I will start this column by thanking the Sydney Star Observer for giving our various communities the opportunity to reach you. MAG, the Mature Age Gay men’s group has just celebrated its 19th anniversary, so I’m going to let the speech I made to the group on the night speak for itself. So here goes, listen in:
Hi guys and girls and whoever,
Many thanks for sharing this night with us. After having been in the sex industry all my life (the Continental Baths, Golden Boy Escort Service etc), things suddenly changed when HIV/AIDS exploded in our community in the mid-1980s. I decided to go on the other side and became a volunteer with ACON on the telephone hotline and an emotional support officer with Ankali.
I was then approached by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations to do a needs assessment of gay and bisexual men over 40 as most of their campaigns were targeted at men 18-30 years of age. When I did the assessment, loneliness, estrangement from family, fear of the future, getting old alone, were the concerns. So I decided to take an holistic approach to dealing with all these concerns and created MAG, a support and social group for gay and bisexual men over 40 years of age.
I then lobbied ACON and convinced them to take on MAG as a project, and they have been with us all these 19 years.
So here we are 19 years later and you know what? Our concerns and needs are still the same and that’s why MAG is so important and what has made it the largest gay organisation in the world catering to the mature age gay man.
When you come to a MAG meeting, you are greeted, entertained, given space to socialise, educated and fed. And above all feel like you are part of a family which indeed you are – MAG! Great and now let’s all give each other a wonderful hug and experience what MAG is all about — love and caring.
Thank you, enjoy your evening.
By STEVE OSTROW, MAG
info: MAG meets the second and last Saturday of each month at the ACON offices at 9 Commonwealth St Surry Hills. For more info call me Steve Ostrow on 92062072. See ya there.