PFLAG November 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

 “Now, I accept that the Church will never marry me – that grieves me in ways you will never know. I’m the one in my family, when I buried my parents, I organised every detail of the requiem masses, I wrote the orders of service, I put the pall over my mother’s coffin. Now I accept that the Catholic Church will never marry me, but you won’t even let me marry outside the Church. Fair enough in your domain you do what you like – we live in a live and let live society. I don’t want to tell anyone else what to do. Why should you have the right to tell me or any other person, straight or gay, what they do in the civil domain? That’s not your domain.”

 – Magda Szubanski on the ABC’s “Q & A” program on October 23, taking aim at the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, for imposing his traditional idea of marriage on those who choose to marry outside of the Church.

Both Geoff Thomas and Natalie had gone along to that Same-Sex Marriage Episode of Q & A, armed with their questions to put to the panel, but unfortunately did not get the chance to ask them.

Thanks to Ruth, who penned an excellent letter, which we forwarded on behalf of PFLAG to the complaints department at the ABC re bias towards the “No” campaign on an episode of “The Drum” aired on October 24.  Specifically, the episode ran the “No” campaign’s advertisement, which contained two phrases, which purportedly came from the Safe Schools anti-bullying program. Ruth stated:

Those phrases were never designed to be cherry picked, plastered over social media and television screens, in an ill-informed, sensationalist, insensitive advertising campaign designed to cause fear and distress to families. PFLAG families just want our loved ones who are gay or lesbian to be treated with dignity and respect and equality under Australian Law.”

It was so heartening to hear the forthright and passionate responses from two of the school students featured on the panel of Q & A on November 6. Nadia Homen from Burwood Girls High and Geordie Brown from Oxley High in Tamworth were amazing advocates for the LGBT community. In response to a fellow panellist’s comment that the postal survey had been the most realistic way to see great change in regards to LGBT youth and how they are perceived in Australia, Geordie let loose with: “Respectfully, I think your comment about the plebiscite being a good thing is absolutely ludicrous. It hasn’t been a respectful debate at all.” He added that he thought the media coverage had been quite tame, since news outlets had a responsibility to keep it that way, but if you look through online responses from the public you will find a different story he said: “There is such an abundance of disrespectful and hateful comments, which truly are making the LGBTI community feel so isolated and feel so unrespected in what should be a really progressive nation.”

In response to a question on whether LGBT young people should receive education relevant to their identity, Nadia replied: “They absolutely should. That $122 million that went into that postal vote that nobody even wanted in the first place, that should have gone to funding mental health programs for LGBT youth or into same-sex education.” She said the vote had “created a national platform to debate and pull apart and dissect the relationships of same-sex couples as though they’re not human.”  She then commented: “That’s demoralising.” Geordie agreed and referring to the politicians, responded with: “It is their job, whether it be about values or normal legislation, at the end of the day, we the Australian people elected them to represent our views.”  Such wisdom! I wish they were running the country.

Reverend Dr Keith Mascord, in his article in the SMH of November 8, states that he has been dismayed by the contributions of the Australian churches to the acrimonious and damaging debate that has been imposed on us, particularly by those who have joined the Coalition for Marriage. I think we could all say “Amen” to that. Keith’s dismay was threefold: "First, because Australian churches have been callous and un-Christ-like in their support for an extended public campaign, which they surely knew was certain to cause widespread distress and suffering to some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens. Second, by the essentially dishonest, fear-driven and fear-creating nature of the campaign churches have signed up to and put big money towards. Third, because those churches who joined the Coalition for Marriage appear oblivious to how morally compromised they have become in claiming they alone speak for God.” Keith invites all Christians to add their names to a National Apology to LGBTI-plus fellow Australians, which includes a commitment to reconciliation.

As you would be aware, the YES vote won with 61.16% of all surveys returned. We hope that the Government will now treat LGBTIQ people with respect and do not allow the replacement of one discrimination with another, and do not delay in bringing the bill to Parliament.

Spot anyone you know?!  (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer

Spot anyone you know?!  (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer

Neil Phipps providing Auslan interpretation at the Sydney equality vote announcement (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)

Neil Phipps providing Auslan interpretation at the Sydney equality vote announcement (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer)

 

It was a fine sunny day on October 29 for the 11th Annual Parramatta Pride Picnic, held at the River Foreshore Reserve. This year there was a Marriage Equality Rally held outside the Parramatta Town Hall at 12 noon. There were a number of excellent speakers, including Geoff Thomas. The police then closed off Church St. and about 200 of us joined the march down to the picnic.

Geoff Thomas at the Parramatta Pride Picnic, with his famous Equality Ute (photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer

Geoff Thomas at the Parramatta Pride Picnic, with his famous Equality Ute (photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Star Observer

 

 The day was packed with entertainment, stalls, games, children’s activities, dog shows and a Women’s Forum, which included a delectable High Tea in a dedicated marquee. Pam & Arthur’s daughter, Simone, was an admirable panellist. Colourful drag queens arrived on the Rivercat and there was a myriad of great food and drink options.

I would like to thank all the valuable assistants on the PFLAG stall, Geoff, who also had his Equality ute on display, Narelle, Ray, Marilyn, Louise, Deb & Christine and Arthur, who took care of the First Aid with St. John’s Ambulance and Pam, who welcomed people to the picnic and handed out the information flyers. We don’t consider the day as a fundraiser, but as an outreach to the LGBTI community of Sydney’s West, although we did actually come out a few dollars in front this year. I think the visibility and awareness -raising of PFLAG is most important. It’s also a great opportunity to network with the other LGBTI service and advocacy organisations. We were kept busy all day with visitors to the stall, seeking advice and material for family members and friends and this year many people just wanted to share their experiences with the divisive postal survey and relate interesting anecdotes.

Thank you to Narelle who spoke to staff at the Royal Bank of Canada on November 3 in Park Street. Narelle reported that the talk went really well and that there was also a transgender Maori policewoman speaking, who was marvellous. Narelle said there was a good crowd and an excellent response and quite a few people spoke to her afterwards, including a gentleman, who was extremely complimentary and said he thought she had a bright future as a public speaker. I think we would all agree with that. Well done Narelle!

2017 has proved to be a very busy year for PFLAG and we would not have been able to engage in the many diverse activities without the support of our wonderful committee members. I would like to thank Adela for the dedicated service she has given to PFLAG over her 2 years as a committee member. She has spent hours fashioning rainbow items for us to sell at Fair Day and other events and has been prominent in assisting new family members at meetings and been a great support at all our events. Due to Saturday commitments, Adela will be unable to continue on the committee, but has generously offered to assist at Fair Day and so on.

Natalie had taken on a mammoth task by assuming the role of secretary 2 years ago, as well as continuing to edit and disseminate the newsletter for us and assist with website matters. We appreciate all the effort Natalie has put in over her 3 years on the committee. Due to her increasing commitments, Natalie will be stepping down as newsletter editor, but has generously offered to continue as Minutes Secretary, whilst Narelle has offered to be the Membership Secretary and also manage the applications for Fair Day and Mardi Gras. Ray has offered to take on the role of Newsletter Editor.

I would like to thank Vice-President, Ruth and her husband, Ron, for their wonderful support in the running of PFLAG and for their advocacy work and amazing networking in the Blue Mountains, including facilitating the very generous donation from the Three Sisters Social Group, which financed our brochure reprint. Thank you Ray for always being on hand to assist and for your publicity efforts, Pam, for your sterling work  as Treasurer, your pioneering work in attaining Charitable Tax Deductibility status for PFLAG NSW, your ongoing commitment to the Parramatta Queer Forum and along with Arthur, your engagement with local media. Thanks to Geoff for your involvement in the multitude of engagements furthering the cause of Equality for the LGBTI community and for your support of young gay men at ACON. Thank you to Narelle for all your work with the constitution in your role as Public Officer and your ongoing commitment to the archives and to Marilyn & Louise for your invaluable assistance at meetings and events, to Carol, for your engagement with your local LGBTI community events and phone & email contacts and to Mollie for your ongoing commitment to PFLAG and advocacy for Equal Rights for the LGBTI community. I must also thank Les & Sue for their invaluable assistance with Mardi Gras and also Gillian & Jean-Pierre and Susana, who are still very much involved. A special thanks to Helen Robertson, from PFLAG Central Coast, for her generous assistance with Facebook.

Thanks to everyone who came along to our October 28 meeting to support others and to Ruth for facilitating the meeting for us.

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

The Mardi Gras parade will take place on March 3 in 2018. As 2018 will be the 40th Anniversary, we expect to have a lot of applications. We will be giving preference to our existing members and those from interstate & regional PFLAG groups. If you wish to be part of the PFLAG contingent for 2018, please register your name with Judy on 9869 1454 or email: info@pflagaustralia.org.au

The first Family Meeting for 2018 will be on Saturday, January 27th @ 2pm.

I hope to see many of you at our AGM and Christmas Party on November 25th @ 2pm at “175” (formerly Wesley Lodge Motel), 175 Hawkesbury Rd., Westmead. Please bring a plate of finger food to share.    

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy & healthy 2018.                                Judy      

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Nov 20th

transgenderday2.jpg

 

New video from the Gayby Baby team!

The team from Gayby Baby have some exciting news:

Dear Gayby Baby partners,

Today we have launched a beautiful new video "Vote For Love", a co-production with the Guardian Australia, directed by Ebony and Gus from Gayby Baby - who are now teenagers, if you can believe it!

