REMEMBER
I am not aware of any GLBT organisation here formally even expressing condolences to those in Tel Aviv amidst the horrific homophobic murders that took place on August 1.
If this is really the case, I am both appalled and ashamed to be part of what appears to be an increasingly parochial -˜me first’ GLBT community Down Under.
Were this to happen in Australia we would expect support and solidarity from overseas, I have no doubt of that.
I think that Tzipi Livni’s speech should be made available to us all, as it is one of the most significant speeches against hatred by an Israeli or world leader at a time of grief and suffering.
San Francisco is holding a memorial procession as I write this, and I have communicated directly to Gay Tel Aviv and expressed horror and solidarity.
I would ask that anyone with access to Facebook do the same.
­-” Jo

YOUR RIGHTS
The Welfare Rights Centre has had the opportunity to work in coalition with ACON, GLRL, Positive Life, LGBT Health Alliance and many other organisations to lobby for savings (-˜grandfathering’) or transitional provisions in the Social Security legislation.
All the coalition partners worked hard to achieve the provisions. Ultimately, the Government refused to implement the changes required despite the fact that all major reforms to Social Security legislation have such provisions.
The result is that some people on lower incomes in the GLBTI community are facing a sudden and immediate loss of income support. This regime is particularly harsh for older people who have not had a chance to plan for the changes and for people with disability.
In the absence of legislative change, the organisations also lobbied for funds to provide individual advocacy and support for people affected by the changes. Please ring the Welfare Rights Centre on (02) 9211 5300 or 1800 226 028 if you need advice and assistance.  We are independent of Centrelink.
-” Maree O’Halloran, Welfare Rights Centre
FINAL WORD
When New Mardi Gras members vote for a new board this month, I hope they will take a broad view and not be unduly influenced by the decision to separate the Parade and Party, when this decision was not made in normal circumstances.
I am aware that members and the broader GLBT community have been critical about the lack of member and community consultation about this decision. The current board has responded by proposing a constitutional amendment which will guarantee member and community consultation before any future decision to change any of the fundamental elements of the Mardi Gras season. I hope this amendment receives the necessary support when it is discussed at the AGM.
I regret we did not fully explain the reasons why we decided to hold the Parade and Party a week apart. An oversight left us with little choice. This left us with limited options in relation to dates and venue availability. NMG proceeded to conduct a series of surveys, and consulted with various stakeholders. This research led us to the conclusion that the most palatable and prudent option was to schedule the Parade and Party on separate weekends. Coincidentally, the possibility and potential merits of separating the Parade and Party had been canvassed by NMG boards over some years.
The directors seeking re-election have a strong commitment to Mardi Gras and have an excellent track record. The Festival that was delivered by the board, staff and volunteers of NMG this year was community-focused, exciting and profitable. Many people do not realise these outcomes are dependent on board members being prepared to commit much of their time and energy, particularly during the months leading up to and immediately following the Festival. Few would realise just how demanding the role is.
None of the directors receives any form of remuneration. Being a director of NMG, although rewarding in many ways, is hard work, voluntary and often thankless.
The current directors deserve the support of the members so they have the opportunity to deliver an equally good, if not even better, Festival in 2010.
­-” ­David Imrie
IRRELEVANT
NMG is irrelevant. It is a conservative organisation failing to represent the diversity within queer culture. Nor, as Dave suggests, is criticism of it dependent on joining one of its committees or by becoming a volunteer (-˜Stop Bitching’, SSO 981).
Mardi Gras itself now perpetrates the same injustice it fought against, excluding members of its own community not sharing the views of its board and corporate sponsors.
-” Stuart

CHEAP IMITATION
The gay rights and the gay marriage movements have ruined our lives.
The whole issue with gay marriage is about imitating heterosexuals.
Stonewall was about giving us our freedom from oppression and repression, now the gay community has turned back the clock and recreated it through this agenda of equality and acceptance. The gay community has become pitiful, pathetic and paltry now.
Gay men do not have any strength of character. They have always been associated and influenced by women and straights. So they do not know how to fully interact with their fellow man.
This is the very trigger for the internalised homophobia and oppression in gay men. If gay men were allowed to be gay this would not be happening.
The gay community has no vision, otherwise you would see how destructive it is.
Sydney’s gay scene is but all gone now because of this. It is very oppressive because of the gay rights movement. Melbourne has a great gay scene, with flexibility and choice, whereas Sydney has destroyed its scene.
Mardi Gras is an example of this. Lost all its glamour, flair and fun and what it was all about.
-” John
HIJACKED
The cover story -˜Gay Christian banned from preaching’ (SSO 981) was distressing enough.
But I then turned the page and three of the Community Contacts were for religionists. (Two lots of MCCs -” I pray there is no holy war brewing -” and Gay Pentecostals -” they’re kidding aren’t they?!) Then on page 17 we are blessed with Rev Gav’s Spiritual Sidebar musings.
P’leese, could those who believe in this medieval mumbo jumbo get their own gay weekly. I feel at times as if the SSO (which has been a source of inspiration, news and entertainment for me for decades) has been hijacked by god-botherers.
Thank Dog for Phil Scott -” my favourite non-believer/ atheist/ humanist/ realist/ shit-stirrer gay columnist.
-” Colin

STOP WHINING
What a bunch of whining, hypocritical, two-faced, never-satisfied whinging bastards you are! (-˜78ers Threaten Blockade’, SSO 980).
Do you want equality or don’t you? Do you know what you really want? Inclusion when it suits you, but you want to be treated differently when it doesn’t.
So Centrelink are now treating same-sex couples the same as de facto or married couples -” alright, you have been battling for years, but now it doesn’t feel as good as it should because you miss out on the dollars. Well, too bad.

Well, lie to Centrelink, deny you are a proud gay couple being treated with dignity and respect by the community and go back to the safety of the old closet and continue to struggle for rights you do not really want when they don’t suit.
-” Gordon
CYCLE
I am also a resident of Bourke St who owns both a car and a bicycle.
I support the Lord Mayor and City of Sydney’s vision for a dedicated cycle lane along Bourke St. We surely need it and this vision needs to be implemented if the City is truly serious about being a world leader and delivering its vision of a green, global and connected city.
I find it surprising and a little pathetic how those who are complaining the loudest about this scheme are property owners who also believe they own the road and have a right to use it as their own dedicated parking spot. How about paying $1300 dollars a year like I do for a car parking spot?
No, I don’t think your tight little purse would stretch so far.
-” Aaron

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