I hope by the time my letter is published, New Mardi Gras will have addressed concerns about rumours regarding reasons they made for splitting the parade and party.
Did they really forget to book the party and Antiques Roadshow booked the venue first?
Did they consult with NMG members and the wider gay community, as reported?
Are they putting sponsorship profits before community needs?
Rumour is rife! There are too many questions and not enough answers.
Who can the community, when sick of being constantly lied to, turn to, to find the truth?
In the wider community, it’s independent government bodies and the media. So, for us that leaves the gay press-¦ oh dear.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the gay press. It’s impossible to imagine a gay community without it, they are an integral part of our history, but can we rely on them to expose, name and shame within our own community and do we want that?
I don’t want to read negative, political, backstabbing tripe like we have in the mainstream media, but I would like the papers to stop pandering to their advertisers’ whims.
Come on guys, I, for one, would like an independent newspaper with decent investigative journalism taking place. If NMG can’t face up to their mistakes and come clean, then isn’t it up to you to provide the facts?
The real question here is do you serve your community or your advertisers’ dollars ?
-” Peter

The dust is starting to settle and people are just discovering there are big changes on the horizon for both the Sydney Mardi Gras and Melbourne’s Midsumma Carnival and Pride March.
I live in Melbourne and in past years I’ve had overseas visitors who come to Australia for Sydney’s Mardi Gras and visit me in Melbourne either the week prior to or the week following Mardi Gras.
Now with the Parade and the Party on different weekends this will mean a lot of the international tourists will now only make it a one-city visit.
In past years a lot of my interstate friends would make a point of going to Sydney for the parade and party, but I can’t see them going to Sydney two weekends running.
We are now hearing snippets in Melbourne about some changes to Pride March and the Midsumma Carnival.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change, but so often lately we have had change forced upon us and it hasn’t been change for the better.
Let’s hope the Midsumma and the Mardi Gras people have done their homework and it will all be for the better. Let’s face it, they’re putting their good name and reputation on the line.
­-” David

I cannot believe I am reading this article, -˜The hidden world of sex clubs’ [SSO 973].
This issue should not be an issue, let alone be discussed. Just highlights the internalised homophobia and self-loathing of the gay community.
I love them. They are safe places to go to. You do not feel intimidated, threatened and certainly do not get harassed like certain venues I will not mention.
I love the company of men, and these venues provide them. Whether you have sex or not is irrelevant. You can be yourself. They are not repressive or oppressive like the bars and clubs. They are nice comfortable places for gay men only.
Gay men have been cruising for decades, if not centuries, so why in heaven’s name do we have to have an etiquette class run by lesbians, teaching us how to cruise. It is part of our sexual culture.
We need more of them, like London has. It has so many now and so much more choice.
-” John

Thank you for your article on sex-on-premises venues[SSO 973].
I am sick and tired of middle class, A&F wearing queens looking down their noses when SOP venues are mentioned. Oh I never go to those places is the usual comment.
Well, maybe you should! I met my first lover (and still good friend) at a sauna. They are now some of the few places a gay man can go to these days without having to deal with straights out to look at the freaks or someone’s squealing little fag hag.
But then again maybe the said middle class queens shouldn’t bother. They’re obviously not very sexually adventurous, so undoubtedly duds in bed!
-” Grant

The -˜M’ word
In all the debate over gay marriage, including by gay equal rights organisation,s there appears to be very little mention of civil unions.
It only seems to be here in Australia and also in the USA that everyone is hellbent on getting the word -˜Marriage’ legalised for gay couples and not looking at the same yet less inflammatory term -˜Civil union’.
The -˜M’ word -” marriage -” is what our parents did to go forth and procreate.
The -˜M’ word inflames.
The -˜M’ word is dividing the debate.
Civil union takes the heat out of the gay marriage debate and also suits many straight couples.
Civil union is not using that one decisive word, marriage, but it is in essence exactly the same thing.
My partner and I are a gay male couple who have been together nearly 20 years.
We have joint bank accounts, a mortgage in both names, joint medical insurance, etc, and two families who have always recognised that we are a couple.
We live pretty much as any other couple, gay or staight, married, de facto or just partners.
The one small thing missing for us here in Australia is next of kin rights and the formal recognition of our relationship.
We lived for a few years in New Zealand and we were when the Civil Union Bill was passed.
There was some very heavy debate before Bill came into law and it definitely would not have passed i if it had been called the Gay Marriage Bill.
Our civil union was a perfect day in front of both of our families and closest friends.
Our civil union gave us our legal recognition and, most importantly, we became each other’s next of kin, i.e. doctors would have to speak to one of us first if the other was injured.
Many of our friends in Australia are straight couples who have been married and divorced and who also would
prefer to have a civil union instead of a second marriage.
Interestingly, a year after the Civil Union bill came into law in New Zealand over 50 percent of couples who had registered for a civil union were straight.
We believe very firmly that civil union suits all sides of the argument.

-” William

Re the -˜Imperial Importance’ letter [SSO 973], surely the real story here is about Ally Balour.
He’s the co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission based in New York City, widely recognised as the most influential globally probing LGBT organisation in the world.
-˜Busy Bee Balour’, who is a US attorney, is also active in a number of other influential LGBT organisations and even a US presidential support campaigner.
So why from the USA has he made time to put his weight behind the campaign for our Aussie Imperial Hotel’s proposed rooftop stiletto shoe? Why take interest in some corner pub halfway across the world? He must think the Imperial and the stiletto stand for something very important for LGBT people.
I’d like to hear more about Ally Balour, what it is that motivates him and why he decided the Imperial Hotel and the stiletto have global significance to our LGBT culture. Why did he make time for it at all?
-” Birdie

Timmy, I also live in Kristina Keneally’s electorate and agree that she’s done little for our community (SSO 972). In fact, other than attend a Labor Party stall at Fair Day, I’m not aware she’s done anything.
-” Stuart
This Q and her B partner find themselves unimpressed by the acronym choice of Mannie De Saxe, of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, in reference to legislation equality [SSO 971]. This is an issue that affects people across the diverse width of our community. Why the deliberate use of such a narrow acronym?
-” Vi

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