LGBTI ACTIVIST Peter Bonsall-Boone was honoured in a memorial service full of love, tears and laughter on Saturday.
At the memorial at Ashfield Uniting Church, live streamed on Facebook, Bon’s famous red and gold jacket was on display as mourners spoke of their memories with him.
Friends of Peter and Bon shared their stories and memories, many going back decades.
One friend spoke of growing up around Peter and Bon. She discussed their famous appearance on ABC TV in 1972, in which the couple mentioned their desire to have children to share their “beaut ideas”, whether or not they were their own children.
“Bon, you did indeed have some beaut ideas to share with your children,” she said. “Your love lives on.”
Another friend said, “Bon has been like an older brother to me and like a father figure to me. He was always there ready and willing to extend hope.”
A younger friend spoke of his regret on hearing of Bon’s passing.
“We were grandfather and grandson,” he said.
“He was a man who had so much to give, never asking for anything in return.
“The last thing Bon said to me was ‘Stop being so wonderful’. And to that I say, ‘You first.’”
Bon’s partner Peter de Waal also spoke, paying respect to LGBTI community elders and to those who died during the AIDS crisis.
“My beloved Bon had many wonderful attributes,” he said.
“He was generous… to the point of nearly making us financially broke,” he said, to laughter from the church.
De Waal spoke of Bon’s activism, his involvement with the church and the struggles he faced as a gay man, including a criminal record for “minor homosexual offences”.
He also mentioned the famous ABC appearance.
“A lot was made of the kiss, but let me assure you we had a lot more passionate kisses than the one that appeared on the television program,” he said.
“Bon’s unfulfilled dream, shared by many others, was to be married.
“We had two of the symbols of marriage equality, our wedding rings and a three-tier wedding cake.
“However, the third and most important symbol—the marriage certificate—never arrived.”
De Waal spoke of the government’s lack of direction in relation to marriage equality, saying “they believe they are guided by Christian values”.
“My dearest Bon, you were for me and countless others my north, my south, my east and my west,” he finished, to applause.
“Rest in peace but rise in glory.”