Acceptance shows its history

Acceptance shows its history

A June exhibition at the Surry Hills Library will celebrate 40 years of the Acceptance gay Catholic movement as part of Pride Week.

The exhibition, which will be opened by former NSW premier Kristina Keneally at 7pm on Thursday, June 7, celebrates four decades of the world’s second-oldest gay Catholic group.

“We thought the exhibition ought to be in a public place so that as many people as possible can learn about the history of Acceptance and in particular the early days,” Tim from Acceptance told the Star Observer in thanking the library and the City of Sydney for their support.

“It showcases a fascinating part of the gay history of Sydney, and also an important part of the history of the Catholic Church.

“Part of the exercise of organising the exhibition has been hunting around and contacting members who were part of Acceptance in the early 1970s to see what materials they had.

“We’ve been able to get an interesting collection of photos, printed material, newsletters, and a range of other items that illustrate the breadth of just what Acceptance has achieved.”

Gary Pye founded Acceptance in Sydney in 1972, three years after the gay Catholic group Dignity formed in the United States.

“It took nearly 20 years before Acceptance was able to hold its weekly mass inside a Catholic Church,” Tim said.

“Particularly in the ’70s and ’80s when homosexuality was still illegal, Acceptance provided an important social outlet for gay Catholics.

“It also ran a counselling service and it also had an active women’s group in its early years. We had a woman president twice in the early years.”

The group grew to have chapters in every mainland capital city — though only its Sydney and Melbourne branches remain active today.

Tim revealed that Acceptance had a hand in the birth of another LGBTI religious movement in Australia.

“In 1974 Gary Pye invited Troy Perry from the US Metropolitan Community Church to come over to Sydney,” he said.

“Troy came over with his partner Randy and we have a photo of Troy, Randy, Gary, and another guy from the early 1970s, Michael. They stayed at the house Gary and Michael shared in Paddington.

“As a result of that one-week visit in 1974, the Metropolitan Community Church started in Sydney, so it’s nice to see that a gay Catholic group helped to establish another gay Christian group.”

The exhibition closes on June 30.

You May Also Like

One response to “Acceptance shows its history”

  1. Congratulations to such a long-standing and important ministry! I have received so many gifts from being part of this faith community and have made some wonderful friends there. Here’s to the next 40 years!