29 January 2016

Trans Sydney Pride

Many people in the transgender community were taken by surprise by just how much of a watershed year 2015 was for trans people. Never has so much been written about what it is to live a trans life and these stories have appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious titles.
Of course the transition of Caitlyn Jenner and the subsequent television series was the catalyst. Indeed, Barbara Walters named her the ‘Most Interesting Person of 2015’. Many others also broke through with positive messages. In the US, trans activist Janet Mock published her best-selling memoir Refining Realness while Laverne Cox rose to become one of the most respected transgender advocates. In Australia, Cate McGregor has been working tirelessly as a diversity champion and is the Queensland finalist for Australian of the Year 2016.
In the midst of all this, Peta Friend, an acquaintance of mine for over 20 years, invited six local trans women of all ages to lunch one early September Sunday. She had an idea brewing in her mind to create a social and support group for trans men and women of Sydney. 
“I felt inspired to create something within the trans community where trans men and woman can come together in a social environment and have some fun, share our stories and support each other,” Peta said.

By the end of that lunch, Trans Sydney Pride was created. 

3 January 2016

My Sydney Entertainment Centre, how I will miss you

All good things must come to an end. Well I understand progress but I don’t have to altogether like it. I’m sad to see my temple of good times the Qantas Credit Union Arena, or as I still call it the Sydney Entertainment Centre (SEC), close its doors as part of the massive Darling Harbour redevelopment project.

Over the last 32 years I have spent thousands of dollars to see the biggest names in showbiz as they dropped by on their never ending world tour journeys, one after another making my dreams come true. I’ve loved each and every show, the hype, the excitement and the incredible joy seeing my idols live.

The stress of buying those tickets, getting just the right seats, the agonising build up over months and months, revisiting the albums you’ve cherished forever, meeting in Chinatown for dinner before the show, drinks with friends in the bar outside Gate 10, and being able to walk or for me usually dance home - it’s been fantastic.  

You will have your own favourites, but naturally the showgirl in me will slant my memories in favour of the pop divas: I can see them now…

Top of my list is easy – Diana Ross. As a teenager growing up in Wales in the 1960s it was Diana Ross and the Supremes who I escaped to, miming all those classic Motown hits in the safety of my mother’s good sitting room. It was 1989 and with all her classic hits behind her Miss Ross brought her ‘Working Overtime’ world tour to us. That album was her least successful, so the SEC show only included two tracks from that album and two hours of everything else. Performing in the round on a small circular stage it was just Diana, that voice, those songs and heaps of glamour.