Diary 11.2015 – 1.2016

31 January 2016

Photo of the day:

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30 January 2016

I’d like to share with you this global map:


30 January 2016

Photo of the day:

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29 January 2016

The following picture shows clearly how absurd the position of anti-gay marriage prominent people is:


28 January 2016

I’d like to share with you a very positive initiative by one of Australian leading newspapers:


27 January 2016

Yesterday, in addition to other things (in particular celebrating Australia Day), I finally got myself to listen to our gay community radio “Empty Closet”. Andrew, one of the two facilitators and authors of the programme, mentioned it to me in December. I found them online at https://twitter.com/emptycloset_au , and listened to five episodes. It was informative, sincere, and witty. Often quite funny too. I learnt a fair bit about different aspects of LGBT people in Cairns, and about Andrew’s and Sam’s (the female co-host) life. Look forward to hearing more, both new and old stuff.
Thank you, Andrew and Sam. And good luck!

And here’s a photo of them both at the World AIDS Day last year (copied from their Facebook page).


26 January 2016

Happy Australia Day!


And I wish to refer to what Australian of the Year David Morrison said in his first speech:

“It is an extraordinary time to be an Australian, but I need to give it qualified agreement.”

“…too many of our fellow Australians are denied the opportunity to reach their potential.

“It happens because of their gender, because of the god they believe in, because of their racial heritage, because they’re not able-bodied, because of their sexual orientation.” [italics are mine]

Isn’t it great that we have in his person a supporter of our gay rights?!

Good on you, David Morrison. And congratulations!

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25 January 2016

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So true!

24 January 2016

Two quotes for today:

To me, marriage is really important and what we build families on. That’s why gay marriage is really important.
Margaret Cho

Gay marriage won’t be more of an issue 25 years from now than interracial marriage is today.
Jared Polis

23 January 2016

Last Monday I conducted a tour which included sections of Wooroonooran National Park. It is one of the Wet Tropics World Heritage national parks. It contains some of the oldest rainforests in the world. The national park covers most of Bellenden Ker Range and includes Queensland’s two highest mountains, Mount Bartle Frere (1622 m) and Mount Bellenden Ker (1592 m).

First, we visited Ma-Mu (name of an Aboriginal tribe) Rainforest Canopy Walkway which offers a unique experience. We got close to rainforest plants and animals, from the forest floor to the forest canopy. And we also enjoyed views of the valley and the mountains.

Then we visited Paronella Park, with picturesque ruins of a Spanish castle, situated in a tropical forest next to very nice waterfalls. Paronella Park is one of the biggest attractions in Far North Queensland.

After that, we visited Josephine Falls. The water in Josephine Creek originates from the slopes of Mount Bartle Frere. It is pure and refreshing. There were lots of people there having the time of their lives. My tourists also had a lot of fun: swimming, and riding a stream of water on one of the granite rocks, using it as a slide.

And we finished the tour with a rainforest walk around Babinda Boulders, impressive waterfalls, and a creek with crystal clear water. It was a remarkable experience!

Here are some photos.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


22 January 2016

These guys are certainly having fun!

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21 January 2016

Last Sunday I conducted a tour at Kuranda and Rainforestation.
My tourists and I enjoyed it.

Here are some photos.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


20 January 2016

Last Saturday I conducted a tour on the Atherton tableland, one of the most beautiful regions of Far North Queensland.

Here are some photos.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


20 January 2016

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19 January 2016

Some athletes look so natural and relaxed : – )


18 January 2016

Wouldn’t it be nice to relax like him on the beach?

