newsletter

PFLAG November - December 2018 Newsletter

Judy & Ray

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

“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.

 Three Sisters Social Group.

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.


OUR THANKS

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 info@pflagaustralia.org.au 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.

Geoff


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.

Dear Parent/Carer,

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 l.hobby@westernsydney.edu.au, 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.

Kind regards,

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.”

Judy


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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

BUY TICKETS HERE


UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday, October 20 from 7pm
Under the Mirrorball @ Marrickville Town Hall.
www.thepollysclub.com.au

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.


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 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: info@pflagaustralia.org.au 

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PFLAG September - October 2018 Newsletter

Empower Together - Wear it Purple Day

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

“There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender diverse. We don’t deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets by our Prime Minister – I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of attitudes like this” – Evie Macdonald, speaking through a video message on “The Project” in response to PM Scott Morrison’s tweet regarding a factually inaccurate Daily Telegraph article (Star Observer – 7/09/18).

Evie described going to a Christian school where she had to pretend to be a boy and spend weeks in conversion therapy. “We get one childhood and mine was stolen from me by attitudes like this” she told the Star Observer. Evie’s mother, Meagan, revealed her rights as a parent were ignored by the school Evie was at. “They came between us and our child by deciding what was best for her and without our knowledge or consent, subjecting her to hours and hours of conversion therapy under the guise of chaplaincy. I wanted my child to be supported and affirmed, so at her next school we worked together to make sure that Evie had the support she needed …in the back of my mind is always the knowledge that if these kids are unsupported at home, school or both, almost 50% will try to take their life.”

Catherine McGregor in her Opinion piece in the SMH of 7/09/18 said: “Sadly, my transition…has entailed significant suffering and loss. But it alleviated interminable suffering and the ultimate loss, suicide…and gave expression to an insistent yearning that I express my true self.”

Catherine goes on to say: “I would urge the Prime Minister to refrain from endorsing the tabloid moral panic about ‘gender whisperers’ and his clumsy exhortation to ‘let kids be kids’. Any parent of a trans kid wants their kid to just be a kid. Neither Scott Morrison nor tabloid columnists love trans kids as much as their own parents do. And if gender fluid kids are not welcome in our secular schools, then it is time to dispense with publicly funded chaplains as well.”

Adding fuel to the fire was Queensland Senator Fraser Anning, who used his first speech in Parliament to label Safe Schools and gender diversity as “garbage” and “cultural Marxism”.

It was good to see a welcome voice of reason responding to the factually inaccurate Daily Telegraph article – West Ryde’s Dr Elizabeth Riley featured on ABC TV’s “The Drum”, professionally debunking all the myths. Dr Elizabeth Riley does great work with parents and their trans children.


CROSSROADS PROGRAM

Thank you to Ruth & Ron Green, who spoke to the Year 11 Colo High School students on August 16 as part of their Crossroads program. Ruth reported that the staff and students were welcoming and respectful and they enjoyed their experience very much. As reported in the SMH of August 2, State Education Minister Rob Stokes has announced that the replacement for the Crossroads course no longer covers gender questioning and sexual fluidity, despite a government review saying the original content was consistent with NSW anti-discrimination laws. The replacement program, Life Ready, will include modules on sexual health, sexuality and relationships but have a greater focus on financial literacy. Lauren Foy of the NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby said it was essential for schools to address sexual and gender diversity. “The impact on children from homophobia and transphobia in the school environment is highly detrimental to academic, psychological and social development.”


 Photo of Maree Lau taken @ Fort Street High School with the Principal, Juliette on Wear It Purple Day

Photo of Maree Lau taken @ Fort Street High School with the Principal, Juliette on Wear It Purple Day

