Letters of Support

Think I’m on track?  Let me know.
Support is always appreciated.  Thanks.


From: Graham Underhill <underhill.graham@gmail.com>
Date: 11 July 2011 02:11
Subject: Re: Please ignore the email you just received from my blog
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Hello Michael,
A moment of your time if I may.
Regards that E-mail that managed to escape …
Not that I think for one moment that you will lose any sleep over the comments, but as somebody said a long time ago,
“Opinions are like A…holes – everybody has one.”
Those that can – do. Other people just sit around and criticize
At least you DO something. Other queens are only concerned about what they are going wear when they go out on Saturday night.
Having been an activist since just after Stonewall, first in Auckland, New Zealand, for about 20 years, and then here in Melbourne after I came back.
I have had my fair share of attacks over the years – water off a duck’s back!
I think I might start a fan club for you
Take care,
Graham Underhill.

Stuart  wrote on 18/09/2009 16:51:03:

> Hi Michael, heard your interview on ABC radio a couple of nights ago.
> I felt compelled to let you know, how well you came across. Very
> eloquent, concise and well spoken.
> The group you represented should be very pleased to have you.
> Anyway, well done.
>
> Regards,
> Stuart


From: Stephen Kress
Date: 2009/9/17
Subject: Re: ABC Radio “PM” today
To: ausqueer@yahoogroups.com, qmelb@yahoogroups.com

Congratulations Michael on all your fine work and your staunch advocacy. Your stand is noble and just and your persistence is most admirable. It seems like there will be more battles ahead but your efforts thus far hold you in very good stead.

Well done.

Stephen


From: Demetry Apostle <dapostle@optusnet.com.au>
Date: 2009/9/17
Subject: Re: ABC Radio “PM” today [2 Attachments]
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Michael

I have been following the saga of your ordeal through the emails. Thank you for speaking your truth and undertaking a process I can only imagine has been difficult one. I applaud you for taking on religious institutions and their leadership who are so entrenched in maintaining a fictional world.

Demetry


From: Colin Krycer <colinhk@optusnet.com.au>
Date: 2009/9/16
Subject: Re: ABC Radio “PM” today
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

i listened to it – good work mikey


From: Rodney
Date: 2009/9/17
Subject: Re: ABC Radio “PM” today
To: ausqueer@yahoogroups.com

Great story Michael. Congratulations.

Rodney.


From: Maria
Date: 2009/9/17
Subject: RE: Tova from Parliament House in Canberra
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

You don’t cease to awe me!



From: anon
Date: 2009/9/17
Subject: Re: Tova from Parliament House in Canberra
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Bloody good email!!!!!! WELL PUT!!!!



From: Stephen Kress
Date: 2009/9/22
Subject: Re: ABC Radio “PM” today
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>
Hi Michael,
Hopefully my post will shut him up – but i doubt it. Everything is a bloody “point of order” for Matthew.
Hang in there mate. It sounds like it is a lonely journey for you sometimes but what you are doing is amazing and it is only through such actions that things ever change.

A few years ago I worked as a Home Carer in East St Kilda and among my clients were a lovely old Jewish couple in their 80’s who I took shopping every Thursday. <name1> was in the Wawsaw ghetto and on put on the train to Treblinka. He jumped off, ran into the forest and fought with the Polish resistance for 3 years.

<name2> was at Auschwich (sp?). She survived because she was a housekeeper to an SS Officers wife. Every night, this German woman gave her a bag of food to take in to distribute to the prisoners. Her husband was killing people and his wife was trying to keep them alive.

<name1> and <name2> never held any resentment towards me because my parents are German. In fact they asked about my family every week. They had one of the most amazing life philosophies i’ve ever come across: “Since the war, we dont believe in race or religion, just good people and bad people”

I will never forget them. And I imagine that you have heard many such stories. But always remember that what you are doing is fighting for a world that makes things better for others, so that the shit that <name1> and <name2> and countless queers in those dark times went through – and still do in parts of the world – is less likely. As Nelson Mandela once said, “A true champion does it for other people”.

I’m flying to Germany next week and I’ll be visiting Dachau in my travels, and i’ll be thinking of <name1> and <name2>, and contemplating how if I had been born a couple of generations earlier I would have ended up there myself.