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17 January 2016

Three quotes for today:

There are different ways that kids who are gay take on the rejection and alienation they feel. The way I dealt with it was to say, ‘You know what? You’re imposing judgments on me and condemnations, but I don’t accept them. I’m going to instead turn the light on you and see what your flaws are and impose the same judgmental standards on you.’
Glenn Greenwald

I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.
Kurt Cobain

I want to host a religious show. I’m sure nobody will be wanting the 11 o’clock spot on Sunday morning. I think we should really get some of our own preachers and preach that gay is good. And we’d have a great choir.
Kate Clinton

16 January 2016

Two quotes for today:

The one thing that is sort of sneered at and not really believed is bisexuality. Any bisexual man is just seen as a closeted gay man. That shows how narrow-minded people are. The other thing that’s totally neglected and which nobody approves of is celibacy. People again assume that you’re just repressing something.
Edmund White

And we have done more in the two and a half years that I’ve been in here than the previous 43 Presidents to uphold that principle, whether it’s ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ making sure that gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals, making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples.
Barack Obama

15 January 2016

Last Wednesday our gay social group boyzout had dinner at the Red Beret restaurant at Redlynch. We had had dinner there before, but long time ago. The restaurant has been refurbished completely and now it looks modern and more spacious. There were about 20 of us there, and the food was good, although the service a bit slow. And it was quite noisy too. Never mind. I was sitting next to an old friend of mine from Ecuador, and we discussed all sorts of things in Spanish. It was useful language practice for me, and it was also nice to catch up with him. And I spoke English to other guys of course. The atmosphere was pleasant, and I am glad I attended.

Yesterday I worked with some tourists. I met them at the airport and we went to several places north of Cairns, including the wild life park Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. We also visited Mossman Gorge where they had a walk in the rainforest and a swim in the pristine waters of the Mossman river. And lastly we visited Port Douglas. The weather was glorious and we had a good time during the day.

Am placing some photos taken yesterday.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


14 January 2016

That’s how we should play tennis : – )


13 January 2016

David Bowie: great singer and gay icon. RIP.

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12 January 2016

I’d like to share with you a photo which touched my heart.

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11 January 2016

Two quotes for today:

It’s about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message. I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they?
Alan Cumming

You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship.
Justin Welby

10 January 2016

I will continue my description of the 3-day tour to the outback. After having breakfast in the hotel, we visited one of the Chillagoe caves (Donna Cave, which received its name thanks to the fact that one of the limestone formations resembles Madonna). Then we saw some unusual rock formations, including the Balancing Rock and an Aboriginal cave with images on the wall.

Then we went to Skybury, one of the best places in the Cairns region to have coffee. We saw some processing facilities, had very good coffee on the veranda, and my tourists bought some coffee in bags of 500g and 1kg to take back home. They also ate some paw-paw, also grown at Skybury.

Then again we found ourselves in Mareeba where we had lunch in a local café.

After that we went to Granite Gorge which has huge boulders where lots of wild rock wallabies live, and my tourists were able to hand feed them. Some of these small kangaroos had babies in their pouch. After visiting Granite Gorge, we continued our journey through vast banana and mango plantations.

In the creek near a cute little town of Yungaburra we saw some platypuses. They are one of the rarest and unique animals of the world lives. Platypus is one of the only two egg-laying mammals in the world and it inhabits the most remote places in Australia with pure water and clean environment. Then we went to the local picturesque pub to have dinner.

After dinner we went, already in the dark, to our hotel which is located near Lake Eacham, an old crater lake in the middle of a jungle. We were staying in hotel cottages. We watched night tropical forest animals and birds including a sugar glider (a small possum) and an owl.

On day 3, we had a walk at Lake Eacham where we saw some fish and turtles, and interesting plants and trees. After that, we had breakfast in a cosy café (teahouse) at Lake Barrine, another crater lake. We saw some very special flora, including orchids and two huge ancient Kauri pine trees.

After that we went to admire a giant ancient tree – Curtain Fig Tree which grows in the middle of the rainforest.

Then we visited the picturesque town of Millaa Millaa and the beautiful Millaa Millaa Falls which have the perfect shape and are considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Australia. My tourists had a swim there.

We visited a pleasant town of Innisfail where we had lunch with a river view.

Then we visited Babinda Boulders (also waterfalls) where we had a walk in the rainforest. My tourists also enjoyed a refreshing swim, after a hot day, in the local pond.

