PFLAG November 2016 Newsletter

President's Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna, Sydney Star Observer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-   Judy


Transgender Day of Remembrance

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

Date:              Sunday 20 November

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

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

For more information



Ending HIV Ribbon Appeal

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

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

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

For more information



BARE The Musical!


Nov 30th  – Dec 17th  

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

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

Gay Youth Forum Overview

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

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

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



Upcoming EVENTS


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

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



FREE: Self-Defence Class for the LGBTIQ Community


BARE The Musical



World AIDS Day Commemoration

Fair Day 2017:   Sunday 19th February

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

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