The Laird Hotel raised more than $1000 for the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard as a result of last month’s AWOL (A Week of Leather) festival.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard president Brian Murray was recently presented with a $1585 cheque thanks to money raised during the annual leather and fetish event, $750 of which came from the Bad Behaviour photography exhibition which ran throughout the festival.

One half of Bad Behaviour Publishing, photographer Travis de Jonk, said he and fellow photographer Ross Brownsdon were pleased the exhibition had been a success.

“We are really proud that we could contribute that much to an important community organisation like the switchboard,” de Jonk said.

“Ross and I feel very passionately about Melbourne’s amazing queer community. We don’t always have much we can offer aside from our time or our art, but we try any way we can to make a meaningful contribution and a positive difference.”

Laird owner Brett Lasham said the Bad Behaviour exhibition was one of the most successful the Abbotsford men-only pub had staged.

“The Bad Behaviour boys have very generously donated all proceeds after the cost of the exhibition to our chosen charity, the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard … $750, it’s a bloody good effort,” he said.

“It was an incredible week and our community really got into it.”

Lasham said this year’s AWOL had been a diverse reflection of the community.

It’s not the first time the Bad Behaviour duo have raised money for the community. Other recipients of funds raised from their photography exhibitions include JOY 94.9, the Quilt Project and multicultural dance event United We Dance.

The Gay and Lesbian Switchboard has been running now for almost two decades and offers counselling and referral support to the Victorian and Tasmanian GLBTI communities.

The switchboard relies on more than 40 trained volunteers to staff phones for more than 30 hours each week.

info: Visit www.switchboard.org.au

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The Laird Hotel’s A Week of Leather financially supported the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard.

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