“On behalf of the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersex Australians and their families, I say with humility and with gratitude, thank you.”
– Senator Dean Smith, speaking in the Senate on November 16 of the clear 61.6 per cent “yes” result the day before.
Senator Smith went on to say: “Yesterday we saw a glimpse of the country we all yearn for, a country that is fair-minded, generous and accepting…and I never believed the day would come when my relationship would be judged by my country to be as meaningful and valued as any other. The Australian people have proved me wrong”.
The vote in the House of Representatives minutes before 6pm on December 7 meant that the law had passed both houses of Parliament and Australia had finally embraced marriage equality. The Governor-General signed the bill into law on December 9 at a special meeting of the Executive Council. Attorney- General George Brandis advised that the first legally recognised same-sex weddings could take place on January 9. That day has come and the first crop of legal gay weddings will take place around the country today, a month after Australia became the 26th country to allow same-sex marriage. After 13 years of advocating, it is hard to believe that day has finally come.
I would like to wish all our members & friends a very Happy New Year. I hope that the removal of the discriminatory legislation from the Marriage Act will improve the well-being of everyone in the community in 2018.
Thank you to all who attended our AGM and Christmas Party on November 25th and offered support to new families. Thanks also to Pastor Robert Clark from MCC Good Shepherd, Granville, who kindly acted as Returning Officer for our elections.
The results are as follows:
President: Judy Brown
Vice-President: Ruth Green
Minutes Secretary: Natalie Cooper
Membership Secretary: Narelle Phipps
Treasurer: Pamela Garske
Publicity Officer: Ray Brown
Education/Research Officer: Ron Green
Newsletter Editor: Ray Brown
Public Officer: Narelle Phipps
Librarian: Louise Pethybridge
Committee members without portfolio: Mollie Smith, Arthur Garske, Marilyn Godfrey, Carol McCance, Geoff Thomas, Deb Peel, Christine Knapp.
I would like to thank all the members of the committee for assuming their roles for this year. I look forward to working with you all throughout 2018.
N.B. Due to the 40th Anniversary of Mardi Gras and the passing of Marriage Equality, our Mardi Gras contingent for March 3, 2018 has been cut from the usual 100 places to just 60. Our contingent is now full. Apologies to all those who may have missed out.
Thanks to Ron, Geoff & Ray who agreed to be interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph’s Ben Pike and were photographed at the Strawberry Hills Hotel on Saturday, November 18 for a feature titled “Cheers to saying Yes” in the November 19 edition of the Sunday Telegraph. The article was beautifully done, with the three dads shown photographed with their gay sons and elatedly chatting about looking forward to their sons being able to legally marry their partners. We received much positive feedback from the article.
Thanks to Maree Lau, who represented PFLAG at Twenty10’s End of Year celebrations on November 30 in Woolloomooloo and has also generously agreed to facilitate a session of Rainbow Family Storytime with the City of Sydney Libraries in early March, offering to donate her payment to PFLAG.
Ray and I attended the Town Hall on November 29, where we were invited to Councillor Linda Scott’s Christmas drinks event. In her speech, Councillor Scott demonstrated her concern for the social welfare of those on the fringes of the City of Sydney community.
Gillian and Jean-Pierre and Ray and I attended Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s Christmas Reception for volunteers at Sydney Town Hall on December 3. It was a most enjoyable afternoon and we caught up with a number of 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 always brings home to us the concern that the Lord Mayor shows to all the marginalised people in the community of the City of Sydney.
In the aftermath of the postal survey, Acceptance Sydney held a Service of Healing & Reconciliation on November 17, led by Fr Peter Maher @ St. Joseph’s, Newtown. The purpose was to stand with and affirm the dignity and support for LGBTIQ+ people, their families & friends after the bruising process. Ray & I were privileged to be able to attend this special service, as we were to attend, with Sue & Les, Acceptance Sydney’s World AIDS Day Mass on December 1. Sue & Les also attended their Christmas service on December 15 at Newtown, while Pam, Arthur & Jeff attended the Metropolitan Community Church Sydney’s Christmas Eve service at Sydney Town Hall.
I hope to see many of you at our first Family Meeting for 2018 on January 27 @ 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
Report from Noeline Bedford
– PFLAG Illawarra Southern – November, 2017
It has been a very stressful month for all but it’s over for now. I just want to let you know what I’ve been up to these past few weeks. I’ve had a Facebook page that I have had up during the Marriage Equality Debate and it has been received by the community really well. It has been a great way to circulate information and affirmation messages during the survey. I’ve received some lovely feedback, from people thanking PFLAG for being there during the ME debate and helping them cope.
I’ve been to lots of meetings and gatherings and met some great people including:
- Lisa who supports parents of Transgender and gender questioning group in both Wollongong and Nowra through Gender Centre and Headspace.
- Meeting the Gender Centre group at the HIV/Sexual Health conference.
- Being asked by Dawn Hawkins of Marriage Equality Gilmore to support them during the Announcement on the 15th was my highlight of the month.
I’ve also put my name to a letter to parliament as PFLAG Illawarra Southern requesting a quick resolution once the YES vote came through. This was a request from Gilmore Marriage Equality.
I was also at the Wollongong council representing PFLAG during the council vote to raise the Rainbow flag at Wollongong council chambers and promoted the date on my Facebook page. It was passed and the flag was raised!!!
I’ll be continuing this format of Facebook as it reaches a lot of people.
I’m going to have a new group starting in Nowra as that is where the need is greatest I feel. I’m going to start that in the New Year.
FAIR DAY AND REQUEST FOR HELP
Fair Day is on Sunday 18th February 2018 in Victoria Park, Camperdown.
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, PFLAG badges, caps 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.
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 people power to help set up the stall early on the Sunday morning (say 8.30 am – the parking is usually pretty good at that time) and also to help dismantle the stall about 3.30-4 pm.
Please phone Judy on 9869 1454 to register your enthusiasm and your willingness to assist.
February 18th 2018 - Fair Day
March 3rd 2018 - Mardi Gras Parade
The Pollys Club Show – “Two of Hearts”
Join the Pollys Club for their show in honour of Marriage Equality & Valentine’s Day
Saturday, 10th February & Marrickville Town Hall
Entry: $25 cash at door ( $20 concession)
Doors Open 7pm, Show @ 9.30pm
Buy drinks/snacks from bar or BYO.
Book with Peter on 0481 276 390
Renewal Notice Reminder
Please do not forget to renew your membership for 2017/18 Thanks to all the members who have renewed already. If you joined after 30 June, 2017, you are deemed to be financial until end of 2018.
If you are on email, please help us reduce our costs by sending us an email with your details (which will remain confidential) and all future information will be emailed to you.
Or simply go to our website and subscribe to the newsletter.
NSW Inc. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians of Gays) is a group of people who share common experiences and provide support for each other. We listen and love. We help families have open, positive and loving relationships with their GLBT children and we work for their civil and human rights.