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

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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

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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/