Posts Tagged ‘ACON’

Remembering Lex Watson

May 8, 2014

Lex Watson who passed away this week was the first president of the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) and a Co-founder of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP), in addition to being the founder of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, in short he was one of the most important gay rights activists in Australia.

We forget how things have changed over the past few decades and the fact that we have so many rights not afforded us in the past is in no small part down to the work Lex and others like him did on our behalf. He played an important role in the foundation of many of the LGBT rights groups in New South Wales. In 1970 he was one of the first gay people to advocate openly for their rights on Australian television, a very brave act indeed back then, to many LGBT people in their teens, twenties or even 30’s just how brave and pioneering an act this was would be hard to comprehend in a world where an openly gay person won Big Brother in 2012.

Homosexuality was legalized in New South Wales in 1984, 14 years after the start-up of CAMP, and in that time activists like Lex were at the forefront of the fight for equality and endured more than most on our behalf to ensure our rights were recognised. For example in 1976 whilst on a current affairs program on ABC Lex was pelted with human excrement during a debate, his response to this act…. was to point out that that was precisely the kind of persecution that homosexuals had to put up with, touché .

In his later years Lex  served as the President of Sydney’s Pride History Group, Lex Watson is part of our history, he was a pioneer for the LGBT community and one I hope history never forgets.

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Political Parties chasing the Pink Vote

August 28, 2012

I know I have talked about brands targeting the Pink Dollar before https://macarthursmutterings.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/big-brands-wise-up-and-target-the-lgbt-community/ when I looked at Coca-Cola and Grey Goose supporting the Winter Party Festival (WPF) in the US and Mardi Gras here in Australia being supported by Virgin Australia, ANZ, Google and Finlandia Vodka, for example.

Well this time I want to talk about Political Parties chasing the Pink Vote. We have some elections coming up in Sydney which sees the  political fight for dominance of Sydney Council being taken to the LGBT Community, why is that?

Well is it one of the few electorates in Australia where the ‘pink vote’ can and does make a difference. If you have spent much time in places like Darlinghurst and Surry Hills you will know that LGBT individuals are both an important and integral part of these communities, and their voice not only matters but is worth listening to.

With this in mind, and with elections just around the corner, the council recently announced some new funding, if all goes to plan Mardi Gras would get $400,000 in funding over the next two years. This might sound like a lot, but a conservative estimate of the average number of spectators a year is 300,000. It is estimated that MG delivers an annual economic impact of $29 million to Sydney and NSW. This is the direct result of international and interstate visitors travelling specifically for Mardi Gras events, so $400,000 is not all that much really, they could be doing more.

Labor’s candidate for the position of Lord Mayor has claimed a Labor run Town Hall would commit $3.2 million to MG and Aids Council of NSW (ACON) over four years, no small sum. And apparently a future Liberal Government will work with MG to ensure “it grows as one of Sydney’s most important cultural and social events and as a major tourism driver for the state”, although I am unaware of any actual sum of commitment in dollar terms.

Don’t get me wrong, all this ‘possible’ support and funding is crucial and long overdue, but LGBT voters don’t just think about how the parties support them at election time only (ok for some that may be true). Like any constituent they think about how political parties represent then (or don’t) most of the year and as such maybe those who want to win, and stay in power, in Sydney ought to pay more heed to the Pink Vote all year round and not just at election time.

Remembering Tania one year on…

December 2, 2011

December the 9th will be the first anniversary of the death of Tania Lienert, a very close friend of mine. She was a person that contributed so much to the LGBT community as well as her wider local community in Lismore and the Northern Rivers areas in which she lived and worked.

It seems odd to think that a whole year has gone by since she died, she was a bright light in many people’s lives and this past year has been a little darker without her in it.

Tania was a much respected intellectual and her achievements in both the academic and LGBT scenes were highly regarded. Many remember her for the good work she did with Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) in the Northern Rivers area where she was manager. Tania’s last role was working with the University Department of Rural Health in Lismore where she was co-ordinating a primary health care research development programme. Tania always applied a great deal of passion to provide and improve services to the gay and lesbian community. She really did make a difference to people’s lives.

Earlier this year a number of community members and past colleagues of Tania’s along with Tania’s partner Deb established an annual memorial lecture in Tania’s honour, ‘The Dr Tania Lienert Memorial Lecture for Social Justice and Diversity’. The first lecture took place in June this year, with the renowned writer and human rights activist, Arnold Zable, delivering the lecture which had as it’s subject these as ‘The Healing Power of Story’.