On the way back home, we saw two white beautiful Sikh temples, but we didn’t stop there – just drove by.

I took my tourists to their hotel at Palm Cove. This was the end of our tour. We have seen and done so many things in just three days!

Here are some pictures of days 2 and 3 of the tour.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


9 January 2016

Recently, from 3 to 5 January, I had some tourists whom I took on a 3-day tour which included the genuine Australian outback. On the first day, they travelled to Kuranda by cable car over tropical forests and the Barron Falls. After a walk in Kuranda, we visited the Rainforestation Nature Park (with an Aboriginal program): an Aboriginal dance show, boomerang, spear and didgeridoo lessons, an Army Duck Rainforest Tour, and a buffet lunch.

After that we saw a range of termite nests, and then went through the small city of Mareeba which claims 300 days of sunshine per year.

Then we went to Chillagoe in the Australian outback (more than 200 km west of Cairns). We had a stop at a pub in a small town before Chillagoe where my tourists had some drinks, and on arrival at Chillagoe, we had dinner in a local café.

We were staying at Chillagoe Observatory and Eco Lodge, a nice place. At the back of the hotel, there is a huge field with wallabies and termite hills, and even a Ford museum (!) nearby, and I enjoyed my morning walk there. (To be continued).

Am placing some pictures I took during the first part of our trip. More to follow.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.



9 January 2016

What particularly impressed me this morning was two photos of two men kissing in a photobooth in 1953!!!

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8 January 2016

Aren’t these guys (gays) awesome?!


7 January 2016

I really like this huge rainbow ribbon. Hope you’ll like it too.


6 January 2016

A couple of quotes for today:

We live in a world where we have friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, people we journey with for years who are gay. And we need to love, affirm and all of us together work on the real problems that we have in the world.
Rob Bell

I don’t remember deciding to become a writer. You decide to become a dentist or a postman. For me, writing is like being gay. You finally admit that this is who you are, you come out and hope that no one runs away.
Mark Haddon

5 January 2016

Let’s jump : – )

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4 January 2016

That’s the way to have a rest : – )

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3 January 2016

Yesterday I worked with tourists from Moscow at Kuranda, a “village in the rainforest”, and Rainforestation (which I described in one of my previous diary entries).
Am publishing some photos taken yesterday.
Firstly, you could see mangroves: there is a boardwalk just before the airport, and as I had some spare time before meeting my tourists at the airport, I went for an enjoyable walk.
I always like visiting Kuranda, this time it was with my tourists: am publishing a variety of photos taken there.
As for the Rainforestation pictures, in addition to photos of Aborigines (dances and spear throwing), you could see some fruits grown and sold there.
The last picture is Cairns from a lookout on the way back from Kuranda.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


2 January 2016

That would be a good start of the New Year : – )

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1 January 2016

The New Gay Year has arrived! Be happy, don’t worry!


31 December 2015

Happy and Gay New Year 2016!


31 December 2015

Goodbye, 2015!
And thank you for all the wonderful things that have happened throughout the year!


31 December 2015

The highlight of yesterday’s tour for my tourists was a visit to the wild life park Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. We had a cruise in a boat to see crocodiles in the river which has 24 of them living there (7 males and the rest are females). We saw a ranger tease and feed different crocodiles who would jump out of the water, which is an impressive sight. We also saw the Crocodile Attack show, quite incredible too.

Below are some photos I took yesterday.
Please click on any image to enlarge it.
I also uploaded a video of the show on my Youtube channel. You are welcome to watch it.


30 December 2015

Here are some photos I took yesterday and the day before at Port Douglas and the Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Park:
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


30 December 2015

Yesterday and the day before I was busy working as a tour guide for the same Los Angeles people. The day before yesterday I was doing an afternoon tour with them: Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge. They had had a 40-minute helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef in the morning. After the flight they had a long rest in the beautiful Sea Temple hotel, and then decided to have a late lunch in the city of Port Douglas. So we lost an hour on the lunch in the Iron Bar restaurant, which they liked a lot, but an hour from the tour was gone. When we finally got to the Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre, accompanied by torrential rain for most of the trip, we were told that the road to Gorge the had been flooded, the service had stopped half an hour ago, and there was no access to the Gorge. We had to go back to Port Douglas where I left them doing shopping – they really like to shop!

