“This is feeling paranoid, this is feeling like you are constantly under surveillance, this is being hypervigilant every minute in school hoping that nobody notices a word, a gesture, a comment or reference that might let them know that you are LGBT. The conversations in the staff rooms, the innocent exchanges on the sports ground, the ones that most staff and students feel comfortable and at ease at are the ones that strike fear in many LGBT people’s heart.” – Director of GLHV, Liam Leonard, presenting data to the Religious Freedom Review’s Expert Panel on the poorer mental health outcomes for LGBT people due to discrimination and the impact of staying ‘closeted’ at work or school. – Human Rights Law Centre newsletter – 21/02/18.
“In 1972, two Sydney men, Peter de Waal and Peter (Bon) Bonsali-Boone, appeared in an ABC television program about homosexuality. Days later Bon was sacked from his job as secretary at an Anglican church in Mosman. The subsequent protest by the Campaign Against Moral Persecution, or CAMP, was one of the first gay and lesbian rights protests in Australia to attract a large crowd and mainstream media.” – Greg Waters speaking about the catalyst for the six years of protest that he and his colleagues dramatized in the ABC telemovie “Riot” in the SMH of 3/03/18.
Nearly 50 years later, even though more than 17,000 people would parade in support of the LGBTIQ community in the Mardi Gras on March 3 and half a million would turn out to watch, it is still lawful in 2018 for a church or church-affiliated institution to sack an employee for being homosexual. Greg goes on to say: “Even worse, Malcolm Turnbull has tasked partisan warrior Philip Ruddock with examining whether religious beliefs should give Australians even more rights to discriminate against LGBTQI people. For every two steps forward, we have been forced to take steps back.”
On the positive side, it was a beautiful night for the history-making 40th Year of Mardi Gras on March 3. Thanks to Geoff Thomas, who kindly offered to drive his famous Equality ute for our PFLAG contingent and provided very comfortable seating on the back for our two special PFLAG Queens of Mardi Gras, Mollie Smith & Pamela Garske. Thanks to Jeff for his marshalling expertise, photography and assistance with transport for the ladies, to Narelle for providing delicious high tea, organising equipment for the ute & for her invaluable help, along with Natalie, with distribution of wristbands in Hyde Park. Thank you to all the members, friends & family, who assisted us in the marshalling area, in the parade and with the pack-up at the end and to photographer Max Valente, who chronicled Mardi Gras in pictures for us.
It was reported that revellers said this Mardi Gras felt completely different to all the other years and that there was a sense of “equality in the air”. It was lovely to see James Brechney and his partner, Stuart Henshall, looking sartorially elegant in their giant wedding cake atop of their float, at the corner of Liverpool & College Streets as we passed by. As with all other years, the PFLAG contingent experienced huge cheers & loud applause from the onlookers as we paraded by and this year, as we passed the stands around Taylor Square, tears welled up in the eyes of many PFLAGers, as we received a standing ovation. This year, we had PFLAG members join us from Melbourne, Brisbane & the regional areas of Newcastle, Tuncurry, Central Coast, Carcoar, South Coast & the Blue Mountains. Also it was lovely to have Ivan Hinton, his family & members of PFLAG Capital Region and his advocacy group “just.equal” directly behind us in the parade.
It was heartening to watch the documentary “I Do: 40 Years of Mardi Gras” on ABC News 24. It related the story of James Brechney & his partner, Stuart Henshall deciding to tie the knot in the most fabulous way they could think of – standing in a giant wedding cake on top of a float in the 40th Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in the year of Marriage Equality with close friends & family and hundreds of thousands of extra witnesses. It was lovely to see how the parents, family & friends embraced the marriage of the two young men so heartily and were happy for the world to know. I’m sure it provided inspiration to other parents & families. The documentary also showcased Mardi Gras beautifully. It will screen again on ABC News 24 on Friday, March 30 or you can watch it on iview. I’m hopeful that as more marriages of same-sex couples take place and people can see the joy that they bring, that discrimination will wane. Thank you to Carol McCance who has shared her experience of the wedding of her gay friends with us later in the newsletter.
Congratulations to Pam Garske on being chosen to deliver the Opening Address at the Launch of Mosaic: LGBTIQ Artists of Western Sydney, held at Parramatta Artists Studios on February 22. Well done also to Stuart Garske, our webmaster and Pam’s son, who was chosen as one of the seven artists to have his artworks on display at the exhibition, which ran until March 9. Pam reported that the launch was very successful, with great numbers in attendance. The exhibition was an initiative of the Parramatta Queer Forum in partnership with the City of Parramatta, Parramatta Artists Studios, ACON Western Sydney, Bent Folk and the Sydney G & L Mardi Gras.
FAIR DAY 2018
Fair Day at Victoria Park on February 18 was a very successful day for PFLAG. We had many visitors to the stall either seeking support & information or wanting to network with us. Thank you to all the willing helpers, who worked under very hot & cramped conditions. Thank you to Narelle, Ray, Neil, Keiran, Aaron, Joanne, Vicky & Adolfo who came early to help set up & assist with raffle ticket sales, to Adela, Geoff, Caroline, Noeline, Ruth & Ron, Gillian, Jean-Pierre & Shane, who assisted greatly on the stall & with raffle ticket sales and last, but certainly not least, to Jeff, who was indispensable with helping with packing up & transportation. We are very grateful to Jason Lancett & SEIKO for their generous donation of the Prospex diver’s watch as 1st Prize in our raffle and to Vanessa Rodriguez from “Vdraws Tattooing” for her very kind donation of the full set of her 13 fabulous superhero prints as 2nd Prize. The watch was won by a very excited Rochelle from Tempe, who said it would be dearly treasured and the superhero prints were won by Stephen from Toongabbie, who was thrilled with his win. We raised $1361 on the day for PFLAG’s work from the sale of our rainbow merchandise & raffle ticket sales.
Thank you to all who came along to our February Family Meeting. Even though no new families attended, it was great to catch up with everyone and share our experiences. I hope to see many of you at our next Family Meeting on March 24, for, as Rudy always says: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs YOU to help others.”
SAME SEX WEDDING
My cousin and I attended our first same-sex marriage on 31st January 2018, in Bathurst. I have to say it was a pleasure to be there to celebrate such a wonderful occasion, and I think it was one of the happiest weddings I have been to! I have known the grooms, Peter and Tony, for some years now, and they have been together as a couple for 45 years! They lived in Hill End for a few years before selling up there, plus a house in Qld, before buying a block of land in Bathurst and building a lovely new home on it. The wedding was held in their backyard. There were a small number of guests - 24 all up, (28 including the photographer, the grooms and the Celebrant) - but to my mind the perfect number - and the guests were a mixture of family and friends. Someone had bought packets of the little male gender icons in shiny red and silver so some of us could throw them over the newlyweds when they were declared “husband and husband", (possibly a bit of a pain to clean up later)! I will attach a photo of the grooms, Tony and Peter, looking nice in their light-coloured Nehru jackets (Tony bending down so the guests behind him could be seen); the Celebrant on the extreme right; and all their very happy guests.
ACON’s LGBTIQ Safety & Wellbeing Consultation
April 19th (6 - 9pm)
63 The Mall, Bankstown.
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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org