PFLAG April 2017 Newsletter

Honouring Our LGBTIQ Service Personnel

anzac day.jpg

President's Report - April

“Life moves forward, but Australia can’t seem to. When it comes to legalising marriage for couples who happen to be of the same sex, the country remains gripped by inertia…Polls consistently show around two-thirds of Australians support marriage equality, following a huge turnaround in public opinion over the past two decades. Our laws are out of touch not only with what our citizens now want but with other Western countries. Marriage equality became legal nationally in America nearly two years ago, in Canada 12 years ago and the Netherlands 16 years ago. Australia, however, is still spinning its wheels... Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, a staunch conservative, accepted that same-sex marriage is likely inevitable and an issue that needed to be resolved before the next election. But there remain no outward signs the government is willing to take the simplest and most obvious course of action to achieve this – a free vote in Parliament.” – Josephine Tovey, SMH, March 23, 2017.

There is increasing pressure on the Federal Government to legislate for marriage equality coming from business leaders from high profile companies including Apple, Qantas and Telstra. In the past week, Airbnb has launched a campaign that has gathered support from big banks and companies including Qantas, ANZ, eBay and Foxtel. The “Until we all belong” advertisement features an incomplete ring symbolising the gap in marriage equality in Australia that we need to close. One of the ads features our own committee member, Geoff Thomas, wearing the ring with the comment: “Until my son can belong.”

Geoff has also embarked on a campaign of his own to raise awareness of marriage equality.  He was featured in a Buzzfeed article by Lane Sainty on April 12. Geoff is spreading the message in an extremely Australian way: by decorating his ute with the message: “Every Man And His Dog Supports Marriage Equality. Call your MP & Senator today.”

The Airbnb ad, featuring Geoff Thomas: 'Until we can all belong'

The Airbnb ad, featuring Geoff Thomas: 'Until we can all belong'


As Lane says: “Geoff spends a lot of time driving around Sydney, so plenty of people will get to see his rainbow flavoured vehicle. Later in April he’ll take a round trip to Melbourne, Mt Gambia and the Riverina region to talk to people about same-sex marriage”. As Geoff comments: “To me, it’s a civil rights issue. It’s got nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with gay people having babies. In the 12 years I’ve been advocating for this, I’m yet to hear a reasonable argument against it.” We wish Geoff the best of luck with the trip.

You may follow Geoff's trip at:

Benjamin Law, who was part of our Mardi Gras contingent this year, wrote a lovely article on “Gay uncles” for the Good Weekend on March 25. Ben comments: “There’s one vital thing gay uncles can offer: simply being visible. As a closeted gay kid in Queensland, where homosexuality was a criminal offence until I was eight, I didn’t meet an openly queer person until well into adulthood. Looking back, that contributed a lot to me being unnecessarily torn up about my sexuality.” Speaking about his mates’ children, who’ve grown up with gay uncles in their lives from Day One, he says: “They won’t ever think queer people are odd; they’ll think we’re just there. They’ll never question whether two men or women can be in love, and if they’re queer themselves, they mightn’t even need to come out.

Thanks to Narelle, who has offered to speak at State Street Global Services in George St. for their combined IDAHOT/Mother’s Day event on IDAHOT Day, May 17.

Congratulations to Terence Humphreys and Jain Moralee, who have been appointed Co-Executive Directors of Twenty10, taking over from Brett Paradise, who has provided more than 3 years of dedicated service as director of Twenty10. We wish Brett well as he pursues opportunities in the Northern Rivers.

Congratulations to Equal Voices on their very successful Launch at  Pitt Street Uniting Church on April 3. Our Secretary, Natalie Cooper and Benjamin Oh are co-chairs. It was lovely to see Ruth, Sue & Les, Geoff & Sandra and Ronny there to offer support. It was great that our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, travelled from Brisbane for the launch. Equal Voices is a movement with the  aim of seeking  apology from Christians and churches for the harm done to LGBTIQ people, with ongoing reconciliation the goal.  Guest Speaker, former High Court Justice Michael Kirby gave an encouraging speech, based on his life experience with the church, but Natalie’s speech came straight from the heart - impassioned and evocative and demonstrated the amount of feeling she has for the cause. Natalie hopes the project will impact on young people growing up and hopefully not having to face what LGBTIQ elders have gone through. The venue was packed and it was good to see representatives from many agencies present, such as Justin Koonin from ACON, Pastor Robert Clark from MCC Good Shepherd, Rev Rod Bower from Gosford, Fr Peter Maher from Acceptance Sydney, Robert McMaster from Star Observer and Superintendent Tony Crandell from NSW Police, who has asked Equal Voices to be part of educating NSW Police recruits on inclusion.

Judy Brown, Tony Crandell and Ruth Green at the Equal Voices launch (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)

Judy Brown, Tony Crandell and Ruth Green at the Equal Voices launch (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)

Tony Crandell, Natalie Cooper, Michael Kirby and Benjamin Oh at the Equal Voices launch (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)

Tony Crandell, Natalie Cooper, Michael Kirby and Benjamin Oh at the Equal Voices launch (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)


Thanks to all who came along to our March family meeting to assist new families and to Gillian for facilitating the meeting for us and for bringing Alex Greenwich’s mum along. We were fortunate to have Tim Chen from the Asian Gay Men’s Project from ACONaddress us and also the author, Jacqueline Cook, who informed us about the plans for her upcoming book (see later in newsletter).

I hope to see many of you at our Family Meeting on April 22, for, as Rudy always said: When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others.”



Research: Gay Men's Experiences of Homophobia

Western Sydney research student Jack Thepsouorinthone is currently conducting a study entitled: 'It's a Man's World: An investigation of masculinity and internalised homophobia amongst homosexual men'. The study is on gay men's experiences with traditional notions of masculinity and homophobia.

The study involves a short online survey and an online interview (participants may complete one or the other, or both). The study aims to reach a large audience Australia-wide and the long-term aims include alleviating gay men's gender-related strain and other related issues.

Participants 18 years and older may find further information at: 


International Family Equality Day

This is a new event that PFLAG will be participating in for the first time. The Day is organised by Rainbow Families and will be the annual event to raise awareness of the equality of all families. The event will run from 11am - 2.30pm at Sydney Park (The Brick Kilns). More info below.

Can you assist on the PFLAG stall? Please contact Judy at:


The Equality Campaign: Geoff's Road Trip

Vietnam Veteran, retired plumber, proud Dad of a gay son and intrepid campaigner for equality, Geoff Thomas is taking the campaign for marriage equality to the roads.

Geoff has given his blue ute a makeover for trip, embarking on a tour of 20 towns around NSW and Victoria, meeting locals, MPs, clergy, supporters, parents, friends, equality campaigners and allies.

Check out Geoff's road trip schedule here:

Will you be in town when Geoff arrives? Want to bring someone along for a chat? Let us know at and we'll put you in touch!


Upcoming Events

Sydney Park, Brick Kilns, 11.30am- 2.30pm

Sydney Park, Brick Kilns, 11.30am- 2.30pm

PFLAG March 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

“No person should ever feel compelled to live a lie; to put on a brave public face to hide private anguish; to feel judged and rejected by society; to doubt their own feelings and self-medicate to cope; or to hide their sexuality for fear of the consequences of being discovered.”

SMH editorial of 4/03/17, commenting on the NRL’s Ian Roberts’ interview with the Herald’s sportswriter, Andrew Webster re the NRL’s float in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2017.

The editorial also states:

“The Mardi Gras is an annual celebration of survival, a show of force in the face of doubters, a display of how much the homosexual community has achieved…The Herald believes same-sex marriage must come, so as to afford Australian homosexuals in love the same compassion, legal status and social acceptance as enjoyed by heterosexuals…We just need politicians to have the courage. Legalised same-sex marriage would send a signal to critics and offer reassurance to those who feel demonised for their sexuality.”
We were privileged to have June Smythe, founder of PFLAG in Australia, and her daughter as part of our PFLAG NSW contingent in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras on March 4.  
June Smyth, PFLAG Australia founder

June Smyth, PFLAG Australia founder

June was over here from Perth for the Australian LGBT Awards at the Sydney Opera House on March 2. June was nominated along with our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, amongst others, for the Australia Post Hero of the Year Award. June was the first person in Australia to contact and register with the US PFLAG Federation in 1986, then tried for 2 years to get other parents involved. In 1989, she met up with John & Margaret Pugh and Heather Horntvedt and held the first PFLAG meeting in December in Perth. The award category of “Australia Post Hero of the Year” was won by Rowena Allen, Victoria’s Gender & Sexuality Commissioner.

