“I am saddened, indeed disheartened, that I must write to express my profound disappointment that you are a signatory to the letter, dated 25 October 2018, signed by the Sydney Anglicans as one of fifty Heads of School. I agree that a teacher plays an ‘exemplar role’ and that a teacher must support the ‘values, ethos and mission’ of the school…, but, are you seriously suggesting that a teacher will undermine or denigrate those teachings simply by being gay?” – Nationals MP Trevor Khan in his letter to the Principal of his old school, The Illawarra Grammar School, as reported by “The New Daily” on 31/10/2018.
Trevor Khan goes on to say: “I know that some of my teachers, as well as students, during my time at TIGS were gay. I have no doubt that there are students and teachers at the school now who also are gay. What is the message that you are sending to them through signing the letter? Are you saying that simply because of their sexuality they cannot share the ‘values and ethos’ of your school? Are you saying that a gay teacher is unable to fulfil the school’s stated objective of developing students with ‘wisdom, compassion and justice, who are faithful stewards of our world’? Do you realise that the current exemption which you wish to uphold would allow for them to be excluded simply because of their sexuality, not on the basis of whether they uphold the school’s ‘values, ethos and mission’?”
Trevor Khan upbraided the Sydney Anglicans for no longer being an inclusive church: “You only have to remember that they spent $1 million of church monies on the ‘No’ campaign in the same-sex marriage plebiscite to realise how far they’ve drifted.” He urged religious leaders to consider more deeply the Bible’s teaching to “do to others what you would have them do to you.”
It is very heartening to see Parliamentarians call out discrimination so passionately. Trevor Khan has been a superb advocate for the rights of LGBTI people for many years. The independent Federal MP Kerryn Phelps has also told “The New Daily” she was confident that any moves to bolster the rights of schools to sack gay teachers would be rejected by the hung parliament. “I do not believe that the law should allow discrimination against students or teachers on the basis of their sexuality or perceived sexuality or marital status.” she said. The ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus said: “Laws to allow schools to sack gay staff were not acceptable. Nobody should be discriminated against at work because of their gender or sexuality.”
Yes, Yes, Yes”: Australia’s journey to Marriage Equality
Thanks to Geoff Thomas, who went to the launch of the book, by Alex Greenwich & Shirleene Robinson, “Yes, Yes, Yes”: Australia’s journey to Marriage Equality” at Redfern Town Hall on Thursday, November 1 and sent us some feedback. See Geoff’s report later in the newsletter. Alex Greenwich has asked to meet with Bishop Michael Stead about a formal apology from the Anglican Church and the Coalition for Marriage campaign for the harmful and distressing conduct during the marriage equality postal survey.
PFLAG Illawarra Southern
Thank you to Noeline Bedford, PFLAG Illawarra Southern, who agreed to be interviewed by a Wollongong University student, on behalf of PFLAG. Noeline reported that the interview went well and that she would be involved as a stakeholder in a Transgender support gathering the following week as well as a launch of “Yes, Yes, Yes”, with Alex Greenwich attending, at Bomadery in November.
RUOK DAY - Central Coast PFLAG
Well done to Helen Robertson, Central Coast PFLAG co-ordinator, on the success of her RUOK Day event in September. Helen reported that they had a very good evening, with lots of connections. Mums from the Rainbow Babies playgroup came and brought flyers and they met two new families with trans teens. Overall, it was a very good event.
The inaugural Kempsey PFLAG meeting
Pam & Arthur and Ray & I had a remarkable experience on the weekend of September 22-23 in Kempsey. We were very warmly welcomed by Jenny and all her supporters from the local health services. The inaugural Kempsey PFLAG meeting on the Saturday evening went very well, with the four of us and the local participants telling our stories, much like our meetings and we all shared a delicious meal afterwards. The “It’s OK on the Macleay” event by the river on the Sunday was amazing. This annual event had been started last year by Hayley Hoskins, who had lost her 18 year old son, Baylin, to suicide. Hayley created the charity “Baylin’s Gift” to educate young people & their support networks on depression, anxiety, gender/sexual identification and suicide awareness. Hayley has an enormous amount of energy and is an absolute inspiration. The event was similar to the Parramatta Pride Picnic, with lots of stalls, excellent speakers and a variety of entertainment. It was supported by ACON and the Local Health Services. Pam’s talk on their personal story was extremely well received and many people came to our PFLAG stall afterwards to speak to Pam.
Queerscreen film “It’s a Dog’s Life”
Ruth & Ron have been busy in the Blue Mountains attending the Queerscreen film “It’s a Dog’s Life” at the Mt Vic Flicks in October and Ruth has enjoyed lunch with the Three Sisters Social Group.
