P IS FOR

Parliament While many have suspected that more than a few queer folk have graced the corridors of elected representatives in the NSW parliament, in 1990 Paul O’Grady became the first to do so openly.

O’Grady went on to champion parliament coming to the gay and lesbian community, inviting all members bar two Christian Democrats to join him in marching in the 1992 Mardi Gras. The multi-party delegation included Lis Kirkby, Clover Moore, Ernie Page, Jan Burnswood, Meredith Burgmann and Jeff Shaw, who would later back up his support with some key reforms as attorney-general.

While a small group of MPs continued to march under party banners, the relationship between community and parliament became one-sided when O’Grady resigned in 1995 because of health concerns.

But even without an open and out queer rep, members of the community, if not the parliament, never really left the house entirely. Some continued to work behind the scenes as staffers, and some worked as activists shouting from the gallery, such as during the 2003 passing of the equal age of consent law.

Ten years after O’Grady resigned, the parliament gained its first openly lesbian member with Penny Sharpe. When she was later joined by Helen Westwood in the last election, the NSW parliament was confirmed as the lesbian hotbed that opponents of the suffragette movement always knew it would become.

Poodles Whatever happened to those princessy bits of fluff associated with gay men? Today’s camp canine owners are more likely to be seen with the butchest dog at the park. That guy with the nuggety little staffy and muscles to match? Gay. That guy with the beard and the rotty? Gay. But what about that guy with the tight T-shirt and shihtzu? Sorry, he’s probably straight.

While the average gay man’s dog seems to get butcher every year, poodles have transcended the stereotype and remained a gay dog of choice. Which is no surprise considering their pointy little toes and extreme hairdressing potential.

Type gay poodle into Google and you’ll get 2,500 mentions, including plenty of homophobia. But supporters know better -“ the miniature poodle is a savvy little dog, smart, sassy and not prone to shedding. Perfect for those pristine white couches.

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