Archive for August 31, 2012

Are you Bisexual and want to share your story on radio??

Joy FM 94.9FM in Melbourne, has made an extraordinarily generous offer to the bisexual community through Bi Alliance, to tell their own personal stories throughout the day on 23 September 2012, Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

Bi Alliance have already consulted with them to write a 30-second blurb that
will be recorded and played during ad-breaks on the day, but they also
want some members of Melbourne’s bisexual community to go into the
studio over the coming weeks to record short vignettes, telling the
story of their personal journey in their own words.

If you would like to volunteer to participate in this event…

Email pres@bi-alliance.org.

It is great to see that this is happening in this era of the GLBTIQ community. With everything that is happening let’s keep the momentum going!!!!!

A Few Tips For The Straight Guy

I came across this little story on GLWA’s facebook page which was sourced from craigslist.

It was well written and it prompted me to post it here and to mention the great timing of it for the launch of the amazing campaign “No To Homophobia

A mutual friend of ours threw a big party for her 30th birthday, tons of people were there and it was a lot of fun. Somewhere along the line you and I ended up on the balcony for some fresh air at the same time. We started chatting; we talked about sports, books, tv — discovered we both are about to start our masters degrees and spent

some time debating the pro’s and con’s of the educational system. We talked about hanging out sometime, and you wanted to meet my girlfriend.

I understand how upsetting it was for you when I blinked mildly in surprise and said I was here with my husband. I know it was a shock to your system, if your face had turned any paler I might have called 911. You made a good recovery though – that hurried mutter of “I’m not like that” was very polite and you only knocked over two drinks and one vase in your hurry to rush to anywhere other than near me. I can’t blame you — I forgot how delicate you straight boys are. So I wanted to give you a few helpful hints about where you went wrong last night.

1) As a general rule we don’t walk around with big signs around our neck proclaiming our sexuality. No scarlet letters, no scent of hellfire and brimstone… sorry about that.

2) We do not generally assume that everyone within 5 feet of us must also be homosexual — it was nice of you to immediately reassure me that you are hetero, but it was really unnecessary.

3) Homosexuality is not infectious. While I am sure you meant no disrespect with your hasty departure; in the future you can rest assured that taking a few extra seconds in your mad dash for safety will not result in you being turned gay. It will however keep you from destroying expensive vases and knocking over senior citizens.

4) This next one may come as a surprise; but you are not, in fact, irresistible. The fact that you have a dick does not instantly turn me into a bundle of uncontrolled lust. Contrary to popular opinion, being in the same room with a straight man does not cause a gay man to instantly lose all common sense and basic common courtesy. Though I am not so sure about the reverse.

5) Homosexuals in general get a little irked when people treat us like some sort of leper. Rushing to another mutual friend of ours and advising him of my sexuality, so he could be “forewarned” was really uncalled for.

6) Upon being told (by said mutual friend) to stop being an idiot and that you were not my type anyway… it generally confuses the issue when you then proceed to become upset that I DON’T find you attractive. Three seconds ago you were running through a crowd of people with your hands cupped protectively over your junk as if I might attack you at any moment with a blowjob. See hint number 4.

7) We homosexuals have an odd sense of humor — I can’t help that. Something about watching you freak out as if all the demons of hell were after you just struck me as vastly amusing.

8) While being pissed at me for dissolving into uncontrollable laughter might be understandable… gathering a couple guys together to “teach the fag a lesson” is not.

9) You might also want to drink a little less and be a little more careful about the guys you approach for your little proto-hate-mob.

10) Assuming the two tall muscle-bound bruisers must be uber-hetero and just as appalled by my presence as you was your first mistake. It was an understandable one though. How were you to know that pflag tshirt the first guy was wearing wasn’t a sports team? Also the rainbow ring the second guy was wearing could have meant anything I am sure.

11) In retrospect I suppose that upon hearing your not very subtle hate-talk and seeing who you were heading for; I could have said something instead of just laughing harder. I apologize for that. I should have just introduced you to my husband instead of letting you walk up to him and ask him if he wanted to help you teach “that fag over there” a lesson. I hope that broken nose heals up cleanly.

(Source: collegestation.craigslist.org)

Staying Negative – John’s Story

I was born in Dumbarton in Scotland, and I came out here when I was two. Apparently I had a wonderful Scottish accent when I first arrived, and I’m spewing that I’ve lost it. Anyway my parents are broad Scots and my dad’s a very proud Scotsman. I grew up with a lot of English, a lot of Scottish, a lot Welsh and Irish people.

Y-GLAM Queer Youth Theatre Presents leaving elizabeth

Y-GLAM Queer Youth Theatre Presents

leaving elizabeth

Based on stories by Y-GLAM members

Haunted by the memory of a lost love, she travels to forget – across the Australian outback,

the glaciers of South America and deep into the Amazon jungle.