It's been wonderful to see Ebony and Gus step behind the camera and talk to the next generation about life and love, and how it feels to be a gayby during the postal survey. The incredible insights shared by the 10 kids in the video, reminds us once again, that we should not "think of the children" - we should listen to them.

We are so proud of what Gus, Ebony and all the kids have achieved with this video. Please watch and share with your networks today:

The full video at (preferred):

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2017/oct/16/gayby-baby-vote-for-love-video

OR from Guardian FB Page:

https://www.facebook.com/theguardianaustralia/videos/1522445671123847/?hc_ref=ARRJKFQ-FPmHn7iqZOSBxKmBrGiT9A2_PeJHrlKN1Mlu3fWLPOmssrxutHDXeuUTOCs

We hope you love the video as much as we do! Thank you for your support.

With deep gratitude,
Maya, Charlotte, Gus and Ebony

 

Events

Acceptance Sydney Service of Healing and Reconciliation: Friday 17th November

Service of Healing & Reconciliation
Friday 17 November 8PM, St Joseph’s Newtown
Celebrant: Fr Peter Maher

This coming Friday, join us for a service of healing and reconciliation in the aftermath of the postal  survey. We are especially concerned for the way in which many churches and religious groups have contributed to the pain of many Australians, especially those identifying as LGBTIQ+. Come together to rebuild our community and create opportunities for all Australians for healing and reconciliation.

The mass is to stand with and affirm the dignity and support for LGBTIQ+ peoples, their families and their friends, after this bruising process.

St Joseph's Catholic Church: Bedford St, Newtown

 

Polly's Christmas Dance: Saturday 2nd December

polly dance.jpg

Join The Pollys Club for their final spectacular show and dance for 2017. A Christmas journey featuring the Pollys cast you know and love, travelling with Mary, Joseph and an ass in search of a star!

Saturday 2nd December @ Petersham Town Hall (107 Crystal St Petersham)

Please note the change of venue for this dance.

https://www.thepollysclub.com.au/book

PFLAG October 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

 “The Marriage Equality debate is simply about these values of ‘equal human rights’. It won’t affect religious rights. It’s the civil status of marriage, not the religious ‘sacrament’ that is being sought. The No campaign’s arguments are using fear to maintain prejudice and keep all LGBTI people (our children) in their ‘minority box’”.  -  Bathurst PFLAG Co-ordinator Tony Sutton speaking to Dave Rankine in Bathurst City Life.

Dave Rankine began his article with: “…it was lovely to catch up with Bernadette and Tony Sutton – a couple with a very balanced take on the issue of marriage equality.” He then gave some background on the formation of PFLAG in Bathurst, of which the Suttons were founding members, 23 years ago. Tony commented: “First we needed to educate ourselves and examine our own prejudices (all of us being Christians). For us, this was helped by the fact we loved our children. Once we realised it wasn’t a ‘choice’, that God made them that way and He doesn’t make mistakes, our role was set.”

With all the rhetoric in the media surrounding the Postal Survey on Marriage Equality, it would be very easy to be consumed by it. I feel it is very important at this time to accentuate the positive and the fact that the Suttons were given the opportunity to raise awareness of their local PFLAG support group in their local press was a very positive outcome. The article also elicited a very interesting “Letter to the Editor” response from a Family Lawyer of 20 years standing, Jay Walker, who offered this advice to those unsure how to vote in the postal survey:
You are voting to grant the same respect, dignity, legal recognition and next of kin status to same-sex couples, the same thing opposite sex couples have now. Nothing more than that.”  He added: “The No campaign has used deliberate lies and unrelated issues to confuse people into thinking the postal survey has far reaching implications. It does not.”

I would like to thank Isabell Petrinic from the Parramatta Advertiser for giving me and Natalie an opportunity to comment on the pastoral letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey, that the Bishop of Parramatta sent to his Catholic flock. Bishop Vincent Long said he was “committed to make the church in Parramatta the house for all peoples, a church where there is less an experience of exclusion but more an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity.”  I commented that I was heartened by Bishop Long’s comments and that he was correct to point out that the survey was about whether or not Australians want the legal definition of civil marriage changed to include same sex couples and was not a referendum on sacramental marriage. Natalie, on behalf of Equal Voices, also welcomed Bishop Long’s remarks saying: “It’s really pleasing to see Church leaders acting in a Christ-like manner.” Thanks to Ray & our son, Steve, Louise and Susana, who travelled to Parramatta to take part in the photo shoot for the Advertiser.

We were also contacted by journalist Katrina Vo from the Parramatta Sun for an interview and photo shoot on Thursday, October 12 in Parramatta Park, to raise awareness of our PFLAG Monthly Family Support Meeting. Mollie, Pam, Arthur, Narelle & Ray & I took part. Both Katrina and the photographer, Isabella were lovely and gave us an opportunity to raise awareness of our PFLAG Family Support meetings in Sydney’s west, talk about our involvement in the Parramatta Pride Picnic on October 29 and also discuss the impact that the postal survey on same-sex marriage has had on our community. The story will appear in next week’s edition.

October 10 was World Mental Health Day. The National LGBTI Health Alliance has partnered with Mental Health Australia for this year’s campaign “Do you see what I see?”  - LGBTI people and communities consistently demonstrate strength and resilience in the face of adversity and discrimination. It is also well known that LGBTI people have disproportionately poorer mental health outcomes than their peers. “Do you see what I see?” is focussing on reducing stigma, seeks to challenge perceptions about mental illness in Australia and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light.

There have been a number of initiatives to provide support to those affected by the current debate. One of these was the free community BBQ/live music event put on by the City of Sydney Council at Harmony Park, Surry Hills on Saturday, October 7. The aim was to celebrate resilience, diversity and provide support information from relevant community organisations. Ray & I had a most enjoyable afternoon, interacting with representatives from the many LGBTI organisations, such as Rainbow Families, ACON, Twenty10, the Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Queerscreen, Organisation Intersex International and with the many community members who engaged with us on the stall. It was great that people from two organisations where we’d been invited to speak, the Surry Hills Labor Party and the ATO Parramatta came to chat and took photos with us. Thanks to Pip and Shaun and the City of Sydney Council staff for their amazing efforts and Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich and City of Sydney Counsellors Jess Scully and Christine Forster, who were present to offer their support and encouragement.

Geoff Thomas has continued with his advocacy for the Yes campaign. He has represented PFLAG, speaking on Marriage Equality at 2 events in the city, staged by Price Waterhouse Coopers to large numbers of staff. He has also signed up to monitor the count of the postal survey results for the Yes campaign at Moorebank at least one day per week. He has asked us to spread the word, as they need more volunteers. The contact for the Yes campaign is Jarrod Lomas, mobile 0450 219 109. The Yes campaign is managed by Senator Dean Smith & his staff on the site. There are 2 shifts per weekday: 9.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 4pm. There is an induction, which can be done either on site or online. There is parking available or it is 10 mins walk from Liverpool Station. You can volunteer for one shift or many and the count will continue until November 10. If interested, call Jarrod as above or Geoff Thomas on 0412 444 886.

Ruth has also been busy in the Blue Mountains, assisting on a stall for Marriage Equality on September 23, disseminating Yes campaign materials, doing phone banking and attending Queerscreen with Ron at the Mt Vic Flicks last Sunday. Ruth’s neighbour, Councillor Romola Hollywood from Blue Mts City Council has displayed one of our PFLAG “Vote Yes Please” signs in her front garden. Thanks to our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, for sending us the Yes campaign materials.

Thanks to Carol for taking part in the LGBTIQ community event in Penrith & for forwarding her report for the newsletter. Thanks to Pam for attending the Parramatta Queer Forum meeting, for volunteering to assist at the Parramatta Pride Picnic and for also making the effort to attend another meeting, re Mardi Gras involvement in Parramatta, which she discovered had been cancelled.

It’s been very gratifying that so many people have offered to assist us with the Yes campaign. Thanks to Marilyn for spreading the word at her workplace, to Christine for delivering flyers, to Lorraine, for delivering flyers and doing phone banking and to Geoff Davey, who has been handing out Vote Yes flyers at Edgecliff Railway Station. Thank you also for the photo Geoff. We also learned that Geoff Davey is a very proud Dad, as his older son was the producer for the entertainment at the NRL Grand Final and was primarily responsible for the Macklemore performance selection and staging. What an amazing audience response to his performance of the song “Same Love!”

PFLAG will have a stall at the Parramatta Pride Picnic on Sunday, October 29 from 11am – 5pm. It will again be held at the River Foreshore Reserve, between Barry Wilde Bridge & Oars Bridge, on the north side of the river at Parramatta. You can access the venue from Elizabeth St., which runs off Victoria Rd. Parramatta at All Saints Church. If you would like to assist on the stall, give me a call on 0439 466 125, otherwise just come along and enjoy the day. More info later in newsletter.

Thank you to all who came to our Family Meeting on September 23. I hope to see many of you at our Family Meeting on October 28, for as Rudy always said, "When you don't need PFLAG anymore, that's when PFLAG need YOU to help others!"   - Judy

 

LGBTIQ Community Event: October 10th at Penrith Women's Health Centre

I went along to this event and was warmly welcomed by Angela as a PFLAG representative.  A nice young lady representing the Council arrived when I did.  Angela had organised a young psychologist (who is doing her Masters degree and is also part of the LGBTIQ community), to speak on how LGBTIQ people can handle all the hurt and negativity that is happening because of the postal survey.  It was a great presentation.  Sadly there were only a dozen people all up there, but after the talk by the psychologist, everyone had a good conversation about that and what they were going through.  A couple of people had had violent approaches made to them.  I spoke about PFLAG (most of course knew of us, except the young woman from the Council), and how we have all been writing to members of parliament for some years now, including Shelley's trips to Canberra with petitions, letters etc., but that had all been "brushed aside" as the Government decided to go ahead with this divisive Yes/No Survey.  I left some of our flyers and cards with Angela.

