This year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival again presents a rich selection of cinematic offerings from Israel and also of Jewish/Semitic relevancy.
From the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria:
Queer Film Festival on Sunday 23 March at 4pm. Please pass on to all your friends.Sun 23 Mar 4:00 PM
ACMI Cinema 1
IT’S WHO WE ARE: CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF THE JEWISH LESBIAN GROUP OF VICTORIA
The Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria (JLGV) had its beginnings in 1992, when words like ‘lesbian’ and ‘Jew’ were still whispered, and it wasn’t always safe for the women to be open about who they were. Three Jewish lesbian friends organised a workshop for Jewish lesbians which attracted a phenomenal turnout, filling the room with warmth, laughter, and tears of recognition and relief. The JLGV had been born!
This warm-hearted documentary charts the birth of the JLGV and its continued activities in providing a social and support network, as well as acting as a powerful lobby group initiating significant change in Jewish, feminist and LGBTI communities around Australia.
Elsternwick couple in Victoria’s first Jewish gay commitment ceremony as synagogue prepares to host first gay and lesbian festival celebration
- Nicole Precel
- January 07, 2014 12:00AM
Ilana and Chrissie were the first gay couple to have a marriage ceremony at a Jewish synagogue in Melbourne at Temple Beth Israel. Picture: Adam Elwood Source: News Limited
WHEN Ilana Gelbart said “yes” to Krissy Adrian’s elaborate proposal, the issue wasn’t coming out of the closet, it was conversion.
“It was more difficult for me because Krissy had to get converted; when we got together she wasn’t Jewish,” Ms Gelbart said.
On August 18, the Elsternwick couple became the first gay couple in Victoria to have a Jewish commitment ceremony.
And now their progressive synagogue, Temple Beth Israel in St Kilda, is hosting the first-ever celebration of the Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival in a synagogue, on January 31, in partnership with Keshet, the national GLBTI Jewish advocacy group.
“Coming out as a lesbian was something I knew my parents would support me with and not judge me for,” Ms Gelbart said.
And with Judaism deeply entrenched in her family and her psyche, she said it had been wonderful TBI had “welcomed and accepted” them.
“We never stopped to wonder whether they would or wouldn’t (do a commitment ceremony); from the first day Rabbi Kim Ettlinger said, ‘Here’s how it goes’, we never thought we wouldn’t be allowed to,” Ms Gelbart said.
“It does put it out there for more gay and lesbian couples to understand they are welcome in progressive congregations.”
Ilana Gelbart and Krissy Adriaan at their ceremony at Temple Beth. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied
The couple keep Shabbat every Friday night, don’t eat shellfish or pork and don’t mix meat and milk.
“We light the candles every week and try to go to synagogue every week,” Ms Gelbart said. “It’s all very much a part of our lives.”
The couple met at Monash University three years ago, and Ms Adrian converted to Judaism soon after.
“I didn’t ever ask her (to convert), that was just something that she wanted to do,” Ms Gelbert said.
Senior Rabbi Gersh Lazarow said TBI encouraged members of the Jewish GLBTI community to form a meaningful spiritual connection at the synagogue.
He said the January 31 Midsumma celebration would focus on inclusion, equality and human rights.
“While historically many from the GLBTI have felt isolated or shunned from faith-based organisations, Temple Beth Israel, as part of the Progressive Jewish movement, prides itself on principles of egalitarianism and respect for others,” Rabbi Lazarow said.
There will also be a Midsumma Mass on January 31 held at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy.
Details: tbi.org.au or 9510 1488.
Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism
London, UK – 28 October 2013
Sharley McLean – Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism – died on 26 October 2013, aged 90.
“Born in Germany in 1923, both Sharley’s parents and many of her extended family died in the Holocaust. Her father was a socialist and her mother was Jewish. She fled to Britain as a teenage refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, in one of the last transports of children allowed to leave Germany before the Nazis closed the borders. Her gay uncle, Kurt Bach, a left-wing activist, was arrested by the Gestapo in a gay bar in Berlin in 1937, and died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp,” recalls Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Sharley was a wonderful woman and campaigner. I was honoured to know her and, in the 1980s, to help publicise her remarkable personal story. She participated in my early campaigns to document and publicise the experiences of LGBT Holocaust survivors – and later to commemorate them and the service personnel who died fighting Nazi fascism.