Mardi Gras was again a very moving experience for the 100 people in our PFLAG NSW contingent and the 70 people in the combined PFLAG Capital Region/ just.equal float. It was a particularly poignant experience for those participating for the first time and for those walking with close family members. It is commonly reported that PFLAG gets the biggest cheer from the audience and I think this was particularly noticeable this year. Participants are always instructed that we shouldn’t deviate from the float to engage with audience members, as this holds up the flow of the parade for the television cameras. However, I feel, even more so than other years, that audience members had their arms outstretched to hug or high five PFLAG people and to thank them for their ongoing support. It was great to see increased crowds, despite the threat of bad weather. I would like to thank Les & Sue Mico for again assuming the responsibility of the ute hire for our “float” and Les for driving it, which can often prove to be a stressful experience. Thanks also to Narelle for her amazing assistance traversing Hyde Park to collect our wristbands, to the members for their assistance in registration in the park and in decorating the ute.

Thanks again to Jeff for the impressive way that he marshalls our float and ensures that we are always secure from any possible threat. Thank you to Geoff Thomas, who brought along his friend Max, a professional photographer , to chronicle the parade in pictures and to all the wonderful people who walked with us. Thank you to those who came from afar to join us in the parade. We had members from Forster/Tuncurry, Wollongong, Qld., Victoria, NT & WA.  It was great to have Universal Pictures join us this year and we were very fortunate to have Benjamin Law from “The Family Law” walk with us and to also give PFLAG such brilliant publicity in his interview with SBS in the Mardi Gras presentation. It helped balance the fact that SBS went to an ad break just as the PFLAG contingent approached. It was nice that PFLAG got a mention in the Sun-Herald TV guide on Sunday, March 5.

PFLAG NSW contingent 2017: photo courtesy Ann-Marie Callihanna, Star Observer

PFLAG NSW contingent 2017: photo courtesy Ann-Marie Callihanna, Star Observer

Fair Day on February 19 was again a very busy day for PFLAG. This year it was held at a different venue, Camperdown Memorial Park, Newtown. Although Fair Day is our biggest fundraising event, I feel our most important reason for being there is for people seeking support. It was an extremely successful day in this regard, as we were kept busy up to half an hour after our usual pack-up time. It was also very effective for networking with the many other LGBTI service and support organisations. I would like to thank everyone who assisted on the day – Geoff Thomas who arrived in the early hours to transport the goods and Ray to & from the venue, Narelle, who accompanied me in early and assisted on the stall, Neil, Keiran & Geoff Davey, who arrived early to set up with Deb, who helped out most of the day, Adela, Les & Sue, who worked tirelessly and Susana and Jeff, who assisted with packing up and transport. Adela’s knitted goods proved to be popular.

PFLAG at Fair Day 2017, Camperdown Memorial Park

PFLAG at Fair Day 2017, Camperdown Memorial Park


Thanks to Jason Lancett and SEIKO Australia for their generous donation of the beautiful watch as 1st Prize in our raffle and to Vanessa Rodriguez from “Vdraws Tattooing”, for her very kind donation of the beautiful set of 9 Superhero prints as 2nd Prize. I’d like to thank Gaspar Rodriguez for his generosity in asking for a redraw of the raffle, when his ticket was drawn out first, enabling an excited Toby from Camperdown to win the watch and an ecstatic Brenda from Blaxland to win the Superhero prints. We raised almost $900 on the day.

Thank you to Lord Mayor Clover Moore for inviting us to take part in the Rainbow Flag raising ceremony, reception and presentation at Sydney Town Hall on Friday, February 17. Narelle, Natalie and I enjoyed the evening, catching up with friends from other agencies and witnessing the Presentation of the Key to the City of Sydney to the Kirby Institute UNSW in recognition of their outstanding service to communities affected by HIV and AIDS.

Thanks to Pam and Arthur, who spoke to a packed auditorium of students at Baulkham Hills High School on Tuesday, March 14. PFLAG was chosen to speak along with Headspace and other agencies as part of Anti-bullying week. Pam and Arthur were very well-received in telling their personal story and have been booked up for next year.

Thank you to Molly Taylor for offering some complimentary tickets to PFLAG to attend the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival. It was great that Gillian & Jean-Pierre & Maree Lau were able to take advantage of the generous offer and enjoy the shows.

Thank you to Geoff Thomas, who has agreed to once again be a part of ACON’s Start Making Sense panel, speaking to a group of 12 young gay men, at Surry Hills on Wednesday, March 22. ACON’s Tim Wark commented that the last time Geoff took part, he was absolutely fantastic. Thanks also to Geoff for agreeing to be interviewed for the Qantas Inflight magazine.

Thank you to Lisa Wilson for inviting PFLAG to speak on May 17, IDAHOT day, at State Street Global Services in George Street. State Street is holding a combined Mothers’ Day/IDAHOT day event for the staff. Thank you to Narelle who has agreed to represent PFLAG on the day.

I would like to thank everyone who attended our Family Meeting on February 25 and Ruth for facilitating the meeting for us. I hope to see many of you at our next Family Meeting on March 25.

Remember Rudy’s adage:

When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others!”                                                                                                                                        



Congratulations Ron & Ruth Green!

PFLAG NSW sends a huge Congratulations to Ron and Ruth Green, who received a letter from Blue Mountains City Council on 17th March, to inform them that they will be presented with a Seniors' Week award for their contributions to the Blue Mountains community.

Among many other involvements. Ron & Ruth actively support the LGBTIQ events and communities, including IDAHOT, World AIDS Day commemorations, Alphabet Soup Cinema and Pink Mountains.


The Hon Michael Kirby to launch Equal Voices

Equal Voices is a national, grassroots and cross-denominational movement of Australian Christians working to end homophobia, transphobia and intersex exclusion in the church and society.

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG will officially launch Equal Voices on Monday 3rd April at Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt St Sydney. Arrival at 6.30pm for 7pm.

RSVP: and follow the link on the home page.

At the launch, the Apology will be offered to LGBTIQ+ people for the many ways in which the church has (and continues) to harm. The Apology itself was recently 'commissioned' at St James King Street, a very supportive church, at a special service on Friday 24th February.

At the Apology service, we were so honoured to have Peter Bonsall-Boone (Bon) and Peter de Waal, a couple of 50 years, join us. Their presence meant so much, especially with Bon being in very poor health. Bon spoke some beautiful words about what an apology meant to them personally.

apology serice_peter and bon.jpg


Thank you to Ron and Ruth Green who made the trip down from the Blue Mountains for this special event. Thank you for representing PFLAG on this occasion.

If you would like to attend the official Equal Voices launch on Monday 3rd April, either reply via the link on our home page (above), or call Natalie Cooper (0406 124 239) and I'll reserve your tickets.

- Natalie (PFLAG NSW Secretary; Co-chair, Equal Voices)


LGBTI Health Alliance Survey: NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Agency [NDIA] is currently developing an LGBTIQ Inclusion and Access Strategy. This Strategy will guide their work in the coming years and help to ensure that LGBTIQ people and communities can access and benefit from the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS].

This Survey is an important and urgent opportunity to ensure that the wisdom of lived experience is incorporated into this new Strategy. Your input will contribute to the development of an LGBTIQ Strategy and guide the work of the NDIA into the future.

This Survey is also one part of a nationwide consultation conducted by the Alliance on behalf of the National Disability Insurance Agency. This consultation also includes a Lived Experience Forum to be hosted in Melbourne on March 31st. Full details of the consultation are available at

This survey will take between 15-30 minutes to complete. All information that you provide is confidential and anonymous. 

If you know someone who is LGBTIQ+ or the carer of someone from the community, please ask them to contribute their voice to the survey to help make the NDIS more LGBTIQ+ inclusive:

Upcoming Events

PFLAG February 2017 Newsletter




This year the Mardi Gras theme is CREATING EQUALITY. By its definition, EQUALITY ensures that everyone is treated fairly and equally, and no one is discriminated against for their sexuality, gender identity, race, beliefs, age or abilities.

Mardi Gras has a proud 39-year history of highlighting and fostering rights and equality for LGBTQI individuals and communities. In 2017 the celebration highlights all that has been achieved, and shine a spotlight brightly on ways our communities can work together to eliminate discrimination and prejudice in all its forms.

This years Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events take over Sydney from 17 February to 5 March. 

There are so many events and experiences to take part in this Mardi Gras season.

