The North Shore’s newest GLBT group is about creating a visible presence on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
David Burrell and Amanda Fera were inspired to form Manly Gay & Lesbian Community (MGLC) after a night on the Manly entertainment strip turned ugly.
“I’d invited Amanda and some friends to a venue for my birthday in September,” Burrell told Sydney Star Observer.
“Two guys came and sat next to our group on our table while some of us were away, and when we came back they said, ‘Tough luck, we’re sitting here. What are you, a group of fags?’.
“When we told them we were going to get the manager, they called Amanda a dyke and spat in her face, but by that stage staff came out and interrupted things.
“Management were supportive. They apologised on behalf of those patrons, giving us free champagne, but the experience left a bad taste in our mouths.”
Fera called Burrell afterwards and suggested they combine their social groups to create a visible gay presence on the Northern Beaches.
“Those people had done us a favour because we both decided that we weren’t going to take that kind of behaviour in our local community, and if we needed to make ourselves more visible for that, then that’s what we’d do,” Burrell said.
Since launching in December, the group has attracted 300 members on Facebook.
Burrell said the response from local businesses has been phenomenal.
“At our launch we had prizes donated from local businesses including the Q Station resort who donated a night for two with dinner and breakfast, dinner prizes from the Manly Fish Café and Das Kaffee Haus, gift baskets from Toni & Guy [hair salon], and Desire Books gave us a $100 voucher.”
Local venue Henry Afrikas has been particularly supportive, giving the group use of the club when it doesn’t clash with bookings.
Toni & Guy also participated in MGLC’s fundraiser for beyondblue, with $3500 raised through people getting their hair styled.
“Beyondblue were aware that they hadn’t been doing enough for gay and lesbian mental health, and they were very happy to be involved,” Burrell said.
Upcoming MGLC events include a club party, barbecues and picnics, and they are also planning an all-ages event with the Manly Council-supported GLAM youth group.

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