On the following day, yesterday, we had a full day tour. I was a little bit worried about the ferry crossing at the Daintree River. If the water level goes too high because of the rain, the service stops. However, it was still OK, so we made our way across to the Alexandra lookout which offered a nice view despite the fog and rain.

We continued our journey and saw a cassowary on the edge of the road – we were lucky yesterday indeed, he waited for the tourists to take pictures of him and then he crossed the road and went into the bush.

Then we stopped for a walk and some ice-cream and coffee in the local café at the beautiful Thornton Beach.

We also visited the Daintree tea plantations and they bought some tea putting the required amount of money in the honesty box. They also saw some machinery used to harvest and process the tea, and familiarized themselves with the information posters about the production process – this tea has a unique gentle flavor and is very popular amongst residents and tourists of Cairns and the region.

After that, I took them to a popular water hole for a swim, and it was in a way the compensation for the opportunity they were deprived of the day before. They enjoyed it immensely, and also did some shopping at the local store. Then I took them for lunch to a good restaurant in a picturesque setting. After the lunch they did a 2-hour Jungle Surfing tour (without me) which they liked very much – lots of fun, jumping from one tree to another.

Then, despite the rain, using ponchos and umbrellas, we went to the famous Cape Tribulation lookout from where they could see the place where Captain James Cook’s ship was grounded on a reef, and only thanks to the skills of his crew and the tenacity of their captain, as well as pure luck, HM Bark Endeavour got off the reef and after some basic repairs went to a safer place in the north for further repairs. It offered a breathtaking view despite the rain, and they also liked the mangrove trees below, on the beach.

After that, we went to the Daintree Ice Cream Company café, and were able to taste some homemade tropical fruit ice cream made with fruits from their own orchid, so flavours vary according to the season. They like it a lot and had an enlightening chat with the friendly staff.

Then we went to the Daintree River crossing. It takes 5 minutes to cross the river. By the way the ferry could transport up to 40 vehicles, it is a very efficient service.

After that, we were heading, still under the heavy rain, to the tourists’ hotel in Port Douglas.

The tour went for 10.5 hours.

I returned home, still under the heavy rain, and in the dark for the last segment of the route, about an hour later. It was a difficult but an interesting tour, and I always enjoy going to the Daintree tropical rainforest. It covers 1200 sq km and is the largest single block of tropical rainforest in Australia. The diversity and structural complexity of the vegetation here is unparalleled in Australia. This is an area of the oldest forest on this planet dating to dinosaurs. It is a habitat of such rare endangered species as cassowary and tree kangaroo. It also has some unique places where the rainforest meets the reef. So it is definitely worth a visit! And in addition to the rainforest, we saw and did so many other amazing things!

In the next diary entry I will publish some pictures which I took yesterday and the day before.

29 December 2015

Here’s what I heard recently and what I liked:

God is good, god is great, god made me gay instead of straight.

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?

And here’s a picture I liked (A Gay Patriot):

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28 December 2015

Yesterday I met my tourists at the airport at about 11.30am (flight from Melbourne by Virgin Australia), and we went to the Rainforestation Nature Park (with an Aboriginal program) near Kuranda. It was really good: the buffet lunch (just excellent, highly recommended), the dance show, the Dreamtime walk (boomerangs, spears, didgeridoos), a ride in an “Army duck” across the jungle, the fruit garden, shopping, photos with a koala and a crocodile…

Then we drove through Kuranda, known as a village in the rainforest.

On the way to their hotel in Pt Douglas (Sea Temple), we stopped at three lookouts with breathtaking views, and I showed my tourists (by the way, they are from Los Angeles) the 4-mile beach, the most famous, and perhaps the best, beach in the region.