So be good to yourself Michael, and remember that you are one of Nelson Mandela’s champions.

Cheers mate

Stephen


From: oiiaustralia <oiiaustralia@bigpond.com>
Date: 2009/9/22
Subject: Your activism
To: mikeybear69@gmail.com

Dear Michael
I admire ,very much ,the work you are doing against Jewish Homophobia.
I have said little on the AusQueer forum as I do not feel qualified to comment.
I think you are confronting a very very difficult part of homophobia.
My very best wishes to you and the great work you are doing, if you need OII or my own support you can depend on it.

Gina

http://oiiaustralia.com/


From: Gregory Storer <gps@storer.com.au>
Date: 2009/9/22
Subject: RE: A follow-up since the ABC “PM” story
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>
Have I told you lately how much I admire and support your efforts?  Use to be that pride was a sin, however, I think you should take a great deal of pride in this.  You are a wonderful man.
g.

From: Tony Langdon <tlang1@vkradio.com>
Date: 2009/9/22
Subject: Re: [QueerNews] A follow-up since the ABC “PM” story [1 Attachment]
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

At 12:30 PM 9/22/2009, you wrote:
Yesterday I received a copy of a letter written by Dr Lynne Hillier from the Australian Research Centre into Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) that was sent to the Australian Jewish News last week.  Dr Hillier’s research has been used in the Suicide Prevention Australia Position Statement on Suicide and self-harm among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.  This letter has not yet appeared in print, so maybe it is being held off until this week.  The contents of this letter need broad exposure in the Jewish community.  I’ve attached the letter to this email, and it can also be viewed online:

<http://aleph.org.au/docs/20090921_Lynne_Hillier_ARCSHS_letter.pdf>http://aleph.org.au/docs/20090921_Lynne_Hillier_ARCSHS_letter.pdf

A very good letter, it certainly does need to be circulated _very_ widely.

Lastly, as usual the Bruce Llama blog has found the need to respond to the AJN Watch blog and debunk their hateful attitudes.  This particular blog is going to confront and challenge many readers and I can guarantee you will react to it:

<http://www.brucellama.com/?p=893>http://www.brucellama.com/?p=893

You’re not wrong!  I thought it was an interesting way of putting his argument forward, framing it in terms that mirror hate speech from various groups.

Thank you to everyone who has written me messages of support.  I am grateful for these messages as they reassure me that this is a real problem and one that is worth fighting for.  If you have any constructive messages of support please write to me.  A number of people have questioned and disagreed with my approach and my attitudes to this situation.  My only response if that if you disagree with or don’t like what I am doing, please suggest alternatives and take some action yourself.

Again, keep up the good fight.  If your work saves one life, or keeps one kid off the streets (and I have no doubt it will in the long run), it’s all worth it.  I find it refreshing when people of faith take a hard look at their beliefs and their community and take that community to task over its own bigotry, as you are doing.


From: Rod
Date: 2009/9/22
Subject: Re: AJN Watch take a swipe at the ABC (and everyone else)
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Hey Michael:
Just wanted to say congratulations for sticking it up the establishment in your community.
Don’t let these nay-sayers get you down, mate.  They always love to cut down anyone doing *ANYTHING*… distracts us from seeing that they are doing bugger all to help our causes along.
After all, it is always easier to be an armchair critic than a person doing something to make the world a better place.
*hugz* and all the best.

Rod


From: ian
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: Re: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: michael@aleph.org.au

Michael,

Well done. Patience has its rewards.

Ian


From: Tanya
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: RE: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

I think it is a big step that they even included it in the release.  Well done to you for standing up for this important issue. Maybe they are starting to get the message.



From: Merv Barnett
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: RE: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Well done Mikeybear

Keep up the good work with this equality & acceptance situation, you will get there in the end.  In the mean time enjoy the journey even though it may be a little bit bumpy from time to time.

Mind you with the JCCV words are cheap, let’s see some action too.

From

Your Dad & main admirer


From: Naomi Barnett
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: Re: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Bingo Michael!!!!!  Kol hakavod boychick.  A little opening of the door and a big step forward.

Small pat on back at this stage with hopefully bigger pats to come.

Mum



From: Gregory Storer <gps@storer.com.au>
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: RE: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

I hope you’re glowing a bit.  It’s a small step, but a good start.