Meanwhile a Malaysian boy sits in his room looking for love on his smart phone -

terrified to ‘come out’ or make contact.

Through physical theatre, stunning projections and original music Y-GLAM tells two stories of

getting dumped, getting scared and sometimes, finding the one.

5 SHOWS ONLY

Tues 11 Sept – Sat 15 Sept, 7.30pm

Arts House Meat Market

5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne

(Melway Ref: 2B A9)

Tickets: $20 Full, $12 Concession

$10 Groups of 10 or more

Bookings: www.trybooking.com/BUMP

or at the door (subject to availability)

Info: 03 9355 9900

Auslan interpreters performance Wed 12 Sept, 7.30pm

Wheelchair Access

Writer/Director – Sarah Cathcart

Physical Director – James Andrews

Set/Lighting Designer – Jenny Hector

Visual Artist – Sean Healy

Composer – Nick Van Cuylenburg

Costume Designer – Amanda Fairbanks

Production/Stage Manager – Jo Leishman

Y-GLAM Queer Youth Theatre is a program of Merri Community Health Services for young people aged

14 to 25 who are same sex attracted or gender diverse. For more information about Y-GLAM please call 9355 9900

Bouncing back: silver medal-winning trampolinist stays upbeat about living with HIV

I came across this article on The Age website. Great to see such a positive (excuse the pun) article from a Newspaper that can sometimes get it wrong.

Remember if you have concerns or wanting more information about HIV, there are some great organisations, such as, VICAIDS/GMHC in Melbourne, Positive Living Centre in Melbourne, and ACON in Sydney, plus other state organisations, check out our directory page.

THE Olympic silver medallist Ji Wallace says finding out he was HIV positive was like “a bomb going off” in his head.

Wallace, the only Australian to have won a medal in gymnastics (silver on the trampoline in Sydney), said he walked around for weeks in a haze of shock and disbelief after learning a year ago he had contracted the virus from his partner at the time.

But Wallace says he has never looked back since that difficult couple of months he spent alone in Canada grappling with his new reality. Which is why he went public this week, inspired by an interview with Greg Louganis, the four-time Olympic diving gold medallist who revealed he was gay and HIV positive in an autobiography in 1995.

“I was in London at the Games and watched Piers Morgan interviewing [Louganis] and it was just such a normal interview and so positive,” Wallace said in Sydney after flying home from his role as an ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games.

“I felt like he had come a long way because when Greg came out it was a shock-horror story, quite negative, and it was really nice for him to sit there openly [this week] and talk about it. That night I had trouble sleeping so I wrote to Piers Morgan and said, ‘Thanks for treating him well … it’s a big issue and it always will be but you didn’t sensationalise anything.’ I wanted to say thanks and that I too was an Olympian living with HIV.”

The letter, which Wallace also sent to the Sydney Star Observer, a weekly newspaper for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, went viral on the internet and resulted in “literally thousands” of messages of support and gratitude for Wallace.

“It’s not a big deal to me. Everybody I needed to tell was very supportive of me, but it is a big deal to those people who find themselves discriminated against or bullied because of it,” he said.

“If one or two people or thousands of people get encouragement and courage to chase their dreams or live their lives honestly, if what I wrote makes a difference, then I have done the right thing.”

Wallace was openly but not publicly gay in Sydney when, as a long shot, he delighted a thunderous home crowd with a silver medal at trampolining’s Olympic debut. He made his sexuality known publicly four years later when a friend convinced him gay athletes should talk more about their sexuality. Life continued as normal, punctuated by a move to Canada to work with Cirque du Soleil, before his life changed last year.

“When a partner tells you they have HIV you’re super concerned about them, but then it was, ‘Hold on, if you have it does that mean I have it?”‘ Wallace said.

“Until I got tested there was that part of me that was ‘It’s a dream, it’s a dream’, unless it’s happening directly to you, you don’t really educate yourself about it … and then it seems like a bomb goes off in your head. And because I was overseas I wandered around like a zombie for a little while. It was quite some time before it really sunk in.”

Wallace moved back to Australia and began a program of antiretroviral drugs after being told he was “too healthy” to take part in trials for new drugs. He has his first big check-up next week but said by far the toughest challenge of the past year was telling his parents.

“Because they’re a generation and a half behind me, my parents are not within my community or current information system. I was really quite scared to tell them because I didn’t want them to think their son was going to die this horrible death,” he said.

Wallace took both parents to his doctor and watched, relieved, as “the fear drained out of their faces”.

“That’s another reason why I’m [speaking out],” he said. “I’m doing this to re-educate people about what it is and what it means to live with it.”

Ji Wallace ... was in a haze of shock.