Angela was lovely and I think she did a wonderful job to get the night organised. I am sure it was helpful to all the people there.  - Carol

 

PFLAG Parents Out & About for Equality

Geoff Davey emails:

On Tuesday 3rd October I went across to the railway station entrance of the Edgecliff centre during peak hour and gave out YES flyers to as many as would take them. Many said they had already voted Yes. When someone said they had voted Yes I tried to get them to take a flyer to put on the office noticeboard. Quite a few agreed to do this but whether they did is another matter. Of course, most people just ignored me. However, I didn't get any opposition from No voters. They just kept quiet.

During a lull I had my photo taken with the co-owner of the adjacent cafe where I get my coffees

Geoff Davey_Edgecliff station.jpg

 

Appeal for Members to join Committee

If PFLAG has been a support to you in the past, maybe you would like to consider offering yourself as a committee member to help to keep PFLAG viable. Committee meetings are held bi-monthly, on Saturdays, prior to family meetings, and are a great way of developing camaraderie between the members. 

There are two major events each year with which we require assistance:  Fair Day in late February (our major fundraiser) and Mardi Gras. Both of these events are very rewarding and a lot of fun, but can only happen if we have enough people on the ground to help out. There are other opportunities throughout the year if you wish to become further involved. Present committee members have found that working together for the betterment of PFLAG has helped them on their journey of acceptance. 

PFLAG is a well-respected organisation in the community and this has been achieved through the dedication and hard work of committee members. Think about this and if you feel that you could give the time, contact Judy on 0439 466 125. Your offer of assistance would be greatly appreciated.

 

Parramatta Pride Picnic: Sunday 29th October

The banks of the Parramatta River will come alive with Rainbow Pride on Sunday, October 29th as the Parramatta Pride Picnic celebrates its 11th year.

Organisers are expecting over 1000 people to attend the event which will be held at the River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta from 11:00am to 5:00pm. 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.

ACON’s Western Sydney Health Promotion Officer Gavin Prendergast says: “The Parramatta Pride Picnic provides an opportunity to meet other people and families, make new friends and most importantly just have a really fun day out in the middle of Parramatta. Music, sporting activities, games, competitions, prizes – the picnic has it all.” There’ll also be a range of community information stalls with people from various organisations which provide services for the LGBTI community in Western Sydney.

“With the marriage equality survey occupying most minds, the picnic is an opportunity to gather as a community and help support each other.” Mr Prendergast says. “LGBTI and HIV positive people living in the Western Sydney region can often experience a sense of social isolation and a lack of attachment to the broader LGBTI community and this can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. It’s great to see everyone come along with their children, friends and family members. They get a nice spot in the sun, throw out a rug, get out the picnic basket and enjoy the day.”

 

The Be You Collection: storybooks for kids

There is currently a lack of children's picture storybooks that challenge the norms. Only a minority of children are currently able to see themselves in stories, whilst excluding those whose hobbies and desires break away from gender stereotypes.

Welcome, The Be You Collection: a series of children's books celebrating the importance of individuality. This collection will publish stories about little boys and girls (and anyone in between) as they find strength in their special talents. This collection will tell the stories that have historically been ignored.

These stories will champion the underdogs, the ones who feel ashamed to express themselves freely, and the ones who feel like they'd have to change in order to fit in.

This collection will teach children that love and acceptance comes in many shapes, colours, sizes and dreams. The Be You Collection aims to be a tool that can be used to teach understanding, as well as the importance of embracing one's true self.

 

The Pollys Club Christmas Dance

polly.jpg

Join The Pollys Club for their final spectacular show and dance for 2017. A Christmas journey featuring the Pollys cast you know and love, travelling with Mary, Joseph and an ass in search of a star!

Saturday 2nd December @ Petersham Town Hall (107 Crystal St Petersham)

https://www.thepollysclub.com.au/book

Doors open at 7pm | Show 9:30pm | Entry $25 cash ($20 Concession) | Prizes for best dressed | BYO or buy drinks & snacks from our bar | Table bookings held until 8:00pm

 

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PFLAG September 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

 “All too often campaigners seek to change things by explaining to people why they need to change and why their values are all wrong. In the Irish campaign, we did the opposite. We knew that marriage equality would sit very comfortably in a country which values strong families, since this was about cherishing everyone in our families whatever their sexual orientation.”  - Tiernan Brady, Equality Campaign Exec. Director, SMH 8/09/17.

Tiernan goes on to say: “The values that underpinned the faith of most Irish people – respect, dignity for every person and treating people as you would like to be treated – were also complementary to supporting marriage equality. The same is true here in Australia. The great values of fairness and equality are good reasons to support marriage equality.

Tiernan also points out that the Irish campaigners were just “the people in our midst” asking to be seen and recognised and they were not just the LGBTQI people, but the parents of lesbian and gay people, who “came out” as the most amazing advocates for their children.

During the walk to Customs House from the Town Hall rally for “Yes” to Marriage Equality last Sunday, we were stopped by a number of people who wanted to engage about PFLAG or take a photo of our banner. One man, who came from a country town, told us that he had personally written to every person in his town to ask them to vote “Yes” and said that his Mum would be proud of us – she was 82 and had always loved and supported him.

Michelle Lancey (PFLAG Hunter) with Alex Greemwich MP, Independent Member for Sydney

Michelle Lancey (PFLAG Hunter) with Alex Greemwich MP, Independent Member for Sydney

There was also a lovely letter, agreeing with Tiernan Brady’s sentiments, written to the editor of the SMH on 11/09/17 from Tony O’Grady, the brother of the former openly gay MP, Paul O’Grady, who died in 2015. Tony wrote that his Mum, when questioned in an interview about her support for a gay son, replied: “He is my son, of course you support your children.” Tony pointed out that Paul had championed equality and fairness across all areas of society, not just for the LGBQTI community. He finished with: “I doubt that Paul would have wanted to get married, but I do know that the core values instilled in us by our parents, and which guided his life and work, were all about family and community. These values dictate equality for all. Why do we need so many words?”

The “Yes” rally was impressive in size – the crowd estimated to be 30,000 people and in many of its rousing speeches, but what stood out for us was the number of straight people and families who turned out in support – even one husband pushing his wife in a wheel chair all the way to Customs House.

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Let’s try to initiate conversations to raise awareness of the importance of voting “Yes” in the postal survey as we go about our daily lives, but, as Gillian said last week: “Courage, kindness and courtesy everyone, no matter what opposers say.”

Our National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent, has ordered “Yes” badges and signs for us to distribute, so hoping we’ll have them for the next meeting. You may have seen Shelley speaking very emotively on television after the High Court handed down its report allowing the Government to push ahead with its postal survey. I think we could all feel the tremendous disappointment in her voice. Shelley is amazingly resilient though – next day she was back organising the materials to continue the fight for the rights of our children.

Again, it has been a busy month for PFLAG. Thank you to Narelle, who was very well received when she addressed about 50 staff members at Norton Rose Fullbright Pride Network in the city on August 24 for their Wear It Purple event. She spoke about Wear It Purple Day and the impact of the postal survey on the young and older people reliving memories and also shared her personal story. She received good feedback from employees who had not considered issues before. Narelle was presented with a beautiful bouquet of mainly purple flowers by way of appreciation. Narelle has also been busy with organising the necessary changes to our PFLAG constitution to bring it into line with the new Governmental regulations. I would like to thank Narelle for the time & effort that she has put into this project and also Pam for her able assistance.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to Pam, who took on the mammoth task of applying to the ATO for Charity Tax Concessions for us at PFLAG NSW Inc. We finally received a letter from the Tax Office last week notifying us of our success in obtaining Endorsement for Charity Tax Concessions. Well done Pam!

Pam and Arthur were featured in The Hills News on August 16 under the heading “Winston Hills Couple Advocate for Marriage Equality”. Pam asserted that every Australian deserved the same rights, commenting: “Why should the LGBTI community’s human rights be considered by the country? They should have them automatically.” Arthur said he feared the mental health implications for the LGBTI community if the law isn’t changed: “All those young kids who are that way and haven’t come out, then seeing and hearing all of this … how is it going to affect them? All we want is for the politicians to do their job and have a vote.”

Pam & Arthur also were guest speakers at Comcare in the city on Wear It Purple Day, August 25. Not only were they speaking to staff in the Sydney office, but were also being beamed to Canberra. The staff members were very appreciative of Pam & Arthur sharing their story with them and we received a lovely letter from the Assistant Director in Canberra expressing her sincere thanks and commenting that PFLAG should be proud to have them as they are great representatives of our organisation. I’m sure we can all say “Amen!” to that.

We took our family, visiting from the UK, to the Wear It Purple event in Hyde Park on August 25, sponsored by NSW Police and the City of Sydney. The police band entertained, the City of Sydney supplied a delicious barbeque lunch and there were many GLLOs and representatives from other LGBTIQ service organisations, such as Twenty10 and the Inner City Legal Centre to engage with. It was great to see Assistant Police Commissioner, Superintendent Tony Crandell, dressed in his purple shirt and very heartening to see the Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller, who engaged with all those taking part. Our grandchildren were thrilled to receive a lovely purple showbag of goodies from GLLO Kate Baker. We happened to call in at the Commonwealth Bank at Martin Place afterwards and were very heartened to see all members of staff “wearing purple”. It’s amazing how this day has snowballed since it was founded in 2010 by Katherine Hudson & Scott Williams. Wear it Purple Day was created in response to the suicide of New Jersey teen, Tyler Clementi.

