PFLAG July - August 2018 Newsletter

The 78ers


“We have, we will, and we do apologise for the police actions in 1978 and for the pain and hurt that the police caused through their actions.” – Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell speaking at a re-enactment of the protest that became known as Mardi Gras on the 40th Anniversary, June 24th – Star Observer 25/06/18.

Mr Crandell added that members of the LGBTI community had described their past fear of police in public spaces and called this “a massive failure” by the force. “That should never happen again and it certainly shouldn’t happen on my watch” he said. “There should never be fear of police officers.” Mr Crandell said that Commissioner Fuller has held meetings with some of the 78ers who participated in the 1978 protest for LGBTI civil rights and plans to speak with more. “78ers have got so many qualities that I absolutely admire” he said. “Courage, persistence…to see the black and white (difference) of 1978 versus 2018, what a remarkable feeling that must be.” Mr Crandell acknowledged the work of LGBTIQ liaison officers, a program that began in 1990, with just 6 officers in Sydney and has grown to hundreds across the state. “There’s still work to be done, but we’re heading in the right direction” said Mr Crandell.

Thanks to Geoff Thomas, who represented PFLAG at the Surry Hills Police Community Engagement Meeting, held at Sydney Town Hall on June 27th. Geoff reported that about 20 people attended, covering a number of groups. He said Mr Tony Crandell (Police Spokesman for Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex) chaired the meeting and covered many issues including Mardi Gras and the police investigation into the gay murders report (Strike Force Parrabell), which was released the day before. Geoff covered PFLAG’s involvement in IDAHOT and raised the issue of homophobia in Western Sydney councils and the work done by GLLO police in those areas. Geoff concluded that it was a good meeting and that Tony Crandell is a very good person for this job, especially now that he is an Assistant Commissioner.

The Sydney Morning Herald editorial of June 28 says of Strike Force Parrabell: “The report offers many a reminder of how methods of policing are being refined, how specialised it has become in its handling of gay-hate crimes. And how the community has no tolerance for crimes of this sort. Homicide police will investigate 23 of the unsolved deaths. Some of these crimes will remain unsolved, just as other crimes. But with the conclusions and common sense inherent in the Parrabell report, a new chapter for one of the world’s most vibrant LGBTQI communities is beginning. For that at least, these men did not die in vain.”
Thanks to Ivan Hinton-Teoh for alerting us to the article included later from 1958 titled “Research into Social Evil”, which shows a very different view of Sydney’s Police Force in those days.

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Thank you again to Lynda Ben-Menache for inviting us to the Great Synagogue Sydney for a synagogue tour, Sabbath Service and Shabbat Dinner for members of the LGBTQI+ communities on May 18, IDAHOT week. Ray & I felt very privileged to have been invited to take part in this very welcoming and inclusive event. The service was very impressive, the dinner absolutely delicious and the after-dinner speech by President of ACON, Dr Justin Koonin, was very moving.

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We are very grateful to the members of the “ATOMIC” (Australian Tax Office Making Inclusion Count) group at Penrith for their very warm welcome to Ray & I for their lunchtime meeting for IDAHOT (International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia) on May 17. The room was beautifully decked out with rainbow decorations, members and allies were very attentive during our talks and a delicious rainbow themed lunch was provided afterwards, where we were able to share very poignant stories with staff members.

IDAHOT Blue Mountains

IDAHOT Blue Mountains

IDAHOT in the Blue Mountains

Thank you to Ruth, who was part of the organising committee for IDAHOT in the Blue Mountains, attended events in Katoomba on May 17 and along with Ron and Tony & Bernadette Sutton from Bathurst, travelled to Lithgow City Library for their commemoration of IDAHOT that afternoon. Ruth was also kept very busy in the Blue Mountains over the June long weekend with the Bent Art Exhibition at Wentworth Falls and the Three Sisters Disco.