I came back home to Cairns late, was driving in the dark, with torrential rain during the last segment of my trip, but no regrets, it was indeed a memorable day.

Here are some photos taken yesterday:
Please click on any image to enlarge it.



27 December 2015

Yesterday, as many other Australians, I took advantage of some bargains offered, by tradition, on Boxing Day. Nothing major – mostly household items, for example, a glass dome with a slate board, useful when having guests and protecting snacks from flies. Also, some groceries, and mangoes and cherries – they are wonderful this year!

Also, met a couple of gay guys and we had some fun together.

Today, I will have some tourists: will meet them at the airport and take them to Kuranda. The program includes Rainforestation and Skyrail.


26 December 2015

Yesterday I enjoyed a Christmas lunch with my friends, gay and gay-friendly. Spent 4.5 hours eating, drinking, talking non-stop… The Xmas tree was nice, and the Santa’s presents too : – )

This has been a busy week for me: in addition to work, I had two other functions. Celebrated my birthday on Monday with nice people, again gay and gay-friendly, and Christmas (one more time) on Wednesday in a warm gay company – two dinners to remember.

And today is Boxing Day! You know what it means : – )

Best wishes


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25 December 2015

How to decorate a Xmas tree : – )

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24 December 2015

Here are today’s quotes:

I think people feel threatened by homosexuality. The problem isn’t about gay people, the problem is about the attitude towards gay people. People think that all gays are Hannibal Lecters. But gay people are sons and daughters, politicians and doctors, American heroes and daughters of American heroes.
Hollis Stacy

Everyone has people in their lives that are gay, lesbian or transgender or bisexual. They may not want to admit it, but I guarantee they know somebody.
Billie Jean King

An awful lot of gay pop stars pretend to be straight. I’m going to start a movement of straight pop stars pretending to be gay.
Robbie Williams

Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.
Zachary Quinto

A very merry and gay Christmas to you!
And warm regards from the Wallaby


23 December 2015

Here are the quotes for today:

There are different ways that kids who are gay take on the rejection and alienation they feel. The way I dealt with it was to say, ‘You know what? You’re imposing judgments on me and condemnations, but I don’t accept them. I’m going to instead turn the light on you and see what your flaws are and impose the same judgmental standards on you.’
Glenn Greenwald

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens are bullied and ostracized in epidemic proportions. It’s disgusting, and it must change.
Monica Raymund

Throughout my life, I’ve always been really close with girls and made friends with girls. And I’ve always been a really sickly, feminine person anyhow, so I thought I was gay for a while because I didn’t find any of the girls in my high school attractive at all.
Kurt Cobain

Ironically, when I’ve asked my straight friends to join me in hanging a rainbow flag, they answer, ‘But someone might think we’re gay,’ not realizing that is exactly the point. To be mistaken for the oppressed is to momentarily become the oppressed.
Alice Dreger

Have a great day!


22 December 2015

Here’s three more quotes for today:

When I was 14, I came very close to becoming a gay teen suicide ‘statistic,’ but I then turned to music, my piano, my loved ones, and discovered that it does in fact get better.
Blake McIver Ewing

The Stonewall riots were a key moment for gay people. Throughout modern history, gays had thought of themselves as something like a mental illness or maybe a sin or a crime. Gay liberation allowed us to make the leap to being a ‘minority group,’ which made life much easier.
Edmund White

And we have done more in the two and a half years that I’ve been in here than the previous 43 Presidents to uphold that principle, whether it’s ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ making sure that gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals, making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples.
Barack Obama

Best wishes


21 December 2015

Three quotes for today:

One thing the gay rights movement taught the world is the importance of being visible.
Charles M. Blow

Gay men have to go through something to own their – who they are. They get beat up. They get ostracized. Whatever they go through, if they survive it, they come out very confident people.
Louis C. K.

There are still civil rights issues. There are still people who can’t be visited by their spouse in the hospital because they’re gay. These are humanitarian issues. At the end of the day, all you want is for people to be happy in the pursuit of life, love and liberty.
Brandi Carlile

Have a good week!