About 300 people attended the lecture which is testament to the great affection she was held within the community at large.  Tania had an immense sense of compassion, understanding, respect and forgiveness for others and I thank her for the impact she has made on my life and  remember her fondly, she will forever be in my heart.

Remembering Dr Tania Lienert

January 4, 2011

Myself and many others in the LGBT community are mourning the loss of Tania Lienert who died on 9th December 2010 as a result of a car accident. She was a shining light to many of us and worked on a range of important issues of social justice. Tania was kind, gentle and always made time for others. Her untimely death has had an enormous impact on many.

Tania was a much respected intellectual and her achievements in both the academic and LGBT scenes were highly regarded. Many will remember her for the good work she did with Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) in the Northern Rivers area where she was manager. Tania’s last role was working with the University Department of Rural Health in Lismore where she was co-ordinating a primary health care research development programme. Tania always worked incredibly hard and with a great deal of passion to provide and improve services to the gay and lesbian community. She really did make a difference to people’s lives.

When I first met Tania and her partner Debs I had been here in Australia for a couple of years, I love being in Australia but at times being so far away from my family can be hard. I feel very much that I found a family in Debs and Tania and it is one that I will always cherish.

Tania and Debs, have always shown me compassion, understanding, respect and forgiveness, qualities that are the foundations of a good strong family. To me they are family and Tania will forever be in my heart.

BEFOREPLAY…

February 24, 2010

Paul Freeman one of Australia’s best erotic photographers (he of the sexy Bondi and Outback books) has produced some very sexy and engaging images in a new health promotion campaign for this year’s Mardi Gras season. The campaign is titled BEFOREPLAY, and has been produced by ACON and developed by Frost*Design.

I think this creative is a step in the right direction in terms of moving forward safe sex messaging to a rather jaded audience. The “BEFOREPLAY” tagline is engaging and helps build saliency of the campaign and I believe most people will identify with the images in the ads (if you are going to talk about sex then why not show people having sex). I really do think the images make the creative more relevant to the target group.

And if you happen to apply Mike Hall’s PIS Model for evaluating communications these get a nice tick on all counts, The campaign is delivering a Persuasive message, it is Involving and it is certainly Salient. Furthermore the “take care of each other this summer” message from ACON will help build engagement with the overall ACON brand, which lets face it is a key objective of any advertising regardless of the message.

I am sure not all will agree with me, but if the ads provoke thought and prompt discussion, which I am sure they will, that is evidence that they are cutting through.

To get an overview of the entire campaign, visit www.acon.org.au/beforeplay

Wear It With Pride

February 16, 2010

ACON have launched a new education campaign called Wear It With Pride to help people understand the Federal Government’s recent reforms affecting same-sex couples.

In July 2009, the Federal Government amended 85 pieces of legislation that discriminated against same-sex couples.  Which is great news, if people actually knew about them, hence the campaign.

The campaign has been created by M&C Saatchi, and there are various print and poster ads, and central to the creative are 85 tee-shirts inspired by various human stories behind each of the reforms.

Engagement with the ads and as such the new changes, is driven by the multifaceted individuals and their different stories used across different elements of the campaign. What M&C Saatchi have managed to do is create a nice salient execution and at the same time ensure a level of involvement that means the key message will be easily understood.

I don’t expect everyone to see this campaign to walk away knowing exactly what all those 85 changes were or all the detail behind them, but most will walk away with the awareness that these changes have taken place and hopefully a desire to know more.

On that note the campaign also features a comprehensive website where you can actually educate yourself about all the changes:

http://www.wearitwithpride.com.au

Oh and one finale note, all the individuals you see in the ads appeared so entirely voluntarily and pro-bono, good on them for adding their voices to such a great cause.

Slip It On…..

September 30, 2009

Slip

I love this new safe sex campaign created by Sydney-based agency Frost*Design for ACON.

The campaign’s core aim is to make gay men “go bananas for condoms”.  

It’s really eye-catching and engaging which is great as the whole “use a condom’ messaging has been done for so long now that it was getting harder and harder (no pun intended) to get this message out there and get it noticed. This is exactly what this campaign does. I think so many people are getting bored of condom usage ads – this one is so bright, fresh and fun that it’s almost impossible to see it “as just another boring safe sex ad”. It also works because of the innovative approach the campaign takes and the pop art-inspired imagery which has appeal across all ages. And the tagline, “Slip It On”, says it all

Check out this website to see more: http://www.acondom.org/