The Harbour City Bears (HCB) will explain why they should be able to retain their current logo to the Sydney Opera House Trust on March 8, while the Mature Aged Gays (MAG) group has agreed to change its logo after the Opera House contacted them.

MAG has been granted a grace period to use its current logo, in which the letters ‘MAG’ form the silhouette of the Opera House, until after the 2012 Mardi Gras season, but the Bears are standing their ground.

HCB president Jonny Bastin (pictured) told the Star Observer they had received advice that their logo already contained enough additional elements.

“We’ve already written back, stating that we believe that the HCB logo already meets the conditions of acceptable brand use of the Sydney Opera House’s image because the Opera House image isn’t the sole image in our logo,” Bastin said.

“We also have the harbour in our logo, which reflects the name of HCB. We also have the Opera House in rainbow flag colours which is obviously a symbol of gay pride and we have the Bear paw in our logo which is a symbol of the Bear community.”

HCB also asked Sydney MP Clover Moore to bring the matter to the attention of NSW Arts Minister George Souris.

“I have asked the Arts Minister to review this request, given these are non-profit community groups that have been using stylised images of Sydney icons for some years, and they do not present themselves as having any connection or endorsement from the Opera House Trust,” Moore told the Star Observer.

However, the Star Observer understands that Souris will not be acting on the matter. A spokesman said that, while the minister appoints the Sydney Opera House Trust board, it is an independent body and not under his purview.

A range of Sydney LGBTI sporting groups are also believed to have been contacted by the Opera House’s legal counsel regarding their logos. Team Sydney have asked affected groups to contact them so they can present a united front.

The Star Observer understands that the Opera House contacted the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) last year. However, as its logo is a registered trademark, the Opera House agreed to respect SGLMG’s right to use it.

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