IDAHOT + MELT Festival

We are proud to be partnering with MELT 2018: Festival of Queer Arts & Culture which continues at the Brisbane Powerhouse till Sunday 27th May. This is also a great opportunity to bring together the community to celebrate IDAHOT Day – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism & Transphobia on May 17. Celebrated the world over on May 17 since 2005, the date the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases in 1990.

While this year in Brisbane we are using the same IDAHOT acronym as MELT, we support the values and advocacy of many communities around what is known as both IDAHOT & IDAHOBIT.

IDAHOT is traditionally celebrated in a variety of ways – with free public gatherings, lighting of public spaces and buildings and with music concert events. The free ceremony at MELT will go from 6.30-7pm as a special event that will begin with a remembrance gathering in the Plaza including guest speakers, memorial ceremony and the lighting of the building. “Alliances for Solidarity” is the international theme this year.

It is also an occasion to remember the less privileged, the vilified and victims of hate crime, as well as to celebrate and acknowledge the activists and heroes. We invite all members of the LGBTIQ+ community and allies to be a part of this very special occasion with us.

Facebook users can also update their profile pictures with our IDAHOT Facebook frame here. In Brisbane, nine Brisbane landmarks will be lit up in rainbow lights to commemorate this year’s IDAHOT. Rainbow flags will fly from Brisbane City Hall as well as the state headquarters of Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services that day.

In Cairns all are also invited to gather for coffee at the Paradiso Cafe at 96 Abbott Street in Cairns. A free BBQ and BYO picnic will also be held at the City Beat Police Station at the Lagoon Complex on the Cairns Esplanade, organised by the Queensland Police Service and FNQ Emergency Services to show solidarity with the LGBTIQ community.

#QLDIDAHOT2018 #IDAHOT2018 #IDAHOBIT2018 #MELTfestival2018

QuAC BOARD – EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

Following resignations, there are now three vacant positions on our Board of Directors. We are currently seeking expressions of interest from people to fill the Northern Region Member position and two General Member positions. Our aim is to fill these positions prior to the June board meeting.

At the Annual General Meeting in November, there will be a further opportunity to fill two diversity positions on our Board of Directors.

For all of these positions, you will need to become a financial member of the Queensland AIDS Council (if not already a member).

The Board is interested in people who will bring additional skills, experiences and contacts to that of the current Board members. In particular we encourage people to come forward who fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • human resources;
  • business development skills and contacts;
  • marketing, public relations
  • knowledge of and networks within any of the following communities: women, transgender, bisexual, culturally & linguistically diverse, young people, people living with HIV, and Aboriginal and Torres Islander people.

If you are interested please send a brief description of your skills, experience and interest in joining the Board to dsymons@quac.org.au by 5pm on Monday 14 May 2018. A decision with respect to the three vacant positions will be made in time for you to attend the June Board meeting. If selected, induction training and support will be provided. A decision with respect to the two diversity positions will be made prior to the Annual General Meeting in November.

If you have any questions, please contact Dale Symons (Secretary) on dsymons@quac.org.au or Peter Black (President) on pblack@quac.org.au.

The responsibilities of the Board are to:

  • make and/or amend from time-to-time, the Constitution and by-laws;
  • review and approve strategies, goals, annual budgets, operational and financial plans;
  • oversee and monitor organisational performance and the achievement of strategic goals and objectives.
  • establish and determine the powers and functions of board committees;
  • monitor financial performance, including approval of the annual financial report, and the liaison with external auditors by the finance, audit and risk committee;
  • recruit, appoint and regularly assess the performance of the Executive Director;
  • determine the desired culture for the organisation;
  • enhance and protect the Association’s reputation;
  • ensure risks are identified and appropriate control, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms are in place.

The Northern Region Member must ordinarily reside in the Northern Queensland area with the postcodes 4707, 4709, 4721, 4737-4828 and 4830-4891 inclusive.

 

MELT 2018: FESTIVAL OF QUEER ARTS AND CULTURE

The Queensland AIDS Council is proud and excited to be partnering with Brisbane’s biggest celebration of equality, diversity and LGBTIQ+ culture as the festival sashays back to Brisbane Powerhouse in May when the popular MELT Festival returns for its fourth year.

An awe-inspiring festival of all things queer, MELT promises an unforgettable line-up of more than 20 productions and events across 11 nights of revelry, kick-starting 17 May to coincide with IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

“MELT is an annual celebration of Queensland’s vibrant queer community, providing an opportunity for our LGBTIQ+ friends and allies to come together for two weeks of revelry,” Lees said.

