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National News in Brief – December

Gay Bashing in the Peel – After a notorious exemption from the Equal Opportunities Act allowed them to refuse entry to heterosexuals and lesbians, Melbourne’s The Peel Hotel recently attracted new controversy when a patron was allegedly gay-bashed inside the premises. A 35-year-old man suffered a broken nose and concussion when another man, believed to be heterosexual, repeatedly punched him in the face.

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Jewish Weddings for Australian Same-Sex Couples – Australia’s first same-sex commitment ceremony could take place at Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue this summer after Progressive rabbis agreed on a format for same-sex unions. The plans were discussed at the recent Union for Progressive Judaism’s (UPJ) biennial conference in Hobart; however, Orthodox rabbis have been quick to launch an attack on the planned commitment ceremonies.

Woman Banned From Lesbian Event – A Sydney woman who was denied entry to a lesbian event in the Adelaide Hills in January 2006 has taken her case to the South Australian Equal Opportunities Commission. The group organizing the event told Tracie O’Keefe her presence would be inappropriate as she was not born a woman and that it would negatively affect group dynamics. Ms O’Keefe has been living as a woman for 37 years and has been in a lesbian relationship with her partner for 14.

Grief Over Newtown Hotel Closure – Sydney’s GLBTIQ community is in shock over the closure of one of its iconic venues. The Newtown Hotel closed when negotiations between license owner David McHughes of McHugh holdings and the building owners reached a standstill. McHugh said he intends to renegotiate or seek another venue in the area at which to trade. The former license owner for the Newtown Hotel was Dawn O’Donnell, a longtime supporter of Sydney’s gay community, who passed away in June of this year.

Death Threats for Gay Activist – A gay activist from New South Wales has allegedly been receiving death threats due to his campaigning for equality. Ben Cooper, the founder of Lismore Activists for Same-Sex Equality (LASSE), was involved in a campaign against an ex-gay group operating at a local Baptist church and recently organized two rallies in Lismore for the same-sex marriage National Days of Action.

Facelift for Safer Sex – Created in 2006 by Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT, the lesbian website www.girl2girl.info came about after a needs-assessment survey found that many women who have sex with women do not practice safe sex due to a lack of information. The website includes info on sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), how to prevent and treat them, and even emotional safety before during and after sex – not to mention some saucy pictures of scantily clad ladies for a little inspiration.

Farewell to Toybox Co-Founder – One of the founders of Toybox, Brett Bush, died this month, Brett and his partner Andy organised some of the most successful queer dance parties in Sydney, including Toybox and Luminere. Brett loved entertaining and was known for supporting charities – Toybox patrons were encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to children’s charities. Despite rumours to the contrary, Toybox should be on the Mardi Gras calendar in 2008.

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Bryce Mitchell mocked after saying he’ll home school children to stop them being gay

He also believes the world is flat and gravity is a myth.

Hugh de Ketser to lead the Australian Human Rights Commission

He has been appointed to a five-year term starting in late July.

Albanese government to introduce new laws against vilification

LGBTIQA+ rights groups say more detail is needed to access if the laws will be comprehensive.

ACON launches First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project

ACON has launched a new initiative to improve on its commitment to reconciliation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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Bryce Mitchell mocked after saying he’ll home school children to stop them being gay

He also believes the world is flat and gravity is a myth.

Hugh de Ketser to lead the Australian Human Rights Commission

He has been appointed to a five-year term starting in late July.

Albanese government to introduce new laws against vilification

LGBTIQA+ rights groups say more detail is needed to access if the laws will be comprehensive.

ACON launches First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project

ACON has launched a new initiative to improve on its commitment to reconciliation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

‘Mary Poppins’ composer Richard M Sherman dies aged 95

Alongside his brother Richard he was one of the most successful songwriters in the world.

Bryce Mitchell mocked after saying he’ll home school children to stop them being gay

He also believes the world is flat and gravity is a myth.

Hugh de Ketser to lead the Australian Human Rights Commission

He has been appointed to a five-year term starting in late July.

Albanese government to introduce new laws against vilification

LGBTIQA+ rights groups say more detail is needed to access if the laws will be comprehensive.