Here are just a few:



15 February - 2 March

Queer Screen are proud to have almost 100 screenings across Sydney, Canberra and regional NSW at the 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival. Check out some of the highlights below, or browse the full program to find some of your new favourite LGBTIQ films. Buy a Pass

 For more information



One of Sydney's best-loved annual free events, FAIR DAY attracts more than 80,000 people. Enjoy wonderful entertainment from the ANZ Main Stage and in the lounge tent all day long. Feast on a selection of international cuisine while perusing wares from local community vendors and learning more about local LGBTQI organisations. Catch the action at the Sports Village and see precious pooches get their moment of fame at DOGGYWOOD.

This year, Fair Day is being held at the Camperdown Memorial Park, Newtown. Please scroll down for more information on the PFLAG stall.



Saturday 25th Feb, Sydney Park

Run for love this Mardi Gras and help fundraise for the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby campaigns for same sex marriage. This will be the best fun run you have ever done!!



Saturday 25th Feb, Art Gallery of New South Wales



Presented in 2017 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in association with the exhibition Adman: Warhol before pop, Mardi Gras' QUEER THINKING series provides new perspectives of identity and equality.



Saturday 4th March, 7.30pm, Oxford and Flinders Sts, Sydney

PFLAG Sydney 2016 Contingent

PFLAG Sydney 2016 Contingent



President's Report - February

“In Australia we like to think that we treat everyone fairly, judging everyone according to their character and not the colour of their skin or how they worship or who they love. We also like to think we stand with the underdog, those who are powerless or disadvantaged or simply want the same opportunities in life as everyone else.
 Anti-discrimination laws should not only apply to everyone, they should foster in our community the spirit of egalitarianism that we so value. The proposed exemptions are an offence to every one of these values. They deny some people the opportunities others have, they give a special privilege to those who already have positions of authority and power and they continue to stigmatise those who have already suffered stigma enough.”     

    – Rodney Croome, Spokesperson Just.Equal, speaking to the Senate Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill on 24/01/17.

Rodney was speaking about the proposed amendments to the bill that would allow exemptions for Civil Celebrants and business owners to legally discriminate against same-sex couples.  

 Our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, reported to the Committee: 

As parents, we want our sons and daughters to have the right to marry in a respectful manner, just the same as their peers and siblings. But the proposed amendments are insulting and degrading to the couples and their families and I feel are of great concern to those in regional and rural areas, where communities are known to be generally conservative…Where will this legalised discrimination end?”

Shelley will be present in Canberra on February 13 when the findings of the Senate Enquiry will be released.

At the Senate Committee hearing, Sydney 24th January. From left to right: Chris Pycroft (GLRL), Ivan Hinton-Teoh (just.equal), Judy Brown (PFLAG NSW), Michele Davis (PFLAG Perth), Senator Janet Rice (Greens), Shelley Argent (National Spokesperson, PFLAG), Rodney Croome (just.equal), Lauren Foy (GLRL)

At the Senate Committee hearing, Sydney 24th January. From left to right: Chris Pycroft (GLRL), Ivan Hinton-Teoh (just.equal), Judy Brown (PFLAG NSW), Michele Davis (PFLAG Perth), Senator Janet Rice (Greens), Shelley Argent (National Spokesperson, PFLAG), Rodney Croome (just.equal), Lauren Foy (GLRL)

We have had a steady stream of enquiries over the last couple of months from family members seeking assistance after another family member has “come out” to them. Often, the enquirers are traumatised by the situation they find themselves in and are unaware of where to turn for help. This is particularly critical when the families come from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Often they may be seeking someone who can translate and explain the situation to other family members or they may be seeking counsellors, familiar with their own cultural background, who are LGBTI friendly. Even though we have our brochure translated into a number of languages, we realise that we need to do more to be able to offer much needed assistance to a multicultural society. We are endeavouring to build up a data base of LGBTI contacts in the linguistically and culturally diverse communities.

Ray and I were pleased to attend the Surry Hills Police Community Engagement Meeting at Surry Hills Police Station on February 7. It is always good to network with the other LGBTI support, legal and health organisations and to learn about the excellent programs run by NSW Police to help make our city and our state a safer place for the LGBTI community.  It was also interesting to have Sergeant Geoff Steer address us on the Bias Crime Unit.

I spent the afternoon writing to North Ryde RSL Community Club, a local club of which we have been members for many years, to express my concern over severe homophobic and racist remarks made at a fundraising dinner of the Q Society, held there last night, February 9. It was reported in the SMH online by Jacqueline Maley that Ross Cameron, former Liberal Party member and Sky News presenter and the cartoonist, Larry Pickering, amongst others, uttered demonising rhetoric against Muslim people and made unrepeatable homophobic comments, including one which targeted the State Liberal Party and another that lambasted the SMH for supporting Marriage Equality in its editorial. I also wrote to our Federal MP, John Alexander and our State MP, Victor Dominello telling them how appalled I was that this deplorable invective could go on in our local Community Club.

To his credit, the manager of North Ryde RSL Community Club wasted no time in responding to me, explaining that he was unaware of the nature of last night’s function, as it was booked under another name. He has posted public statements on their Facebook page and website, explaining that they do not support this organisation. He promised to be more diligent when obtaining details of a booking and to never allow this group or any other of a similar nature to hold an event there again.

Thanks to Pam who represented PFLAG at the Parramatta Queer Forum meeting on February 7. Planning is underway for the Parramatta IDAHOT event on May 17 and events for Wear It Purple Day on August 25 and World AIDS Day on December 1.

Thanks to Ruth & Ron, who have been busy networking, planning and socialising with the many LGBTI groups in the Blue Mountains.

 Thanks to all who came along to our January meeting to offer support to new families and thank you to Ruth for facilitating the meeting for us. It was great to catch up with members we hadn’t seen in a while.

I hope to see many of you at Fair Day on February 19 at the new venue of Camperdown Memorial Park at Newtown or at our Family Meeting on February 25. Remember Rudy’s adage: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You to help others!”          

   - Judy



Fair Day

Sunday 19th February

    Fair Day is on Sunday 19th February 2017. This year it is being held at a new venue:         Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown, bordered by Australia, Lennox & Church Sts and Federation Rd.

Fair Day is a family fun day full of entertainment, food, fashion and stalls.  Lots to see, do, buy and eat!  It is traditionally the Mardi Gras season’s biggest day-time event.  Each year dedicated PFLAG people set up the stall early on the Sunday morning. We spend time chatting to our many visitors, giving out information, brochures and booklets, selling our rainbow merchandise, having a good look around, generally having a fun time, and then packing up at 4 pm.

This year, we will have for sale our rainbow fold-up umbrellas, kites, neck lanyards, loom bands and other wrist bands, PFLAG badges, caps, T-shirts and our DVD “Bouncing Castle”.

We have two Raffle Prizes this year

Our main prize will be a beautiful SEIKO watch, kindly donated by Jason Lancett from SEIKO.

The other prize is artwork created by Vanessa Rodriguez:  9 x A3 Superhero Art Prints (valued at $260 total) to be given to one winner as a set.

Tickets are $2 each, $5 for 3, $10 for 7, $20 for 15.

Helpers are very welcome and essential! 

Fair Day is also a major fund-raising opportunity for us. Come for a couple of hours or for the day and enjoy the camaraderie, and the chance to talk about PFLAG

This year we need more people to help dismantle the stall about 3.30-4 pm.



Reach Out - Online Resources for Parents

Dr Kerrie Buhagiar, Director of Service Delivery at ReachOut, has written to PFALG advising of an extension to the ReachOut service aimed at providing parents and carers with practical tips, information, peer-support forums, tools and stories to support their 12–18 year-olds.

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents

This service is free, anonymous and accessible.

The purpose of ReachOut Parents is to support parents and carers of 12–18 year-olds to:

  • develop and maintain secure and stable relationships with their children by learning more about what their teenagers might be experiencing or issues they might be going through

  • support their teenagers and teach them how to seek help and work through issues independently

  • learn about mental health issues that often have their onset during adolescence, including what to be aware of, and how to get help for their teenager if and when they need it

  • improve the wellbeing and resilience of their whole family.

    Building upon the support provided directly to 14–25 year-olds through our flagship service, ReachOut Parents offers:

  • fact sheets, stories, practical tips and tools covering a range of topics, issues and experiences that are relevant to teenagers aged 12–18 years

  • online community forums where parents can talk to other parents about their experiences and work through their concerns in a safe, anonymous environment.

    Please see:  for more details. 



Rainbow Pride

headspace Campbelltown is running 3x free workshops in March for young people living in the Campbelltown /Macarthur area (under 25 years) that identify as LGBTIQA+ .

There isn’t much in the area to support same sex attracted and gender diverse young people so it's good to see this initiative to link in with young people and let them know headspace is there to help if needed.

It’s also a good opportunity for local young people to connect with each other.

Topics that will be covered will include: healthy relationships and coming out. Please consider informing and parents living in the Campbelltown area to link their LGBTIQA+ young people in with this fun project.



Other Upcoming Events

A Breast Cancer awareness event for LBQ Women created by ACON’s #TalkTouchTest campaign, Cancer Institute of NSW and Breastscreen NSW. Thisis taking place on Feb 25 at Marrickville Town Hall and is a free community event – with free mammograms for anyone over 50

Registrations are here:

This event is supported by Inner West Council through a Community Grant 2016.


Afternoon Delight is a movie matinee and relaxed social afternoon for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex seniors and their friends. Enjoy the feature film, Grandma, and selection of short films followed by a delicious afternoon tea, networking and access to local community health information. Presented by ACON in association with Queer Screen and supported by NSW Seniors Festival. VARIOUS DATES AND CITIES IN NSW - MID MARCH Cost is FREE or a gold coin donation.. For more information  

Afternoon Delight is a movie matinee and relaxed social afternoon for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex seniors and their friends.

Enjoy the feature film, Grandma, and selection of short films followed by a delicious afternoon tea, networking and access to local community health information.

Presented by ACON in association with Queer Screen and supported by NSW Seniors Festival.


Cost is FREE or a gold coin donation..

For more information

PFLAG January 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

 “Just as the time came when we in this country recognised that a convict could marry a free man, an Aboriginal person could marry a European and an Australian soldier could bring his Japanese bride home from the war, so too must we recognise that the time has come for same-sex couples to be able to legally wed.”

Rabbi Gersh Lazarow in a recent sermon at the Temple Bath Israel synagogue in Melbourne, as reported in the Sydney Star Observer, January 2017.

Rabbi Lazarow goes on to say: “We’re on the cresting wave of a new understanding of humanity: a new open and welcoming understanding of what it means to be created in God’s image, and the LGBTI members of our community need our support.”

But it’s not just people of faith from the Jewish community reaching out to the LGBTI community to offer their support, as Lane Sainty reported on “BuzzFeed News” on January 3:

A new cross-denominational organisation for Australian Christians will collect signatures for a grassroots-driven apology to LGBTI people in an effort to ‘address the harm’ caused by the church.”

 Former High Court justice, the Hon Michael Kirby, will launch Equal Voices in April. Our PFLAG secretary, Natalie Cooper, is one of the founding members. She told BuzzFeed that most of the people behind Equal Voices are lay people from fairly conservative church backgrounds:

We represent a variety of denominations. We’ve got quite a number of Anglican and Catholic members, Baptists, Uniting, a couple of people from ex-Pentecostal backgrounds, a couple from the Metropolitan Community Church"

Lane Sainty goes on to say: “The group is also mixed when it comes to identity, with LGBTI Christians working alongside their straight and cisgender allies. The group seeks to fill a gap in the conversation by bringing together advocates in a national, cross-denominational grassroots organisation focussed on reconciliation between LGBTI people and the church. One pressing priority is to facilitate a national apology to LGBTI Christians and the wider community.”

I would like to wish all our members and friends a very Happy New Year and start the year on a positive note by being optimistic that 2017 will be the Year of Marriage Equality for Australia. It certainly is promising that on November 30th, 2016, the Senate resolved to establish the Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill to inquire into the Commonwealth Government’s exposure draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. We were invited to make a submission to this inquiry. The deadline for submissions was January 13, which I managed to meet. Thanks very much to Geoff Thomas and Pam Garske who also spent a lot of time preparing and sending personal submissions to the inquiry. The Select Committee will be reporting on February 13. I would like to applaud the Government for their groundwork in devising this bill so soon after the demise of the divisive Plebiscite bill and for issuing the invitation to PFLAG to prepare a submission to the inquiry. If the bill is introduced into Parliament and legislated on, it will change the legal definition of marriage, removing discrimination and allowing members of the LGBTI community to marry the person they love. This will be cause for great celebration!

Thank you to all who attended our AGM and Christmas Party on November 26. Thanks also to Pastor Robert Clarke from MCC Good Shepherd, Granville, who very kindly agreed to act as Returning Officer for our elections.

The results are as follows:

President : Judy Brown                                                Vice-President: Ruth Green

Secretary: Natalie Cooper                                           Treasurer: Pamela Garske

Publicity Officer: Ray Brown                                        Education/Research Officer: Ron Green

Newsletter Editor: Natalie Cooper                             Public Officer: Narelle Phipps

Librarian: Louise Pethybridge

Committee members without portfolio:  Arthur Garske, Marilyn Godfrey, Carol McCance, Adela McDonald, Mollie Smith, Geoff Thomas.

I would like to thank all the members of the committee for assuming their roles for 2017. I look forward to working with you all this year.

N.B. Committee members, members, family and friends who wish to participate in PFLAG’s 2017 Mardi Gras contingent on March 4 should register with Judy ASAP either by emailing or phoning 9869 1454 or 0439 466 125, as numbers are limited.

Gillian and Jean-Pierre and Ray and I attended Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s Christmas Reception for volunteers at Sydney Town Hall on December 11. It was a most enjoyable afternoon and we caught up with a few friends from the LGBTI network. The City of Sydney’s Year in Review as always was shown on the big screen, as the Lord Mayor gave her speech. It really brought home to us the concern that the Lord Mayor shows to all the marginalised people in the City of Sydney community.

Ray and I also attended the Town Hall on December 14, where we were invited to Councillor Linda Scott’s Christmas drinks event. In her speech, Councillor Scott also demonstrated her concern for the social welfare of those on the periphery of the City of Sydney community.

Sue & Les attended Acceptance Sydney’s Christmas Reconciliation service on December 16 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Newtown, while Pam, Arthur, Natalie & Jeff attended the Metropolitan Community Church Sydney’s Christmas Eve service at Sydney Town Hall, where Pastor Robert Clark acted as MC. Pam reported that they enjoyed listening to the many personal anecdotes from guest speaker, Julie McCrossin.

I hope to see many of you at our first Family Meeting for 2017 on January 28 @ 2pm, for, as past President, Rudy, always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others.”    - Judy


New PFLAG Branch: Illawarra Southern!

Noeline Bedford has decided to fill the gap for PFLAG in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regional areas. She has been very active in starting up the new chapter – PFLAG Illawarra Southern. She emailed on 2/12/16, outlining what she’s been busy doing:

  • I have my brochures with contact details and have been linking with community groups.

  • I spoke in a community forum introducing myself as PFLAG for the south coast region.

  • I’m attending the Unity dance tomorrow night and will be formally introduced to the local LGBTI community. Unity kindly provided me with my mobile phone.

  • I have written a short promo piece that will be placed in LGBTI magazines and talk to local ABC radio to be arranged.

  • I have also done some orientation training with Qlife to promote their online counselling service.

Very well done Noeline on your ground-breaking efforts.

Noeline can be contacted on 0410 147 435 or email:


Fair Day 2017 and Request for Help

fair day.jpg

Fair Day is on Sunday 19th February 2017. This year it is being held at a new venue – TBA! The usual venue, Victoria Park, is unavailable due to WestConnex works – the organisers will advise us ASAP as to the venue.

Fair Day is a family fun day full of entertainment, food, fashion and stalls.  Lots to see, do, buy and eat!  It is traditionally the Mardi Gras season’s biggest day-time event.  Each year dedicated PFLAG people set up the stall early on the Sunday morning. We spend time chatting to our many visitors, giving out information, brochures and booklets, selling our rainbow merchandise, having a good look around, generally having a fun time, and then packing up at 4 pm.

This year, we will have for sale our rainbow fold-up umbrellas, kites, neck lanyards, loom bands and other wrist bands, PFLAG badges, caps, T-shirts and our DVD “Bouncing Castle”.

Our raffle prize will be a beautiful SEIKO watch, kindly donated by Jason Lancett from SEIKO. Tickets are $2 each, $5 for 3, $10 for 7, $20 for 15.

Helprs are very welcome and essential! 

Fair Day is also a major fund-raising opportunity for us. Come for a couple of hours or for the day and enjoy the camaraderie, and the chance to talk about PFLAG.

