PO Box 1675
Preston South Vic 3072
It has grown considerably since we changed our service provider but in the process it was necessary to reduce the sizes of most of our photographs and illustrations as well as change all the newsletters prior to 1998 from scanned copies to word documents. That mammoth editing task is now completed. However, the illustrations in early copies have still to be returned and positioned but the items are quite readable as they stand. Do look!SPAIDS 36th PLANTING IN THE AIDS MEMORIAL GROVES in SYDNEY PARK
It was a beautiful mild sunny day on Sunday, 31st July 2011, in Sydney for our 36th planting of the beautiful native strappy leaf lomandra hystrix to border the SPAIDS Reflection Area above the fully grown trees that form the Memorial Groves and run down and around the south western side of Sydney Park. We had some twenty people there on the day between 10.30am and 3.30pm who came to plant these hardy, spikey Australian natives in memory of loved ones.
More recently, a special event was arranged to celebrate the twenty-first anniversary of the birth of Sydney Park in 1990. The area, bounded by Erskineville, St Peters and Alexandria, was once a brickworks and claypit and later from the fifties became one the main Sydney garbage dumps. When dumping ceased it was decided to turn it into a park but it wasn’t until 1990 that South Sydney Council was able to start preparing the area for its intended use. It was around that time when the communities living locally were being encouraged to come and assist in planting trees, that Council was approached to set aside a section for a grove as a memorial to those who had died from AIDS.
So, in May 1994, Council hosted the first SPAIDS planting in the south western area mentioned. Because of our long association and continuous work on the site, we were invited to have a stall at the 21st birthday event in Sydney Park on Saturday 11th February 2012 to explain the story of the Memorial Groves. One of our volunteers, Richard Capuana staffed the stall, prepared and decorated the table and handed out leaflets about the history of SPAIDS.
After the opening by Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore, the event was short-lived because true to form the violent weather of the past few months, the winds came and the heavens opened sending everyone scurrying for shelter and the whole event was rained out and completely ruined.BRADLEY MANNING and JULIAN ASSANGE --
WikiLeaks continues to release “classified” documents; Assange continues to fight extradition to Sweden; Manning remains incarcerated in a US prison. Time marches on, meanwhile scores of U.S. and foreign citizens continue to die on a daily basis in these U.S. government actions and occupations abroad due not to Manning, Assange or WikiLeaks, but due to the controversial policies that were exposed.
Manning was given access to classified documents (at various levels of secrecy) as a military intelligence analyst. In the course of doing his job, it appears he became aware of information that was classified not for legitimate purposes, but for political convenience. Releasing such information fits under the classic definition of whistle-blowing, not “spying” for which the U.S. is charging him under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Chat logs which allegedly record a conversation between Bradley Manning and hacker Adrian Lamo serve as the primary known evidence in this case. In them Manning expresses a desire for the information to be in the public domain, as opposed to it being used to benefit any nation at the expense of another.
On Friday December 16, Bradley Manning, an openly gay man, made his first public appearance at Fort Meade, Maryland, after 18 months in pre-trial military prison, mostly in solitary confinement. The pre-trial hearing, known as the Article 32 hearing, is normally a brief hearing shortly after one is arrested to determine whether and what kind of court martial is appropriate. Manning’s hearing was unusual, happening 18 months after his arrest and lasting 7 days. The hearing, presided over by Lt Colonel Paul Almanza as investigating officer, (to which the public and the press were strategically blocked by government request) concluded on December 26. Almanza is also the investigating officer in the US Department of Justice secret grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
In January 2012, the investigating officer released the decision regarding a court martial. PFC Bradley Manning is to face all charges. He was arraigned on February 23rd. It lasted just over one hour. The prosecution unexpectedly requested another delay to prepare for Bradley’s court martial, effectively moving the trial to August. The government is openly making a mockery of Bradley’s right to a speedy trial. His attorneys began protesting these endless delays since January 2011. Obviously, the delays have been used as a means to break down Bradley’s determination not to implicate anyone in his whistle blowing issue of the public’s ‘right to know’ the facts he uncovered. The most damning was the video of the outrageous killing of civilians from a US military helicopter.–For more up-to-date information, contact: www Bradley Manning Support Network.
Turing, the World War II code-breaker and largely considered father of modern computer science, is to have his name, not his face, recorded in the commemorative 10 Britons of Distinction stamp collection. An example of his work, the code-breaker machine called a ‘bombe’ will replace his portrait unlike most of the other British icons in the series. It is disappointing that Alan Turing’s portrait is not among those on the stamps when they begin circulating in February this year because 2012 is the centenary of his birth. In 1952, he was prosecuted for his homosexuality and in order to avoid a jail term he was forced to undergo chemical castration.
The physical and emotional effects of what he had endured must have weighed heavily, and two years later Alan Turing committed suicide by cyanide poisoning. He was 41. His life was lost due to institutionalised prejudice and proves once more how easily the world can be deprived of genius when discrimination is allowed to persist.SOLAR ENERGY : WHO’S USING IT IN THE WORLD?
One would think that we would be leading the world because one thing we have plenty of is sunshine but we don’t even rate in the top 10 countries using solar. According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, the following countries’ installed capacity share is rated in order of 1 to 10: top is Germany with 43%, then Spain, Japan, Italy, USA, Czech Republic, France, China, Belgium and down to under 2% for no.10, South Korea. Despite a shaky European economy the solar market at large has continued its upward trajectory of rapid growth in the last two years. In fact, solar energy is one of the few job-creating industries to see continued growth globally in those two years that have been bleak for so many manufacturing companies. Why isn’t Australia showing the way?AGED CARE FOR GLBTI SENIORS
Imagine George Pell, Fred Nile, Babette Francis, Bill Muhlenberg and Tony Abbott as residents in an aged care facility run exclusively by lesbians and gays, wrote Barbary Clarke recently in the Sydney Star Observer reporting on an LGBTI Ageing Roundtable, held in Sydney 18-19 October 2011. And she went on to say: bizarre? Well hardly more so than expecting vulnerable aged lesbian, gay, bi, trans or intersex(LGBTI) people to be happy accessing residential or community aged care run by religiously-owned or affiliated services. They operate approximately 60 percent of Australian aged-care facilities and have explicit legal permission to discriminate against clients on the basis of sexual orientation. Barbary Clark also made mention of religious exemptions in another arena. At Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission’s Rights of Older Australians Forum, she asked Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan whether, given the religious exemptions, she would try to ensure that either a) block funding was made available for the building of LGBTI-specific aged-care facilities, or b) the religious exemptions would be revoked, at least in relation to aged care. In answer, Commissioner Ryan suggested that these issues should be addressed not to her but in the process of harmonizing Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation. Public submissions to the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws Discussion Paper closed 1st February 2012. LGS has made a submission as has Barbary Clarke.AGE POSITIVE STORIES REQUESTED FROM OLDER AUSTRALIANS
The call comes from the Commonwealth Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan and you can check it out on the Age Positive website and read the stories already received. It’s not specific about age limitation and no prize is offered because the Commissioner just wants to get to know older people and what they do with their time.
You certainly get the impression the story you tell her will end up on that Age Positive web page with the others. You’d be wrong. It obviously will be have to be approved and, looking at the stories there already, have to fit certain criteria. We know of at least two stories that have been submitted by same-sex oldies that have not appeared and there must have been others. The cup of discrimination runneth over! If you’ve retired and are lesbian, gay or trans why not look at www.age.positive and send the Commissioner your story? Our stories need to be told out there and they can’t all get to be ignored.ENGLISH FOOTBALL CLUB DISMISSES PLAYER OVER ANTI-GAY TWEET
Oxford City Football Club player, Lee Steele, was stood down and let go because his conduct was not in line with the club’s ethos. The club’s statement to the FA highlighted its decision to release Steele “in view of his comment via social media which is considered seriously contrary to the ethos of the club.” Steele posted the comment on his Twitter Feed about former rugby player Gareth Thomas’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother “I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas” with padlocking expletives not stated in the version we read. Thomas, a former rugby professional, became known to the world in 2010 as the then only out professional male athlete in a sports team. The Justin Campaign, named after openly gay player, Justin Fashanu, who took his own life due in part to homophobic treatment, issued a swift statement on the club’s action: “Oxford City’s brave decision shows us that things are slowly moving in the right direction and that football is starting to take homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia seriously.” What about other bully male sports like tennis, cricket, golf and athletics?TICK-&-FLICK AGED CARE COURSES IN TRAINING COLLEGES THE NORM
During 2011, being well into my eighties, I conducted my own personal survey in Victoria into the kind of aged care being taught at registered training organisations as well as at nursing homes for existing and new staff. In 2009, Centrelink was able to force pensioners, both aged and with disabilities, to come out and tell the agency if they were in a same-sex relationship. The federal law had changed the status of same-sex relationships from singles to de facto partners so as to lower their pensions to that of interdependency. The long term outcome entailed ostracism and discrimination because suddenly everyone knew these old people were dykes and poofters.
One would think that the government before making such a major change would recognise that some pre-education was necessary for those who were going to care for these people. But obviously the federal government did not. From my small survey of fifty organisations I discovered that if a culturally diverse component was offered it was elective and not part of a course. Most of the nursing homes did say they regularly provided their own training which complied with anti-discrimination measures. Any acknowledgement of the existence of a differing culture and lifestyle of lesbians, gays, bi-s, trans and inters (lgbti) that would need to be understood before sensitive caring could be ensured, never seemed to have occurred to any of them.
We can only hope that, in listening to our voices at his roundtable consultations and to Conversations with the Elderly, the federal minister and his department will revise all training of students and workers in caring for older Australians and develop courses that are in keeping with the cultural and diverse needs of all the people including lgbti, forced into a situation not of their making and without any preparation for aftermath.-KLIn the US, MONSANTO’S GMO CROPS TO GET SPECIAL “SPEED APPROVAL”
If you thought Monsanto’s lack of testing on their current genetically modified organism (GMO) crops was bad before, prepare to be blown away by the latest statement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Despite links to organ damage and mutated insects, the USDA says that it is changing the rules so that genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto will get ‘speedier regulatory reviews.’ With faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms. It’s a move to help the biotechnology giants squash competition in countries like Brazil.
According to the USDA, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal –to help Monsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation.–from National Society News analysis, 26/2/12, by Anthony Gucciardi.NEW YORK STATE RULES TOWNS HAVE THE POWER TO BAN FRACKING
In a decision that could set a national (and international) precedent for how local governments can regulate gas drilling, a New York state court has ruled for the first time that towns have the right to ban drilling despite a state regulation asserting they cannot. At issue was a zoning law in Dryden, a town adjacent to Ithaca and the Cornell University campus, where drilling companies have leased some 22,000 acres for drilling. In August 2011, Dryden’s town board passed a zoning law that prohibits gas drilling within town limits. The next month, Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp sued the town, saying the ban was illegal because state law trumped the municipal rules.
Apparently, New York state law promotes the development of oil and gas resources in the state but according to the Supreme Court nowhere in legislative history is there any suggestion that the Legislature to pre-empt local zoning authority. In 2008, New York state effectively put drilling on hold while it launched an environmental analysis of fracking, a process that uses a mix of highly pressurised water, sand and other chemicals to crack the earth deep underground. In addition to the environmental and health concerns over fracking, a fundamental issue has been the rights of localities against state or federal laws. This is the first ruling on an industry effort to use the mineral extraction law to get around local bans. –extract from a Propublica news report by Lena Groeger, 26/2/2012.SLAP FOR TENNIS EX-STAR AND ANTI-GAY MARGARET COURT
Writer Christos Tsiolkas has hit out at tennis champion Margaret Court for her anti-gay views. According to The Age journalist Dan Harrison, Reverend Court, now a pastor at Perth’s Victory Life Centre church, said she opposed gay marriage because it would “legitimise what god calls abominable sexual practices.” Tsiolkas, author of The Slap, voiced his support for activists who were flying rainbow flags in the Margaret Court Arena during the January 2012 Australian Open Tournament in Melbourne as a sign of protest. “Sport,” he said, “is such a big part of cultural life in Australia that having a sportsperson like Court mouth bigoted rubbish is cruel and damaging.” The multi-award winning author followed that with “I don’t know whether she is a mother or a grandmother but she would be an aunt or godmother. Her words could be hurting a niece or nephew who is trying to deal with their sexuality right now. Her comments would also be hurting and confusing many young people, especially sportspeople, who want to look up to her as a source of inspiration and pride. She’s a great tennis player but that doesn’t excuse hate.”“THE SILENCE OF THE CLOTH UNDER SIEGE”
–the following are simply some pertinent extracts from the article.
“The landmark Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, Philip Cummins, has made powerful recommendations about Victorian churches’ handling of child sex crimes. Citing the Catholic Church’s system as an example of inadequate child protection, the Cummins’ report said: ‘Any private system of investigation and compensation which has the tendency, whether intended or unintended, to divert victims from recourse to the state, is a system that should come under clear public scrutiny and consideration … Crime is a public, not a private, matter.’
“The inquiry believes the closed doors of the Catholic Church need to be opened. Recommendation 48 declares: ‘A formal investigation should be conducted into the processes by which organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by religious personnel within their organisations. Such an investigation should possess the powers to compel the elicitation of witness evidence and of documentary and electronic evidence.’
“But the highest price of all is suicide. Clergy childhood sexual assault costs lives. Victoria Police investigations over the past 10 years have shown that 35 suicides, most from just two clergy. There are others from other clergy offenders; my daughter is one of them. Sometimes I wonder if these suicides are murder.” Chrissie Foster is co-author of “Hell on the Way to Heaven” (2010).GAY HOLOCAUST EXHIBITION IN BELGRADE
An exhibition documenting the Nazi treatment of homosexuals was held in the Belgrade City Museum during December 2011. Entitled Nazi terror over homosexuals 1933-1945, the exhibition was organised jointly with Queer Zagreb from Croatia and part-funded by the City of Belgrade and the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information. It sought to confront stereotypes and tackle prejudices around sexual minorities in Serbia. In September last year, authorities banned the Belgrade gay pride parade, citing violent threats from right-wing and Orthodox activists. The exhibition disclosed the historical facts by displaying authentic documents from the Nazi German era about the treatment of gays under the Nazi regime sending them to concentration camps where they suffered a similar fate to millions of Jews and the Romany. As well as the exhibits, visitors had the chance to watch documentaries and a movie about the gay British computer scientist Alan Turing.—Paul Canning, Care2 Causes.ROSA PARKS DID MORE THAN SIT ON A BUS!
Black feminist scholar, Rachel Griffin, says in an article in Ms Magazine that the common cultural practice of remembering Rosa Parks only as a demure and delicate old seamstress who sparked the civil rights movement in America, we erase part of her admirable character, strategic intellect and indomitable spirit. To be clear, Rosa Parks left us a deliberate legacy of activism, not an accidental activist moment. Furthermore, she, like many other Black women, should not be remembered in the shadows of Dr Reverend Marin Luther King Jnr or any other Black male civil rights activist, but rather right alongside of them.
We must realise and teach that when Rosa Parks was helping lay the foundation of the civil rights movement, Dr King was still in high school. Hers was a steely grace and a steadfast commitment to defending human dignity. She had been doing so for years before she got on that bus. As a child she was taught to sleep with her clothes on in case she was awakened during the night to run from the Klan. She travelled throughout segregated Alabama to document racialised voter intimidation and brutality. It was Rosa Parks who interviewed Mrs Recy Taylor, a Black woman violently raped by seven White men, and helped form the Alabama Committee for Equal Justice for her, just to name a couple of her key activist roots. Then in 1955 at age 42, she, like the women who did so before her, refused to give up her seat because of the colour of her skin.DARK DAYS FOR LESBIANS, GAYS and TRANSGENDERS IN AFRICA.
Liberia is the latest African country to introduce a “Kill the Gays” Bill. The draft bill was introduced to amend the marriage laws in February 2012 and states that no two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations with or without consent. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony. First degree punishment can range from 10 years to life imprisonment to the death sentence, on the discretion of the judge.
Uganda has reintroduced its similar bill of 2009. Both bills revived memories of a story of one Ugandan gay activist which appeared in the Guardian Weekly in May 2010. “We found ourselves targeted by a horrible piece of legislation, seeking to kill and imprison us for life, all in the name of ‘family and cultural values.’ We had to come out of the shadows to fight. But, though the international outcry enabled the government to go slow on the bill, our exposure was not reversible. Now a tabloid has published the photographs of alleged gay Ugandans, under the headline ‘Hang Them.’ No, it is not easy to be gay and Ugandan. Whether it is denial of HIV prevention services for gay men, or the need to bribe police when you are reported, it is not easy” nor so, obviously, in Liberia.WE LOST THREE VERY DEAR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES IN 2011
Brenda Humble, the Sydney artist, died on Thursday, 19th May, 2011. Born in Brisbane in 1933, Brenda came to live in Sydney when she was still a child. She graduated from the National Art School in 1960 and in 1982 won the Portia Geach Portrait Prize. She was in great demand to exhibit her paintings, linocuts and etchings as well as sculptures. Her exhibitions were held mostly in Sydney and Newcastle. She was a well-known resident activist in 70s and 80s in the inner city and particularly in Woolloomooloo. She married in 1959. Her daughter Jacqueline, and son Leif, have both followed in her footsteps. Always outspoken and unconventional Brenda was a great supporter of gay activism and equal rights and she was always prepared to sit down in front of a bulldozer to prevent a Green Ban on a highrise development from being broken.
Peter Collard, alias MMQC, was found dead in his flat and apparently died on Monday, 24 October 2011. The Sydney coroner’s finding was “complications due to diabetes.” Peter was in his late fifties. He was a long time member of the Gay Solidarity Group and the Sydney chapter of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence of which he was a gay male nun known as Sister Mary Mary Quite Contrary (MMQC) and sometimes as Sister Nun Buoy as well as being the Chronicler at the OPI’s Theological College and Computing Centre. At the 1986 visit to Sydney of the Pope, he and another OPI Sister were arrested and charged with offensive behaviour at Sydney University for standing up as the Pope was proceeding to the dais and chanting in unison “Fascist Pope Go Away!” Later in 1993 when Pope John Paul II again visited Sydney, MMQC in habit, was apprehended putting up posters indicating gay Oxford Street at Taylor Square to be a “Pope Free Zone” and taken to Caritas Centre in need of mental care but was discharged soon after the police had left. Peter’s website included a Thai Recipe Page and an Exegesis Faculty Page –The Truth About Sodom. He had a wicked and wry sense of humour especially in email replies to his friends blaming anything and everything on his “confuser” despite the fact that he was a competent computer user and trainer.
He was a most regular supporter of SPAIDS –Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves—and donned his nun’s habit to join one or more of the other OPI sisters for the blessing of trees around midday at each planting since its first in May 1994. For most of the ten years from 1983 that the Gay Radio Information News Service was produced and aired weekly in lesbian and gay radio programmes around Australia and New Zealand, there was a send-up xmas message presented as a dialogue between two of the OPI sisters, one of whom was MMQC. A typical rapport began “Perhaps we should have a disclaimer,” followed by “Yes, I think ‘honi soit qui mal y pense’ should be adequate,” with the response “meaning, for those who don’t speak Etruscan, if you are offended, you have a dirty mind!” And to close the brief, amusing cults and sects dialogue: “May Santa Clause bring you lots of safe sects, and protect you from unsafe ones like Nile-ism, Sydney Anglicanism, and the Inquisition.” The sad situation for Peter’s friends is that because he was completely without contact with any family member, until the police can uncover a parent or a sibling, all any of us is entitled to know is the result of the coroner’s finding.
