 36-year-old
who is in the calendar with her three kids, Kayne,15, Ellice, 11,
and Allen, 9 (pictured).
Aren admits to a secret agenda for the project. She wants it to
build a bridge between heterosexuals and lesbians. "The images
are not so confronting so that straight people can buy them for
themselves or for their lesbian friends," she said. "My parents are
not very tolerant. They still think it's a phase even though I first
came out twenty years ago at 16. They never want to talk about
my life. But they love the calendar."
Bridge building is Aren's trademark no matter what she
finds herself doing. She is known in Byron Bay as a creative
Jill-of-all trades. She sings opera, but mixes in dance into a
performance style that makes her work accessible to her. She is
performing for Tropical Fruits New Year's Eve bash. The single
mother raises funds for Pathways to Manhood, a local group
geared to helping boys become decent men. "Two of my kids are
boys, and it's important to me to make sure they have good male
role models," she said.
She also promotes the Crystal Castle, a local tourist attraction,
stage manages a bit of theatre, and makes jewellery on the side. "I
like to create anything, but I don't like to sit at desks," she said.
It may have been coincidence that she chose a straight
photographer, Lianne, for the lesbian calendar, but it certainly fits
with her love of bridging gaps. Lianne believes the calendar has
something for everyone, not only lesbians.
"We were sitting in my kitchen one night talking about
projects. Aren said she would love to do a calendar of lesbians just
living their lives, and following their dreams as opposed to
calendars shot by guys for guys. There is nothing showing women
as beautiful, passionate intelligent women," said the 40-year-old.
I think the women are inspirational for everyone, irrespective of
their sexual orientation. One couple has been together 28 years.
How many people know any couple, gay or straight who have
Five percent of profits go to the Romero Center, a Brisbane
based organisation for women refugees.
IF AREN HEALEY HAS HER WAY, YOUR
STRAIGHT FAMILY AND FRIENDS WILL BE
BUYING YOU A CALENDAR FOR
CHRISTMAS THAT BREAKS THE LAST TABOO.
BY DAWN COHEN.
To purchase the calendar visit www.women-galerie.com.au
or call 0418 792 883.
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