PFLAG May 2018 Newsletter

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

“I was just 16 when I began conversations with a Sydney church leader that would change the course of my life for the following decade. They would lead me to celibacy, shame and, ultimately, to wanting to die.” - Chris Csabs in his Opinion piece in the SMH on 20/04/18.

Chris goes on to say: “These conversations introduced me to ‘gay conversion therapy’ – the practice of trying to change sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions. It is widely discredited. Britain and several US states are taking action to outlaw it. But no such action has been taken in Australia. So it was galling to hear Health Minister Greg Hunt link so-called gay cure therapy to freedom of speech. What he should have been saying is this practice is indefensible, causing harm and suicide. He should have been saying it has absolutely no place in a modern Australia.”

Thanks to Natalie for initially alerting us to the comments made by Minister Hunt in his interview with Patricia Karvelas on Radio National by forwarding the email from Chris Csabs on April 18, urging us to ring the Minister’s office. Many of us did and I was pleased that one of Greg Hunt’s staffers suggested I also email him. Chris said that as a young Christian child he had listened to adults express beliefs like Israel Folau’s, that gay people are destined for hell, which scared him beyond belief and as a teenager, ridden with guilt, anxiety and revulsion at his emerging attraction to the same sex, he sought healing from the Living Waters “ex-gay ministry” program. Chris commented: “After nine months, I finished the course…and I was as gay as I had ever been. Self-hatred and overwhelming guilt took over my life. I stayed celibate and became depressed, asking God to heal me or kill me. I was broken.”

Chris Csabs says it chills him to the bone to think that, even though LGBT cure therapy has been driven underground, there is evidence to suggest children are receiving it. This has urged him to set up a change.org petition asking Greg Hunt to outlaw it, particularly for children. As Chris says: “Outlawing gay conversion therapy is not controversial – it’s evidence-based, ethical and plain common sense. Our health Minister must issue a clear statement which condemns the practice - and commit to national change.”

IDAHOT DAY

Thursday May 17 is IDAHOT Day. It commemorates the fact that in 1990 the World Health Organisation took homosexuality off their list of mental health disorders. May 17 is a day when the LGBTIQ community can be out and very proud of all that has been achieved as a community and say thank you to those who have been a support on the journey.

Thank you to Ruth, who is part of the IDAHOT committee in the Blue Mountains and will be involved on the day. See later the Press Release for their event.

Thank you to the “ATOMIC” (Australian Tax Office Making Inclusion Count) group at Penrith for issuing an invitation to PFLAG to speak at a lunchtime meeting at their office on May 17. Ray & I will be addressing the LGBTIQ+ group and their allies.

SHABBAT DINNER

Thank you to PFLAG member Lynda Ben-Menashe for inviting me, Ray & Natalie to The Great Synagogue Sydney this Friday, May 18 for a tour, Sabbath synagogue service and Shabbat Dinner for members of the LGBTQI+ communities.

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Click to view the full document 'About the Sydney Jewish LGBTQI Community'

PFLAG ARCHIVES

Many thanks to Narelle, who has doing amazing work with the PFLAG archives, ably assisted by Deb and to all the members who have been passing PFLAG memorabilia on to her. If anyone has any historical PFLAG material, suitable for archiving, you can contact Narelle on 9874 3624.

FAMILY MEETINGS

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:

May 26
July 28
September 22
November 24 (AGM)

I hope to see many of you at the next Family Meeting on Saturday, May 26th, for, as Rudy always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You to help others.”

Judy


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Blue Mountains 78ers raising the Rainbow Flag at IDAHOT 2018

Three Blue Mountains participants in the first Sydney Mardi Gras, known as 78ers, will raise the rainbow flag on IDAHOT Day, the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia.

Supported by the Blue Mountains City Council, IDAHOT events will be held from 10am-noon on Thursday, May 17 at 2 Civic Place, Katoomba. Community members are warmly welcome.
Brian Coates from Blackheath, Genie Melone from Katoomba and Wentworth Falls resident Jan Forrester would love any other 78-ers living in the Blue Mountains to come and join them.
“I struggled quite a bit as a young gay man and, for a very long time, the only place I found male camaraderie was in the gay bars on Oxford Street in Sydney,” said Mr Coates.
“On the other hand, most lesbians I knew were part of the women’s movement which was a remarkably inclusive and practical vehicle for learning how politics worked at the community, government and public level.”

Genie Melone remembers the torrent of creative events that followed the 1978 Mardi Gras. “It was as if the act of coming out on the streets, despite the horrible events at Mardi Gras gave us licence to be more visible. It was a very creative time,” she said.
“There were lesbian women demonstrating at the Women and Arts Festival, lesbian cabarets, and the Freda Stares, a lesbian tap dancing group, just to name a few. We were coming out and it was fun and exciting.”

Brian Coates started training to be a nurse in 1978. “The HIV/AIDS epidemic that hit Australia in 1982 was personally confronting – and also incredibly challenging as a nurse working closely with those who had the virus,” he said. “And a fast and effective grassroots response was crucial in keeping infection rates low. Partnership between government and community groups was critical to Australia’s success in managing the epidemic. And here’s a shout out to the then federal health minister, Neil Blewett, who is a Blue Mountains resident.”

In 2016 the NSW State Government and NSW Police apologised to 78-ers for the arrests and bashings in 2016.
“A public embrace like that also acknowledges LGBTIQ people’s contribution to local organisations, businesses and the community,” said Jan Forrester.

Brian Coates has also reflected on recent changes.
“It’s not over. Young gay, lesbian and transgender people may believe that, with marriage equality, everything is OK.  We should never believe that any political or social rights are won forever - for anyone. They are tender plants and we need to cherish and grow them in our communities, not take them for granted.”

Members of the community are invited to commemorate IDAHOT on -

Thursday, May 17
from 10am-noon in Civic Place, Katoomba.
Morning tea is from 10-11am.
Guest speakers and raising of the Rainbow Flag will be from 11am-noon.


PACIFIC PRIDE CHOIR TOURS VIETNAM & CAMBODIA

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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.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Thursday May 17 – IDAHOT Day

Saturday, May 19
MCC Good Shepherd Movie Trivia Night

Saturday, July 21
Pollys 54th Birthday Dance


MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL 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.


EMAIL ADDRESSES

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.


PFLAG NSW NEXT MEETING

Saturday May 26 @ 2.00pm.

The next meeting of PFLAG NSW Inc. (Incorporating Western Sydney) will be Saturday February 24th 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: info@pflagaustralia.org.au 

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