Thanks to Geoff Thomas, who took part in the Equality Campaign’s Father’s Day event as well as all the campaigning and advocacy he has been personally doing for the rights of the LGBTIQ community. Apart from his engagement with Fairfield Council regarding their diversity policy and ensuing spread in local press, he did a “meet and greet” regarding marriage equality around the streets of Cabramatta with local newspaper editor, Ian Horner with very supportive feedback.  

Ruth has been very busy with her advocacy work in the Blue Mountains. She attended the August Blue Mountains City Council meeting, where Mayor Mark Greenhill put forward a mayoral minute for council to fly the rainbow flag until marriage equality is passed. Ruth wrote a supportive message on behalf of PFLAG, which was read at the meeting. She has also been taking part in phone banking for the “Yes” campaign. It was Ruth’s suggestion that PFLAG should email a letter to all its members and subscribers to encourage them to ensure that they post their “Yes” responses in the postal survey. Thanks to Natalie for facilitating this process. Natalie, too, has been extremely busy with Equal Voices and Australian Christians for Marriage Equality, who are united in support of marriage equality because of their faith.

Mollie also gave an awareness-raising presentation at the Constitution Hill Retirement Village, speaking about the experience of parents of gay children and the way families are hurt by community attitudes.

Ray & I attended the Surry Hills Police Community Engagement Meeting held at Sydney Police Centre on September 7.  The meeting was chaired by Superintendent Tony Crandell and agenda items discussed included the current climate re Marriage Equality survey (including work being done to monitor bias incidents, protest and the NSW PF statement), Wear It Purple Day feedback and Mardi Gras planning. All attendees gave updates on their organisations, with the City of Sydney Council advising that they had unanimously agreed to support the “Yes” vote. They will also be holding a free community event with barbeque and live music to celebrate resilience, diversity and provide support info from relevant community organisations on October 7 from 1 – 4pm in Harmony Park, Surry Hills. We have agreed to represent PFLAG on a stall at the event.

A lot of people have been sending material to us that they think might be useful to the current campaign. Tracy sent us the following link to her blog on her advocacy for her young son, who is gay. It is well worth a read.

https://reflectionsofanuntidymind.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/the-case-for-supporting-same-sex-marriage/#more-39

Thank you to all who came along to our August Family Meeting to assist new families and to Ruth for facilitating the meeting for us. I hope to see many of you at the Family Meeting on September 23, for as Rudy always said: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs you to help others!”     - Judy                                                                                                                                              
 

 

Marriage Equality Rally, Gilmore electorate

It wasn't just Sydney rallying for Marriage Equality in NSW! Noeline Bedford, PFLAG Illawarra Southern, reports that a large and very successful rally was held in the  electorate of Gilmore in support of equality.

Thank you Noeline for the fantastic photo below!

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Trans Pathways Report

Report from Telethon Kids (WA) Research Team is below. Telethon WA is a fundraising body for childhood and adolescent health.

We are excited to announce that the Trans Pathways report is now available at www.telethonkids.org.au/transpathways

Trans Pathways is the largest survey that has been conducted with trans andgender diverse young people on their mental health and experiences accessingservices in Australia. The report is a summary of findings from 859 trans young people aged 14-25 years and 194 parents and guardians of trans young people from around Australia. The results are confronting and they demonstratethat there is much work to be done to support trans young people in Australiain their medical and mental health needs.

The Trans Pathways project is the largest survey ever undertaken in Australiaof the mental health and health care pathways of trans (transgender) youngpeople. It is a collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute, the Universityof Western Australia, Youth Mental Health (WA Department of Health), CurtinUniversity and The Freedom Centre (WA AIDS Council).

We've already been working with consumer representatives to ensure the findings from this report can help support young people moving forward. Ourteam intend to host a series of round table discussions with key stakeholdersto determine how the recommendations can best be implemented.

 

 

Upcoming Events

Polly Club: 'Gays of Our Lives', Sat 30th September 

Marrickville Town Hall

Doors open 7pm | Show 9:30pm | Entry $25 cash ($20 Concession) | Prizes for best dressed | BYO or buy drinks & snacks from our bar | Table bookings held until 8:00pm

Book here:

https://www.thepollysclub.com.au/book

 

Parramatta Pride Picnic

Parra Pride Picnic Flyer 2017.jpg

PFLAG August 2017 Newsletter

Staying Strong during the Marriage Debate

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We should not even be having this "debate" about real people. Parliamentarians should do the job we pay them to do. But here we are, and it's looking likely that a vote will go ahead. Please look after you, and all those around you.

And please don't boycott the vote - opponents of equality won't not vote!

 

President's Report

“Marriage Equality is about civil marriage and will have no impact on anyone’s faith, religious institution or sacrament. It is about allowing the state to treat every Australian with equal dignity. ” - Tiernan Brady – Equality Campaign – Star Observer, August 8.

The Star Observer reported that more than 500 religious leaders sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and Government in support of Marriage Equality as a matter of social justice, calling for the issue to be resolved by a vote in the parliament as the Liberal Party convened to discuss the issue on August 8. Leaders signing the letter came from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu communities. The following day saw the bill for a plebiscite fail in the Senate for a second time, with a $122 million postal vote mooted to commence in its place on September 12, with a result declared by November 25, allowing a parliamentary vote before the end of the year. However, Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie was joined by marriage equality advocate, Rodney Croome, PFLAG National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent and lesbian mum, Felicity Marlowe to announce a High Court Challenge to the postal plebiscite. The group will be represented by Ron Merkel QC. Shelley Argent said a voluntary postal plebiscite is “designed to fail and that she doesn’t need a lawyer to tell her the proposed plebiscite is unconstitutional. Felicity Marlowe said she is “desperately worried” about the impact a plebiscite campaign would have. Shelley has advised us that the High Court will announce a verbal decision on September 6. Should the challenge fail and the postal plebiscite goes ahead, we encourage everyone to vote “Yes”.

Rodney Croome, in musing over his last 12 months of campaigning against a plebiscite, wrote: “The future of LGBTI people is not in the hands of religious leaders, opinion makers or politicians. We should not simply accept the terms they set for our emancipation. Our destiny is in our own hands. As we face another bruising debate about our human rights, that maxim is more important than ever. Meanwhile, this evening I will be thinking of all those people who have spent so much of themselves to get us to this point – everyone at AME, everyone I work with now, all the Australians committed to equality and inclusion I have met since I took up this struggle in 2003. To each of you, I say equality will be achieved, and when it is, it will be the work of all our many hands.”

We received an email last week from Mathew, a 32 year old gay man from Queensland, who forwarded us a copy of a letter he had sent to his local MP. The letter was very well written and the contents resonated strongly with me. The following is an excerpt of what he had to say: “The fact that the Government continues with the plebiscite policy is of utmost disturbance. Such matters of social change should not be decided in this way with a parliamentary, representative democracy. Introduction of no-fault divorce, debates regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion – all of which I’m certain had ‘sincerely held strong views’ on both sides – did not see a similar ‘people’s vote’. This policy seeks to avoid and delay the parliamentary debate of this issue. It abdicates your responsibility as my elected representative. A plebiscite provides succour and legitimacy for hate and marginalisation dressed up as debate. Already we have seen the Australian Christian Lobby claim the children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to ‘abuse and neglect’. Additionally, former PM Mr Abbott has called on those who want to ‘protect religious freedom’ and ‘reject political correctness’ to vote no – a deliberate ploy to scare, equate this issue with irrelevant others and mislead the public in an attempt to prolong inequality further. On day one, these opponents of equality have already shown themselves incapable of engaging in a respectful debate Mr Turnbull is assured Australians are capable of…

I would like to say “Amen” to Mathew’s penultimate paragraph, especially as John Alexander is our local member in Bennelong. “Further, I would like to thank seven of your colleagues for their strength and dignity in their advocacy for a free vote – Messrs Zimmerman, Entsch, Evans, Smith, Wilson, Wood and Alexander – and I implore them to keep fighting the good fight.”

The last month has been a very busy time for PFLAG, with many of our committee members and members taking part in many & varied activities. Thank you to Sue, Les & Natalie, who attended the Acceptance Sydney Farewell Mass & Party for Fr Peter Maher at St. Joseph’s, Newtown on July 28. Sue reported that it was a lovely night and that Fr Peter was well loved by the parishioners, to whom he had ministered for over 20 years. He was also a very special pastor to Sydney’s LGBTI community and their families, celebrating Friday night Masses and other special liturgies throughout the year. We were very sorry to have missed it, but, unfortunately Ray was unwell. Sue & Les were also spied on twitter the following week, attending a Marriage Equality meeting in the city.

Geoff Thomas is always busy with his advocacy work and on August 10, he represented PFLAG at two events. Rainbow Families had been invited by the NSW Parliamentary Friendship Group of LGBTIQ people to attend Parliament House to present the findings of a report which they had launched at Family Pride in May, where they had surveyed 200 of their members, asking about the issues that LGBTIQ parents face. It provided an opportunity for the politicians to meet the rainbow families and hear personal stories from their community. Vanessa Gonzalez & Rainbow Families invited PFLAG to go along to this engagement to offer support, which Geoff was happy to do, reporting that it was very well attended by families and politicians and the report was very well received. In the evening, Geoff took part in ACON’s Start Making Sense panel, speaking to young gay men. As Geoff says this is something he always enjoys.