“In a climate of renewed optimism and positivity for LGBTIQ+ rights and outward support for the community, we are privileged and excited to present our biggest and most ambitious program to date,” Lees said.

The 2018 program features an eclectic range of international artists, home-grown heroes and MELT Festival favourites, spanning diverse genres including comedy, dance, circus, burlesque, visual arts and more.

Program highlights include the Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra and special guests reclaiming pop classics for LGBTIQ+ audiences in Coupling (19 May); and the world’s hottest all-male boylesque stars BRIEFS returning with the crowd-pleasing Close Encounters, an epic show of galactic glamour, astro- athleticism and interstellar aerials.

Showstopper event MELT Beauty Pageant (18 May) returns to crown this year’s most charismatic drag queen, drag king or trans beauty with help from an all-star judging panel; while Gayming Night (24 May) by Hella Gay Games assures a hella queer and inclusive gaming experience for the local gayming community. For trivia buffs (aka Trivia Newton-Johns), Tragic Trivia (19 May) offers an utterly outrageous night as Brisbane’s drag superstars take us through the colourful pages of the Queer herstory books for a pop culture comp with a difference.

Bringing the festival to a triumphant close is the The Bowery Haus: Closing Party (26 May); a costume party celebrating inclusivity, self-expression and one of Australia’s most legendary queer icons, Leigh Bowery. Come as your interpretation of the Australian icon for this dazzling fashion and costume dance party featuring some of Brisbane’s best DJs.

“MELT 2018 sparkles with pride, passion and humour, extending an invitation for people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, abilities and artistic interests to join in the party,” Lees said. Check out the full program here: https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/festivals/melt-2018-festival-of-queer-arts-and-culture/

MELT 2018 Partners are: Queensland Government, Queensland AIDS Council, Herbert Smith Freehills, JCDecaux, The Johnson (Art Series Hotel Group) and QNews.

PRIDE HOUSE FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES

On Wednesday March 28 Pride House Gold Coast was officially opened in partnership with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Pride House has been in planning since August 2017 which saw a large volume of community members, organisations and government agencies come together to formulate Pride House Gold Coast in the heart of Surfers Paradise. This is the first Pride House to ever be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere and has received overwhelming support from the community.

Pride House International originated from the traditional Hospitality House concept that are common at Olympic and Commonwealth Games. They are places to attend to support your Country with like-minded others. A Pride House at International Sporting Events has become a regular fixture. They are viewed as providing a valuable contribution to the fabric of International Major Events with significant positive outcomes and media interest.

The Gold Coast Pride House International 2018 (GCPHI 2018) is being hosted at Rise Bar in Surfers Paradise until April 15, 2018. LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies will be able to watch the Commonwealth Games with other like-minded individuals in a safe and inclusive environment. This is the first time ever that Australia has held a Pride House International.

TRAILBLAZERS 

GCPHI 2018 is hosting an Exhibition of Australian LGBTIQ+ “Trailblazers” comprised of individuals that have been leaders in the fight for equality. GCPHI 2018 will highlight a separate issue daily relating to each letter on the LGBTIQ+ rainbow spectrum. It’s a great way to raise awareness and education on important topics such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Youth, Legal and Mental Health issues while the Commonwealth Games are centre stage.

Balls OUT Bingo is also part of the Commonwealth Games Pride House. There are 2 sessions of Balls OUT Bingo on 5th April and 12th April from 5.30pm – 7.00pm at Rise Club and Bar.

The ball boys have been organised so come along and help raise funds for the Queensland AIDS Council and be part of the celebration of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Here is the official link to the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/1022795954560920/

Come along and show your support!!

 

MEDIA PLATFORMS

Facebook –      Gold Coast Pride House International 2018

Instagram –      goldcoastpride2018

Twitter –          @GCPrideHouse

Well Done Brisbane Queer Film Festival

QuAC was incredibly proud to be a Presenting Partner at this year’s Brisbane Queer Film Festival which has just finished screening. It was a great highlight of the Brisbane queer community calendar so far, as it has been since its first outing in the year 2000.  After becoming independent in 2017, the festival returned this year to present, indulge and empower LGBT, intersex, queer and gender diverse film, filmmakers and screen content.

The team put together a great program of varied films – it really was impressive, and so thoughfully built on what has gone before.

Thanks to New Farm Cinemas for hosting and let’s hope a lot of the films get a wider release because they so deserve it. If you missed out but want to see the full program we were indulged with you can find it here at https://www.bqff.com.au/films2018

 

Historic Decision to Recommend PrEP Listing on PBS

 

Today’s decision to recommend PBS listing of the HIV prevention pill, PrEP, is a historic moment for HIV prevention Australia wide, and one welcomed by the Queensland AIDS Council.

