BIRTHDAY WISHES #1
Congratulations on your 30th birthday.
I was in Oxford St last week on one of my rare visits to Sydney (I was there for a conference) and I picked up a copy of the SSO. I was surprised and delighted to see my family featured as one of the news stories of 1993! I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the front page story about the adoption of our son from all those years ago and it brought lots of memories flooding back. When I got back to Adelaide I showed it to our son and he was thrilled to see it also.
It is hard to believe that the issue of gay adoption is back on the agenda in NSW – it is so last century!
-” Maria

BIRTHDAY WISHES #2
The committee of PFLAG NSW Inc. would like to offer our congratulations to the Sydney Star Observer on your 30 year anniversary of publication.
We always find SSO very informative, especially in keeping us up to speed with the latest legislative changes impacting on our GLBT children, family members and friends.
The chronology of the gay movement included in your July 8 issue was priceless. Many of us in PFLAG do not have much knowledge of the early history of the gay movement, so this has given us a real insight into the struggles that the early advocates of GLBT rights had to face and provided us with inspiration to continue the fight until full equality is achieved. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know that the first Australian chapter of PFLAG was formed in Sydney in 1981.
We would also like to thank SSO once more for its generosity in providing PFLAG with a free membership subscription and for its support of PFLAG in advertising our monthly family meetings. Your assistance to us is much appreciated.
-” Judy Brown, president PFLAG NSW Inc.

TRY AGAIN
ACON provides a range of individual and group therapy programs to help people in our community who wish to address issues involving mental health and/or the use of alcohol and other drugs (Loss Of Faith, SSO #979).
For people participating in our group therapy programs, it may be counter-productive for them to participate in a group process if they’re experiencing issues with their use of alcohol or other drugs (AoD).
Through our new Substance Support Program, such clients now have access to a range of free in-house one-on-one counselling and support services provided by AoD specialists.
Depending on the needs of the client, we also provide referrals to other specialist mental health and AoD services.
We acknowledge that one problem can lead to another and that people with both mental health and AoD issues have special and often complex needs. To address these issues, the clinically proven best practice is to work through the issues in a methodical way. As such, our practice is to assist such clients through either an ACON or external AoD treatment program before involving them in any of our group therapy programs.
On this occasion, a client’s expectations of ACON were not met and so I’d like to apologise to David, but also encourage him to come back and give us another go.
In addition, I’d like to encourage all members of our community who would like to provide feedback about our services to contact our Quality Improvement Officer to ensure their experience can help us continue to build our community’s health and wellbeing.
­ -” Stevie Clayton, ACON CEO

BIKE VIEWS
I am writing in response to Chris’s objection to the proposed cycleway in Bourke St (SSO 987). The first question is; Does Chris ride a bike on Bourke St?
I do on a regular basis and I can tell you that from my perspective it is currently far from safe and functioning.
A faint line close to the cars does not a safe line make. Add to the mix cars shooting out from side streets trying to get in front of you, pedestrians walking all over the place, the ever present danger of parked cars opening their doors and speeding cars playing games; and you have a stressful ride.
What is the alternative? Oxford St? Forget that.
Finally some sense is taking place in acknowledging the huge increase in people taking up cycling as a legitimate mode of transport. I wonder if it is the loss of the car spots is more the issue?
Sydney likes to portray itself as an international city. If you have visited European cities and seen their acceptance and respect for cycling and then compare it to the demeaning attitude that prevails in Australia, you can only laugh.
So Chris, I challenge you to try riding along Bourke St and experience the state of the lane and then respond to SSO with your report. And I will offer to be your guardian anytime.
­-” Kate

KEEP DANCING
Would just like to let you know how much we appreciate the article you put in for DanceDance. Thank you for all your time and efforts.
And a special thanks to Wally who came and took photos of our class.
We have had quite a few enquiries already and we are sure it is because of the article.
So – once again – thank you.
­-” David and Virginia, DanceDance

BRUNO #1
Is there any sincerity of purpose in Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno project? If Cohen had previously been a highly visible anti-homophobia campaigner and generous benefactor of gay causes, as so many straight entertainers have been for decades, then that would be his loincloth when accused of taking the piss out of us, stereotypes being irrelevant. However, I don’t believe such a garment could be produced from his wardrobe.
We gays are plainly his meal ticket, and his motivation this time is plainly to rake in millions.
Perhaps Cohen has made a token tax-deductible donation to some gay cause since the mega-cash started rolling in, but I doubt it.
­-” Michael

BRUNO #2
Bruno is not the problem, the gay community is.
If the gay community has become humourless, the it has nobody but itself to blame.
The gay community has become a very self-destructive community now. It had a vibrant gay scene and community and now has thrown it all away for acceptance and equality. We were much more accepted, liked and tolerated when were seen and not heard.
The Mardi Gras is a prime example of how humourless the gay community is. The Mardi Gras is tedious, boring, repetitive and unimaginable now.
We need to lighten up and bring back the fun that the community was embraced for and show we can still laugh at ourselves.
-” John
BRUNO #3
John’s letter (SSO 978), rather than wake me up, almost bored me into a deep sleep. What an odd mixture of names in his letter; Bruno (silly, but fun), Piers Ackerman (Such an expert in gay ways). John seems so sour and more right-wing than Cardinal Pell.
On the issue of acceptance, respect and equality, it is a double sided coin as far as I am concered. Neither straights nor gays should have to forgoe their principals and way of life to satisfy each others’ expectations. Both sides must have separate identities.
And re: Mardi Gras finishing after 2010, I don’t think so John. Instead, let all the fun and fair-minded people be bold and corageous and cheer the parade up Oxford St and party afterwards like we have done for years rather than prommote a life that is neutral and boring.
-” Fred

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