A Marriage Equality Vote is Coming, What You Can Do To Help

Australian Marriage Equality are doing a wonderful job with campaigning for marriage equality for the GLBTIQ community.

How you can help marriage equality in Tasmania

Send a message to Premier Lara Giddings thanking her, and Opposition Leader Will Hodgman asking for a Liberal conscience vote

http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/contact-tasmanian-government/

If you live in Tasmania, send a message to your local Upper House member and attend the marriage equality rally on Saturday August 11th at Parliament House

http://tasunited.org/contact-your-mlc/

http://tasunited.org/get-involved/events/

Donate to the special fund that has been established for marriage equality in Tasmania

https://www.gofundraise.com.au/payments/donate/beneficiary/652

Share a new video which explains how and why Tasmania should take the lead on marriage equality

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAvasBFvIvU&feature=youtu.be

The Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship Applications Open For 2013

The Pinnacle Foundation has been established to provide scholarships to lesbian, gay, transexual, queer, intersex and bisexual youth who are marginalised or disadvantaged. It was set up by a group of friends who saw a big need in the LGBTIQ community that was not being met. With so much determination and unrealised potential out there we’re about providing financial and mentoring support to LGBTIQ youth who may not be able to achieve their educational or career goals on their own. Pinnacle aims to give young LGBTIQs the chance to achieve their full potential. We know that some young LGBTIQs can face a tough time coming out to their families, friends and schools, with some finding themselves without the money and support needed to keep up their studies.

“The sudden and complete withdrawal of both financial and emotional support of my parents was a direct response to the realisation on their part that I had a partner who was a female. I was in a situation with little savings, having been unprepared for the events which took place… I must now work almost full time hours in hospitality in conjunction with a full time study load in order to put myself in a financially viable situation.”  21 year old Lesbian applicant 

“I grew up in the country and came out as same sex attracted when I was 16. Due to differences in opinion of my sexuality with my father, I left home. Moving in with a friend that I had met, I found myself a job, and put myself back into High School, completing 11 and 12 Year.  I was diagnosed with depression, which had a major impact on my studies…”   23 year old Gay applicant

With so much determination and unrealised potential out there we’re about providing financial and mentoring support to LGBTIQ youth who may not be able to achieve their educational or career goals on their own. Pinnacle aims to give young LGBTIQs the chance to achieve their full potential.  No matter what your interest or vocation, we might be able to help. Want to complete HSC year or ready to start TAFE or university we can help, irrespective if you want to be a teacher, nurse, musician, architect, chef, lawyer or engineer? Whatever you aspire to, we may be able to offer the financial support and resources to help you get there.

That’s where we come in.The Scholarship will under certain conditions cover such vital needs as the cost of tuition fees or dues to an approved educational institution, laptop, textbooks, uniforms, professional membership or student union fees, professional tools of trade, public transport concession passes and vocational placement costs.

Click Here to check out our website

Click Here for information and applications for the scholarships.

Applications close on 15 October 2012.

Tasmania’s gay marriage plan hits stumbling block

The leader of Tasmania’s Upper House has refused to speculate on whether the chamber would pass newly proposed laws on gay marriage.

On Saturday Premier Lara Giddings told the State Labor Party conference she would move to legislate marriage equality by the end of the year.

Ms Giddings said she had legal advice that Tasmania could go it alone and she was confident she had the support of all state Labor MPs except Speaker Michael Polley.

It is likely the legislation will pass the Lower House with the help of the Greens but its passage through the Upper House is less certain.

Legislative Council president Sue Smith said while she personally opposed the change she could not speak for fellow members.

“I would never presume to understand how my colleagues will vote,” Ms Smith said.

“They certainly will listen to their electorates, they will do their homework and they will formulate an opinion on the wishes of the electorate and the legislation that’s before them.”

There are also concerns the laws could be challenged in the High Court even if they are passed by Tasmania’s Parliament.

Treasurer Wayne Swan told Channel Ten Labor would continue to pursue a conscience vote in the Federal Parliament, but said he could not say what legal status gay marriages in Tasmania might have.

“We’ll go through our process in the National Parliament and I guess they’ll go through theirs in Tasmania,” he said.

“But we haven’t seen the outcome of that as of yet, so it’s far to early too draw a conclusion on that matter.”

Federal conscience vote

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also said it was too early to make any decision about the issue.

“We do have a bill before the Federal Parliament dealing with same sex marriage,” she said.

“I determined that this should be a conscience vote for the Labor party and people will be free to determine how they vote.

“As for any laws that may be the subject of consideration in Tasmania, we don’t have any details at this stage.”

The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to rule out taking court action over Tasmania’s plans.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Federal Labor should say what it intends to do.

“I call on Julia Gillard to rule out any legal challenge by the Commonwealth to the passage of legislation being passed in Tasmania,” she said.