From: Sandra
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: Re: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: OzQJews@yahoogroups.com
Cc: …

Excellent news Michael.
You are a mensch for responding so  responsively.

S


From: Eric M Glare <ericglare@netspace.net.au>
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: Re: [QueerNews] FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need [2 Attachments]
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Congratulations, Michael – great suggestion. Lets hope your initiative has prompted other orgs to comment on Mental Health Day.
Thanks

Eric



From: Maria
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: [OzQJews] RE: FYI JCCV calls on Jewish community to help members in need
To: <OzQJews@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: …

Persistence and passion…

A great example for my students and encouragement to all of us to keep going!

maria

xxx



From: Sally
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: [OzQJews] FYI JCCV calls on Jewish community to help members in need
To: …

Mikey
totally echo Sandra’s comments and yours – well done for your persistence.
Cheeyars
Sally

From: Greg
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: RE: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: mikeybear69@gmail.com

Dear Michael,

You are doing some GREAT work!!!!!!

Well done!

Cheers & hugs,

Greg




From: Garry Barnett
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: RE: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Hey Michael

Brilliant news – you can be very proud of yourself Harvey.

Milkman

Kind regards,
Garry


From: anon
Date: 2009/10/5
Subject: Re: FYI jccv calls on jewish community to help members in need
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Good on you for sticking to your guns!!! Kol hakavod. And it’s about f*cking time the JCCV stood up!!!
Will that media release make it into the AJN, so that the AJNWatch wanker can get all hot and bothered?? Here’s hoping……..



From: Gina
Date: 2009/11/6
Subject: Re: <AusQueer> Galus Australis: Confronting the last Taboo – Orthodox Judaism and Homosexuality
To: ausqueer@yahoogroups.com
Michael

I admire your efforts in addressing such issues within what appears to be a very staid community. I feel completely unqualified to comment on the site. I have very little knowledge of Judaism .

You must be a very optimistic person or Judaism works very differently to Christianity ( my religious experience is from that corner of the ring). I would never suppose the encrusted orthodox elements of Christianity would ever accept GLBTI.

Good luck with your work.

Gina



From: Malcolm McPherson
Date: 2009/11/6
Subject: Re: <AusQueer> Galus Australis: Confronting the last Taboo – Orthodox Judaism and Homosexuality
To: ausqueer@yahoogroups.com

The orthodox Jewish community is not a world that I am familiar with, but the conversation you are pursuing appears to be achieving results. I know that these conservative communities change slowly. Every softening of the language, every chink of openness to another viewpoint is a victory.

I congratulate you, Michael.

Mal


From: Maria
Date: 2009/11/11
Subject: RE: A fresh look at reconciling homosexuality with Orthodox Judaism
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are such a catalyst!


From: Gregory Storer <gps@storer.com.au>
Date: 2009/12/11
Subject: Re:
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Nicely written Michael, very to the point.  I’m proud and happy to have you as my partner.  You’re a stella bloke.

g.


From: Colin Krycer <colinhk@optusnet.com.au>
Date: 2009/12/11
Subject: Re: Re: [alephmelb] Re:

To Michael B.

How can you “Work with the JCCV” Michael as Nathan suggests. They don’t understand and probably never will. The part about “boosting your own ego” was absolute crap and I know that for fact. I think that one day, unfortunately and I hope not, the JCCV will have blood on it’s hands and then it will be too late for some young Jewish guy or girl in our community.
“Apologise to the JCCV”…. for what? It’s they who should be apologising to the community.

Colin Krycer


From: Daniel
Date: 2009/12/11
Subject: Letters in Southern Star
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Hi Michael,

Not sure what to say about the whole email debacle, except that I support you 100%. The whole thing is extremely distressing. I find ‘sensible jew’s’ injunction not to fire ‘any more missiles’ rich given that she is not experiencing the pain of disenfranchisement. As for Nathan, I guess I see where he is coming from re taking a softer approach, but I completely disagree with him. He seems to me want to appease the establishment more than anything. I’ve already discussed this with him, and we’ve agreed to disagree, but I do think his personal attacks on you were completely unjustified and unaccepable. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I can tell you that, in direct contradiction to what Nathan said, I consider your efforts for GLBT Jews nothing less than heroic. I remain proud to have you as the voice of our community.

