David Page RIP

Today I joined  members of the Page family and the Bangarra Dance Theatre for the funeral of Roy David Page.

I knew David Page only by his reputation with the Bangarra Dance Theatre. By the time the funeral finished I felt I was mourning a friend.

We laughed, wept, sang and clapped his spirit home as those who were close to him shared generously of their love of a most remarkable man.

I was honoured to be among family and friends today from the First Peoples of this land and those I have met through the arts community. 

I am inspired by David’s living of his identity as a gay man and I hope I can honour his legacy in my queer community.


Dance into the Dreaming David.

Safe Schools Coalition

downloadI was a student at St Joseph’s College Geelong from 1965-1970. They were days when it was not safe to even hint of your interest and orientation being different to the dominant culture. They were days of silent loneliness and anxious awareness. As young men of that era we didn’t show any affection to each other regardless of our sexuality. The Catholicism we encountered also failed to engage us in a healthy body image or intimacy.

Now an older gay man and a life member of the St Joseph’s College Old Collegians I am welcomed back to share my journey with a new generation of young men who comfortably express their affection for each other and have built a community that welcomes diversity and challenges abuse and bullying.

The Safe Schools Coalition offers an opportunity for students and staff to create communities that are healthy, welcoming and as in the case of my alma mater, affirming of the wonderful spectrum of masculinity.

I applaud the decision of Paul Tobias, the staff and community at SJC Geelong to implement this program. I hope my family and friends in Geelong will also stand by the College in the face of the fear and intolerance of those who oppose the Safe Schools Coalition.
‪#‎sjcgeelong‬ ‪#‎safeschoolscoalition‬

 

Australian Catholics For Equality

I have recently accepted an invitation to join the advisory board of Australian Catholics for Equality.

This new role provides guidance to the Council of Moderators on issues affecting LGBTIQ Catholic persons, their family, friends and allies. The Advisory Board provides practical and strategic advice to support the total work of the organising community, improving the lives of LGBTIQ Catholics, their families, friends and allies to promote a just and inclusive church and society.

I look forward to the challenge and the opportunities of this new and exciting project.

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Tony Robertson, Advisory Board Member
Tony is a Brisbane based social worker, who also uses his skills as a photographer to promote social change and equity in the community. He spent six years with the Capuchin Friars as a young adult and has been involved in various public ministries of the Church as a speaker, educator and retreat leader. Tony is an occasional commentator on LGBTI issues for the ABC and has extensive media experience writing press releases and responding to interview requests. He is currently the Spiritual Life facilitator for the L’Arche community in Brisbane. Tony is a member of the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group and supports Gar’ban’djee’lum Network an independent social network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, sistergirls and brotherboys (GLBTSB) in and around Brisbane.

Holding The Man

Holding the Man came a generation after my Catholic schoolboy days but the cultural paradigm was familiar. This is a powerful screen production of one of the great Aussie love stories. I was honoured to attend the Brisbane preview and fundraising event for Queensland AIDS Council.

Throughout the story the Catholic Church as institution and cultural guide struggles with the rich dynamic of human intimacy and young love.Although Tim Kroenet gives the Jesuits a gold star for being “relatively progressive and inclusive” the shine is tarnished at John’s funeral the priest who knows that Tim regards John as his husband dismisses their relationship as mere friendship.
Catholic schoolboy life in the 60s and 70s was cruel and unwelcoming for those of us attracted to our peers. I sat for my HSC  in 1970 and for the six years of my life at St Joseph’s College Geelong I had spent much of my break time in the school day with the same group of mates. Of that group three of us were gay but we had neither the language nor community to support each other’s journey into sexuality. We went different ways into life’s joys,hopes, grief and anguish.


I have my own connections to this love story. At one time I had a job interview at Xavier College and one of the members of the panel was disturbed that I wore odd socks.I wasn’t offered the position.
I am proud that my old school is now a participating member of the Safe School Coalition. I have life membership of the Old Collegians and have been invited back as a Gay man to tell my story of a different era and to encourage inclusion and welcome as school and footy oval values.
Come and see this film when it is in your neighbourhood and in these localities.. The acting is passionate, the story is ours. ‪#‎HTMMovie‬
Need a guide to help you unpack the story?  Check out this set of Teacher’s Notes

A Gay Homecoming In Geelong

Brisbane Gay activist, Tony Robertson will attend his first public LGBTI  event in his birth city of Geelong this week.
Mr Robertson will join the 18th birthday celebrations for gasp Geelong on Tuesday 11 November.
The  gasp project provides respectful and safe environments that assist in improving the health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and sex and gender diverse young people.
“I am excited to join the celebrations for a service that was not available when I was a young gay teen in Geelong during the late 60s ” he said.
Mr Robertson lived in Geelong from 1953 – 1972 attending school at St Patrick’s Primary in Geelong West and St. Joseph’s College , Newtown.

“This was an era where the local community did not have the language or culture to embrace issues of diverse sexuality” he said.

Mr Robertson has previously visited St. Joseph’s College as a life member of the Old Collegians to show his support for the inclusion of the International Day Against Homophobiain the annual calendar of student activities.

“I am proud that my birth city now has a safe public space for young people to find support and solidarity as they discover the joy of sexuality in all its diversity and identity.” He said.

Read interview with The Geelong Advertiser, November 15 2014 here