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.
I 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.
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.
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.