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Australia and Azealia Banks Want You to Stop Using Poppers

Straight people ruin everything.

Australia is mulling a ban on amyl nitrite — aka poppers, Gay Star News reports. The Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an interim ban on the inhalant and has recommended that poppers be indicated as a Schedule 9 substance on the Poisons Standard. (Oh, that’s the same designation as heroin, by the way.)

Designating poppers as a Schedule 9 drug would make it illegal to sell, possess or administer them, though the punishment for the crime would depend on what Australian state you’re in at the time.

One reason for the move to ban may be that poppers have gone mainstream — aka straight. Though long a staple among queers, popper use rose 21% among the general Australian population according to a 2015 study.

“The TGA are completely ignoring the queer experience of poppers and don’t give a shit about us, so yeah the straights are ruining it for us but the TGA also couldn’t care less about us,” one anonymous advocate told Gay Star News.

The TGA also wants to ban poppers because Australian ophthalmologists are blaming poppers for a rise in retinal damage cases. Poppers have long been an easy target and scapegoat for straight people. During the AIDS epidemic, scientists blamed poppers for the spread of HIV.

Oddly enough, another important entity has asked queer people to stop sniffing poppers: Azealia Banks. On Tuesday, the rapper requested that her gay followers stop using them all together. (She also warned against using enemas.)

“Stop sniffing poppers!!” she wrote, emphasizing with clap emojis. “When you sniff poppers there’s is possibility for your pain threshold to be heightened – which means you will not feel yourself being harmed until after the fact. No more poppers and fleets!!! Embrace that boochie baby.”

One activist, Steve Spencer, told Gay Star News that the Australian government should regulate and not ban the substance. Regulation, Spencer said, would allow “queer Australians to safely access the sexual aids we have always had a need for.” Spencer added that there’s a need for public health education about the product, not a ban on the product.

“The TGA can regulate a dangerous drug like Viagra, so they can regulate a substance like amyl/poppers,” Spencer said. “This decision, if successful, will criminalise most instances of gay sex and will disproportionately affect the LGBTIQ community that has so long relied on amyl/poppers to enjoy receptive sex comfortably.”

Spencer hopes that Australia can follow in the footsteps of the UK, which mulled a ban on poppers but ultimately chose to keep them legal after several Members of Parliament outed themselves as fans.

Concerned Australians can sign a petition started by Spencer urging the TGA not to ban poppers.

Image credit: Flickr/Topher McCulloch


Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew is a staff writer at INTO. His work has appeared in Mic, Slate and Complex. He loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Flannery O'Connor and female rappers and is working on a memoir.

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