This year we need people power to help set up the stall early on the Sunday morning (say 8.30 am) and also to help dismantle the stall about 3.30-4 p

Please phone Judy on 9869 1454 to register your enthusiasm and your willingness to assist.


PFLAG Submission to the Senate Enquiry on Marriage

PFLAG NSW contributed a submission to the Senate Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. PFLAG Perth and PFLAG (Brisbane) also contributed submissions, as did a number of organisations we know and work with, including: Australians 4 Equality, Australian Marriage Equality, Rainbow Labor NSW, Parliament of NSW Working Group on Marriage Equality, Just.Equal, Equal Voices and Australian Catholics for Equality.

PFLAG will present to the Senate Public Hearing on Tuesday, 24th January in Sydney. PFLAG NSW Secretary Natalie Cooper will present for Equal Voices on Monday 23rd January. The Senate Committee is due to report by 13th February 2017.

Submissions may be found here:


Upcoming Events

Feel the Love Inner West 2017.jpg

Mardi Gras Film Festival 2017

Welcome to Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival. This year the festival is even bigger, which means there is more of everything, for everyone! We can’t wait for you to check out the full program!

The festival will open with the Australian premiere of A Date For Mad Mary, an outstanding award winning comedy from Ireland. An Irish film also closes the festival, with the stunning coming of age film Handsome Devil so do join us for a special closing night party to be hosted by Panti Bliss.

You’re recommended getting your tickets to these hot items, before they sell out: comedy Pushing Dead starring Danny Glover; Gus Van Sant’s timely When We Risesocial media sensation lesbian doco Girl on Girl; the international premiere of A Million Happy Nows; the world premiere of the high school drama Something Like Summer and of course James Franco in King Cobra.

Browse the whole program here. Remember to pick up a copy of the print guide, which hits the streets today, and alongside the Star Observer next week.

Welcome to Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival. This year the festival is even bigger, which means there is more of everything, for everyone! We can’t wait for you to check out the full program!

The festival will open Wednesday 15th February with the Australian premiere of A Date For Mad Mary, an outstanding award winning comedy from Ireland. An Irish film also closes the festival, with the stunning coming of age film Handsome Devil so do join us for a special closing night party to be hosted by Panti Bliss.

You’re recommended getting your tickets to these hot items, before they sell out: comedy Pushing Dead starring Danny Glover; Gus Van Sant’s timely When We Risesocial media sensation lesbian doco Girl on Girl; the international premiere of A Million Happy Nows; the world premiere of the high school drama Something Like Summer and of course James Franco in King Cobra.

Browse the whole program via the link below! Remember to pick up a copy of the print guide, which hits the streets today, and alongside the Star Observer next week.

PFLAG November 2016 Newsletter

President's Report

“As the dust settles on the plebiscite being voted down, we must not pause or stop. We are closer than ever before to achieving marriage equality. We must move forward and focus on the diverse support that exists for this reform across the community. Let’s use the energy and momentum that has opened hearts and minds on this reform and ensure that we get this done.”

– Alex Greenwich (Member for Sydney and Chair of Australian Marriage Equality) in the Huffington Post - 8/11/16.

I would like to thank Geoff Thomas for inviting and kindly chauffeuring Tiernan Brady to our committee meeting on October 24. Tiernan was a prominent figure in the Yes Equality campaign during Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage and is now working with Australians 4 Equality. Tiernan was an inspirational speaker, sharing many anecdotes, both poignant and whimsical, from his experience with the campaign in Ireland. His advice to us was to start a conversation with family, friends and work colleagues about marriage equality, explaining why the issue is important to us. This is also being proposed on the Australian Marriage Equality website. If you haven’t seen any of the new advertisements for the Equality campaign, it’s worth taking a look. They are very bright and colourful and feature diverse family and community members advocating for equality, which will appeal to a wide cross-section of the population.

It was good to hear long term advocate for marriage equality, Rodney Croome, speaking to Robbie Buck on ABC 702 the morning after the plebiscite was voted down 33-29. He sounded quietly optimistic that we could see a free vote on the issue in this term of government. He said he found it hard to imagine that the Liberal members who support marriage equality could go to the electorate with nothing to offer.

It was a bright, sunny day on October 30 for the 10th Annual Parramatta Pride Picnic, held at the River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta. It was a fun day with entertainment, games, stalls, face-painting and Doggywood. Thank you to all the helpers on the PFLAG stall, Narelle, Marilyn, Adela, Ray, Debbie, Louise and Ron, who very kindly travelled all the way from the Blue Mountains to assist us with packing up and transporting the goods up the hill, even though Ruth was unwell at home. We don’t see the day as a fundraising exercise, but as an outreach to the LGBTI community of Sydney’s west. I feel it is important for PFLAG to be visible and to be able to raise awareness of what we do. It also provides an opportunity to network with the other LGBTI service and advocacy organisations. We had a number of young and not so young people from the LGBTI community come to engage with us on the stall. Deb reported that a lesbian woman visited with her partner and children just to say what a wonderful job PFLAG does for the LGBTQI community. She said that her parents were fantastic when she came out, but she realised this wasn’t always the case and that it’s nice to have PFLAG there to help parents understand that being LGBTQI was not a person’s choice and that parents had done nothing wrong to have a child/children that identify as LGBTQI.

From L to R: Ray, Judy, Louise, Narelle, Ron & Marilyn at the PFLAG stall. Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Sydney Star Observer

From L to R: Ray, Judy, Louise, Narelle, Ron & Marilyn at the PFLAG stall.

Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Sydney Star Observer

At the time of my last newsletter report, the amount of the proceeds from the Alphabet Soup Cinema screening of “Beautiful Thing” at the Mount Vic Flicks on October 14 was unknown. We were thrilled to have received $350 from the sale of theatre tickets and another $305 from the sale of raffle tickets and refreshments on the night, giving us a total of $655 to put towards the work of PFLAG. Thanks to Peter & Martin for their generous gesture in holding the benefit night for PFLAG and to David for doing such a great job of selling our raffle tickets. Thank you to Ruth & Ron, who put so much into the night. Thank you to Pam, who prepared such a wonderful speech for the night, only to find herself unfortunately hospitalised on the day, so delegated the reading of it to Arthur. This was made all the more poignant as their son, Stuart, came out and put his arm around his dad and supported him through the reading of it, which he did so beautifully. It was great to have Tony, Bernadette and John come from Bathurst for the evening and to have Natalie and Adela travel up from Sydney to join us and help out.

2016 has again been a busy year for PFLAG and we would not have been able to take part in the many diverse activities without the support of all our wonderful committee members. I would particularly like to thank Gillian Maury for her dedicated service to the PFLAG committee over many years. Gillian has often being called upon to do media interviews or give speeches to rallies in support of equal rights for the GLBTI community and has always handled the task in such a professional manner. She, along with her charming husband, raffle ticket seller extraordinaire, Jean-Pierre, has assisted at many Fair Days, supported young men at ACON, assisted at Mardi Gras, represented us at meetings and film screenings and counselled many distraught parents on the phone or at meetings. Due to increased family commitments, Gillian is unable to be a part of the committee for 2017. We will miss you, Gillian, but know that you will be prepared to assist us when you can.

I would like to thank Natalie for the tremendous effort she has put in on PFLAG’s behalf this past year. Not only is she editing and disseminating the monthly newsletter, but since last AGM, has also assumed the role of secretary and on top of that has been managing the new website. I would like to thank Vice-President, Ruth and her husband, Ron, for their ongoing support in the running of PFLAG and for the amazing inroads they are making in the Blue Mountains community, Pam, for her exemplary work as treasurer, her commitment to Parramatta Queer Forum and along with Arthur, her engagement with local media, Ray, for being my support, Narelle, Marilyn, Mollie, Adela, Carol, Geoff, Louise, Wanda. You have all given of your time with so many and varied activities in the past year, even though you all lead such busy lives. I would like to acknowledge the continued, invaluable assistance given by Les & Sue to the organisation of Mardi Gras. We couldn’t manage without you both.

We really appreciate the support of the Pollys Club, who chose PFLAG as one of their grant recipients in December last year and generously handed over a cheque for $1000 towards the setting up of our new website. Thanks to Stuart Garske, who started work in January this year and had it up and running in July. He did a fabulous job and we now get lots of positive feedback and many new members. Thanks to Natalie for the time she spent being trained by Stuart to operate the site.

I will elaborate on our other generous sponsors in the Annual Report.

I feel privileged to be a part of the committee with the respect afforded to us as PFLAG’s representatives and the lasting friendships we have made. We would warmly welcome new members to join the committee. Just ring Judy on 9869 1454 or email and we’d be happy to nominate you.

