GAY-FRIENDLY ISRAEL
Last week was Gay Pride Week in Israel, and I write to draw the attention of SSO readers to the fact that Israel is a world leader in protecting and advancing gay rights.
To make the point:
· gay rights are protected by law in Israel
· gay marriage -” even if performed outside the country -” is recognised in Israel
· same-sex couples are permitted to adopt in Israel
· gays serve openly in the Israeli military
· gender-reassignment surgery is legal and openly performed in Israel
· the gay community enjoys widespread acceptance across Israeli society, including in the political, legal, military and cultural arenas
· Tel Aviv has one of the most flourishing gay communities in the world.
There is a raft of other gay-rights legislation in place in Israel, and there have been numerous legal test cases in recent years, all of which contribute to making Israel one of the most gay-friendly nations on earth.
While some Orthodox Jews, although accepting of gays as individuals, remain opposed on religious grounds to the promotion of a gay lifestyle, it is clear from the above that the majority of Israelis do not share such views.

­-” Vic Alhadeff, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies
BISHOP CLAIMS
I alert your readers to a person resident in and wandering the streets of Sydney’s inner west who claims to be a bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church.
This church is a breakaway from the worldwide Anglican Church, the break being a dispute over issues such as the ordination of women and the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop in the US Episcopal Church.
I don’t know if this guy is what he claims to be (he wears clerical gear and a pectoral cross), but his views on homosexuals, as I found out during our conversation, are rabid.
His views are simplistic, in line with others who think that they can cure homosexuals of their -˜sexual addiction’ through prayer.
All gay men, in his view, are potential, if not actual, pedophiles, and are a danger to society until they are -˜cured’ of their -˜addiction’.
The most alarming thing though is that he claims to be in negotiation with Cardinal George Pell for the use of a Catholic church in Tempe, St Peter and Paul, for the celebration of Mass. What this guy and his group do in their spare time is of no interest to me, but it does concern me that they may have connections with Pell, whose views on homosexuality are well-known.
I can find no reference to a Sydney -˜bishop’ on the Anglican Catholic Church’s website, so I cannot determine if he has the authority to speak on behalf of that church.
I suggest that if any of your readers are approached by, or have any interest in this church, they should be very wary indeed.
-” Noel
MISUNDERSTOOD
With regards to The hidden world of sex clubs (SSO 973), while I do not feel I was entirely misquoted, I do feel my comments were taken out of context.
While I did say a lot of HIV positive men don’t reveal their status at sex clubs, I also said a lot of HIV negative men don’t reveal their status either.
The context in which most of my discussion with the interviewer took place was around the concept of anonymity within venues. The reason behind the fake internet quote was that people are free to be far more anonymous via the web than is at all possible wearing [nothing] but a towel in a SOPV.
And, it follows that in a place where people rarely speak, and use body language to communicate, it is similarly unlikely that anyone, regardless of any status of any contractable illness is going to speak up about it in a sex club.
In my experience, a very minute amount would have ever told me their status, positive or negative.
-” James
Over the ditch
My partner and I have just returned from a fun 19 day vacation to the North Island of New Zealand.
It was good to experience such a gay-friendly country. Outstanding amongst the cities visited was Wellington, one of the friendliest cities we have visited in our global travels. We discovered S&M Bar (Scotty & Mal’s www.scottyandmals.co.nz ) in Cuba St. This classy bar is a sure challenge to Sydney. If a city of 200,000 can have such a friendly, smart gay venue as this why can’t we see something similar on King St, Newtown or Oxford St, Darlinghurst. It is certainly well worth visiting by anyone travelling over the ditch to New Zealand.
-” Rick
LUCKY COUNTRY
I read through the letters page and have to agree with Aaron. We should be very happy with our gay life here in Australia and, as he said, privileged.
After that documentary on SBS Transsexual in Iran, I felt very humbled and grateful for what with have here and around most of the Western world.
My second point is regarding John and SOP venues [SSO 974. He says in concluding his letter, We need more of them, [SOPVs] like London has. It has so many now and so much more choice.
It is obvious why we do not have the same number as London. London is so much bigger in population than Sydney. Within the M25 London motorway ring road, there are 20 million people, almost the total population of Australia.
Please do not knock Sydney -” we have heaps of other things going here.
-” Alan (ex-Londoner)
POOR SERVICE
I read with equal fascination and dismay that the Beresford Hotel management has gone public to declare its inclusionary policy (SSO 974).
Sorry David, you have completely missed the point. Re that gay guy not allowed to enter your hotel because he was shabbily dressed. If this is the same incident I am aware of, that man had arranged a few drinks with some work colleagues on a week night only to be told by the bouncers that this was not his night, come back Sunday night. How preposterous, and yes, they were well dressed. Or was this yet another similar incident?
On the hotel’s opening night I know of a guy who was not admitted because he was deemed too old and would not suit the evening -” he was only 47.
Another friend of Asian descent was told back in February that he could not hold his birthday dinner there for 12 people as the hotel did not cater for that many diners. Yes, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it.
The list of poor management practices continues. On my first visit, I went to the bar inside the rear beer garden only to be told they don’t service beer garden patrons, they were the restaurant bar staff. I had to go to the front bar. I was then scolded for attempting to walk straight to the front bar -” I was directed to walk back outside and re-enter through the other door.
So David Wasserman, is your hotel policy really inclusive? It seems very racist, ageist and homophobic to me, and that’s only part of the problem. OK, maybe you’re not, but I, as with most of my friends, are not returning to your pub until we hear positive reports of good old-fashioned friendly service -” it’s a very simple formula, you know. Till then, we are spending our dollars elsewhere.
We vote with our feet David, so pick up the game or go broke. It’s your choice.
-” Lawrence
COMMUNITY COST
Mardi Gras has always been and will always be an elitist and exclusive club.
If you are not a member, then you are not welcome.
I have known many straights who have been members and probably still are members, who have partied and had a good time at the gay community’s expense.
Mardi Gras should never have been resurrected when it went broke. It has no relevance to us any more. Mardi Gras is primarily a straight event now. The gay identity has been lost forever.
Now more than ever it is time to question the validity and meaning of Mardi Gras for the community. Now that it has government funding it is going to get even harder to get rid of it.
I know that being a member helps finance Mardi Gras, but at what cost to the community?
Not all of us want to pay to be a member of our community. As we have already paid a high price. Need I say more?
-” John
GRUBBY FILM
With the girl-on-girl fantasy in movies like Lesbian Vampire Killers, it’s difficult to understand why anyone other than gay women would be interested.
Surely, only lesbian or bi women would have a chance of being part of this action, but of course they know sexploitation for straight males when they see it.
This is a tacky fantasy for immature straight men, possibly serving to marginalise gay men by default. More and more people are becoming attuned to this. How many homophobic men watch girls in straight porn?
Lesbian Vampire Killers appears to have disappeared without trace at the box office and is being dissed by critics. It’s a pity the gay press gives space to grubby straight male B-graders; it does nothing for our community.
-” Thomas

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