WEAR IT PURPLE DAY

Friday, August 31 was Wear It Purple Day. Wear It Purple Day is about showing rainbow (sexuality and gender diverse) young people that they are supported, celebrated and respected exactly as they are. It’s about raising awareness in your school, workplace, university or general community that rainbow young people face challenges that they shouldn’t and it won’t be tolerated. PFLAG members were involved in a number of events on the day. Gillian reported that Maree Lau’s talk to the school assembly at Fort Street High School was brilliant and VERY well-received. Narelle was also extremely well-received when she spoke to the ARUP Connect Out Network at Barangaroo. The network is promoting an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ identifying colleagues, families and friends and building a community where everyone is encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. Ray and I spoke at the office of the Fair Work Ombudsman in Liverpool St., which was teleconferenced around to all the states. We were very warmly welcomed and a number of staff members came up to us to thank us afterwards. We pointed out a disturbing statistic that had arisen in a recent study “From Prejudice to Pride”, undertaken by the Diversity Council Australia that only 32% of LGBTI people are “out” at work. We hope that all the invitations we are receiving from the corporate bodies will impact to reduce this alarming statistic. Ray & I also took part in the Wear It Purple event in Hyde Park, which was sponsored by NSW Police, the emergency services and the City of Sydney. In spite of intermittent rain, it was very well attended with a number of stalls, hosted by the many LGBTI service, support and advocacy groups and NSW Police support groups and the fabulous Police Band kept everyone entertained. It was wonderful to see the Police Commissioner, Mick Fuller and Deputy Commissioner Tony Crandell in attendance and also mentors to the Wear It Purple young people, Dr Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker-Phelps and one of the 78ers, all of whom had poignant anecdotes to relate from their lived experiences.


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RUOK DAY

Congratulations to Helen Robertson, Central Coast PFLAG co-ordinator, who has been successful in obtaining a $500 grant from Suicide Prevention Central Coast for her idea to run an event for RUOK Day in September to promote wellbeing in her community. She was presented with a grant certificate at an official launch of the RUOK Day Grant winners on August 9 along with the launch of a Suicide Prevention website.


MCC Good Shepherd Movie Trivia Night

Pam & Arthur and Ray & I will be travelling up to Kempsey on the weekend of September 22 – 23. We will be providing support for their inaugural PFLAG meeting on the Saturday night and having a stall at the “It’s OK on the Macleay” Event @ Riverside Park on the Sunday. “It’s OK on the Macleay” is a celebration of diversity within the community & is auspiced by the Foundation Baylin’s Gift – a charity committed to educating young people and their support networks on depression, anxiety, gender/sexual identification and suicide awareness. More information is available on www.baylinsgift.com


Ned & Co Marketing & Publicity

Thank you to Annette Smith from Ned & Co Marketing & Publicity for sending us complimentary movie passes to “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”, which I forwarded to the committee members. The story is based around Cameron being shipped off to a conversion therapy centre that treats teens “struggling with same-sex attraction”, after she is caught with another girl on prom night. Here she is subjected to outlandish discipline, dubious “de-gaying” methods & Christian rock songs. However, Cameron connects with her peers and finds her place among fellow outcasts. It was given 4 stars in the SMH review on September 9. We look forward to seeing it later this week.


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Parramatta Pride Picnic

While PFLAG will not be having a stall at the Parramatta Pride Picnic on Sunday, October 28 this year, I’m sure that many of you will want to go along to support and have a fun day at the River Foreshore Reserve from 11am – 5pm. There will be food vendors, drag performances, entertainment, rainbow kids area/activities, exhibitions & talks, a licensed bar and delicious afternoon high tea.


FAMILY MEETINGS 2018

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:


September 22nd
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 September 22 @ 2pm, for, as Rudy always said: “When you don’t need PFLAG anymore, that’s when PFLAG needs You to help others.”

Judy


CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK FOR RAINBOW FAMILIES

It is a real challenge to find quality children’s books that reflect our rainbow families or the rainbow families of our loved ones.. 
For parents raising kids in diverse families being able to share stories that make kids feel included in the storybook world is so important. After all, children’s literature is one of the key ways kids make sense of their worlds.

mememe.press is now publishing a highly customised book that allow parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles or friends to create stories that reflect the unique families of their loved ones (including themselves in the story if they choose to!).

The book is written by award-winning children’s authors and tells the story of a little kid, looking up from their toys on a Sunday morning to find their family has disappeared! Follows a romp around the house discovering family members hidden under lamps, crouching on the couch (like an old corn chip) or in the bath to name a few spots. The people the child finds change based on who is in THEIR own special family. 
To make the story theirs - include up to 4 adults (including grandparents and any mix of mums/dads and other significant people in the child’s life), up to 5 siblings and a pet.