20 December 2015

Two quotes for today:

There are so many things to talk about between black people, Hispanic people, white people, gay people, men, women, it’s all based on fear. We all have fears, this thing that stops us from embracing as we are one. We are never going to be one. People are messed up, but humor lets us see how ignorant we can be.
Marlon Wayans

People should be allowed to marry, and gay marriage should be out there. If a man or a woman has a good partner and they love each other with their heart and soul, let them marry. I am very much for gay marriage.
Pierce Brosnan


19 December 2015

Here are today’s quotes:

Another argument, vaguer and even less persuasive, is that gay marriage somehow does harm to heterosexual marriage. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me what this means. In what way would allowing same-sex partners to marry diminish the marriages of heterosexual couples?
Ted Olson

From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people.
Howard Dean

There just needs to be a gay rapper. He doesn’t have to be flamboyant, just a rapper who identifies as gay – who’s better than everybody. Unfortunately hip-hop is so competitive that in order for fringe groups to get in, you gotta be better than whoever’s the best.
Talib Kweli

Gay teenagers are four times as likely to attempt suicide as straight ones. I wish they knew that there’s nothing wrong with them; that they are just a different shade of normal.
Jodi Picoult

I don’t care what straight people do, I don’t care what gay people do. I don’t care what nobody do. That’s they business. I just care about what I do. You know what I’m saying?
ASAP Rocky

Have a good weekend!

17 December 2015

How incredibly emotionally intense the last bunch of my days in Melbourne was!

I visited the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, had a walk in the Fitzroy and Carlton Gardens, and again walked around in the central part of Melbourne adjacent to the Yarra River. On the 15th, my birthday, I watched the Penguin Parade on Philip Island – a wonderful way to celebrate! It was also nice that so many people wished me a happy birthday: on Facebook, by email, by phone… It was a pleasant surprise.

Equally important for me were contacts with gay guys. Thank you, gay Melbourne. You are the best!

Came back to Cairns yesterday at noon. Am sorting out things, cleaning the pool, cooking, washing the dishes, paying bills… The usual.

Am working on my business, RadugaTourism, as well. And am remembering my time in Melbourne.

13 December 2015

Had a good time yesterday in Melbourne: attended an African festival with lots of music, including drumming, dancing and singing. People, myself included, were obviously enjoying it. It was on Federation Square and in the area on the Yarra River adjacent to it. There was a also a croquet festival, also free and open to public, in an area further up near the Yarra River, towards the Botanic Gardens. I also saw a cheerful crowd there: people were chatting, drinking, eating, walking around, and playing croquet of course.

Before that I went to the Victoria markets, always a useful and pleasant visit, and bought some amazing tomatoes (different varieties) and other vegetables like tiny cucumbers and avocados. And just explored this busy place.

I also saw quite a few good-looking guys in the city and some areas nearby, and took some snaps. You could see them by pressing the Instagram button below. In addition to these handsome guys, you will see some sights of Melbourne.


And I met a few more interesting gays. I have the feeling that I have lived in Melbourne for ever!

12 December 2015

Arrived in Melboure yesterday, in the late afternoon. Am enjoying it. Met a few interesting gay guys. It’s much colder here than in Cairns, but I don’t mind – I need variety.

11 December 2015

Yesterday a QuAC FNQ Christmas & Festive Season Party was held at Draper Street. It was a well attended event. We were having a good time chatting, wishing each other all the best for the festive season, sharing our plans for the near future and for the New Year: LGBT issues, relationships, travel, work expectations, life experiences…

Plenty of food and drinks was provided. Some people took pictures. I didn’t – was too busy talking to people, older and younger. It was a great event, and am glad to belong to such a diverse, smart and cheerful community.

Hope many good things will be happening for QuAC and our LGBT community in the New Year.

Today I am off to Melbourne for a short break. Back in Cairns on 16 December.