PrEP is a pill that if taken daily, is extremely effective at preventing HIV transmission. It was approved for use within Australia in May 2016 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Today’s decision to recommend PBS listing means that PrEP will be available and affordable to people most at risk of HIV through their GP, with local pharmacies being able to dispense PrEP.

Whilst PBAC has recommended PBS listing for PrEP, the actual date of access through the PBS (the listing date) has not been announced, but we expect this date to be within the first half of the 2018 calendar year. Until we reach this access date, people in Queensland can access PrEP through the QPrePd study.

Thousands of Queenslanders are already using PrEP daily to reduce their risk of HIV transmission. The QPrePd study, announced by the State Government in 2016, has been very successful at getting PrEP to people most at risk of HIV transmission, and has already contributed to HIV prevention efforts across the state.

The Queensland AIDS Council encourages any people who are currently not on PrEP, who feel they are at risk of HIV transmission, not to wait for the PBS listing date as the QPrePd study still has spots available now. People enrolled on the QPrEPd study will ultimately transition to access through the PBS, whilst people accessing the initial QPrEP study will still have access to PrEP through their study arrangements until 2020. QPrEPd Study information can be found at http://www.comeprepd.info/qprepd-project/.

“Today’s announcement is undoubtedly a breakthrough for HIV prevention in Australia, and will likely be a turning point from which we see the decline of new HIV transmissions Australia wide” said Michael Scott, Executive Director of Queensland AIDS Council.

“Whilst PrEP will not be available through the PBS immediately, we urge people not to put off accessing PrEP now. Anyone considering accessing PrEP now should not wait for a PBS listing date, as PrEP is free and accessible through the current QPrEP study”.

“We know that PrEP is very effective, but it is only one of the pieces to the puzzle of HIV prevention. A range of prevention messages including condom reinforcement, PrEP and Treatment as Prevention, along with an appropriately funded workforce to deliver HIV prevention messages must be sustained” said Scott.

Further efforts will now be needed to reinforce three monthly testing for HIV and STIs well beyond listing of PrEP on the PBS. Whilst affordable access to PrEP is welcome news, we cannot step away from health promotion around PrEP and reinforcement of testing and treatment of STIs.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) has developed a useful fact sheet summarising today’s announcements. The fact sheet can be found at AFAO_ASHM PrEP Fact Sheet

For further information contact Michael Scott, Executive Director, Queensland AIDS Council on (07) 3017 1777

or Nick Lucchinelli (AFAO) on 0422 229 032

MORE Balls OUT Bingo

Balls OUT Bingo is well and truly into its sixth year and just keeps going from strength to strength. It currently remains the strongest fundraiser for the Queensland AIDS Council with profits for the last 4 years being approximately $13,000 per year. This much loved event has also been the recipient of 3 Queens Ball Awards for Regular Event of the Year 2015, 2016, 2017.

Balls OUT Bingo happens every Friday night at The Sportsman Hotel, Spring Hill and is hosted by Brisbane Drag Queen, Candy Surprise.  As a classic all-round entertainer Candy keeps the crowd in fits of laughter all night. This fundraiser provides much needed funds to QuAC but also offers a fun and alternate type of entertainment for the LGBTI community.

Of course, Balls OUT Bingo does not stop there! We have also produced the Boys of Balls OUT Bingo Calendar 3 years in a row and the calendar sells out each year, with 2017 being the best year to date, selling 200 calendars.  This could not be possible without the great support of our photographer, John Bortolin, who donates his time and expertise each year to bring out the best in our ball boys for the calendar.

We also have our BIG Balls OUT Bingo nights with the first being held at the Stones Corner Hotel in November 2017 with plans already happening for a return to the Stones Corner Hotel on Saturday 31st March.   BIG Balls OUT Bingo is slightly different to our regular bingo with bigger prizes each round and a huge jackpot round in Game 10.

The exciting news for 2018 is that Balls OUT Bingo is now available for private functions. So if you want something a little bit different to entertain your guests, get in contact with Jan Thwaites in the Brisbane office on 07 3017 1779 to discuss the possibility of booking Balls OUT Bingo for your event.

