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Colleen Windsor

“Long to reign over us”

altOh I wish I was on my way to London to join the Windsor’s for their greatest party ever. And whist it’s the party for the people, Her Majesty will really celebrate when she becomes the longest ever reigning Monarch in four years time – will she make it? 


Queen Victoria holds the record of the longest reigning Monarch just short of 64 years and died 82 years old. Queen Elizabeth II is about to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, a 60 year reign and is 85 years old. 


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was the mother of Queen Elizabeth and she lived to be 101 and The Queen’s aunt HRH Princess Alice lived to be 103 - the Windsor stock has a track record of long rich and healthy lives.


There’s been much gossip about The Queen standing aside to allow Prince Charles to become King or even skip to Prince William – all rubbish of course.  This was put to rest just recently when The Queen renewed her pledge to serve her people until the day she dies.


"In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness," she said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.


"I hope also that this Jubilee Year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart as we join together in our celebrations."


See how wonderful she looks in her official Jubilee photo taken by John Swannell, showing the Queen elegantly poised in the Centre Room at Buckingham Palace in a white dress decorated with silver sequins complimenting her sparkling jewellery. On her head sits the 1820 diamond-encrusted State Diadem that she wore in the procession to Westminster Abbey on her Coronation Day.


And there will be celebrations aplenty covering the whole of the Jubilee weekend. From street parties Sunday lunch time before the Pageant on the Thames. A Concert at Buckingham Palace on Monday and finally on Tuesday a service at St Pauls and a Carriage Procession through the streets.


It’ll be super exciting, but alas, enjoyed courtesy of ABC 24. Nevertheless champers in hand, feasting on Coronation Chicken and Eaton Mess, it will be three cheers for Her Majesty – Hip Hip…   

A big round of applause for Jenna Talackova

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I’ve been watching as the media attention has grown around the Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova with great interest and now of course its world news; so much so as Jenna, her mother and her celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred have appeared on the prime time ABC 20/20 show with journalist Barbara Walters - were talking of bringing this issue to the attention of millions of ordinary Americans. 

The head of Miss Universe Canada kicked Jenna out two weeks ago after discovering that she is transgender. The official said that Jenna had to have been born a female to participate.  

At the time, a brief statement on the front page of the website for Beauties of Canada, the company that oversees the Miss Universe Canada pageant, stated that Jenna had been removed from the competition ‘because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form. 

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) contacted the Miss Universe Organisation last week after Jenna was disqualified and called on the Miss Universe Organisation to review Jenna's case, as well as open the competition to transgender women. 

Jenna, who carries a Canadian passport, driver's license and birth certificate that all identify her as a woman, appeared on Tuesday with Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred, who is famous for representing clients including a string of Tiger Woods' ex-lovers and Nicole Brown Simpson's family during the O.J. Simpson trial, demanding to be allowed back into the contest. 

 "I am a woman. I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust," Jenna said in a statement she read to reporters. She and Allred also called for the Miss Universe organisation to abolish its rule requiring contestants to be ‘naturally born’ females. Allred called it "an antiquated rule grounded in prejudice, fear and stereotypes." 

"It isn't just about her being able to compete," Allred said. "Jenna is standing up for others as well as herself. She doesn't want this type of discrimination to be faced by anyone else." 

But by then, pageant organisers had already reversed course on Jenna’s eligibility at the request of Donald Trump, who is president and owner of the Miss Universe organisation. 

"As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does, Jenna Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant," said Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump. 

In the interview with ABC journalist Barbara Walters she said: “As soon as I was conscious, I just always knew that I was not what they were saying. It wasn’t right. I thought that I was in the wrong body.” 

She revealed to Barbara Walters that though the gender reassignment surgery at the age of 19 and subsequent hormone treatments were intense and painful, it was ultimately 'rewarding'. “I feel like the universe, the Creator, just put me in this position as an advocate, and now it’s like this, and I’ll take that position, if it’s helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.” 

I think it’s a most surprising way for this issue to get this attention. I don’t really get the beauty pageant thing; I would have expected them to be extinct by now. I guess it’s a pretty girl thing – lost on me – but I have enormous respect for Jenna and for ultimately putting this last big bias on the world radar for us.

Over recent years progressive trannys have lobbied to jump every legal hurdle around identity.  It started with the UK group ‘Press for Change’ when by a narrow majority the historical House of Lords gave their nod to a bill allowing transgender woman with the appropriate evidence to have their birth certificate reissued in their chosen gender. This major legislation has since trickled across the world. 

So this is the point being made, I suspect unintentionally by Jenna, every legal hurdle has been met for a transgender woman to be accepted and respected as such – we just want society to catch up. We live in a very real world and sure it could be a couple of generations for real acceptance - but a big round of applause to Jenna Talackova for putting it out there.

Celebrating my Mardi Gras thirty year anniversary!

 altWell preparations are in full swing for the 34th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and I’m feeling the good vibe sitting over us – just mine is one of very mixed emotions! 