Greens leader Christine Milne also pressed the Federal Government for reassurance it would not stand in the way.

“We want to make sure that this goes through, that the enormous benefits that will accrue to the community can come to pass, that we genuinely end discrimination and we want to see the Prime Minister get right behind it,” she said.

“The Greens have been driving this agenda nationally and in Tasmania for a long time. It is so important to get rid of discrimination and it will be great for Tasmania to take a leadership role.”

‘Huge opportunity’

Ms Giddings’ announcement was greeted with thunderous applause by most at the conference and by Rainbow Labor’s Robbie Moore.

“It’s a very proud moment for all of us,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming and certainly our focus had been on trying to achieve these laws nationally and that’s still the idea but this step of getting rid of this discrimination within Tasmania is a significant step, it’s a huge opportunity for Tasmania.”

Gay rights activist Rodney Croome said he was also proud of the Premier’s decision.

“It will once and for all dispel our lingering reputation for homophobia,” he said.

There are hopes introducing same sex marriage could also bring economic benefits.

The Tasmanian Small Business Council’s Robert Mallet said an influx of same sex couples could be the fillip the Tasmanian tourism industry needs.

“Modelling shows that Tasmania will be in front of the rest of the country by at least $100 million if we are the sole state that recognises same sex marriage,” Mr Mallet said.

‘Out of touch’

The State Opposition’s Peter Gutwein said the prominence of the same-sex issue said a lot about Labor’s priorities.

“What we need to be doing in this state is growing industry not shutting it down as Labor and the Greens are doing at the moment,” he said.

“For this to be the number one issue to come out of the Labor party conference just demonstrates how out of touch they are with ordinary Tasmanians.”

Federal Labor Senator Helen Polley, who is Michael Polley’s sister, said her constituents were opposed to same sex marriage and she was too.

“I know that the groups and the people that email and telephone my office and make contact with me on a regular basis will be mounting a campaigning to stop any such legislation,” she said.

“I don’t think that we need to change the fundamental structure of the Australian community.”

Father disowns gay son in heartbreaking letter

I was made aware of the article below, which has gone viral on the internet. I was made aware of it by a journalist who interviewed me about it and the affects it has on people coming out to their parents who get this kind of response.

“DO YOU know what hate sounds like? This reddit user does.

A sickening and heartbreaking letter from a father telling his gay son, James, their relationship is over has surfaced online.
The scanned version of the handwritten note was posted to the Reddit website under the title ‘This is how hate sounds’.
His father begins with: “I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.”
He then requests his son cease communication, does not attend his funeral and makes it clear he is not welcome in the family home.
“You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle,” the letter reads.
Reddit user RegBarc, who claims to be ‘James’ and posted the hate letter, opened up on the site: “In August of 2007, I finally built up the courage to tell my father I was gay. The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few ‘okays’. I decided to give him time to process the news.
“About a week later, and not long before my birthday, I received the following letter.”
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Reflecting on his life, James says he was everything a father could hope for in a son – an obedient kid and excellent student who didn’t drink or touch drugs.
“Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F*ck you, Dad.”
User Kriegsdrachen writes: “I don’t think ‘Dad’ is the appropriate term for this man. He sullies everything that name stands for. He should have signed it ‘Goodbye, Bigot’”.”
This article appeared on news.com.au
Even though this was written back in 2007, to read it in today’s age, still has that ripple effect of how can anyone write such a letter disowning their own child. I hope with the great work in the GLBTIQ community, campaigning for same sex equality, that people coming out will not have to receive this kind of letter from their parent/s.
Unfortunately, this kind of letter is still written by parents. I believe it could because of a number of factors such as, the parent/s not being educated enough to understand homosexuality, the parent/s being fearful of homosexuality and do not know how to react to the news of their child coming out and do not have anyone to turn to. It could also have something to do with the parent/s religious belief.
The best advise I can give to people out there who do come out and receive this kind of letter, is to seek support in the GLBTIQ community through organisations. The first step is always the hardest, but it does get easier.
Click here for the article appearing on http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8512816

Momentum Workshop in Melbourne – VICAIDS/GMHC

Coming out later in life? Want to meet other men in similar situation as you? Momentum is a free, 6 week workshop for men who are attracted to other men and are over the age of 26. This workshop offers a welcoming, informative and interactive environment for you to meet other men and talk about topics relating to sexuality. This includes coming out, self-esteem, homophobia, relationships, HIV/AIDS, STIs and sexual health.

The next Momentum workshop starts on 13 August – 17 September 2012 (every Monday night for 6 weeks) from 7 -10 pm at VAC/GMHC, 6 Claremont St, South Yarra. Registration is still open. Contact 9865 6700 or e-mail momentum@vicaids.asn.au.