Ned & Co Publicity
Thanks again to Annette Smith from Ned & Co Publicity, who sent us multiple passes to the film “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”, a story about gay conversion therapy. Ray & I went to see the film at Event Cinemas, Macquarie Centre and thought it was an excellent production. It was good to see that it was showing at mainstream theatres. There is a new movie on a similar theme “Boy Erased”, starring Russell Crowe & Nicole Kidman, coming to the screens on November 8. Hopefully this will also help to raise awareness of this toxic practice.
After the successful “Yes” vote for marriage equality at the end of last year, we expected that PFLAG may not be as busy in 2018. In some ways that has proved to be true, in that we haven’t been drawing large attendances at our family meetings. This has given rise to the committee’s decision to cut the monthly meetings to bi-monthly meetings in the odd months. However, in other ways, we have been busier than before, e.g. the requests for speakers, particularly around IDAHOT and Wear It Purple Day, has increased markedly.
We would not have been able to fulfil these many and varied engagements without the support of our dedicated committee and other supporting members. I would like to thank Geoff Thomas for his sterling service to PFLAG, particularly his support of young gay men at ACON, assistance with Mardi Gras, representing us at Police Community meetings, speaking engagements, support at events and for his mind-boggling efforts to further the cause of Equality for the LGBTI community. Geoff is unable to continue on the committee, due to family commitments.
Ray & I will also be retiring from the PFLAG committee this year and will genuinely miss the camaraderie that we have experienced with the very good friends that we have made through our involvement on the committee over so many years. Ray has been a great support to me with his work on publicity and the newsletter, so now he will have time to pursue his interests in photography and music. I am thrilled that Les Mico has agreed to nominate for the positions of President and Newsletter Editor at the AGM and Sue has offered to assist him on the committee. Les & Sue have been involved with PFLAG for longer than us, so I am confident they’ll do a fantastic job.
Thank you to Natalie, who has continued to serve PFLAG as Minutes Secretary, while also being so committed to her wonderful work with Equal Voices. Natalie will remain on the committee, but is unable to continue in her role of Minutes Secretary.
Our Vice-President, Ruth and her husband, Ron, have been a great support to us. We have appreciated their help with facilitation & support of families at meetings, speaking engagements, phone counselling, advocacy work and their multitude of connections to the LGBTI community in the Blue Mountains.
Thanks to Pam for doing a first-class job as Treasurer, for her long term past participation in the Parramatta Queer Forum and, together with Arthur, their invaluable support at meetings, phone counselling and media involvement in advocating for equal rights for the LGBTI community.
A big thank you to Narelle, who has taken on the mammoth task of preparing the PFLAG archives, as well as managing the event applications, membership and Public Officer duties. Narelle has also been a very prolific and popular speaker to corporations and has been of great assistance with Mardi Gras and Fair Day. Thanks to Deb for your expertise and valuable support to Narelle with the archives and for your commitment to the family meetings.
Thank you to Louise for your work with the library and to you and Marilyn for your commitment to the family meetings and support of new families. Thanks to Carol, who, despite suffering health problems, has continued to offer phone & email support to parents and families. Mollie still amazes us with her wise counsel at meetings and her ongoing advocacy for LGBTI rights. Thank you very much Mollie for your continued support of PFLAG.
Special thanks to a number of dedicated members, who, although not official committee members, have given us great support throughout the year. To Maree, who has taken on a number of engagements this year, including Rainbow Family reading commitments at the City of Sydney Libraries, speaking engagements, representation at allied organisations as well as committing to so many family meetings. To Les & Sue, for their attendance at Acceptance Sydney liturgies, participation in the Parramatta Diocese LGBTIQ Symposium, assistance at Mardi Gras & family meetings. To Jeff for his invaluable assistance with marshalling and photography at Mardi Gras and help at Fair Day. To Helen Robertson from PFLAG Central Coast for her ongoing generosity in assisting us with the PFLAG Sydney facebook page.
Massive thanks to our webmaster, Stuart Garske, who has given so much of his time, energy and expertise to assist us with putting the newsletter on to the website and for disseminating it to the email list.
Many thanks to Ruth, Narelle, Deb and Marilyn for holding the fort for us at the September Family Meeting. I believe you all had a good discussion despite no new families attending.
If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do so prior to the AGM, if possible.
MARDI GRAS PARADE
The Mardi Gras Parade will take place on Saturday, March 2 in 2019. PFLAG will be giving preference to our existing members and those from interstate and regional PFLAG groups. If you wish to be part of the PFLAG contingent for 2019, please email firstname.lastname@example.org from early December.