The books have been developed with the idea that each child, no matter what their family make up, should be able to find themselves in a book.

The books can be ordered online and arrive printed and ready to be read. 
Go to www.mememe.press to make YOUR book.


To celebrate our community, use the code: RAINBOW15 at checkout for 15% off the book price.


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FAMBO

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


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The Pollys Club Rainbow Costume Ball

Welcome to the gayest, most lesbianest, totally gender-nonconforming night you'll ever attend! Welcome to the Rainbow Costume Ball!

Throw on a rainbow-coloured outfit, throw some glitter in the air and run through it, then make your way to the Paddington RSL on October 20, at 7pm. You'll be greeted with drinks on arrival, a three-course buffet, some gay-inspired entertainment, a properly stocked bar, and if you get your husband or wife tipsy before 10, you may also get a free lap dance!

There are some great costume prizes to be won! We'll have the Prince of the Ball, the Princess of the Ball, and the Belle of the Ball. All three categories are totally gender-nonconforming, which means you lads donning pretty chiffon dresses are very much in the running for Princess of the Ball. Or maybe even Belle of the Ball!!

The Rainbow Costume Ball - Saturday 20th October 
Paddington RSL - 220-232 Oxford St Paddington NSW


Doors open at 7pm | Welcome drink on arrival | Three course buffet dinner | Full bar service

BUY TICKETS HERE


UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday, September 29 (10am – 6pm) – FAMBO @ 107 Redfern St. Redfern www.fambo.com.au

Saturday, October 20 from 7pm
Pollys Rainbow Costume Ball @ Paddington RSL.
www.thepollysclub.com.au

Saturday, October 27 (2 – 5pm)
Rainbow Families Halloween Disco
@ Addison Rd Community Centre, Marrickville.
www.rainbowfamilies.com.au/new-events/

Sunday, October 28 (11am – 5pm)
Parramatta Pride Picnic
@ River Foreshore Reserve, Parramatta.
Email: parramattapride17@gmail.com

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.


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 Sept 22nd @ 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: info@pflagaustralia.org.au 

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PFLAG July - August 2018 Newsletter

The 78ers

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

“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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SHABBAT DINNER

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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ATOMIC

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.


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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.


FAMILY MEETINGS 2018

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.”

Judy


Queer Muslim Empowerment Workshop


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FAMBO

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


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LGBTIQA+ Short Story Competition

www.outstandingstories.net
outstandingshortstories@gmail.com  
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  http://www.outstandingstories.net/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


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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
manf1jor@police.gov.au


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

Saturday, July 21
Pollys 54th Birthday Dance

Friday, August 31st
Wear it Purple Day

Saturday, September 29 - FAMBO


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 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: info@pflagaustralia.org.au 

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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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PFLAG March 2018 Newsletter

 A couple of Mardi Gras Queens!!

A couple of Mardi Gras Queens!!

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

“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.”

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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.

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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 2018

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.”

Judy  


SAME SEX WEDDING

 Peter & Tony's Wedding  Bathurst 31st Jan 2018

Peter & Tony's Wedding  Bathurst 31st Jan 2018

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.

Carol McCance      


UPCOMING EVENTS

ACON’s LGBTIQ Safety & Wellbeing Consultation

April 19th (6 - 9pm)
63 The Mall, Bankstown.

RSVP: safety@acon.org.au 

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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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PFLAG January 2018 Newsletter

 Image by Ann-Marie Callihanna

Image by Ann-Marie Callihanna

Presidents Report

“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
 

 Narelle with staff at Bank of Canada on Nov 3.

Narelle with staff at Bank of Canada on Nov 3.


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.

 Photo: Noeline with Dawn Hawkins from Marriage Equality Gilmore when the YES numbers came in.

Photo: Noeline with Dawn Hawkins from Marriage Equality Gilmore when the YES numbers came in.


FAIR DAY AND REQUEST FOR HELP

 

Fair Day is on Sunday 18th February 2018 in Victoria Park, Camperdown. 

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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.


Upcoming Events

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.


MAIL 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.
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.


PFLAG NSW: Next Meeting will be Saturday January 27 @ 2.00pm.

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