Thank you to members, Nick & Fran Hansen from Carcoar, who were happy to be interviewed by Radio Station 2MC Extra in Bathurst in early August to give the local angle on the impact that the delayed decision in the Same-sex Marriage debate was having on the community.

I know Ruth has been busy in the Blue Mountains, attending meetings of the Three Sisters Social Group and various other activities, as well as fielding a number of media interviews on Marriage Equality, including one from the ABC’s Lateline.

Thank you to Pam & Arthur, who have again been interviewed by a journalist from the Hills News on the issue of Marriage Equality. I look forward to reading it.

I would like to thank Narelle for agreeing to speak to the Norton Rose Fullbright Pride Network, a Global Corporate Law firm, in the city on August 24. The network committee and some of their staff have been quite affected by the building debate on Marriage Equality and felt that with the topic really hitting the young, it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness with a seminar exploring the topic in the lead-up to Wear It Purple Day.

I’m hoping that some of you might be able to get along to Hyde Park South on Friday, August 25 @ 11.30am for the special Wear It Purple Day celebrations, presented by NSW Police, City of Sydney Council, Wear It Purple and the Inner City Legal Centre. More detail in newsletter.

Thank you to all who came along to our July Family Meeting to support new families. Even though it was a small gathering, it was a good meeting. Thanks to Natalie for facilitating for us. I hope to see many of you at our Special General Meeting at 1.30pm on August 26, to vote in the extra small changes to the Constitution, then afterwards at our Family Meeting @ 2pm. Remember Rudy’s adage: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others.”       -Judy

 

OutStanding LGBTIQ Short Story Competition

Calling all creatives…… the OutStanding LGBTIQ Short Story Competition is on again!

Please refer to the website for all information:  www.outstandingstories.net 

Closing 1st September

And for more details see the Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/OutstandingLGBTQIShortStoryCompetition/

 

Wear It Purple Day - Invitation from NSW Police

As you are probably aware Wear it Purple was initiated by two passionate and committed young Australian students who decided to offer a positive response to the growing number of media reports of teenage suicides linked to homophobic bullying.

On Wear it Purple Day every year police officers stand side by side with teachers, students, parents and community leaders such as yourself because we all want to make sure that our youth can learn and prosper in a safe and supportive environment, whether within or outside the classroom.

The NSW Police Force has supported this initiative almost since inception. Support is shown simply by engaging in a conversation with someone about diversity and inclusion and how important it is to challenge negative behaviours such as bullying. Wearing something purple is just the beginning and indicates our professional and personal support for our youth. As more purple is seen at schools, in workplaces, on streets and online, we are saying to young people everywhere, you are not alone.

This year all police across NSW have permission to wear purple police shirts at Wear it Purple Day events on Friday, 25 August 2017. The purple police shirts attract a great deal of attention and provide us with opportunities to raise community awareness.

This year we are hosting a Wear it Purple event in Hyde Park South near the intersection of Park and Elizabeth Street, Sydney. We have booked the NSW Police Band; a barbecue will be put on by the City of Sydney council; and of course plenty of GLLOs to engage in conversation.

To make the event complete, please accept this invitation to you or your representative to support the Wear it Purple People. Your presence at 11.30am on Friday 25 August 2017 will coincide with some coordinated photo opportunities that we would like to post on social media and share with as many people as possible. No RSVP is required however if you can make it and own something purple we would be delighted with your presence.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Crandell

NSW Police Force Corporate Sponsor,

Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex

 

Events

Acceptance Sydney Trivia Night: 26th  August

Acceptance Sydney is once again running their fabulous annual Trivia Night this Saturday 26th August. Theme is 'The Elvis Era'. It starts at 7pm sharp!

Tickets available via Eventbrite:  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/acceptances-annual-trivia-night-tickets-35591961515

 

Queer Screen Film Festival: 19th - 24th September

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Queer Screen Film Fest is back, and their full program is now on sale! Get ready for 20 fab new LGBTIQ films from around the globe!

#QSFF17 | 19-24 Sep. BOOK NOW! http://bit.ly/2uohWuC‬‬

 

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir Fundraiser - 16th September

After having to postpone our May event we're locking in our Annual Trivia Night for September. Have you got a head full of useful and useless facts? Do you always get the answer before the contestant on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'. Then join us for Trivia La Diva on Saturday 16th September, 6.30pm, Paddington RSL, Oxford Street for a night of feisty, fundraising and facts!

Tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=306727

 

Sydney Fringe Festival - 15th - 18th September

THE THINGS I COULD NEVER TELL STEVEN - A New Australian Musical, returns home for a STRICTLY LIMITED SEASON in the 2017 Sydney Fringe Festival as part of New Theatre's Queer Fringe (September 15-18).

Steven has a secret that might tear his family apart. Meanwhile, his wife, mother, father and lover are fighting for his attention and coming to terms with their hidden feelings of betrayal, anguish, frustration and fear.

Laugh, squirm, and cry as this new Australian musical takes you on a rollercoaster ride with a modern dysfunctional family.

Starring MATILDA MORAN as Steven's enduringly selfless wife, LUCAS GLOVER as Steven's adventurous ex-boyfriend, RUTH STRUTT as Steven's overbearing mother and ADAM MAJSAY as Steven's emotionally-stifled father. Directed by ALEX ROBSON and Musical Direction by ANTONIO FERNANDEZ.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE:

https://newtheatre.org.au/queer-fringe-the-new/#the-things-i-could-never-tell-steven

 

Camp Out for Young People: 3rd - 7th October

CAMP OUT offers the chance to attend an away-from-home camp with people who share similar experiences, offering a supportive and safe space to learn and express yourself, an opportunity for capacity building and a fun environment in which to do so.

Most of all, it's the chance to hang out in a place where you're not judged for who you are, or who you like.

There's heaps of art, music, sports, games and other fun stuff happening during camp, as well as hangouts like movie nights and bonfires!

As well as your more typical camp activities, there's open workshops and informal discussions on things like identity & what it means to be LGBTIQ-identified or questioning,  dealing with homophobia & transphobia, coming out in high school, coming out to parents or friends, and how to be an awesome LGBTIQ ally.

For more information, and online registrations, please head to our website: www.campout.org.au

 

Parramatta Pride Picnic: 29th October

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PFLAG July 2017 Newsletter

President's Report

“Like other trans people in this country, we’ve still got a long way to go as far as acceptance. A lot of times we’re just tolerated.” – Lisa, a Sistergirl in her fifties from the Port Stephens area, who runs the Facebook group Sistergirls and Brotherboys Australia, as reported in the Star Observer, June 26.

Lisa goes on to say: Once upon a time, historically, we were very accepted and had a place in the community. I think with the introduction of colonisation and religion and other beliefs, a lot of that stuff has been lost”.

In the article, Lisa says she believes that discrimination is their biggest issue and cites examples of the difficulties they face in dealing with the police and medical services.

 In PFLAG Brisbane’s June/July newsletter, Shelley Argent reports that more parents of trans youth are coming along to their meetings, some seeking support, others providing support. Shelley admires the attitudes of the parents, commenting:

It’s a difficult path, but parents realise it isn’t about them, it’s about their children.” She quoted a parent of a trans child: “It’s better to have a live son, than a dead daughter and people who aren’t supportive of my child can go their own way.”

 In talking to Helen Robertson, our Central Coast PFLAG group co-ordinator, I discovered that the majority of families attending their meetings are those with trans children. We are fortunate in Sydney to have a parent group attached to the Gender Centre in Annandale, so when we are contacted by families of trans children, I refer them on to this group, as I feel that their experiences would resonate more with them.

While Lisa, above, believes the introduction of religion may have been instrumental in forging a lack of acceptance of trans people in her community, we were very fortunate on July 11th to engage with a wonderful group of young youth workers who are working hard to redress the harm done by the old fashioned proselytizing methods of religious intervention.

PFLAG was invited to speak at a conference at Crosslands in Galston to 25 youth workers from an organisation called Fusion, which includes young people from a variety of Christian backgrounds, working around Australia to assist youth with mental health, LGBTIQ issues, homelessness etc. We were called in, as the youth workers were at their wits end in knowing how to deal with parents of LGBTIQ young people, who came from culturally and religiously diverse backgrounds and were concerned for the welfare of the young people. I would like to thank Pam & Arthur & Sue & Les, who made the trek out to Crosslands with us to interact with these inspirational young people. It certainly gave us a new perspective to see these young religious people demonstrating wholly accepting and compassionate attitudes to people who identify as LGBTIQ.

Another example of an inspirational religious advocate for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender diverse is Fr Peter Maher, the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s, Newtown. Fr Peter has been PP since January, 1997 and will retire from parish duties on July 31, 2017. He has ministered to Sydney’s LGBTIQ community over this time, holding services for Acceptance Sydney every Friday night and has been a great advocate for their equal rights. He was featured in an article in the Sun-Herald on July 2.

There will be a Farewell Mass for Fr Peter Maher on Friday, July 28th @ 7pm at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Bedford St. Newtown, with a party in the Crypt afterwards. Acceptance Sydney has asked us to save the date for their Trivia Night on Saturday, August 26 @ 7pm in the Crypt of St. Joseph’s.

http://www.gaycatholic.com.au/events

According to the Star Observer, marriage equality advocates are hopeful that a free vote for same-sex marriage will soon be allowed, after Liberal Senator Dean Smith confirmed that he is drafting a bill.