10 December 2015

LGBT meeting 9/12/15

Yesterday I took part in a QuAC Community Forum which was held in our “gay house” at Draper Street. Just to remind you: QuAC stands for the Queensland AIDS Council (previously the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC)).

It is an independent community based health promotion charity. QuAC was formed in 1984 by a group of largely gay men in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Queensland. From that time the Queensland AIDS Council grew to deliver HIV prevention programs, client services for people with HIV, peer support through Queensland Positive People and provided a strong voice on HIV and gay issues (see http://www.quac.org.au/about-us).

The meeting was facilitated by Michael Scott, QuAC Executive Director, who arrived from Brisbane. It was a second meeting over the last few months. About 25 people attended, and an active discussion took place.

We were informed that the State Labour government has allocated (on 1 November) $1.3 mln for QuAC over 18 months for prevention of HIV/AIDS, compared to very little under the previous conservative government. However, it is still less than what was allocated in the past, i.e. $2.6 mln for 12 months. Nevertheless, the newly allocated funds, hopefully, will revive many aspects of our work in the LGBT community across the state, including Cairns.

QPP (Queensland Positive People), which collaborates with QuAC, was allocated $3.8 mln over 18 months for prevention too. It is a strange overlap, as was pointed out by some participants, because QuAC is supposed to be the main “prevention organization”, whereas QPP is supposed to concentrate on people already infected with HIV/AIDS. But that is how the bureaucracy works, so we should be optimistic overall.

National strategy in this health and community support area was mentioned. Not enough has been done lately, probably because of the defunding of QAHC/QuAC under the previous conservative LNP government.

It was pointed out that advocacy is part of health promotion and we should do more in this regard.

We should work with both major parties, i.e. ALP and LNP. And by the way, the next Labour candidate was present at the meeting, and she has taken part in some other major activities of our LGBT community.

In Cairns we have the LGBT Alliance, and it was stated that it would be a good idea to have a National LGBT Alliance.

As for politicians, our meetings with them behind scenes are important but even more important are “open” activities, as the totality of LGBT local communities should be involved in decision-making.

Some people mentioned that one of the main issues in the past (which contributed to the defunding of QAHC/QuAC) was a billboard with two gay men promoting condoms, which was offensive to some people in the mainstream community and to conservative politicians. However, a question was asked: “Do we have always to compromise and put up with homophobia?” Perhaps, we should be more cautious in the future but not too cautious.

Some participants suggested that we should involve social media more. One person said that we should create “champions”, probably meaning LGBT leaders, bright stars, who could inspire people in the LGBT and wider communities.

Several participants stressed that there should be more focus on young people. We have community radio (based in a high school), and its program 101.9 is broadcast at 9 on Tuesdays for 1 hour, and youth issues are often discussed there.

Some people said that many young people think QuAC is for older people. We need to change this perception, and involve young people more actively.

Some people said that mental health is important, and should be an important part of our work.

It was also mentioned that in Cairns we have quite a few LGBT groups and organisations, but they are disjointed, we need to unite them.

The police officer who attended the meeting said that police is there to support and protect us, and they have defined their role more clearly lately despite the fact that their funding was reduced. He promised to stay in touch with us.

One participant, a former staff member of QAHC, said that often nominations for funded positions in QAHC/QuAC, etc. come from the “mother country”, Brisbane, and we here in Cairns are treated as a colony, which is unfair. There is a lot of local talent here and it should be better utilized. Why not locals?

I mentioned that our LGBT business association, Fruitloops, held its last meeting a year ago. The co-ordinator vanished, and we need to resurrect this important association which was quite vibrant before and played an important role bringing together local businesses, including LGBT businesses, and the LGBT community as a whole. Perhaps, thanks to the QuAC recently allocated funding, it could be done more easily and efficiently, in particular because health issues could be promoted by QuAC at the Fruitloops meetings.

One participant mentioned a young leadership program for health promotion. He said that we could train high profile young people to advocate safe sex and HIV prevention amongst young people, similar to what is done in some places in the USA.

