"We must be who we are." So said Georgina Beyer at a fund-raising dinner for the gay/ lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer (you know the drill) community at the Sydney Town Hall last night. This was the 10th Aurora dinner run by the Aurora Group which was set up to organise events within the lesbian, gay and transgender community to bring friends together in celebration as well as raising funds for community organisations and projects, including Twenty Ten GLBT Youth Support and The Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service.
I must say I wasn't on the wavelength and prolly ought not to have been there, having been pretty ill all week and for other family reasons, although it was a grand and glam sell-out affair, peopled by dykes, queens, trannies, pollies (Malcolm Turnbull, Federal Minister for Short Showers and Tanya Plibersek, Federal Member for Emerald City) and on-side corporates. The Town Hall, I have to say, looked stunning and the James Bond theme was suitably over-the-top, indeed, camp (d'oh).
And Georgina Beyer? In case you were asleep in recent years, she is the first transexual in the world to be elected mayor and the first transexual in the world to be elected to Parliament. We're talking New Zealand here, the first to give women unrestricted suffrage in terms of voting rights in a self-governing country in 1893 (yeah, I know, there were other more restricted cases before then).
Anyway, Georgina's inspirational, and I don't say that kind of thing lightly. She was looking particularly fab last night (she was sitting at our table, which was cool) as she was wearing a cossie that had been made for her appearance on the NZ version of Dancing With the Stars. She's looking forward to a trans-Tasman head-to-head (or should that be toe-to-toe) with Pauline Hanson. Hmm, that would be something.
So, in amongst all the song and comedy and raffles and auctions, she was the guest speaker. "We are starting to become," she went on to say. "[We are] practising our rights of citizenship." So, there was a message that I wonder if the pollies in the room heard. Neither the Libs nor Federal ALP have a good track record on continuing the job, of standing up for the rights to all citizens, including GLBTQ ones. They may be OK on tolerance (so, who wants to be just tolerated) but not on recognising our relationships and all the rights that entails, for instance. Georgina threw out the usual and necessary challenges: "to ensure that gay and queer people of the world have a much better life than we started off with" and "to offer support to those who still struggle in adversity".
Sure, as with all these things, you hadda be there, but it was worth it, even if I was scratchy and tired and didn't quite last the distance.