Let me know how you’re getting along.
Best,
D


From: Vicki Reader-Killham <Vicki.Reader@community.nsw.gov.au>
Date: 2009/12/21
Subject: RE: Jewish community homosexual scandal? The plot thickens
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

what ever you did you did it well Michael


From: rick a <zzwabrah@yahoo.com>
Date: 2010/1/4
Subject: Great Report, Michael
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Congratulations on a concise intelligible report, thank you
Warwick Abrahams— On Fri, 1/1/10, Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>
Subject: [Dayenu] 2009 – A personal Jewish GLBT retrospective
To: “Dayenu” <dayenu@yahoogroups.com>, “OzQJews” <ozqjews@yahoogroups.com>
Received: Friday, 1 January, 2010, 1:44 PM


From: Rob Mitchell <rob@rjm.it>
Date: 2010/1/4
Subject: RE: Jewish community homosexual scandal? The plot thickens
To: …

Hi Michael,

You are correct, they are trying to wrest control of the issue back on to their turf.  This is Standard Operating Procedure – or what I call the ‘David Copperfield’ approach.

You needn’t worry though, the fire is well and truly alight – you just need to pour some more petrol on it.  Doug will be able to help you there – and Andie and Rachel and Dewi and all the other journos – you will prevail, you just need to keep at it.

I’m not Jewish – so perhaps for that reason the irony is particularly stark – here you have an organisation that so often comes out of the starters gate, railing against prejudice and discrimination, but is a recidivist offender when it comes to cleaning up its own GLBTI backyard.

You have them on the run, and that is where they should stay until they ‘get it’.

The first Jewish Justice of the American Supreme Court, Justice Brandeis, said “Sunlight is a great antiseptic, torchlight a great policeman”.  He would be extraordinarily proud of what you are achieving.

Compliments of the season to everybody on this list.

Regards,

Rob


From: Tania
Date: 2010/1/9
Subject: Wow
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Hey there,

I really felt for you when you explained what it must have been like over the years. I tried to recall whether I knew back then but to be honest I dont think I thought about it – I have fond memories of you and can remembering laughing alot with you. It’s a lovely thing you are doing in trying to make a difference – I mean that.


From: Pierre
Date: 2010/1/17
Subject: RE: Child abuse in the Jewish community
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Dear Michael

I checked out your community website and I must applaud you and your colleagues for the work you are doing.  There are many young gay people who need support.  It’s through communities like yours that lives are saved.

Thank you and your team for all that you are doing for the Jewish gay community in Australia.  We need more such endeavors around the world!

Regards,

Pierre



From: Vicki Reader-Killham <Vicki.Reader@community.nsw.gov.au>
Date: 2010/1/19
Subject: RE: A piece of feedback I’d like to share
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

keep Up the GOOD work

Vicki



From: Ryan Miller <ryancub82@hotmail.com>
Date: 15 February 2010 20:05
Subject: RE: Hey
To: mikeybear69@gmail.com

Hey Mikey,


I’ve been keeping tabs with your work in the Gay Jewish community and think you are doing an outstanding job. It’s certainly not easy being gay and Jewish, but your endeavours are making it easy for those who are.

Ryan


From: Gregory Storer <gps@storer.com.au>
Date: 16 February 2010 18:17
Subject: Just finished book
To: Mikey Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Michael,

I just finished reading the book, A Life of Unlearning.

The man who wrote it was an Assembly of God preacher and gay.  As I said he tried to become straight, and in plenty of places his story mirrors mine.

At the end of the book he relates some of the emails that he received in response to the first edition.  The stories talk of suicide, rejection, denial, marriage and more.  It was quite moving.

He wrote to the AOG Executive, in much the same way you have been dealing with the JCCV, and while you don’t really want to read the whole book, the final chapter is a must.  It has many parallels to what you are currently doing.

What really struck me in all of this Michael, is how on track you are with your efforts to bring sexual orientation to the fore.  There should be no doubt in your mind that you are right.  While the stats are lacking in particular reference to suicide of Jews in relation to sexual orientation, there is no doubt that it happens.  And its not just about the young people who commit suicide, it’s about the gay guys and gals who get married, it’s about the mental illness that rejection brings, it’s about the confusion of how to please God and never be ‘cured’.