Senator Smith, who crossed the floor against the plebiscite bill in the Senate, has said he wants action on marriage equality before the next election, commenting:

I am of the strong and clear view the matter should be discussed again and resolved before the end of this parliamentary year. I have been consistent and remain of the view the plebiscite lacks community support and a conscience vote is a tried and trusted method to resolve issues such as same-sex marriage. The bill will allow any two people to marry, while protecting religious freedom.”

Marriage equality advocate, Rodney Croome of just.equal hopes marriage equality could be on the horizon as early as August, when Parliament is due to sit again. Write to your MP and senators and tell them why you believe in marriage equality and why you’d like them to vote on this.

Ray & I addressed the Surry Hills branch of the Labor Party on June 27 as part of their discussion on marriage equality. Ray prepared a spreadsheet on how the Federal pollies stand on the issue and we explained why PFLAG wanted a free vote on the issue.

A very big thank you to the Three Sisters Social group from the Blue Mountains, who have generously donated $1900 to us to cover the total cost of the reprint of 10,000 of our PFLAG brochures. Their generosity will be acknowledged with their contact details on the brochures – Three Sisters Social group Inc. http://www.threesisterssocial.asn.au/

Many thanks to Ruth & Ron Green, whose strong social engagement with the LGBTI groups in the Blue Mountains, especially with the Three Sisters Social group, has initiated this very welcome donation. Thanks also to Ruth & Ron, who braved the elements, representing PFLAG with the Pink Mountains group in the Winter Magic Festival at Katoomba on June 24th.

 

PFLAG will have a stall at the Parramatta Pride Picnic on Sunday, October 29, 11am- 5pm, at the River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta. Please save the date.

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to attend the Family meeting on June 24, to Ruth for facilitating and Pam & Arthur & Natalie who assisted in our absence. I hope to see many of you at the next Family meeting on Saturday, July 22nd, for as Rudy always said: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others

Judy

 

Wear It Purple Day:  Friday 25th August 

Wear It Purple is an organisation run by Rainbow young people, for Rainbow young people. Inspired into action into 2010 by the suicides of several young people, Wear It Purple carries the message that Everybody has the right to be proud of who they are.

 

Events in Sydney this year will be held in Parramatta (previously in Hyde Park). NSW Police always has a big presence, and PFLAG will be there, also.

Watch this space:

http://wearitpurple.org

 

Upcoming Events

Acceptance Sydney Trivia Night: Saturday 26th August

A fun-filled fancy-dress trivia extravaganza to help raise funds for Stanford House and Acceptance Sydney, with this year’s theme being The Elvis Era.

Be part of a great opportunity to support two great causes while having fun dressing up as your favourite Elvis era personality while enjoying being part of a trivia competition and of course dancing to the music of the Elvis Era.

There are prizes for the best dressed, best decorated table and the of course for the winners of the trivia competition.

Spaces are limited so please register your attendance or any questions you may have by emailing: info@gaycatholic.com.au

Funds raised help support Stanford House and Acceptance Sydney.

Since 1991, Stanford House has provided outreach support, respite accommodation and short-term supported accommodation for people living with HIV/AIDS as well as carers and family members. Acceptance Sydney is a welcoming ministry of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families and friends, affirming their dignity and Catholic faith. For more than a decade the parish of St Joseph’s Newtown has provided a ministry to LGBT Catholics.

 

Parramatta Pride Picnic October

Parra Pride Picnic Flyer 2017.jpg

 

Camp Out for LGBTIQ Youth: 3rd - 7th July

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CAMP OUT offers the chance to attend an away-from-home camp with people who share similar experiences, offering a supportive and safe space to learn and express yourself, an opportunity for capacity building and a fun environment in which to do so.

Most of all, it's the chance to hang out in a place where you're not judged for who you are, or who you like.

There's heaps of art, music, sports, games and other fun stuff happening during camp, as well as hangouts like movie nights and bonfires!

As well as your more typical camp activities, there's open workshops and informal discussions on things like identity & what it means to be LGBTIQ-identified or questioning your gender or sexual orientation, dealing with homophobia & transphobia, coming out in highschool, coming out to parents or friends, and how to be an awesome LGBTIQ ally.

More details:  http://campout.org.au/

PFLAG June 2017

Vale, Peter Bonsall-Boone AM

Bon (left) and Peter at home, Balmain.

Bon (left) and Peter at home, Balmain.

8th July 1938 - 19 May 2017

The life and extraordinary contribution of Peter Bonsall-Boone (Bon) was celebrated on Saturday 17th June. Ashfield Uniting Church was packed by many from a wide cross-section of the community, with family, friends and community elders sharing just how much Bon gave of himself in the area of LGBTIQ equality.

Partner of 50 years, Peter de Waal, jokingly said that Bon's giving of himself "nearly made us financially broke!"

The couple first came to national attention in 1972 on the ABC program, Chequerboard. At a time when homosexuality was illegal in Australia, Bon lost first his place as a student for Anglican ministry, then his job as secretary at St Clement's, Mosman. Both 78ers, Bon was also arrested and charged for his participation in that first Mardi Gras.

Peter and Bon went on to set up the LGBT helpline, Phone-a-Friend, now the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service. They ran the helpline at their own cost, from their Balmain home; later, they were founding members of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP).

The ABC revisited the couple in 2001, with Peter speaking about their decision to be open:

“I think we were very naive in a sense. But more-so I think we were so committed to the liberation of homosexual people, as we were called then, and I think that commitment sort of overruled everything else.”

In later years, Peter and Bon campaigned tirelessly for the right of same-sex couples to marry, and to be afforded the dignity and protection of marriage. Just prior to Bon's passing from cancer, they wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging him to pass legislation as "our time is running out". Sadly, that time has run out.

Bon was recognised posthumously with the Order of Australia (AM). His citation reads: "For significant service to the community as a LGBTIQ advocate and supporter, and through a range of volunteer roles".

Vale, Bon.

 

President's Report

 “It is a stark reality for those of us who come out as LGBTQI that some people take longer than others to accept and embrace our identities. But the most galling part is that there is an onus on the LGBTQI person to put up with insults, discomfort, invasive questions and anger until that person and society more broadly catches up and starts treating us with humanity, respect and dignity” – Dale Sheridan, lawyer, who happens to be transgender inSMH.com.au/commentJune 9, 2017.
Dale goes on to say:
“Cate McGregor, in her recent rebuke of Margaret Court’s comments about the LGBTQI community, hit the nail on the head – that the LGBTQI community is held to an impossible double-standard to take the high road in the face of abuse and ridicule.”
Dale then comments: “It is a pity that certain people are systematically allowed to continue peddling hate in the name of religion…Some will call me selfish for daring to transition and live my life openly in an authentic manner. I would agree with this assertion: I did it for myself and nobody else. But I also contend there isn’t any other way to live.”

Thank you to our Vice-President, Ruth Green, who put the following post on our PFLAG website: “It’s not enough our families are expected to tolerate Margaret Court’s offensive comments regarding the equality of our loved ones, now she has chosen to demonise the parents and families of children who are transgender - parents and families who are supportive, understanding, knowledgeable, caring, inclusive and loving. You are a very sad person Margaret.”

The Icelandic Band, Sigur Ros, will be playing at the Margaret Court Arena on July 27th and wish to add their voice to the call for Marriage Equality in Australia. The band has commissioned a special T-shirt, which they will sell at their concerts, with proceeds going to Australian Marriage Equality. The band says: “Let’s make July 27th Margaret Court Arena’s most inclusive night ever and call for every Australian to have the same dignity and respect right here on Centre Court.”

It was good to see Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, awarded the honour of a companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia, not just for his eminent service to the aviation transport industry and the development of the national and international tourism sectors, but also for his eminent service to gender equity, inclusion and diversity and to the community, particularly as a supporter of Indigenous education. As the SMH reports, after the pie attack, Mr Joyce said he felt “reinvigorated” and vowed to step up his campaign and “express my views even more strongly”.

It was also heartening to see in the Star Observer that the late marriage equality activist Peter ‘Bon’ Bonsall-Boone has been posthumously awarded the Order of Australia. Earlier this year, he and his partner of 50 years, Peter de Waal (who was also awarded the Order of Australia) urged the government to pass marriage equality, so they could have their relationship recognised with a marriage equality certificate. The couple had been open about their sexuality when being homosexual was still illegal in Australia and lead to their ground-breaking appearance on ABC’s Chequerboard in 1972.

In the face of the lack of acceptance of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or gender diverse across certain areas in society, it is understandable that may people are still afraid to come out of the closet. On the ABC website of June 13th, 2017, there is a feature on an Australian website “DALE – Digital Acceptance Learning & Empowerment”, which is giving men, who are gay, but living in heterosexual relationships or lifestyles, a safe place to share their feelings and get help from others – particularly those from regional areas or ethnic minorities. Beyond Blue is heading the project with $200,000 of funding over 2 years from the annual Movember fundraising campaign to improve men’s health. Caleb Hawk, from Victorian AIDS council, said there was a knowledge gap when it came to same-sex attracted men, living with wives or girlfriends – they were difficult to reach and few services have kept going. The only one standing is GAMMA (Gay & Married Men’s Association) NSW providing face-to-face services. Modelling suggests that there are 17,000 men in Australia, who are same-sex attracted, but living in heterosexual relationships. DALE website visitors are being surveyed about their experiences of anxiety and depression as part of a broader research project at the UNSW.

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”. – Bob Marley. This quote is one of many that appears on the extensive photo gallery on Faye & Mark Leveson’s Facebook page. I feel the quote is a most appropriate one to describe this remarkable couple and their family, who never gave up their relentless search for the remains of their much loved son and brother, Matthew. Our hearts go out to Faye & Mark and their family, who, after almost 10 years of searching, were given the news last week that the remains found in the Royal National Park on May 31st did belong to their missing son, Matthew. They will now be able to bring him back home and lay him to rest.

Ray & I attended the Surry Hills Police Community Engagement Meeting held at Darlington on June 1st.  This gives an opportunity for the organisations working with the LGBTI community to network and express any concerns. Superintendent Tony Crandell was very excited to announce that NSW Police had been ranked in the top 10 in the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards. NSW Police also received the honour of being the first organisation to receive an award for the inclusion of intersex people. The other 9 organisations in the top 10 were ANZ (Employer of the Year), AGL, Australian Federal Police, ATO, Bankwest, Clayton UTZ, Commonwealth Bank, EY and Macquarie Bank.

Geoff Thomas has been busy advocating to Mayor Frank Carbone and the councillors of Fairfield City Council on behalf of the city’s LGBTI community. Fairfield City Council has a very public policy on “Celebrating Diversity”, with associated signage over the LGA, but it appears that its LGBTI citizens are not recognised or accepted in their own city. The Fairfield City Champion has also taken up the cause in support of Geoff’s efforts. Ruth & I penned a respectful letter to the mayor & councillors, suggesting that Fairfield City Council might consider following the lead of many other councils and raise the rainbow flag on appropriate dates as a gesture of acceptance and inclusion of its LGBTI community members.

Ruth & Ron have had an active long weekend in the Blue Mountains, representing PFLAG. Ruth attended the Bent Art exhibition in Wentworth Falls on Friday night, then both she & Ron attended the Three Sisters Ball at the Fairmont on Sunday night and followed it up with the Singalong Sound of Music at the Alphabet Soup cinema at the Mount Vic Flicks on Monday. Ruth reported that they had a most enjoyable weekend, but were feeling a tad tired by Monday night.

Thanks to Sue & Les, who were recently featured in a Marriage Equality video and also attended the Marriage Equality “Celebrating Across Cultures” Morning Tea event at Parramatta on May 20.  

Thanks to Pam & Arthur & Sue & Les, who have agreed to join Ray & I at Galston on July 11, speaking to a group of 20-25 youth workers.

Thank you to the members who came along to our Special General Meeting to vote in our new constitution on May 27 and to all who came to the Family Meeting afterwards. It was great to see such a good turnout to help support the new parents.

I hope that many of you will be able to attend our Family Meeting on June 24, for, as Rudy always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others!     

- Judy 

 

How can health services better meet the needs of older LBT women?

A new study is seeking older lesbian, bisexual and transgender women to discuss their experiences accessing and using health, social and aged care services.

Accessing and finding supportive health and social services can be difficult for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women of all ages. Often health practitioners do not feel equipped to address the needs of gender and sexuality diverse women, and some women avoid health services for fear of discrimination.

This concern is heightened for older women – particularly those over 55 years of age. These women may be interacting with aged care services and supports on behalf of their parents. In the process of managing their parents’ ageing needs, as well as their own, they often find that many of these services are not supportive of sexuality and gender diverse people. Given that ageing can often bring health and social limitations requiring additional supports there is a clear need for appropriate services for these women as they age. More information is required to influence change; hence, the perspectives and experiences of older women are the focus of an innovative research project being undertaken by researchers at Western Sydney University.

The link to the survey is here:

https://uwseducation.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3EsJWuft5CMDhHf

Alternatively, you may wish to join a private, online forum:

https://www.silvergsdwomen.com/private-forum/

The research team may be contacted with any questions at:

https://www.silvergsdwomen.com/contact-us/

 

IDAHOT 2017

PFLAG friends and members were busy at many events around the nation to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17. Featured below are a three of the events we attended in Lithgow, Wollongong and Blue Mountains.

Tony Sutton writes:

PFLAG Bathurst was contacted by Ali King of Rainbow Lithgow and invited to the inaugural IDAHOT event in the Lithgow library; around 150 people attended. First speaker was Pastor Mat Trounce from Lithgow Uniting Church, who revealed the supportive, accepting & inclusive community in their local church.  Next up: a  marvellous musical/vocal bracket from a Ukulele group, followed by a woman telling of her life struggle, to finally accepting her sexuality.  

Our next surprise came from a man telling us of his school-day difficulties, being ‘different’, his travels to escape and finally finding Lithgow where he has now settled with his partner. They are both active within the local Catholic church, to the point that his partner is the chairman of the local parish council. Wow, Lithgow is full of surprises!  A poetry recital was next by a young high school student with a very provocative topic of discrimination & exclusion.  Finally, a lawyer from the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre supplied information about the services they can offer.  

IDAHOT at Lithgow Library

IDAHOT at Lithgow Library

Noeline Bedford writes:

PFLAG Illawarra Southern was invited to speak at the ATO Wollongong for IDAHOT. They wanted to promote acceptance and recognition of the rights of LGBTIQ community and some of the barriers and prejudices in the workplace. Thankyou Robert for inviting me to attend. It was lovely meeting John Le Bron from Pride and Diversity who gave a wonderful talk about acceptance in the workplace.

Noeline Bedford at ATO Wollongong

Noeline Bedford at ATO Wollongong

 

The Hon Michael Kirby addresses the crowd at Blue Mountains IDAHOT (partner Johan van Vloten in background). Photo credit: Peter Hackney

The Hon Michael Kirby addresses the crowd at Blue Mountains IDAHOT (partner Johan van Vloten in background). Photo credit: Peter Hackney

PFLAG Vice-President Ruth Green writes that the Blue Mountains IDAHOT event was well attended, with The Hon Michael Kirby giving the key address. He and his partner Johan joined Ron, Ruth, Blue Mountains councillors and others for a relaxed lunch afterward at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba.

Ron and Ruth Green at IDAHOT, Blue Mountains

Ron and Ruth Green at IDAHOT, Blue Mountains

Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards 2017

PFLAG NSW congratulates NSW Police for their achievement in becoming a Gold Employer with a Top 10 finish in the annual Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards, held by ACON’s national not-for-profit program, Pride in Diversity.

The event, held 19th May in Sydney, recognised employers for LGBTI inclusion determined by an assessment against the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a benchmarking instrument that evaluates LGBTI inclusivity against a rigorous and comprehensive set of measures, in addition to a body of supporting evidence submitted by the employer as part of the evaluation process.

Ten organisations that achieved the highest ranking within the past year were awarded Gold Employer status:  AGL Energy, Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office, Bankwest, Clayton Utz, Commonwealth Bank, EY, Macquarie Bank and NSW Police Force. NSW Police Force also received the honour of being the first organisation to receive an award for the inclusion of intersex people.

PFLAG especially congratulates Jackie Braw for her award for Community Impact, and the leadership of Supt Tony Crandell, LGBTI Corporate Sponsor.

Presenting at the ceremony, Pride in Diversity Patron Michael Kirby said: “The ever growing success of the outreach to the business, sporting and general community is most heartening. It is part of the explanation for the changing attitudes of Australians of all walks of life towards LGBTIQ equality and justice. In cities, regional, remote and rural Australia, things are changing.”

Credit for above report:  – www.medianet.com.au

May 19 2017

 

Upcoming Events

 

 

                                                                                                                             

 

 

PFLAG May 2017 Newsletter

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President's Report

“Not since WW11 have gay people been rounded up and incarcerated in this way. At least three men are feared to have died as a result of their injuries. Those who have survived recount tales of abuse, humiliation and blackmail…Others live in fear of being ‘outed’ by authorities and attacked by relatives and neighbours. The spectre of honour killings is a reality for gay men in Chechnya” 

- Dr Justin Koonin, President of ACON, speaking about the persecution of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya in the SMH, 21/04/17.

Justin goes on to say:

The events in Chechnya are at one end of a spectrum of challenges facing our communities around the world. From the fight for equal marriage and gaining legal protections to reducing stigma, these campaigns all seek the same outcomes in their pursuits; freedom, visibility and equality. But for gay Chechens, and many others across the world, they are simply fighting to live.”

Rodney Croome of “just.equal” has called on the PM, Malcolm Turnbull, to introduce a parliamentary motion condemning the cruelty of the Chechen government and the indifference of the Kremlin. He has also called on the government to work with the UN to censure Russia & launch an international investigation. Rodney says: “By your timely action, let those who suffer in Chechnya be the beneficiaries of our nation’s aspiration for a world without homophobic persecution.”

We were very concerned in mid- April, when the NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, announced that the State Government would dump the Safe Schools program and would replace it with a broader anti-bullying program. All of us at PFLAG are concerned that all children feel safe and supported at school. We know that homophobic bullying and discrimination can lead to severe depression, self-harm, suicide attempts and dropping out of school. That’s why all of the PFLAG groups in NSW welcomed the roll out of the Safe Schools Coalition in January, 2015, which could be accessed by all schools around the state. We embraced the training and resources provided to participating schools to bring about a safe and supportive environment for all students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender diverse. As “The Age” editorial of April 22 stated: “This is not an ideological issue; it’s about fairness and decency, it’s about the human condition and equality. It is not about ‘political correctness’. It is about progressing from baseless, appalling prejudice towards a more enlightened society. Yet many are putting prejudice and politics ahead of the welfare of young people. That, not Safe Schools, is the shameful thing.”

Another shameful thing was the attack on Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, with a pie in the face whilst he was speaking at a business breakfast in Perth on May 9. The perpetrator labelled Qantas’ corporate stance on Marriage Equality as “corporate bullying aimed at social engineering” in justifying the attack. I feel it was more a case of homophobic bullying on the perpetrator’s part.

