Ice cream giant Streets has responded to a call for it to rename its iconic Golden Gaytime.
A petition started by Melbourne gay man Brian Mc asked the brand, owned by multinational Unilever, to drop the Golden Gaytime name, calling it outdated and offensive.
More than 800 people have so far signed the petition.
In a response to Mc, a Streets representative said that the brand “has a deep and long-standing commitment to help build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society for all”.
“The first Streets Gaytime was released in Australia during 1959 when the word ‘gay’ had not yet been applied to gender preference,” they said.
“The origin of the Gaytime name was and remains related to having a joyous or happy time and was meant to capture the pleasure that comes with enjoying an ice cream.
“The Gaytime name is not and never has intended to cause offence and your petition is the first that we have been made aware of.”
The representative said that Unilever brands have been involved in local and global equality initiatives, including the Australian Marriage Equality campaign, and is Rainbow Tick certified as a workplace.
Mc said that his history as a gay man who has survived bullying and conversion practices has contributed to his perception of the Golden Gaytime name as offensive.
“I feel it’s not my place to tell Streets what to call their rebranded product, but I do feel it’s time that the Golden Gaytime is called out for being outdated, especially when Streets is releasing new products and cross promotions in 2021,” he said.
He admitted that he has not personally been harmed by the name but has concerns on behalf of others.
“This story isn’t about myself,” said Mc.
“I’ve read the comments online and seen the passionate comments.”
Responses to Mc’s petition have been mixed, with plenty of critics alongside its supporters on social media, some calling him a “troll” or “snowflake”.
Many LGBTIQ people have commented that they enjoy the camp Golden Gaytime branding.