One participant said that more involvement of LGBT people is needed to support community spirit: such as Out! parties. However, other people said that although it is a valid point, we already have a vibrant LGBT life here with lots of events well attended. A recent example is the Tropical Mardi Gras festival including the Fair Day.

One person, who lived in Melbourne, Victoria, previously, said that much more stuff is happening there for LGBT people, and although Cairns is a much smaller place we could borrow some of their ideas and initiatives to enrich our life here.

Several participants mentioned the importance of holding workshops on health, relationships, and even LGBT history in Cairns and Australia. Those who took part in regional or international events such as Gay Games or Outgames should be invited to give presentations and share their experience. LGBT retreats were also mentioned: it is an important way of bringing the community together. It was also pointed out that the QuAC office should be always accessible, there should always be a staff member or a volunteer answering the phone, and access to our “gay house”, which is also the QuAC office, should be easy and uninterrupted.

It was a productive meeting, the atmosphere was friendly, and the QuAC management is intending to continue holding such meetings.

I personally received a lot of information, learnt about other people’s experiences, and spoke to several old and new friends during the break and after the meeting.

9 December 2015

Here are today’s quotes:

While I don’t often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.
Cynthia Nixon

Gay rights is just a matter of time. Look at the polls. Worrying about gay marriage, let alone gay civil unions or gay employment rights, is a middle-age issue. Young people just can’t see the problem. At worst, gays are going to win this one just by waiting until the opposition dies off.
Gail Collins

The Stonewall riots were a key moment for gay people. Throughout modern history, gays had thought of themselves as something like a mental illness or maybe a sin or a crime. Gay liberation allowed us to make the leap to being a ‘minority group,’ which made life much easier.
Edmund White

I support allowing gay couples to marry because of – not in spite of – my values. And many of those values are the same ones deeply held by those who do not believe in gay marriage.
Mark Udall

All the best!

8 December 2015

And here are some more quotes:

Rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love.
Neil Patrick Harris

If you ask me about my views on the environment, on women’s rights, on gay rights, I am liberal. I don’t have a problem with that at all. Some of my best friends are liberal.
Bernie Sanders

It’s tough because a lot of my friends in normal life, a lot of my friends in the entertainment business, and a lot of my friends in the wrestling business are gay. Just to say something spiteful and hurtful, I don’t get it… if it was true and I was gay, I’d embrace it, and I’d tell you guys about it and I’d celebrate it.
Hulk Hogan

Gay marriage will be universally accepted in time. But if I may be so bold as to say to gays and lesbians, don’t wait for that time to arrive. Just as my father and his generation did not ‘wait’ for their civil rights, nor should you. The toothpaste ain’t going back in the tube. The tide has turned.
John Ridley

Have a good day!

7 December 2015

Here are the best quotes I found this morning:

Every time I hear someone making ignorant comments about the supposed ‘evils’ of homosexuality, I think about the true evil of the high suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens.
Susan Estrich

I saw ‘Brokeback Mountain’ in a packed house in Chelsea, New York, when I was filming a Bollywood film there. Chelsea, being a predominately gay neighbourhood, had the most euphoric reaction. I saw couples holding hands and crying at the end. It was the most heartening viewing I have ever been to.
Karan Johar

I accept you, and you get the same respect from me whether you are black, white, gay straight, Asian, bisexual, Australian, tall, fat, whatever it is. We are all people, and I look at the people of the world the same way, as my brothers and sisters.
Nash Grier

Love yourself, whatever makes you different, and use it to make you stand out. Mine is my voice and the fact that I’m gay: well, the fact that I’m flamboyantly gay.
Ross Mathews

Enjoy the new week!

2 December 2015
Yesterday there was an AIDS awareness stall at The Esplanade in Cairns, and a warm ceremony ‘AIDS Vigil’, with great speakers and candlelight.

Here are some of the photos:
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


30 November 2015
Here are my yesterday’s photos:
Please click on any image to enlarge it.


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