I support you 100% in this fight.  You are right and no matter what happens, you should continue to fight this fight for the sake of those who are unable to do so.  I will be there, by your side to support and help.

I love you.

g.


From: Maria
Date: 13 April 2010 16:15
Subject: RE: Bruce Llama: The bullying must stop.
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Keep going Michael!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Michael Barnett [mailto:mikeybear69@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 13 April 2010 3:57 PM
Subject: Bruce Llama: The bullying must stop.

http://www.brucellama.com/?p=1404


From: Mannie De Saxe <josken1@pacific.net.au>
Date: 17 April 2010 00:07
Subject: article in southern star
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Dear Michael,

Not being a member of Aleph I do not know about internal politics in your organisation, and also we all know that newspaper articles are very often not an accurate representation of events.

However, my politics are such that I am pleased you are making this public argument, because, as we all know, the religious right have had it their way for far too long, and not enough people have spoken out.

Interesting to watch the catholic church tearing itself to pieces over the paedophile stories and interesting to see beyondblue trying to justify its exclusion of the GLTH communities from its counselling services over the last ten years and ongoing, while our youth continue to commit suicide on a scale several times larger than the hetero communities.

Jewish parents have got a lot to answer for, and particularly the religious ones as we all know!!

So all I can say is that I offer you wholehearted support in your struggles, and my web pages have already for many years reflected many of the issues you are fighting about.

I also read your online response to the Southern Star article and of course if you don’t shout out loud, no one else is going to.

These Jewish organisations are a disgrace – they are certainly not spokespeople for the Jewish communities as people like Antony Loewenstein and  Louise Adler know only too well –  and they certainly don’t represent my views about Jews in Australia, some of whom are really interesting specimens of humanity in their different ways – various editors of the Australian Jewish News come to mind!

Keep at it, and don’t be discouraged by the screaming voices trying to silence you. In the end, they are the ones who will have to be silent when the truths become universally recognised.

Regards – and best wishes,

Mannie


Doug Pollard 24 April at 06:24

Michael, I just wanted to say that, when you take on any establishment, it is always going to be tougher, slower and lonelier than you expected. People you might have hoped would support you will shy away from you, or even work against you. Passionate action always makes the less committed feel embarrassed at their own feebleness. They tend to turn and bite.None of this matters, because you are being true to yourself – always the most important consideration – and whether it seems like it or not, you are making a difference.But you have to accept that you may never know what difference you have made, because the lives you have touched may never touch yours. Don’t expect anyone to say thanks – they seldom do. Don’t expect support – people only ever come aboard a bandwagon when they’re certain they won’t lose by it. And when things do change, don’t expect any credit for it. The Johnny-come-latelies will grab that.Once in a great while, someone will appear out of the blue and tell you that they read about something you did, or heard you speak, or heard about you from someone else, and it changed their life.They decided to join an organisation, change a job, come out to family, write a letter to an MP, move to a different city, dump their boyfriend. They decided not to take those pills, or walk in front of that train.For every one person who tells you, there will be dozens, maybe even hundreds more you will never know about.

Be assured that what you are doing is making a difference. You cannot see it, and much of it you will never see, but you are making a difference.

So what if other people call you a troublemaker? If you hadn’t made trouble, would there be a GBTI reference group at all, however feeble? If you hadn’t raised a ruckus, would anyone be thinking and talking and writing about the issue at all? No.

Things will reach a tipping point eventually – Rob Mitchell’s work on homophobia in sport and the AFL has taken almost three years to bear fruit, and only because he never stopped being a pain in the neck.

AFL football – three years. Orthodox Judaism may take a little longer. Hang in there!

Doug
x x x x x


Malcolm McPherson

One Response to Letters of Support

  1. Brad says:

    Mikey…as a transplanted Aussie, who has lived in Canada for 23 yrs – I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you and those who are taking on this chapter, in our collective journey toward full access to meaningful lives and relationships, for all of us, not simply some of us.

    I also happen to be Jewish – and have been a part of the process of not only our synagouge moving to marrying same gender couples but also same gender, interfaith couples – my husband and I were part of the process of getting marriage equality here in Canada. Along with a wonderful lesbian couple, we were the organizers in our Province ( like a State..) for journey to equal marriage.
    We salute you….and support you.

    Keep on going….remember this…
    ” never doubt that a small group of like minded individuals can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has..”

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