AFL It’s several years since the Star‘s Stacy Farrar identified AFL as the gayest football code in Australia -“ not for the off-field activities of its players, mind, but for the huge numbers of gay fans at the games.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at the SCG on game day, when the throbbing sea of red and white fans has plenty of pink in its veins. Besides being quite prominently gay, the SCG is famous the nation over as the best place to go and sit among civilised fans, who won’t even yell dickhead! if you’re supporting the other side.
The club should count its blessings for its gay Swans fans. When AFL first genuinely arrived in Sydney in the form of the Sydney Swans, few were taken in by its flamboyant, tight-short-wearing ways.
Except the gays, who were early adopters and have stuck with the club through thick, thin and Warwick Capper. Some even used to do cheerleader drag at matches.
ACON It was dark times for the community when the AIDS and Related Conditions Council of NSW formed in 1985. By 1986 the organisation -“ with a new name as the AIDS Council of NSW -“ had a small Mardi Gras float urging safe sex in the face of a devastating epidemic.
It was the beginning of an iconic role. As the Grim Reaper television ads fuelled AIDS hysteria, the AIDS Council of NSW became a welcome advocate for HIV-positive people. It also reached out to the broader gay and lesbian community with initiatives like the Anti-Violence Project and youth support program Fun and Esteem and stepped in to help when Mardi Gras folded in 2002.
The arrival of antiretroviral drugs in the mid-1990s altered the AIDS Council of NSW’s course and by 2000 it was officially using the name ACON to reflect a broader scope.
As our peak health organisation, ACON has also generated its share of controversy over the years, including accusations of a slow response to crystal meth and claims it neglects those outside the inner city.
But 25 years since the first cases of HIV were recorded in the US, ACON’s work continues as the epidemic marches on.