By Jacqualine Hardy

We are just about to face one of our greatest challenges. If the Religious Discrimination Bill is passed by Parliament, in whatever form, the least it will do is push the LGBTQI cause back 20 years.

This is not the time for division and strife. You know how critics of our community love it when we look like a pack of seagulls squabbling over a hot chip.

As an involved community member and an out and proud lesbian for the last 40 years, I am outraged by the five motions set for discussion at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) Annual General Meeting (AGM) by Troy Murphy and Kyle Olsen.

Control and Governance

Community for me has always been about diversity, inclusivity and celebration. These motions seem more like control and governance.

The first requests that motions defeated at the AGM be rested for 2-3 years.

The wonderful thing about SGLMG is that each year the membership becomes more diverse and more inclusive. Where are the Ls, where are the Bs, where are the Ts etc.?

The views of this new mix must be reflected in AGM decisions which may change as the mix changes. It “wastes time” is not a good enough excuse – make time.

In a democracy, everyone’s voice should be heard.

The second condemns Pride in Protest for leaking information about how Board members voted on different issues.

We know how our politicians vote. We have a right to know how our Board members vote. What happened to transparency?

The third calls for legal action against Pride in Protest and CARR for misusing the Mardi Gras brand.

This will be very expensive when you think about legal fees before even getting to court. A waste of time and money, better spent on more pressing issues. Focus, people.

Then it Really Gets Interesting

The fourth calls for all SGLMG members who are also members of Pride in Protest or CARR to have their membership dropped to Associate membership.

Is this segregation? Shut up and sit at the other end of the bus?

Treating one group differently from another is what we are fighting against with the Religious Discrimination Bill.

Way to go though, if you want to dump Board members elected by the membership but not supportive of your views or if you want to control a particular group’s voting opportunities. The Board should represent all community views, not just one group’s views – again, control and governance.

The fifth motion calls for the expulsion of Charlie Murphy.

What, no public trial first? How medieval are you planning on getting because our LGBTQI community did not fare very well in those times?

Seriously, if you are a SGLMG member, zoom into the AGM at 11 AM on Saturday, January 29 and have your say. And to the group of SGLMG members with the ‘repel all boarders’ attitude. Have you ever considered opening the door and negotiating with these groups? After all, you must have something in common, i.e. a productive and united future for all of our LGBTQI+ community.

Jacqualine Hardy is an SGLMG member and lesbian member of the LGBTIQ+ community promoting inclusivity and connection; hopefully adding another voice for the over 55s and those identifying as women.

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