The sex drug known as "poppers" is to be dispensed over the counter at pharmacies across Australia, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) backed down on its proposed criminalisation.
The move has been heralded as a world-first in acknowledging the therapeutic value of its active ingredient, amyl nitrite, to the hundreds of thousands of people - mostly men - who use it to ease discomfort during anal sex.
LGBTQI advocate Steve Spencer raised a petition last year, with around 5500 signatories condemning the TGA's proposal to criminalise possession of amyl nitrite.
"The news that the TGA has decided to not ban poppers in Australia is incredibly positive," he said.
"It legitimises the experiences of LGBTQI Australians’ pursuit of pleasure and love. And it also wipes away the potentially devastating spectre of criminalisation."
In a time where... LGBTQI rights are on the line, this is a moment for celebration.
Sexual health specialist Dr Vincent Cornelisse co-authored a submission to the TGA last year, opposing the proposed ban.
"There really is nowhere else in the world that is taking this issue as seriously as it is [being taken] here and now," he said.
The potentially negative impact of the new laws on rural communities was also raised in last year's public consultation process.
Many queer Australians living in regional areas already experience discrimination within health services with fears that the need to obtain poppers from a pharmacist may force some to "come out" to an unreceptive community, or to access potentially unsafe products on the black market.
Now that poppers have been legalised, advocates have flagged concerns about how their use will be policed until the TGA’s decision is enacted in February next year.
"... while we welcome this incredible turnaround... [there are] concerns about how this decision will be practically applied... so that people can engage in safe, healthy, receptive sex," Steve Spencer said.
"We urge authorities to acknowledge the TGA’s findings on the legal use of poppers and therefore maintain the status quo. - Wendy John @WendyJohn8