Qld parenting laws
A Galaxy poll taken in December 2008 showed that 67 percent of Queenslanders agree that both parents in a same-sex relationship should have legal rights over the children in the family unit. Now is the time to make this happen.
Family blends have changed over the last 30 years. Mum and Dad (only married once and to each other) with a few children is now a minority. We have step-families, de facto families, mixed race and sole parent families. Same-sex families are just as capable and competent as anyone else to love and nurture their children. The development of children regardless of the family blend depends on how the parents relate to each other.
The last census showed that 20 percent of lesbian couples and 5-8 percent of gay male couples have children for whom they are responsible. The current [Queensland] legislation is negatively affecting these families and needs to be updated to come into line with the rest of Australia. Currently Federal and Queensland legislations conflict in some areas that seriously affect these families.
Federally, a non-biological parent can be directed to pay child maintenance if the relationship should break down.  However, in Queensland, it is possible for this same parent (who is not recognised as part of the family unit), to have the child taken from him/her if the partner should become incapacitated or die.
Another issue of concern is when same-sex families move interstate. There is confusion because laws are different in each state affecting the issue of parenting.
This proposed legislation will have no impact (negative or positive) on heterosexual couples who want to access surrogacy.  All this legislation will do is bring us into line with other states in Australia (that have handled the changes well) and remove discrimination from a marginalised group.
-” Shelley Argent, national spokesperson, PFLAG Australia

Editor’s note: This version of an open letter on same-sex parenting sent to Queensland state MPs has been edited for space.

POOR DOG
Like many who attended Inquisition 17, I was stunned by the number of police (at a guess around 15 to 20 officers) who inspected the party.
However, I think the ultimate irony or ridiculousness of the situation was expressed by one of the poor long-suffering police dogs who, after having been dragged around the dancefloors and partygoers for so long, could cope no more and lost control of its bowels and defecated all over the floor in the downstairs dance area and all the way up the stairs as the embarassed officer rushed to get it outside, albeit too late.
-” Steve
NO DOUBTS
As we prepare to select Sydney Mr Leather 2009 I want to reflect on the past year as Sydney Mr Leather 2008.
On September 14, 2007, as a contestant in the Sydney Mr Leather Contest, I prepared a speech on a topic of my choice. My topic was -˜Change’ and I began with a wonderful quote. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
At the time, I had no idea how wondrous that journey would be, and I want to thank the many people and organisations that have helped me grow and continue on this journey.
Thanks to the judging panel for bestowing on me the honour and responsibility of Sydney Mr Leather 2008.
Thanks to the community for embracing me, and encouraging me throughout the year.
To Manacle at the Clarence -” Andrew and Stuart in particular -” for your sponsorship, support of events, fundraisers and for continuing to provide the leather community -” the whole community -” with a space they can call -˜home’.
Jo King -” your generous offer to make a few signature pieces for the IML competition is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Eva, Hus, Tim, Gary, Greg and the many friends for their neverending positive support and mentoring.
However, without your encouragement I would not have been able to enjoy this year. Without the support of the community, I would not have been able to represent Sydney locally, regionally and internationally.
In May, I represented Sydney and Australia at the International Mr Leather Competition in Chicago.  As a Top 20 finalist,I again had to deliver a speech. I’d like to share that theme with you, -˜No Doubts’.
On April 11, 1945, US President Franklin D Roosevelt was preparing a speech to deliver on Jefferson Day. Unfortunately, he died a few hours later and never did get to deliver these words.
The only limit to our realisation of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.
Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
Let us not doubt the profound influence we have on others, when we share our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and experiences. If you are new to the community, do not be afraid to ask questions. If you have been around for a while, be honoured and willing to share your experiences.
Let us not doubt that we can still make a difference in the fight against AIDS, Prejudice and inequality. Speak out and let your voice be heard.
Most importantly -” let us not doubt ourselves.
Let us, as individuals, do our part to make the greater community more inclusive, inviting, safe and vibrant.
If something is not right and you believe it needs to change, communicate your concerns. Do not sit around and whinge -” do something positive about it. Support the community, the establishments and the people working hard to make this community better. Be part of the solution.
Let’s not wait until next week or next month or next year. Let us begin today. There are only two times in life -” now and too late.
-” Alan S Norman,
Sydney Mr Leather 2008

FULL-TIME JOB
Sydney’s Lord Mayor’s role is so important, it’s a full-time position.
The argument that 30 of the 80 Sydney Lord Mayors since 1842 have been also members of state Parliament isn’t valid in today’s cultural, economic and geographical environment.
As for arguing there’s a streamlining of overlapping responsibilities of local and state government -” it isn’t true. Just ask the MP’s Bourke St constituency about the unsafe cycleway planned for our street (SSO 984). And lack of support from the MP for Sydney!
The dual position is nothing less than a subversion of democracy and removal of important review rights.
-” Brian
PROUD NUDISTS
Gay Sydney Nudists was proud to participate in Sydney Pride Festival 2009.
The money donated by patrons at Stonewall, the proceeds of GSN’s raffle on the previous Yuletide in the Mountains weekend, and individual GSN member donations totalled $300, which we have sent to Western Suburbs Haven.
I would particularly like to thank Mitzi Macintosh and the other drag queens who encouraged patrons to dig deep and support GSN’s collection for the Western Suburbs Haven, an inadequately funded charity that assists people out west living with HIV/AIDS.
-” Richard Buckland, Gay Sydney Nudists
TO MICHAEL DANBY, MHR
Dear Michael,
I find it somewhat perplexing that you feel the need to send your constituents an email outlining your support for Rebiya Kadeer and the film 10 Conditions of Love and yet you and your party still refuse to support equality and justice in our own country.
My same-sex partner and I were married in Holland and despite the legality of this marriage in many other enlightened countries, we are still second-class citizens in our own country. Your credibility in standing up for Rebiya Kadeer is laughable (and somewhat embarrassing for you) when your own party leader openly states that it is not OK for everyone to be equal in Australia. His statements at the Labor Party conference were insulting yet predictable, and you should be ashamed of your double standards.
When you and your party decide to treat your fellow countrymen with the same concern, repect and dignity as Ms Kadeer, I will applaud you. Until then please do not pretend to support equality as you clearly are selective in your choice of causes.
Yours sincerely,
-” Braith

NSW LABOR
Quite simply I’m not going to vote for Labor at the next state election if they don’t give us adoption rights and relationship registration in NSW.
Why are we behind other states when we have the largest gay and lesbian population in Australia?
-” Bradley

TERMINOLOGY
When we use terminology like -˜same sex’ to describe ourselves we provide the religious right with an opportunity to demonise -˜same gender and gender specific people’.
Not convinced? Please check out how the religious right demonised us in the mainstream media during the recent Prop 8 debates in the USA.
We must also demand that mainstream media use this politically correct terminology.
All religious right communications can be neutralised -” by being smarter.
-” Shannon

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