Last night on Facebook I wrote: “Congratulations SBS2 for easily the best Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras telecast I have ever seen — a great balance between fun and explanation. Worth missing Rake to see it, and that is saying something. Felt quite a few pangs also seeing so many places that once were my everyday round.”
Better by far is this for Australians of all kinds to take pride in than what happens in too many parts of the world, and in some cases getting worse. Think Russia. Think Uganda. Think Nigeria. Then sadly there is India now. And so on. One of the commentators – and they were all excellent – on SBS2 last night was Patrick Abboud, of Arabic background and that in itself suggests another large part of humanity still locked into the dark side when it comes to accepting human diversity. But SBS2 – again, well done!
Not from last night, but two more images of the Sydney Mardi Gras — 2011 and 2013 — that make me proud of Sydney and Australia. May we always so value our freedom.
William Yang’s Friends of Dorothy was on ABC1 late at night – but not too late for penises to be pixelated, I noticed. I mentioned the other day that M and I are obscurely in the book version at a party – a highly respectable one compared to some in both the book and the documentary – at Potts Point at Eric and George’s place. We do not appear in the documentary, though an Asian Gay Pride event in the early 90s is quite well represented and we were there. Did see some familiar faces.
I thought William Yang was more relaxed in this than he had been in My Generation.
Then there is the remarkable story not of a gay man but of a transgender person with some interesting friends.
TONY ABBOTT, PRESENTER: I’m Tony Abbott and tonight you’ll meet my friend Cate McGregor. Cate and I met in student days and we’ve been friends through all the ups and downs of our lives for almost 30 years. She’s an author, an army officer and my guru in all things cricket. Most recently she helped me to put together the team for my inaugural Prime Ministers XI match. Cate’s love for cricket has been a constant throughout. As you watch her story tonight, I know you will see the friend I know – a person of strength, intellect, capacity and truly remarkable courage.
LT-COL CATE MCGREGOR: I think probably there’s a part of me that has always looked for something larger than myself, that I’ve gravitated towards big things: causes and institutions. The army’s a big one, the Labor Party’s a big one. Maybe with hindsight there was a chasm or a void in me that I looked to fill with external things.
MARY SAUNDERS, SISTER: There was always a restlessness. What is the next thing? The restlessness had to be part of this inner anxiety about who am I?
LT-COL CATE MCGREGOR: I just felt conflicted. It’s like the out of tune orchestra. It’s like something screeching, that’s not right. I just felt excruciating pain.
BARRIE CASSIDY, FRIEND & JOURNALIST: Look, it took a lot of courage, but you’d have to be in her skin to know why, why she did what she did. But fighting it became intolerable clearly….
LT-COL CATE MCGREGOR: To me, that’s the core of the human journey, the front we put on to be prestigious, to be rich – to be all the things we think we have to be when all we have to be is ourself. And my journey to that was painful, reluctant and I dragged my heels every inch of the way and when I got there, all the imagined terrors evaporated and I was so wrong.
Yes, that is Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The program charts the transition of Malcolm McGregor to becoming Cate McGregor, speechwriter to Chief of the Army David Morrison.