IDAHOT Lithgow

IDAHOT Lithgow

MCC Good Shepherd Movie Trivia Night

Narelle, Deb, Ron, Ray & I had a wonderful evening at the MCC Good Shepherd Movie Trivia Night on May 19 at Granville. Good Shepherd members are always so welcoming to PFLAG and provide delicious snacks and an amazing array of prizes. As always, the night was so much fun and, albeit the movie questions being somewhat obscure, we managed to go home with such a swag of prizes that we could barely fit ourselves in the car.

LGBTIQ Symposium

Thanks to Sue & Les Mico, who invited Ray & I to a LGBTIQ Symposium, held at Parramatta Catholic Cathedral hall on Saturday, June 30th. It was hosted by the Bishop of the Parramatta Diocese, Bishop Vincent Long and the Vicar General, Fr Chris de Souza. Both Bishop Vincent and Fr Chris de Souza were very welcoming to us, introducing us to the audience and explain the role of PFLAG. The Bishop had invited all the chief educators from the diocese, as well as Catholic University personnel, Parish priests and theologians. Fr Peter Maher, who had facilitated the LGBTI Catholic Ministry at Newtown Parish for 20 years, was an initial instigator of this process and Fr Mick O’Callaghan and Jesuit priest, Fr Greg Jacobs from Parramatta Diocese have been part of the organising committee.
Bishop Vincent gave a welcoming Opening Speech, where he spoke briefly about his journey and stressed his desire to have a completely inclusive diocese in Parramatta. Ben Oh (LGBTI advocacy, Peace & Justice, Global Network of Rainbow Catholics) and Francis Voon (Pastoral Care, Masters in Counselling, Bachelor of Theology, LGBTI advocacy) then conducted a role play that engaged all participants and raised their awareness of how excluded one might feel to be LGBTI in the Catholic church. PFLAG’s Sue & Les Mico, who are also involved in Parish ministry, along with Paul Harris (Educator & pastoral ministry with LGBTI Catholics) and Melody Gardiner (Disabilities & LGBTIQ advocacy) then related their very poignant personal stories. After lunch, theological perspectives were delivered by Emeritus Professor Theology from the Australian Catholic University, Robert Gascoigne, then a panel discussion ensued with the presenters and Fr Peter Maher. In closing, Bishop Vincent remarked that he hoped that this symposium would pave the way for acceptance of inclusion throughout all the other dioceses. He noted that it would be a long process, but it would continue.

We were privileged to be present for the debrief with the organisers at the end of the day. Everyone involved was completely overwhelmed by what had occurred on the day – that they were welcomed, listened to and affirmed by the Bishop & Vicar General and many working at the top level in the Parramatta Catholic Diocese at no less than the Parramatta Catholic Cathedral! Feelings of disbelief gave way to tears as pent-up emotions took hold.

A week later, though, our euphoric feelings from that watershed moment in Parramatta, were brought back to earth, as we heard that Archbishop Julian Porteous had banned Jesuit priest, Fr Frank Brennan from speaking at a Catholic Care conference in Hobart, presumably because Fr Brennan supports Marriage Equality. Tasmania’s Gay & Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, has stated that the Archbishop’s action is deeply hypocritical, given that he was the one claiming that his free speech was being stifled during the Marriage Equality debate. He has called on Archbishop Porteous to apologise for silencing Fr Brennan.


Congratulations Michelle Lancey

Congratulations to Newcastle/Hunter PFLAG’s Michelle Lancey on being awarded “2018 Newcastle Local Woman of the Year” in late March for her LGBTI advocacy. See story later in newsletter. I had intended to include this wonderful news in the previous newsletter, but had a senior’s moment. Michelle is also to be congratulated on the birth of her gorgeous grand-daughter.