“Until the mid-1980s, it was forbidden to lay a pink triangle wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of the LGBT victims of fascism and of LGBT service personnel who fought to defeat Nazism. The wreaths we laid were swiftly removed. She helped me and others overturn the wreath ban.
“Prior to the late 1990s, the Royal British Legion refused to acknowledge that LGBT people has served and died in the armed forces. It would not allow a LGBT war veterans contingent to march in the official Remembrance Day parade. Sharley worked with us to challenge this exclusion.
“She joined and spoke at our V-E (Victory in Europe) Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in the 1980s and, a decade later, at the Queer Remembrance Day vigils at the Cenotaph, organised by the LGBT campaign group OutRage! The last one she spoke at was on 2 November 1997.
“Sharley was a long-time activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and was a volunteer with the Terrence Higgins Trust in the 1980s. She was a passionate supporter of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association.
“She will be long remembered with admiration and appreciation,” said Mr Tatchell.
Via Joe Jervis: “Today At New York City Pride 2013”
Posted on 11 January 2013
The Melbourne Ports electorate includes the suburbs of Southbank, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Balaclava, parts of Caulfield and St Kilda, where the annual Pride March is held.
The Labor MP was one of 10 Lower House members who did not vote on September 19. The marriage equality bill, introduced by Labor MP Stephen Jones, was voted down 98 to 42. Melbourne Ports resident Darren Tyrrell told the Star Observer he and his partner were very disappointed in Danby’s decision.
“I don’t think he wants to stick his neck out on it,” he said.
When Tyrrell met with Danby to discuss gay marriage last year, he said the MP was sympathetic but non-committal.
“He told us the Catholic Church had been lobbying him really hard, probably more than anyone else,” Tyrrell said.
“I’m disappointed because I always thought he was a politician who stood up for human rights, he stands up for people’s human rights overseas but he doesn’t do it in his own electorate.
“I think it’s a bit gutless to be honest.”
A spokesman for the Australian Marriage Equality Victorian branch said they would be working with Melbourne Ports residents to highlight Danby’s decision.
“Michael Danby has betrayed the voters of Melbourne Ports by saying he supports marriage equality but then not voting for it when he had the chance,” he said.
“Worse still, Danby’s abstention sends a negative message to other MPs who will look at him and think ‘if he can get away with not voting for this in such a progressive electorate then so can I’.” Some residents have taken to social media to highlight Danby’s move
Melbourne Ports resident Tony Pitman started a Facebook page called ‘Melbourne Ports residents for marriage equality’ late last year, hoping to stir some change.
“I think most people in the electorate had the impression that Michael Danby was a supporter of LGBT rights, so when he chose to abstain on the marriage equality vote, there was a lot of disappointment and anger,” Pitman said.
“Through the Facebook page, we hope to funnel that frustration into something constructive; organising campaigns to convince Michael Danby to vote yes next time around.”
Danby’s office did not comment in time for publication.
This post was written by:
The Australian Jewish News
Friday January 4, 2013
Training the GLBTI trainers
KESHET Australia – a local group representing the rights of the Jewish gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community – is seeking expressions of interest from rabbis, educators, and community professionals to take part in a US training program.
Workshops in January and May this year will provide programs for “training the trainers”, said Keshet Australia convenor Jonathan Barnett.
The workshops, organised by the Keshet Training Institute in the US, will teach these individuals how to train their own organisational staff to treat GLBTI individuals in an affirmative and inclusive manner, he said.
Keshet Australia is offer a limited number of partial scholarships to applicants who show a commitment to sharing the insights gained at these workshops with colleagues in the Australian Jewish communities, Barnett said.
Barnett said applicants need to detail why the wish to attend the Keshet Training Institute and how they hope to share learned knowledge in their local Jewish communities.