Thanks to all who came to our October family meeting to support new families and to Ruth for facilitating for us.

If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do so prior to the AGM if possible.

Mardi Gras will be held on March 4, 2017. If you wish to be part of the PFLAG contingent, contact Judy on 9869 1454 or email Further info will be on the website in the new year.

The first meeting for 2017 will be on Saturday, January 28th @ 2pm.

I hope that many of you will be able to attend the AGM & Christmas Party on Saturday, November 26th @ 2pm. Please bring a plate of finger food to share. BYOG if you wish. Tea/coffee/juice/soft drinks provided.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and happy 2017.                                       

-   Judy


Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is the day we come together to commemorate those who have suffered violence as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued injustices endured by the transgender community.

Date:              Sunday 20 November

Location:      Harmony Park, Surry Hills (Next to Sydney Police Centre)
                       5-10 minute walk from Museum Station

3.00pm        Opening Ceremony and unveiling of a commemoration plaque.
3.30pm         Living Library. Real people, real conversations. The Living Library aims to challenge prejudices and promote understanding         and empathy through one-on-one conversations. Come and talk to one of our "books", who are members of the gender-diverse community.
5.30pm         Outdoor Film Screening hosted by Queer Screen.
7.00pm        Candlelight Vigil.

For more information



Ending HIV Ribbon Appeal

Organisers of this year’s Ending HIV Red Ribbon Appeal are calling on people to join in efforts to end HIV transmission in NSW by participating in the annual fundraising event.

The Ending HIV Red Ribbon Appeal takes place in the lead up to and on World AIDS Day (1 December). People can make buy ribbons, make a donation or volunteer to sell ribbons on the street or in their workplace by visiting:

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the focus of the event continues to align with NSW’s approach to ending HIV transmission by 2020.

For more information



BARE The Musical!


Nov 30th  – Dec 17th  

The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville ($42/$49)

Pulsating, electric contemporary LBGT pop-rock musical BARE follows a group of students at a Catholic boarding school as they grapple with issues of sexuality, identityand the future. The show is set to take audiences on an emotional musical journey.  Peter and Jason have fallen in love, but they struggle with the fears of revealing their true selves to such an unforgiving world. With a unique sung-through pop score, heart-pounding lyrics and a cast of bright young characters, BARE rings with the sounds of youthful repression and revolt.  BARE is a provocative, fresh and utterly honest look at the dangers of baring your soul ... and the consequences of continuing to hide. 

Gay Youth Forum Overview

Following the 5:00pm show on Sunday, 4 December, we will hold a safe and open discussion forum for Sydney's gay youth and young adults.  Audiences will have the chance to speak with the cast about the show and ask select cast members about their own personal 'coming out' experiences.

We will be offering a special discounted price of $39 per ticket for the 4 December performance.  Simply use the code BAREFORUM when booking your ticket online.

Contact the director Hannah Barn on 0449 740 061 if you would like to interview her for an article.



Upcoming EVENTS


Polly's Club: "No Trivial Matter"   19th November

Tables of 10 are selling fast, but Single tickets are now available to buy - it's the best option if you want to meet a mix of people and make new friends, especially if your table wins.



FREE: Self-Defence Class for the LGBTIQ Community


BARE The Musical



World AIDS Day Commemoration

Fair Day 2017:   Sunday 19th February

Fair Day 2017 will be held at Bicentennial Park, Glebe in 2017, with works taking place in the usual venue of Victoria Park.

SAVE THE DATE! Come and visit the PFLAG stall and join in the fun of the Fair!

PFLAG October 2016 Newsletter

President's Report

 “To those who use religious or cultural arguments to deprive LGBT people of their human rights, I ask: “What do you gain by making others less equal? Is your religion or culture so weak that you need to deprive others of their fundamental human rights?”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, September, 2016.

Albury Anglican leader, Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller, in Letters to the Editor – on 30/09/16 wrote a thought-provoking piece:

“While there is considerable debate over funding the “Yes” and “No” campaigns around the marriage equality plebiscite, there is little doubt that the social cost already generated by the issue can be credited to generations of institutional investment in silence. The fear and aggression displayed towards commentators advocating marriage equality employs ancient Christian weapons that should have been locked up, decommissioned and surrendered but instead are employed to wage a new war between world views using members of the Australian public as foot soldiers. Evolution of the species is a reality that has not been assisted by conservative religious institutions, and the evolution of the institution marriage has been similarly gaffer-taped by the same team that initially supported slavery, denied women the vote, compromised best outcomes for children and straightjacketed social and religious diversity.  In the arsenal of guilty secrets, ‘unchanged biblical marriage’ ticks away as a fiction made possible by collective ignorance, against which Copernicus, Galileo, Wilberforce, Darwin and Pankhurst struggled, and against which those advocating marriage equality struggle today. This is not a Sunday school picnic with fairy floss and pin the tail on the donkey. The plebiscite is more akin to sponsoring civil war with air-dropped ‘hate’ propaganda and pinning the cost on a new generation of young victims.”

In the SMH News Review of October 8-9, Elizabeth Farrelly, in her article “When the church can’t follow its own code”, draws attention to the unfair treatment meted out to Sydney Anglican priest Rev. Dr. Keith Mascord, in having his license to preach revoked, by the hierarchy of the Sydney Anglicans, for his advocacy of same-sex marriage. In a subsequent article in the ABC News online, Julia Baird reports that in the wake of the likely failure of the plebiscite bill, a group of 68 priests and church leaders across Australia have signed a petition urging the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney to allow “free and open debate” about same-sex marriage within his church. A signatory to the petition, Dr. Muriel Porter, a church historian and member of the General Synod, said the action taken was highly unusual, but that they are tired of the bullying, especially when it comes to the issue of human sexuality. “Perhaps it signals a new determination to speak up in support of LGBTI people who have been so appallingly treated by the Christian Church”, she said.

PFLAG and other LGBTI organisations were invited by Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Party, to a roundtable at Surry Hills on Tuesday, October 4 re the proposed plebiscite. Geoff Thomas and I put forward our grave concerns on behalf of PFLAG. Bill Shorten was so impressed with Geoff’s impassioned speech that he asked him to repeat it at the press conference afterwards. We heard from several of the advocacy groups of the attacks that their organisations had been recently exposed to, including personal assaults, by the opponents of marriage equality. Out of all the groups and individuals who were present, there wasn’t one who supported the plebiscite. In fact, one of Tanya Plibersek’s constituents, an 88 year old man, who had hoped to be able to marry his long-term male partner of 84 in October, 2017, said they would rather wait than be subjected to the divisive plebiscite. Bill Shorten assured us that Labor would vote down the plebiscite bill when Parliament resumed the following week. We are very relieved that Mr Shorten has been true to his word.

Thank you and congratulations to our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, who has expended an enormous amount of her own money, along with many hours of effort and stress in her mission to dispense with the divisive plebiscite bill and to attempt to achieve a free vote on marriage equality. Her makeitlaw campaign on behalf of PFLAG ensured well over 400,000 letters arrived in Canberra over a period of 8 weeks. We had a call from the Federal member for Parramatta, Julie Owens’ office to thank and congratulate PFLAG for the successful campaign. Susan Templeman, Federal member for Macquarie, also wrote a congratulatory letter. Even though we still have a way to go to achieve marriage equality, we hope it will be through a much less destructive process, that of a free vote in Parliament. We would also like to acknowledge the massive efforts of the many LGBTI  activists, especially Rodney Croome, Alex Greenwich and all those advocating to achieve marriage equality through civilised means.

Thanks to Jackie Braw, Senior Programs Officer LGBTI with NSW Police, for inviting us to an event at Thomson Reuters on Wednesday evening, October 12 titled “Beyond Tokenism”. The aim of the event was to discuss whether organisations were going beyond tokenism and if pride and diversity policies were really working.  It featured a panel of corporate people, including Superintendent Tony Crandell, Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, NSW Police and Pride in Diversity’s Senior Programs Officer, Ross Wetherbee. The panel was moderated by the ABC’s Fran Kelly. They spoke about the results of the 2016 Australian Workplace Equality Index that found that 45% of LGBTI Australians hide their sexuality or gender identity at work because they fear it may damage their career.

This had been reported in the SMH of October 3, where Dawn Hough, director of ACON’s Pride inclusion programs, said this figure was an improvement on those reported as recently as 6 years ago, where the vast majority of those surveyed would hide their sexual identity. Ms Hough was surprised however that people in the public sector were much less comfortable to come out compared to the private sector. Former High Court Judge, Michael Kirby, was the guest speaker and was inspirational as usual. He spoke about what life was like for him in the workplace years ago and how he perfected the art of pretending. He and his partner, Johan, had a code for making phone calls to one another, so that they would be sure to connect directly, rather than to elicit suspicion from work colleagues. He said this went on for about 30 years. He feels now that it is his duty to speak out on discrimination wherever it may surface to support all LGBTI people. He mentioned that he was overjoyed to see the demise of the plebiscite bill and see it consigned to the dustbin of history, as there were still those out there with a lot of hate for homosexuals, who would take any opportunity to deride them.

The panel discussed how they could work together to further drive LGBTI awareness and acceptance and to include these factors in their recruitment programs.

Thank you to the LGBTIQ movie group, Alphabet Soup Cinema, who hosted a very successful screening of the film “Beautiful Thing” at the Mount Vic Flicks in Mt Victoria on Friday, 14th October. Arthur, Ruth & Ron addressed the audience and all proceeds were donated to PFLAG.

Make sure you have Sunday, October 30th in your calendar – the 10th Annual Parramatta Pride Picnic at the River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta. Come along to see us on the PFLAG stall and join in all the other festivities.

Thank you to all who came along to our September meeting to assist new families and thanks to Ruth for facilitating for us. Hope to see many of you at our Family Meeting on October 22, for as Rudy always said: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU!” - Judy



Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir's 25th Anniversary!

Congratulations to our friends of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, who are celebrating the Choir's 25th Anniversary! The choir held its first ever performance in 1991, following a letter published in the Sydney Star Observer in November 1990, which called for community interest in forming a choir.

Since then, the choir has performed Carl Vine's Mythologia with the Sydney Dance Company at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, hosted the first Australasian Gay and Lesbian Choral Festival and performed at the Sydney Gay Games Choral Festival.

The choir will celebrate the Anniversary milestone in true style this Sunday 23rd October, presenting Silver Linings at the Paddington Town Hall.

The concert will feature popular classics from the repertoire in the past 25 years, such as k.d. lang's ‘Barefoot’, Freddie Mercury's ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and David Bowie's ‘Space Oddity’, as well as new compositions to commemorate the anniversary.


Sunday 23rd October, 5.30pm

Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford St, Paddington




Walking Between Worlds: Seminar with Anthony Venn-Brown


Friday 28th October, Sydney

Anthony Venn-Brown was a popular preacher in the mega-churches of Australia. His bestselling autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’ details his 22 years attempting to change his homosexuality through counselling, prayer, exorcisms, ‘ex-gay’ programs and 16 years of marriage. Anthony is now a respected community leader and was twice voted one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians and winner of the ACON Health and Wellbeing Award (2015). He is the co-founder of Freedom2b, Australia’s largest organisation for LGBTI people from Christian backgrounds. He is also the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.

Understanding the LGBTI faith person’s background, worldview, beliefs systems as well as the unique personal and mental health issues they face, enables community workers and service providers to work more effectively with their clients.

EARLY BIRD RATE extended to Friday 21st October!

For details and how to register:



Queer Screen in the Mountains

Following on from a successful Mardi Gras Film Festival earlier this year, Queer Screen is once again bringing the Festival back to the Blue Mountains from 21-23 October 2016.

Showcasing four great films from their Festival line up, Opening Night will feature Southwest of Salem:  The Story of the San Antonio Four which will be held at The Carrington in Katoomba on Friday 21 October 2016. This film was the Winner of the Outstanding Documentary Feature Award at this year’s Frameline Festival.

For all movie information:  and booking enquiries:

And tickets:



Pacific Pride Choir: 2017 Europe Trip

Founded by Sarah & Melanie Penicka-Smith, with the help of KIConcerts, the Pacific Pride Choir (PPC) is an occasional touring choir created to contribute to the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQI people in countries where homosexuality is legalised, but not fully recognised. PPC will travel to areas without their own queer choir, and/or where LGBTQI people are still working towards acceptance. PPC will work in partnership with local LGBTQI organisations and people to create visibility, solidarity, and recognition.

The idea for the Pacific Pride Choir was born during Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir’s 2014 tour to Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga. SGLC’s tour got the media’s attention, letting the words ‘gay and lesbian’ appear on national TV. Local queer folk told us how they felt less alone seeing the choir, how they wished they could have their own choir, and how we were needed in other parts of Europe.

Pacific Pride Choir is open to any member of the LGBTQI community, and to our straight friends. Experience singing in a choir is preferable but not essential. Partners, family members and friends who do not wish to sing but would still like to participate are welcome to travel with us.

The next trip is planned for July 2017, to Berlin, Warsaw and Krakow.

Further information, brochures and forms:



PFLAG NSW Regional News

  • Michelle Lancey- PFLAG Newcastle/Hunterhad a stall @ Newcastle University on October 13 with ACON for the university’s Pride Week.  Michelle reported: “It was very uplifting to talk to these young people and hear their stories.  It made me realise how important PFLAG is.  I walked around with picture cards and it was surprising how open these young people were after choosing 5 cards to tell their story. So many at 18, just out of school, were too frightened to tell their parents. Their biggest word was trust.”

  • Tony Sutton – PFLAG Bathurst was interviewed on his regional ABC radio station by Fiona Wyllie regarding the impending demise of the plebiscite bill. Tony expressed his delight to see the end of the divisive bill.

  • Ron and Ruth Green – PFLAG Blue Mountains were featured in the Blue Mountains Gazette regarding  the benefit night for PFLAG at the Alphabet Soup Cinema @ Mt. Vic Flicks on October 14



Jenny Pausacker - Author Website Launch

Between 1975 - 2007, Jenny Pausacker was one of the few openly gay Australian authors for young adults. Jenny has just launched her archival website, with three original articles written for the site, an annotated booklist of the 134 Australian kids' books with LGBQ characters published between 1985 and 2015, an account of being the first publicly gay writer for younger readers, and more.




The Pollys Club, will again be part of Trivia fundraising for the community. 19th November, Marrickville Town Hall.   

The Pollys Club, will again be part of Trivia fundraising for the community. 19th November, Marrickville Town Hall.





PFLAG September 2016 Newsletter

President's Report

“Well, that’s the world in which I grew up. Schools were not the place to discuss it. Universities were not the place to discuss it. The workplace wasn’t the place to discuss it. So just keep it quiet, keep it to yourself. Don’t discuss it. And that’s the formula for continuation of the prejudice that existed. That’s the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ philosophy. I think we’ve moved beyond that in Australia.”  

- Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby, responding to the ABC’s “Lateline” presenter Emma Alberici on August 26 re a petition of 17,000 signatures tabled in the NSW Parliament from the Australian Chinese Community against the Safe Schools Program.

Safe Schools is a federally funded anti-bullying program aimed at helping LGBTI school students and is administered by state and territory education departments. Mr Kirby said his childhood was an incredibly lonely time and the support offered by the Safe Schools Program would have been welcomed.

“In the big assembly at my school, no-one spoke to me, no-one spoke of my sexuality and that was a very lonely time in my life and I’ve got to this point in my life and I’m speaking up for those who are sitting in those assemblies. The Australian Chinese Community should know that Australia has moved on from not discussing homosexuality”

August 26, of course, was “Wear It Purple” day, the day where young LGBTI people can celebrate who they are, educate their peers and challenge societal attitudes. Thanks to Geoff Thomas, who represented PFLAG at the Wear It Purple Mini Fair Day @ the Hub in Newtown, where NSW Police were out in force to show their support, along with many of the LGBTI service organisations. Geoff said that he really enjoyed the day and a number of people stopped to ask him about PFLAG. He also mentioned that he learned a lot about the Safe Schools Program.

Thanks also to Geoff who represented us on the “Start Making Sense” panel , speaking to young gay men at ACON on September 8 and thanks to Tim Wark, ACON’s Community Health Promotion Officer , for inviting PFLAG to be involved. Geoff said that he spoke to a group of about 18 young men and many approached him afterwards to ask questions.

NSW Police show their support for Wear It Purple Day

NSW Police show their support for Wear It Purple Day


Thank you to Ruth and Ron, who addressed a lunchtime meeting of KPMG staff in the city on August 24 as part of their “Wear It Purple” celebrations that week. Ray and I were in the UK, visiting our daughter and family, but noticed very positive feedback to their talk on the PFLAG email. Ruth reported that their talk went very well and that the participants asked very good questions. The KPMG staff presented them with a lovely bunch of flowers. Ruth and Ron have also been welcomed on to the committee of “Pink Mountains”, as representatives of PFLAG in the Blue Mountains. Pink Mountains is an online community information guide and pink pages business directory for LGBTI people, their friends and supporters living or visiting in the Blue Mountains.