Thank you to all who came along to the March Family Meeting to support new families. As you would be aware, we have decided to hold the Family Meetings every second month on the odd months for the remainder of 2018. The dates of the remaining meetings for 2018 will be:

July 28th
September 22nd
November 24th (AGM)

Thank you to all who came along to our May Family Meeting to offer support to new families. I hope to see many of you at our Family Meeting on July 28th, as Rudy always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You to help others.”


Queer Muslim Empowerment Workshop

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What: A queer festival for all kinds of families
When: Saturday September 29th, 2018 (10am – 6pm)
Where: 107 Redfern St. Redfern
More Info: www.FAMBO.COM.AU


LGBTIQA+ Short Story Competition  
Closing date – midnight on 1 September 2018.

The OutStanding LGBTIQ Short Story Competition is Australia and New Zealand’s premier literary competition for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community.  Our competition encourages writers to produce a 750 word story with this year’s theme of The Next Big Thing. The competition offers a first prize of $1000 with second, third and three highly commended receiving a combination of cash and literary prizes, plus a youth prize of $500 for writers 25 and under.  All winning stories are published in the Star Observer and on the OutStanding website.   The competition is supported by the Aurora Group, NSW Writer’s Centre, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Queerstories and Ariel Bookshop, and its patron is Alex Greenwich, the Independent Member for Sydney. The annual competition aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for both emerging and established writers to share stories.   The competition is increasing the visibility of LGBTIQ writers in wider literary circles, and more broadly enabling LGBTIQ people to take their rightful place in the wider society.  And above all, the competition provides a space for the expression of LGBTIQ values, experiences, history and hopes.

The winners event, where winning writers get to read their stories, will be at:
4pm on Sun Sept 30 at The Newsagency, 74-76 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Annandale. 
Free entry.

Rules and entry details 
For more detail contact Teresa Savage 0477 074 454

"Anyone can bring change", says 2018 Newcastle Local Women of the Year recipient Michelle Lancey

Max McKinney


Wear It Purple Day

This year, the NSW Police Force are again supporting "Wear it Purple Day" on Friday 31st August, 2018.

"Wear it Purple Day" is a day to show support for young people who identify as sexuality diverse, gender diverse or intersex and to raise awareness about LGBTIQ youth suicide and bullying. It is an excellent opportunity for community engagement specifically promoting the prevention of homophobic and transphobic bullying and violence and the impacts on young people. As emergency service personnel and LGBTI organisations, we can play a vital role in supporting all LGBTIQ community members in their right to be proud of who they are.
As part of this day, the NSW Police Force Central Metropolitan Region, in conjunction with City of Sydney, will be hosting an event between 11:00am-3:00pm on Friday 31st August, 2018, in Hyde Park, Sydney. We would like to invite all of our LGBTI community groups (you/colleagues/clients/fiends/family) to attend on this day. The event is being supported by other emergency services and government agencies with the Police Band performing.

Senior Constable Jordan Manfred LGBTI Liaison Officer, Surry Hills Police Area Command
02 9265 4137 or email

The Pollys Club 54th Birthday Dance

“The Bitches of Broadway” @ the Roundhouse, UNSW on Sat. July 21st.
Doors open@ 7pm/Show @ 9.30pm. Prizes for best dressed. Full bar service available.
Tickets $35 or $30 (Conc.) – Contact David on 0412 498 494 for further info.


Saturday, July 21
Pollys 54th Birthday Dance

Friday, August 31st
Wear it Purple Day

Saturday, September 29 - FAMBO


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.

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.


Saturday July 28th @ 2.00pm

The next meeting of PFLAG NSW Inc. (Incorporating Western Sydney) will be Saturday July 28th at 2.00pm in the Conference Room, “175 Motel”, Formerly Wesley Lodge Motel, 175 Hawkesbury Rd, Westmead, very close to Westmead Hospital and Train station. Car entry is only from Hawkesbury Rd via a boom gate.
For Information contact: Judy on 0439 466 125 Postal Address: PO Box 3751, Marsfield NSW 2122. Email: