Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence visit Taronga Zoo

Went with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their 24th annual Taronga Park Zoo sistersvisitation. We’re told to wear sensible shoes, a hat, and that the event will go ahead in all weathers. The first highlight is the amazing ferry trip across Sydney Harbour, with a view of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the visiting Queen Mary cruise ship.

Mostly international Mardi Gras visitors attend this excursion so they can appreciate our local fauna, and the Sisters, led by Mother Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, provide a hilarious commentary of poems dedicated to each animal and – to the shock of attendees – early colonial recipes for eating them! Kangaroo tail is to be made like oxtail soup, and black swans should be cooked in a moderate oven for two hours. There were also tips on how to make a delicious Galah Pie and Roast Wombat!

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Mardi Gras 2016

Was a fantastic LGBTIQ Mardi Gras – marched with the Social Justice in Early Childhood float, which had major issues to promote, such as promoting diversity and equity in preschools, and general support for the Safe Schools initiative, which helps older schoolkids who have gender differences, and intersex and sexual diversity.

Then did the 11pm – 1.30am shift with Fair Play, an initiative that makes sure Mardi Gras party patrons are treated fairly when sniffer dogs and police check for drugs.

After that, it was off the the Party, with Deborah Cox’s show at 3am a major highlight, and her two songs totally raised the roof: gay anthem Absolutely Not and Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here. Conchita’s 1.30am show was brilliant too, with many of Sydney’s drag queens doing a spectacular dance number.

I was wearing a Parade Participant wristband and several tourists came up and said it was the best party they’d ever been to, and they’d traveled worldwide. Seems a lot of other major gay dance parties are held hours after a day parade, whereas ours goes from the high of the evening parade directly into the party, so everyone’s totally pumped up. (Am in the pic below, behind the word “Justice”.)

SJIEC

 

Speaking our truth, telling our stories

Went to this Marrickville Council forum, a “friendly all-inclusive panel discussion on LGBTIQ initiatives and emerging issues”, MCed by social justice advocate and former broadcaster Julie McCrossin.

Everyone was invited to make recommendations for Marrickville Council’s assistance.

Some highlights:

Cristyn Davies, co-chair of Twenty 10:

There should be changes in Early Childhood settings so children can express their gender in different ways eg. wearing different clothes. There should be gender-neutral bathrooms.

Marrickville Council should offer internships, so young people who have difficulties finding a job (because of their appearance), can get work experience. They should be asked which gender pronouns they would like to be used in the workplace.

 Sujay Kentlyn, of Outrageous Ageing:

“A lot of couples are terrified of going into residential age care, afraid of being treated badly and not respected. But things have changed, thanks to people like David Urquhart and Lex Watson.”

Some retirement villages have a “Rainbow Accreditation”, look for the Rainbow tick on their website.

– McCrossin said in her last days “I want the values of the Sacred Heart Hospice”.

 Teresa Avila: founder and director of Red Rattler venue in 2008 (not-for-profit incorporated arts association, often hosts alternative queer events).

Had a long list of recommendations, including that council publish a “Creative Spaces for Dummies” guide for local artists. Avila said it had cost about $200,000 to navigate council’s requirements to get the Rat up and running, which is a huge barrier for future artists thinking about opening a space.

 

 

 

Maggie’s Pet Rescue Trivia Night

Maggie’s Pet Rescue Trivia night totally went off at Marrickville Bowlo. Was sold out and raised $11,000. Protia Turbo was the host (who has adopted several rescue pets)and did a terrific job.

At my table, had a chat about the Radikal Faeries and sand-pit therapy (2 types). G named most of the books in the Old Testament (except about 5), amazing. Cos, ask her about Kate Winslet coffee, everyone was gobsmacked. H won a big TV, so it’s Eurovision at His. A couple of people at our table won Silent Auction items. There was fantastic dog and cat paintings (with the paint still wet).

Lots of fun and a great night. Oh, and G said he’d scored 2 tickets to Kate Bush! Me, am going to wait til it comes out on DVD.

 

Fair Play

Did volunteer work for ACON’s Fair Play initiative. This is a new and permanent idea to record the work of police when doing drug searches at major GLBTIQ parties. Things had got out of hand last year after the major Mardi Gras parade when Jamie Jackson was assaulted and awarded $40,000 in compensation from NSW Police. Noone wants to feel unsafe from the Police, it’s bad enough with the gay-bashers who drive in from the outer suburbs to attack people after the Parade.

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Lifeline’s 50th anniversary

The phone used to take the first Lifeline call in 1963.

The phone used to take the first Lifeline call in 1963.

Went to 50th anniversary of Lifeline, for ex-Lifeline vollies. I was involved for a year in the early 2000s. It was harrowing, once took 4 suicidal calls in one shift.
John Brogden is Lifeline chairman and credited the organisation with saving his life. He was Opposition Leader, with a chance of being Premier, and had had a quick rise to the top. But suddenly everything seemed grim and suicide seemed like the best choice.
Another bloke, Ivan Reicheit, 96, was with the original Lifeline team and recalled how he went out with the Trouble Team (when Lifeline rushed out to stop people jumping off the Harbour bridge). “We got to a man’s house and he was flat on the floor and we couldn’t get in. Luckily, a kitchen window was slightly ajar and I prised it open and climbed over the sink. He was a mature man who owned several menswear shops and he’d lived with his mother, who’d recently died. He said, “You men have everything.” But Ivan said they felt they were nobodies, next to this successful businessman. They waited with him until an ambulance arrived.

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