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