Congratulations to Neil Phipps, Narelle’s son, who recently performed in “Off the Record” at Carriageworks.  It was great that Neil could make use of his Auslan interpreting skills as well as his acting prowess in this unique performance.

Good news this week from Queensland. Couples in same-sex relationships will now be able to adopt children. Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman announced the government would overturn discriminatory laws following a wide-ranging review of the state’s Adoption Act 2009. “As a society we do not tolerate discrimination. It is only fair that members of the LGBTI community have the same rights as any other Queenslander and that includes the right to raise a family with an adopted child,” she said. The reforms will bring Queensland in line with NSW, the ACT and WA in allowing adoption by same-sex couples and single people.

There has been quite a bit of media attention this week on the Coalition’s proposal to hold a plebiscite on Marriage Equality in February next year. As I have mentioned before, we at PFLAG are very concerned about the negative impact that holding this plebiscite will have on the LGBTI community, especially the young, and their families and friends. We received a very nasty and abusive email message this week through our PFLAG website from a person, who had gone to the trouble of creating a discrete email address for the sole purpose of anonymously deriding the LGBTI community using the worst language you could imagine. I forwarded it on to our local Federal member, John Alexander, to alert him to the kind of rhetoric to which we and the LGBTI community are to be exposed if this divisive plebiscite goes ahead. I asked him to convey our grave concerns to the PM and to implore him to hold a free vote to resolve the issue.

Our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, sent this message to us in August: “I have been National Spokesperson since 2007 and have been travelling to Canberra since 2005 on a regular basis. Governments have constantly changed the goalposts for many years now on LGBTIQ concerns. Complying with their wishes to hold a plebiscite is no guarantee at all that Marriage Equality will happen. There are too many MPs and senators who have worked very hard to put road blocks in our way and will continue to do so. Shelley listed her concerns below.

Concerns about a Plebiscite are:

  • It will be divisive

  • It will encourage anger and hatred from both sides

  • It will be a waste of taxpayers’ money

  • It will negatively impact on families generally with LGBT loved ones and their own.

  • The survey reveals that the large majority of LGBTIQ people prefer to wait for a Free Vote

  • We don't know who will write the question!

  • When the date will be set?

  • Will there be only one question?

  • Will the vote be compulsory?

  • Will it set up the Plebiscite for failure?

  • Will it be electorate by electorate or State by State?

  • Will MPs be compelled to pass legislation?

  • Will both sides get public funding?

  • If so, what groups from either side will get funding and how will it be decided?


    Tell your MP and senators to vote against a Marriage Equality plebiscite. You can convey this message easily, if you are able to go to the website “” that has been set up on behalf of PFLAG.


    Thanks to all who attended our Family Meeting on August 27 in order to offer support to new families, while we were away in the UK. Thanks also to Ruth, Narelle, Natalie and all the wonderful committee members who held the fort in our absence. It was very much appreciated. I hope to see many of you at our upcoming Family Meeting on September 24, for as Rudy says:

    When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You!”                                                                                                               

  - Judy


Media Release: Alphabet Soup 1st Birthday!

Alphabet Soup Cinema – the Blue Mountains’ monthly film club for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people and their friends – is turning one. And to mark the occasion, the group is planning its biggest event yet.

On Saturday, September 24, the movie club will hold its first birthday film night and party at the Baroque Bar and Nightclub, Katoomba.

The event will kick off at 7.30pm with a screening of Between a Frock and a Hard Place, the acclaimed documentary about Australian film classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – the movie Alphabet Soup launched with last year.

The documentary’s producer, Katoomba resident JO-ANNE MCGOWAN, will be on hand to introduce the 58-minute film, which was screened nationally on ABC-TV in March.

Between a Frock and a Hard Place – billed as “the true story behind one of the world’s most loved films” – is narrated by iconic British actor TERENCE STAMP, who played the character of Bernadette in Priscilla.

The documentary was recently nominated for a prestigious AWGIE Award by the Australian Writers’ Guild, and features interviews with actors GUY PEARCE and HUGO WEAVING, Priscilla director STEPHAN ELLIOTT, and key figures from Sydney’s LGBTIQ scene in the 1980s and ’90s.

Between a Frock and a Hard Place has been very well received since its release – but it’s an extra special buzz to have a public screening right here in my home of Katoomba,” said Ms McGowan.

Priscilla is integral to Australia’s cultural landscape – it’s a crucible of transformation and changing attitudes, and it propelled many of its young cast and crew to international fame,” she added.

Between a Frock and a Hard Place will be followed by a screening of Priscilla itself, after which the Baroque will shift into nightclub mode for a dance party featuring pop and disco classics.

“It’s going to be a great night of fun and celebration,” said Alphabet Soup Cinema coordinator PETER HACKNEY.

“Think music, lights, disco balls and drag queens.”

Mr Hackney said 100 per cent of profits from the evening would go to Pink Mountains Youth, the new social support group for local LGBTIQ youth.

“We’d like to thank everyone who’s supported Alphabet Soup over the past year,” he said. “It’s because of you that the night has been a success.”

Tickets to the evening ($15 concession, $20 full price) are available now at Bookings essential!


LGBTI 55+ Shared Luncheon: 'Healthy Ageing'


ACON’s LOVE Project and Inner West Council invites you to a FREE social event for LGBTI people 55 plus to explore healthy ageing and wellbeing. Hosted by the fabulous Aunty Mavis. Come and share a healthy lunch and make some new friends. Health professionals will be demonstrating activities that promote healthy ageing. 

Saturday 29 October 10.30am for 11am start until 2pm
Petersham Town Hall, 107 Crystal Street Petersham
RSVP to Russ by 26 October  - Phone 9206 2017 or

Booking Essential as numbers are limited

See the flyer under ‘Events’ for all details!


Parramatta Pride Picnic Sunday 30th October

The banks of the Parramatta River will come alive with Rainbow Pride on Sunday, October 30th as the Parramatta Pride Picnic celebrates its 10 year anniversary.

Organisers are expecting over 500 people to attend the event which will be held at the River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta from 11:00am to 4:00pm. This is the biggest annual event for Western Sydney’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community and is important as it helps to combat isolation and homophobia.

The picnic is being presented by the Parramatta Queer Forum, a group of GLBTI community organisations including ACON – Australia’s largest GLBTI health and HIV/AIDS organisation, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Parramatta City Council, the Western Sydney Local Health District and the Metropolitan Community Church.

Details are in the flyer under ‘Events’ at the end of this newsletter.


Victoria University Study: Gay Men and Diabetes

Australia’s first study of gay men with type 2 diabetes is underway at Victoria University.

Edwin Pascoe is conducting the study as part of his Masters of Education with an aim to progress the research to a PhD.

As a registered nurse and a credentialed diabetes educator at Wyndhamvale Health Care in Melbourne’s west, Edwin noticed gay men are not as engaged in their diabetes care as their heterosexual counterparts.

This is because they have unique challenges managing their condition, he said.

“Earlier data showed gay men were often recipients of homophobic attitudes by health care professions, so were less likely to seek medical advice,” he said.

“With improved public attitudes, it’s unclear what gay men’s experiences are.”

Through an online survey and in-depth interviews, the study will help identify areas that need to be addressed when planning diabetes care for Australia’s gay community.

“By having gay-specific information and fostering a gay-friendly environment, men will be better engaged in their own health care in a way that leads to better health outcomes for them, physically, mentally and socially,” he said. 

Approximately 6% of Australia’s general population has diabetes (type 1 and 2) compared with about 3.5% of the gay community.

Edwin says the lower rate may be due to lack of reporting since a range of risk factors such as smoking, drinking, depression, and eating disorders associated with the gay community could equate to increased risk of developing diabetes.   

He hopes his study will serve as a starting point to look at other groups with diabetes within the Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Intersex Queer (LGBTIQA) communities.

The study consists of an online survey of 250 participants, followed by in-depth one-to-two-hour interviews with a smaller group.

It will also include experiences of other credentialed diabetes educators when they treat this group of men.  This will be compared with responses gay men say they have when they seek treatment.

Edwin is particularly interested in including members of diverse cultural and age groups in his study. 

Further information: 


Upcoming Events


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