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canberra pride feature

Queer Canberra: Looking to the future

Philippa Moss

In 2015, I can now look back at 17 years as a resident of Canberra.

Today I’m a very focused woman with a clear sense of purpose and a solid foundation in knowing who I am. Like most women, I juggle a variety of roles – mother, business woman, friend, partner, lover and role model for those in my community.

Canberra holds a special place in my heart because when I moved here in my thirties with my two children I made a very personal decision about my life. I came out about who I was – a proud Queer woman. People have asked me what that was like, back in the late 90s.

I’m delighted to respond that it was a very positive experience for me, as I met many Queer parents in Canberra and I instantly felt part of a great, welcoming community. Canberra revealed itself to me as a unique and safe place to ‘be yourself’.

I am incredibly lucky and I know not everyone has been so lucky. I have never felt marginalised in Canberra and consider the Queer community to be inclusive and, frankly, quite relaxed. My kids have grown up and evolved into beautiful people because of the life they’ve been fortunate to live here in Canberra.

Not surprisingly, I’ve made it my life’s work to help others in the Queer community tackle any stigma or discrimination they feel – particularly those in Canberra who are impacted by HIV.

As the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council (ACT), I get opportunities to do this each working day. It’s really encouraging to see the support of the local community too.

This year’s Fairday, held in Westside Acton Park on 31 October, attracted record numbers of attendees and participants. It was so encouraging to see Canberra’s diverse and vibrant community coming out on a sunny afternoon (well, until the seasonal rain clouds arrived) in spring to celebrate Canberra’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) culture.

Fairday is an annual AIDS Action Council event that supports the city’s annual Queer cultural festival that’s titled ‘SpringOut’. It’s one of the many interactive outreach activities that the Council supports throughout the year. This was the 15th year that Canberra has celebrated this month-long festival and we did it in style.

A total of 50 stalls offered a colourful outdoor market of gourmet food, advocacy stalls, information booths, music, drag, entertainment for the kids and our annual pet parade. More than 30 volunteers were on site to help and well over 3000 Canberrans attended the event.

In coming months I look forward to sharing a range of interests and insights that I’m passionate about as a woman in Canberra – from public policy development and sexual health services to urban planning and queer culture.

Phillipa

Author Philippa Moss

For example, did you know that for the first time in 30 years, we can prove that it’s possible to end the HIV epidemic?

I’d like to take this opportunity to warmly thank Her Canberra for reaching out to welcome my contributions and I look forward to sharing my ideas, interests and passions with her Canberra readers.

Philippa Moss is the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council (ACT). The Council’s mission is to minimise the transmission of HIV and AIDS and reduce the associated social and personal impacts.

Image of ‘fountain and rainbow in the middle of Canberra‘ via Shutterstock

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Philippa Moss

Philippa Moss is a HIV activist, professional feminist and best known for her outspoken voice promoting healthy public policy and healthy urban development. Philippa has been a happy resident of Canberra for the past 17 years. Originally from Sydney, she came to Canberra at a pivotal stage in her life. She is a proud mother of two children, a son and daughter in their teens/twenties, who as a Queer parent has always felt a part of Canberra’s greater Lesbian, Gay and Queer community. She was recently appointed the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council (ACT), after acting in the role for the past two years. In 2015 she was awarded the ACT Telstra Business Women’s Award for Purpose and Social Enterprise, along with the Australian Institute of Management’s Not for Profit Manager of the Year (ACT) award. More about the Author

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