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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