I hope to see many of you at our AGM and Christmas Party on November 24 @ 2pm @ “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 healthy and happy 2019. Judy
Report from Geoff Thomas on the launch of “YES, YES, YES”
I went to the launch of the book Alex Greenwich and Shirleene Robinson wrote about the marriage equality campaign on Thursday, November 1st.
The book is called “YES, YES, YES”, published by Newsouth and the launch was like a re-union of campaigners. Clover Moore made the launch speech to over a hundred people who attended.
There is a deal of reference to PFLAG and a number of individual PFLAG members in this book. The Marriage campaign and ultimate law reform took the combined efforts of tens of thousands of people over more than a decade of campaigning. I was excited to meet up with a number of those people, who were involved, last Thursday night. I have admired the strength and endurance of PFLAG members, who I think are champions for our children.
The book makes for interesting reading.
Appeal for members to join the Committee
If PFLAG has been a support to you in the past, maybe you would like to consider offering yourself as a committee member to help to keep PFLAG viable. Committee meetings are held bi-monthly, on Saturdays, prior to family meetings, and are a great way of developing camaraderie between the members. There are two major events each year with which we require assistance: Fair Day in late February (our major fundraiser) and Mardi Gras. Both of these events are very rewarding and a lot of fun, but can only happen if we have enough people on the ground to help out. There are other opportunities throughout the year if you wish to become further involved. Present committee members have found that working together for the betterment of PFLAG has helped them on their journey of acceptance. PFLAG is a well-respected organisation in the community and this has been achieved through the dedication and hard work of committee members. Think about this and if you feel that you could give the time, contact Judy on 0439 466 125. Your offer of assistance would be greatly appreciated.
“The Laramie Project” & “The Laramie Project: 10 Years later” events @ the Seymour Centre
My name is Carly Fisher, Producer and Director of 2 great shows coming up at the Seymour Centre between November 28 and December 8th.
The Laramie Project focusses on a town in the wake of Hare Crime. The play is comprised of over 400 real interviews, court record & media stories and follows the town after the murder of young gay college student, Matthew Shepard.
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of this crime.
The Laramie Project: 10 Years later revisits the town 10 years after the murder and asks us all to question the lengths that we will go to rewrite history.
This will be 10 Years Later’s Sydney Premiere.
We will be raising money for ACON at every performance.
Book online HERE
Or call the Box Office at Seymour Centre on 9351 7940 to buy tickets.
WESTERN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
Study Title: Gender and sexuality diversities in schools: Parental experiences and schooling responses.
Are you the parent/carer of a gender or sexuality diverse child, a child positioned by others as gender or sexuality diverse, or a child who may be uncertain about their sexuality or gender identity and who is attending an Australian state (government) school in any year from K-12?
If so, would you be interested in participating in an important study that seeks to understand your experiences of negotiating the school environment for your child, and your perceptions of how your child’s sexuality and/or gender diversity impact on their experiences of schooling?
Participation would involve a short face-to-face or online interview with one or both of the project’s Chief Investigators: Associate Professor Tania Ferfolja and Dr Jacqueline Ullman.
If you are interested in participating, or would like more information, please write directly to the Research Project Officer, Dr Lucy Hobby at email@example.com, who will provide you with more details regarding the study. If you happen to know of someone who you think may be interested in participating, please feel free to share this message with your networks.
Dr Lucy Hobby (Research Project Officer)
On behalf of the project team (A/Prof Tania Ferfolja, Dr Jacqueline Ullman, and Professor Tara Goldstein)
FAMILY MEETINGS 2018
Thank you to all who came along to the Sept - Oct 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:
November 24th (AGM)
Thank you to all who came along to our July Family Meeting and to Ruth for facilitating the meeting for us. I hope many of you will be able to come along to the next PFLAG Family Meeting on Nov 24th @ 2pm, for, as Rudy always said: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You to help others.”
The Pollys Club Under the Mirrorball
Under the Mirrorball - World Aids Day Saturday 1st December
Marrickville Town Hall
Doors open at 7pm | Purchase drinks & snacks or BYO
Saturday, October 20 from 7pm
Under the Mirrorball @ Marrickville Town Hall.
Saturday, November 24 @ 2pm
PFLAG NSW AGM/Christmas Party
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.
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 Nov 24th @ 2.00pm
The next meeting of PFLAG NSW Inc. (Incorporating Western Sydney) will be Saturday Sept 22nd 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: firstname.lastname@example.org