When I set off to celebrate on Saturday I’ll be doing it for my 30th time. It would have just been unimaginable way back in February 1982 to think us, let alone I, would be continuing to tread the golden mile as a community in our annual celebration of pride.

Everyone remembers their first Mardi Gras: I and my girlfriends had recently left Les Girls and had moved our partying from Kings Cross to Oxford Street; we were part of an exciting crowd to whom the Exchange Hotel and Patches nightclub was the centre of our gayness. 

We headed to the Exchange for drinks in preparation for what was the first parade on the now well trodden route of today. Up on the awning the cast of Mixed Company began to appear one at a time, in ten minute intervals, dressed all in white to the hit of the day Billy Idol’s White Wedding. Chris De Bonnafin, Teresa Green and Cindy Pastel, three larger than life theatrical showgirls creating the most wonderful pre parade atmosphere. As the parade began to arrive at the hotel Julie Ashton appeared on the roof and in full spotlight abseiled down the front of the building doing Looking for Trade from Richard O'Brien's (1981) Shock Treatment. The parade just stopped dead in its track – the screaming and cheering deafening – we had arrived to claim our street in celebration. 

 altEveryone joined the end of the parade for the walk to the Showgrounds and to the very first party to be held there in the AMP pavilion. We were part of 4000 people, mostly gay men and drag queens, to party our tits off  - as we still do and I will some thirty years later. 

Unexpectedly for me over the last two weeks as this anniversary approached I’ve found my mind taking me through the parties of these past years, remembering the tunes, the wonderful shows, DJ’s, entertainers, the lighting rigs, along with the growth and pain we as a community have experienced. I can connect major life experiences to specific party years – and I’m grateful it’s been there to lend me support, to show me strength and light my life as well as a place to celebrate who I am.

But what I’ve been thinking about the most are the many many friends who I’ve shared these experiences with, sadly many have died, those whose path has taken them out of my life, those for whom partying is redundant, and grateful for those I’ll share 2012 with. I think it’s a time so very special to us all - gay family, acquaintances, beautiful strangers and a community altogether under one mirror-ball. 

I’m thankful I still have such enthusiasm to be part of our celebrations, and just like I have done for the last thirty years I’m planning my outfit, getting excited to see RuPaul and Kylie – excited to see friends – excited to be claiming my piece of dance floor – excited to be feeling the spirit that is ours at this time. Happy Mardi Gras! 

The Rainbow Flag the ultimate symbol of ‘Queer Together’

Recently in a review on Guidetogay.com - I used the term ‘Queer Together’ and seemed to have hit on something according to the many emails and messages I received. So by way of context: I was at a cocktail party given by a friend of mine of over twenty years and who had recently committed to a new younger partner after being alone for many years since his first partner was lost to HIV/AIDS in the early nineties. Given that’s almost a gay lifetime I was extremely happy for his new state of domestic bliss. 

For the party each of the guys had invited ten significant friends and given their age gap of fifteen years a mixed, diverse and board age group gathered to celebrate. Both the guys are active community supporters, albeit at different periods of time, and conversation turned to this notion of the Sydney LGBTQI having a history of being collaborative and connected with a real sense of gay family. One of the elders regaled everyone with stories around the birth of our coalition organisations during the challenging time of the eighties when many tribes came together as one to celebrate and mourn that dark period. 

I suggested this is something special for Sydney, something still tangible and visible, although we now have more specific tribe collectives and spaces we still have pockets of being ‘Queer Together’.  

And surely the symbol of this ‘Queer Together’ is the Rainbow Flag which all tribes relate to. Soon it will be displayed on the balconies of peoples homes, decorate the window of businesses on the strip, fly from the back of a dykes beautiful bike and drape a near naked bear’s shoulders.

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Of course the most significant display of the rainbow flag is that flying above the Sydney Town Hall, crowning our city as a leading gay city and allowing everyone in the LGBTQI family to unite in pride. 

Following the example of other great gay cities of the world the City of Sydney decided in September 2009 that the rainbow flag should fly over Town Hall during the Sydney Mardi Gras and Pride week. 

Recently the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore said "The rainbow flag is a symbol of equality, respect and inclusion and shows that Sydney is gay-friendly and gay-safe. I am proud that the City's most important civic building is flying the colours of red, yellow, orange, green, blue and violet to show our unwavering support for the GLBT community”. 

The rainbow flag originated in San Francisco about 30 years ago and was designed by artist Gilbert Baker for the Californian city's Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Since then it has become a worldwide emblem of gay pride. The red in the flag symbolises life, while orange denotes healing, yellow is for sunlight, green represents nature, blue stands for harmony and violet signifies spirit. 

So there’s a lot going on in this flag, as is often the case of any flag, but somehow for us in Sydney seeing it fly from our city Town Hall it pulls all the years past together, all the people before us and all our tribes together united in this sense of ‘Queer Together’ in a celebration of pride and hope.