A NEW SUNDAY AFTERNOON EVENT 

Balls OUT Bingo is also bringing the community a brand-new fundraising event at the Norman Park Sports and Community Club beginning in February. Hot Hot Sundays is an afternoon of bingo, barefoot bowls, Drag Shows on the green, live music and, of course, fun! Hosted by Candy Surprise with shows from the legendary Miss Synthetique, Hot Hot Sundays commences on 4th February the event will run on the 1st Sunday of every month.

QuAC would like to sincerely thank all of our players for supporting this fundraising night, which also wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing generosity of our major sponsors and prize supporters. Bingo books are on sale from 7.30pm, balls drop at 8pm. As the event often sells out it’s essential you book your table by calling Sporties on 07 3831 2892.

Thank you all, and let’s keep putting the fun into fundraising.

Major Sponsors:  The Sportsman Hotel

Major Supporters: Number 29, Gay & Lesbian Matchmaker, Body by Shai, KLM, Queer Privilege, Scarlet, John Bortolin Photographer, Applied Mass, Brisbears, BootCo, Shades of Play.

 

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World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil

 

The Queensland AIDS Council is marking World AIDS Day with a Candlelight Vigil which will be held in Brisbane on Friday December1. Join us at 6.45pm at the Queen Street Mall stage (opposite Myer) to celebrate those who have gone before us and reflect on the impact HIV still has across our community.

Michael Scott, Executive Director of Queensland AIDS Council, spoke at the launch of AIDS Awareness Week, telling the assembled audience that “While HIV has changed, HIV is still with us in the present. We have over 6000 people living with HIV in Queensland. Each year 150 to 200 Queenslanders become HIV positive, and they are only the numbers we know about,” said Mr. Scott, who then went on to discuss the ongoing relevance of AIDS Awareness Week. He noted there have been many gains, including the 3000 places made available on the PrEP trial.

“The week is one of celebration –  recognising the great work that’s been done across Australia to prevent HIV. The week is one of commemoration and reflection – remembering loved ones who have died, and remembering the terrible impact HIV has had across our community. The week is one of recognition – recognising the role the whole community plays to promote HIV awareness and to challenge stigma and discrimination. Ultimately it’s a week to remember that HIV is still with us. HIV is still an issue within our community, and we face many challenges and opportunities ahead.” Mr Scott concluded his remarks stressing that “unless we ensure those gains are across the community, we will continue to struggle to end HIV transmission.”

Mr Scott will also speak at the Vigil on Friday night where he will be joined by Terry Butler MP – Federal Member for Griffith, Brisbane City Councillor Vicki Ward and Kirsten Lovejoy, recent candidate for the Queensland Greens. Personal stories from QuAC’s Gary Williams and others affected by and living with HIV will also be shared. The Brisbane Pride Choir and others will perform as the evening highlight – the candle lighting ceremony – takes place.

Mr Scott has taken the opportunity to remind us on World AIDS Day that “the challenge we also face is that as new notifications of HIV reduce, we run the risk of governments stepping away from their commitments to the virtual elimination of HIV. The deprioritization of HIV by governments and by our own community, is perhaps the greatest challenge we face over the next 5 years. On this day never forget the people who have passed of HIV and AIDS over the years. Please never forget the lessons we have learnt, and please let’s not be complacent about our future. Instead of seeing people as either HIV negative, or HIV positive, lets remind ourselves that we are all human, and that our similarities will always outweigh our differences.”

Come and show your support in person and help all of us celebrate and commemorate together.

 

AIDS Awareness Week Brisbane Launch

Today saw the launch of AIDS Awareness Week in the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane. Gary Williams, our World AIDS Day Co-ordinator, shared his personal journey with HIV which resonated deeply with the audience. He also introduced the two guest speakers, Michael Scott, Executive Director of QuAC and Simon O’Connor, Executive Officer of Queensland Positive People.

“While HIV has changed, HIV is still with us in the present. We have over 6000 people living with HIV in Queensland. Each year 150 to 200 Queenslanders become HIV positive, and they are only the numbers we know about,” said Mr. Scott, who then went on to discuss the ongoing relevance of AIDS Awareness Week. He noted there have been many gains, including the 3000 places made available on the PrEP trial.

“The week is one of celebration –  recognising the great work that’s been done across Australia to prevent HIV. The week is one of commemoration and reflection – remembering loved ones who have died, and remembering the terrible impact HIV has had across our community. The week is one of recognition – recognising the role the whole community plays to promote HIV awareness and to challenge stigma and discrimination. But ultimately it’s a week to remember that HIV is still with us. HIV is still an issue within our community, and we face many challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Mr Scott concluded his remarks stressing that “unless we ensure those gains are across the community, we will continue to struggle to end HIV transmission.”