Take A Stand Against Homophobia
SYDNEY: The world will mark International Day Against Homophoba and Transphobia on May 17, with a host of events being held in Sydney and regional New South Wales. What to do and where to go for IDAHO. Compiled by Reg Domingo.
Thursday, May 17, marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), so chosen to mark the day homosexuality was removed by the World Health Organisation from its list of mental disorders in 1990.
Since its inception in 2005, the day has been coordinated by an international committee based in Paris. Today, IDAHO is observed in more than 100 countries, including Australia. A host of events and initiatives have been organised in New South Wales by a dedicated working group, comprising a range community organisation, government departments, public institutions and gay and lesbian groups, including NSW Police, Rail Corp, City of Sydney, ACON, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir, Wear It Purple, University of Western Sydney and more.
Here’s your guide on what to do and where to go for IDAHO NSW 2012.
THURSDAY, MAY 17
Join sports, entertainment and community personalities in taking a stand against homophobia at this special event at Central Station. From 8am, peak hour commuters will be invited to take part in the Ally Pledge Project and share messages of social inclusion with This Is Oz, while being entertained by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir (see box). Supported by Rail Corp, NSW Police, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, City of Sydney and ACON’s Anti-Violence Project, this key event on May 17 kicks off IDAHO celebrations in New South Wales.
UNIVERSITY ALLY PROGRAM
Students and staff of the Ally programs of Macquarie University, University of NSW and University of Western Sydney are holding events on May 17 marking IDAHO, offering BBQs, performances, stalls, speakers and opportunities to participate in This Is Oz and It Gets Better initiatives (see box).
Over forty local artists and selected high schools explore the concepts of homophobia, family and identity through art at this annual exhibition marking IDAHO. In 2012, the exhibition is being shown at Parramatta at Qucik-ability Gallery (162-172 Church Street). Exhibition open on May 17 and runs until May 26. www.emergence2012.com
PARRAMATTA QUEER FORUM
The Parramatta Queer Forum will be holding a stall in Church Street Mall in Parramatta from 11am to 3pm, handing out Ally Pledge cards as they raise awareness on homophobia and social inclusion.
PRIDE IN DIVERSITY BUSINESS LUNCHEON
Academy Award-nominated actress Jacki Weaver will be the guest speaker at the annual awards for gay-friendly workplaces hosted by Pride in Diversity. She will join Pride In Diversity patron, former high court judge Michael Kirby, and a host of community and business leaders at the awards luncheon at the Ivy Ballroom on May 17. The event will also see the launched of an IDAHO poster designed for the workplace. www.prideindiversity.com.au
IDAHO: BLUE MOUNTAINS
Blue Mountains City Council will mark IDAHO on May 17 by hosting a morning tea with guest speakers whil will speak about what it’s like to be gay in the Blue Mountains. A This Is Oz photo booth will be installed in the square outside council chambers. Starts 9am.
SHOUT GLBT FILM FESTIVAL: NEWCASTLE
This celebration of diversity is the first film festival of its kind in Newcastle, which is being organised to mark IDAHO. The three evenings of shOUT (May 15-17) in the newly revamped Tower Cinemas includes speakers, special guests, performances and popular queer films from around the world, including Cloudburst (Canada), Going Down in La-La Land (USA) and Weekend (UK). www.shoutfilmfestival.com
SEA OF HEARTS: WOLLONGONG
From 11am on May 17, shoppers will be invited to write messages of support and ‘plant’ them on Wollongong Mall to form a sea of hearts. Find out information on gay and lesbian health and wellbeing at the ACON stall, and have your photo taken at the This Is Oz photo booth.
IDAHO STALL: LISMORE
ACON volunteers and Fresh Fruits youth group members will be handing out ‘pledge cards’, encouraging people to be an GLBT ally by pledging to act against homophobia on Thursday, May 17 (12pm-2pm) at Lismore CBD, corner Magellan Street and Carrington Street. With performances by Rainbow Glee Club and Cannibal Kitty. An ACON information stall will also be operating, along with a This Is Oz photo booth.
FRIDAY, MAY 18
HOMOPHOBIA IS A SCREAM: NEWCASTLE
Local community group Rainbow Visions will be hosting the comedy and drag night, Homophobia is a Scream, on Friday, May 18, at King Street Hotel in Newcastle. Join Ella Reid, Hanna Gissane, Al Bates and others as they raise awareness on addressing homophobia and transphobia. Look out for This Is Oz photo booth. Starts 7pm. www.genoz.com.au
SUNDAY, MAY 20
OPEN DOOR COMMUNITY OF CHRIST
Open Door Community of Christ in Penrith will conduct an IDAHO interfaith service on May 20 involving local churches and the Metropolitan Community Church. The event, to held at Historic Castlereagh Hall (1158 Castlereagh Road, Castlereagh) feature guest speaker, anti-homophobia campaigner and ’78-er Shane Anderson and a performance by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir. High tea and refreshments will be served at the conclusion. Starts 3pm.
THIS IS OZ
This Is Oz, the highly-successful initiative spearheaded by ACON’s Anti Violence Project, will feature at various event marking IDAHO. The project, launched in 2009, encourages people to share their messages that celebrate diversity, promotes social inclusion and challenges homophobia. This Is Oz photo booths will be installed at IDAHO events at Macquarie University, University of NSW, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta’s Church Street Mall and Central Station, as well as events in Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains. www.thisisoz.com.au
ALLY PLEDGE PROJECT
The Ally Pledge Project is a new initiative which encourages people to take a stand against homophobia and support diversity and social inclusion. Pledge cards, funded by the City of Sydney, will be distributed at many events, including the IDAHO event at Central Station. www.causes.com/causes/666006-be-my-ally
The City of Parramatta and Bump Productions have teamed up for the Beacons Project, an installation that will see Parramatta’s Church Street mall bathed in a pink hue. The project, which highlights the fact shared public spaces are often where LGBTI people experience hate and violence, is being mounted to raise awareness of homophobia. Until May 31.
FAIR BREAD DAY EXHIBITION
Margot Hardy Gallery, at University of Western Sydney’s Bankstown campus, will host a community exhibition exploring diverse family units through the eyes of children. Drawing workshops were held with kids across NSW, who were asked to draw where they lived and with whom. The artworks were first exhibited at the Pine Street Gallery at Fair Bread Day in March, an event that was part of the City of Sydney’s Living in Harmony Festival. The exhibition is on until June 13.
MACQUARIE GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Teachers and students from Macquarie Grammar School in Sydney’s CBD will participate in events marking IDAHO, including the IDAHO event at Central Station on May 17. Student have also submitted artworks to Emergence and some recently read out personal message at IDAHO Family Day.
NSW Police will attend various events marking IDAHO, taking part in stalls, This Is Oz and other initiatives. Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers as well as NSW Police’s corporate spokesperson for the GLBTI community, Chief Superintendent Donna Adney, will be in attendance.
ACON branches (Sydney, Hunter, Northern Rivers, Illawarra) will take part in a variety of IDAHO activities in their respective areas, which includes film screenings, comedy, baking, Ally Pledge promotion, guerrilla sing-along, vox pop video production, a sea of hearts and many others. For more information contact your local ACON branch. www.acon.org.au
For more information on these events and IDAHO, go to www.idaho-nsw.com
[Pictured] Members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir at the recent Family Day in Parramatta. Photo: Jason Nichol