On the good news front, a great day was had by all at the Rainbow Families’ International Family Equality Day at Sydney Park on Sunday, May 7. Thank you to the organisers, Vanessa, Ashley & Mat, for inviting PFLAG to have a stall on the day and to be part of their celebration of affirming rainbow families. It was lovely to meet the young families when they came along with their children, as they coloured in their pictures at the table or got a stamp on their treasure hunt sheet. It was great to see the presence of NSW Police and the City of Sydney Council providing food and drink for everyone. Federal Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, State Members for Sydney & Summer Hill, Alex Greenwich and Jo Haylen and City of Sydney councillors spoke in support and volunteers from the Commonwealth Bank offered their assistance on the day. It was great to catch up with Vicky & Adolfo, who kindly assisted us with the stall.

Judy and Ray Brown at the Rainbow Families International Family Equality Day. Photo courtesy of Ann-Maree Calilhanna, Star Observer

Judy and Ray Brown at the Rainbow Families International Family Equality Day. Photo courtesy of Ann-Maree Calilhanna, Star Observer

Congratulations to Ron Green, who received a Lifetime Membership Award from the Rural Fire Service Castlereagh Branch for his years of active voluntary service in protecting communities from the threat of bushfires, both in the Blue Mountains and elsewhere. This is the second award for Ron, who recently shared the Blue Mountains City Council’s Senior’s Award with Ruth for their service to the LGBTI community in the Blue Mountains. Well done!

Thank you to all who came along to the April 22nd Family Meeting. It was great that Geoff Thomas was able to bring his Equality ute along, as we were all able to be photographed with it and farewell him on his awareness-raising road trip round NSW, Victoria & SA. Congratulations and welcome back to Geoff and his wife, Sandra after their successful journey of taking the Marriage Equality campaign to the roads. Thanks also to Geoff for representing PFLAG on the Start Making Sense Panel, speaking to young gay men at ACON on May 4. Geoff is a most popular panel speaker with the young men.

That blue ute, with a few well-wishers from PFLAG - before the trip!    Look out in the June newsletter for a full report and interview from Geoff's road trip!

That blue ute, with a few well-wishers from PFLAG - before the trip!    Look out in the June newsletter for a full report and interview from Geoff's road trip!

I hope to see many of you at our Family Meeting @ Wesley Lodge on May 27 @ 2pm, for as Rudy always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU!

N.B. We will be conducting a Special General Meeting 30 minutes prior @ 1.30pm to enable financial PFLAG members to vote on the adoption of the new PFLAG NSW constitution. Thanks must go to Narelle Phipps and Pamela Garske for their enormous efforts in preparing the new constitution to bring it into line with the new legislation and to Mary Cunningham for the invaluable legal advice.  - Judy

 

IDAHOT 2017

On May 17, 1990 the Assembly of the World Health Organisation approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, which no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis.

Launched in 2004, the International Day against Homophobia commemorating that day has become a global occasion to educate about LGBT people and to advocate for sensible public policies regarding LGBT people.

Now called the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, IDAHOT, the observance has caught on widely as an international opportunity for people to mark the day. The theme for this year is “Families”, with the focus including the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTIQ members and respect for the rights of Rainbow families.

A number of PFLAG committee members were involved in IDAHOT events:

Ruth was involved with IDAHOT in the Blue Mountains on May 17, where a rainbow flag raising event with special guest speaker, Hon Michael Kirby was held @ 10.30am @ Blue Mountains City Council, Civic Square, Katoomba.

Pam & Arthur assisted at the Parramatta Event on May 17, organised by the Parramatta Queer Forum, from 11am – 2pm in front of the Town Hall in Centenary Square. The rainbow flag was raised by the Administrator of Parramatta City Council, Amanda Chadwick and there was entertainment, police vehicles and a market stall with rainbow cupcakes, etc. for sale, along with engagement with the public on LGBT issues.

Narelle spoke  to the staff at State Street in the City on May 17 for their combined IDAHOT/ Mother’s Day event and Ray & I will be addressing the staff at the ATO IDAHOT event at Parramatta on May 19.

 

 

Can I Just be Me? Children's book project

Writer and illustrator Elle Adams has written to PFLAG about her upcoming book, Can I Just be Me?

Elle explains:

Can I just be Me? Explores gender diversity through the eyes of a transgender girl who just wants to be her authentic self with the support of her family, friends and community. 

Currently there are very few books that have trans-positive characters or narratives.

All children deserve stories that teach them not only about how they are unique, but also validates their identity empowers them to be themselves and flourish. Can I just be Me? tells that story without leaving some people out because of their gender, and orientation.

We are seeking to have this book published and delivered to public and school libraries around the world where it can reach the most children. To do this we have started a Kickstarter campaign and I am hoping that you are willing to share our book so that your readers will get behind this great project.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1762319110/can-i-just-be-me-a-trans-positive-childrens-book?ref=9scjvd

 

 

Upcoming Events

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir Fund-raising Trivia Night      Saturday 27th May

Have you got a head full of useful and useless facts? Do you always get the answer before the contestant on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'. Then join us for Trivia La Diva on Saturday 27th May, 6.30pm, Paddington RSL, Oxford Street for a night of feisty, fundraising and facts!

Prizes galore!

There'll be raffle prizes, winning table prizes, plus you can bid on these amazing items in our Reverse Auction:

  • 3 day stay at a Port Macquarie beach house
  • Private guided tour of the Sydney Opera House
  • 4 piano lessons with maestro Antonio Fernandez

Bring your friends, family, everyone is welcome

And remember, as well as giving your brain a workout and having a fun night, you'll be helping out your favourite choir! It's win-win all round!

Tickets $25 per person or $30 at the door. Tables of 2-10 people available.  Book ahead by Tuesday 23rd May by emailing: socialactivities@sglc.org

 

Making Rainbow Families Seminar -24th June

A day-long seminar for LGBTIQ potential parents, covering:

  • Adoption

  • Fostering

  • Home insemination

  • Assisted fertility, including IVF

  • Options for trans or gender diverse potential parents

  • Surrogacy

  • Finding the right health care professional

  • Legal rights, legal agreements, children’s rights.

Plus hear from rainbow families (parents & children) about their families’ journeys.

The next seminar will be held on June 24 @ ACON in the city. For more information and to register, visit:  rainbowfamilies.com.au

 

PFLAG April 2017 Newsletter

Honouring Our LGBTIQ Service Personnel

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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: www.equalitycampaign.org.au/geoffsroadtrip

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.”

                                                                                                                                               Judy

 

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:

https://uwsssap.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cN2FHAmny8jjFxX 

 

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: info@pflagaustralia.org.au

 

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:  http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/geoffsroadtrip

Will you be in town when Geoff arrives? Want to bring someone along for a chat? Let us know at info@pflagaustralia.org.au 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!”                                                                                                                                        

 Judy

 

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:  https://equalvoices.org.au 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 www.lgbtihealth.org.au/disabilitystrategy

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:

http://lgbtihealth.org.au/lgbtiq-strategy-survey/

Upcoming Events

PFLAG February 2017 Newsletter

 

MARDI GRAS 2017 ISSUE

equality.png

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:

 

QUEER SCREEN MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL

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

 

FAIR DAY 2017

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.

http://www.mardigras.org.au/fairday/

 

RAINBOW RUN

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!!

http://www.mardigras.org.au/2017-festival-event-guide?category=Sport

 

QUEER THINKING: QUEER WARHOL

Saturday 25th Feb, Art Gallery of New South Wales

warhol.jpg

 

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. 

http://www.mardigras.org.au/2017-festival-event-guide?category=Queer%20Thinking

 

SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS PARADE

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

PFLAG Sydney 2016 Contingent

PFLAG Sydney 2016 Contingent

http://www.mardigras.org.au/parade/

 

 

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.com, 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:  http://about.au.reachout.com/parents-kit  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: http://bit.ly/BreastivilleTix

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.

VARIOUS DATES AND CITIES IN NSW - MID MARCH

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 info@pflagaustralia.org.au 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: pflagillawarra.southern@gmail.com

 

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:   

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Same_Sex_Marriage/SameSexMarriage/Submissions

 

Upcoming Events

Pollys.jpg
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.

http://tix.queerscreen.org.au/

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 info@pflagaustralia.org.au 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 info@pflagaustralia.org.au. 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: www.redribbonappeal.org.au

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!

BARE THE MUSICAL COMES TO MARRICKVILLE!


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.

$39 TICKET OFFER
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.

Bookings:             www.bit.ly/2exy5bN

 

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.

Bookings: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/no-trivial-matter-2016-tickets-27518161562

 

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 –www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au 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.

Details:

Sunday 23rd October, 5.30pm

Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford St, Paddington

Tickets:

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=223141

 

 

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:

http://www.abbi.org.au/2016/09/faith-and-sexuality-seminar/

 

 

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:

http://pinkmountains.com.au/queer-screen-film-festival-2016/

And tickets:

www.queerscreen.org.au

 

 

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.

http://jennypausacker.com/

 

 

Events

The Pollys Club, will again be part of Trivia fundraising for the community. 19th November, Marrickville Town Hall. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/no-trivial-matter-2016-tickets-27518161562   

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

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/no-trivial-matter-2016-tickets-27518161562

  

 

 

 

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 “makeitlaw.com.au” 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 www.alphabetsoupcinema.eventbrite.com. 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 rgluyas@acon.org.au

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:

https://vuau.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1Y6w3jJ51TF7DCZ 

 

Upcoming Events

 

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