Ian MacNeill, author, teacher, fellow occupier of a police lockup and good friend –died from cancer on Sunday, 27th November 2011 in Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospice. Mannie and I had lunch with him for the last time when we were in Sydney in August for the 36th SPAIDS tree planting. He told us that he had prepared everything at home and would remain there and go about life as usual until he was unable to manage which he calculated would happen in a couple of months. Then, as he had arranged, he would enter the hospice. And that’s how it happened. We received an email from him to say that the situation was no longer bearable and he was expecting to be admitted to the hospice within a few days. In the weeks that followed we found that he was continuing to post new writings on his blog and learned from friends at gay ebooks that he was determined to finish papers he had been working on about Ozlit. His personal courage amazed us. His writing style in many ways was unique, prolific and covered a wide range. I remember being impressed by one of his plays read at The Belvoir Downstairs in ’92 and wrote a review for GayWaves. I had no idea he would actually hear it. He wrote a note to thank me, mentioning some remark that had amused him and adding “it certainly encouraged me and won’t do box office any harm.”
Back in late 1978 was when I met Ian for the first time. I don’t remember the date. I do remember the place and the event. It was at a meeting in the NSW Teachers Federation Hall sometime after the police arrests of over a 100 of us during the 4th National Homosexual Conference in Sydney. Ian was one those who spoke about the situation faced by many of those arrested especially those who were teachers, of whom he was one.
We remained supportive friends from that time on. We used to see one another frequently when I lived in Woolloomooloo but after I retired to Newcastle and later with Mannie here to Melbourne the odd notes, letters and occasional visits became the norm. It was a shock when he wrote in June 2011: ‘I have liver cancer. Nothing can be done. I am taking pain killers. They’re rather fabulous. So some days good, some days not. Feel hard-headed and philosophical – no regrets, nor resentments. Will ring – with love Ian.’–Do read the tributes you will find at
Uranium: ‘Paladin Energy can now start exploring its Canadian assets after Indigenous landowners lifted a three-year moratorium on uranium mining. The miner said the work ban on projects in Inuit-administered lands in Labrador had been removed. Five of the Perth-based company’s six deposits in Canada, acquired through the takeover of Aurora Energy, lie within this area. Paladin said drilling was expected to start in the September quarter.’—Uranium, unsafe drilling it out! Unsafe using it! Unsafe as waste anywhere!
Banks: ‘An inquiry into the laws governing Australian companies may pass a Senate vote in coming days, after a group of disgruntled former Bankwest clients raised questions over the practices of banks during the global financial crisis.’ –How will the Senators regard what the bank bosses were paid in 2011? Gail Kelly, Westpac$8.68 million; Nick Moore, Macquarie$8.69million; Mike Smith, ANZ$9.71million; Cameron Clyne, NAB$8.67million; Ralph Norris, CBA$8.63million; Ambivalent to pay packets?
Books: The publications by Peter de Waal BA,Dip Ed, researcher and documenter of Gay History over very many years are essential reading for youthful students as well as mature age students. His Review of the 1976 Tribunal on Homosexuals and Discrimination and Lesbians and Gays Changed Australian Immigration should be on every teacher’s bookshelf as well as his ten others. For the full list, email him at: email@example.com
Censored: St Petersburg’s governor signed into law a ban on positive discussion of LGBT identity in the public sphere. Legislation was passed in Feb.2012 to international outcry. There has been the suggestion Russia’s ruling party may now attempt to pass similar legislation in the State Duma, the federal parliament.
Israel: According to the U.N., 2011 saw Israeli settlers kill three Palestinians and injure 167; settlers damaged or destroyed approximately 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees, mostly olive trees, in 2011.Are you a member of the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives? If not, please join. It’s our own institution, since 1978. Only $20 a year. PO Box 124, Parkville Vic3052.
Are you a member of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives? If not please give it a go. It’s our own institution since 1978. Costs you $20 yearly. PO Box 124, Parkville,Vic.3052.
Mannie has a personal web site: RED JOS: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
This page was created on 23 MARCH 2012 and updated on 22 APRIL 2017