Mark Grogan is a fifty-something single gay man who has been active in the gay community for over 20 years, most recently, as a committee member with GLOBE, and has become one of the Pride Centre’s first Cornerstone Supporters. Mark sees the Pride Centre as having the potential to be like a club, or clubhouse, where he and his contemporaries can get together socially, whether it be at the centre’s gallery nights, performance events or in the on site bar or café.
“I think if the Pride Centre was available to me when I was a young fella, it would have made a lot of difference to my life then” says Mark. “The funny thing is that years ago when people actually read magazines, I got my hands on one and got very excited when I saw that there was a club for gay men that I could go to, not having any idea of what the club was actually all about until I ventured in, it turned out to be Club 80, a gay men’s sex on premises venue! But my point is, that the Pride Centre will be like the club I was actually looking for – a place for people to go, for a diversity of reasons, social and cultural.
Mark believes that the Pride Centre will give a legitimacy to the community that on some levels we are still fighting to attain. In addition, he sees that while there’s a great deal more acceptance of LGBTIQ individuals, communities and rainbow families, there’s still a degree of ‘so long as it’s not one of my children’ attitude amongst the broader community. Mark experienced this with his own parents when coming out, and for him, there was nowhere to seek out social support during that process.
“The creation of a Pride Centre makes a lot of sense to me. I think it’s a great way of bringing everyone together”, says Mark. “I’ve been a supporter of the concept for a long time. My contribution of $100 as a Cornerstone Supporter is really just a kick off for me, and I’m really keen to see a significant number of the community contribute also. I can certainly see how everyone’s support for the Pride Centre will make a real difference to the LGBTIQ community.”
Mark hopes that the Pride Centre will also provide opportunities and access to support for older LGBTIQ people. He is conscious of the future and while able to currently support his ageing parents, he’s wary of what will be available to many single LGBTIQ people into the future. “I think there needs to be a way where we can look after older LGBTIQ people in the community. The opportunity to explore the what, how and when would be a very valuable exercise”. The realities of ageing are challenging for a number of his friends and as a community we need catalyse and converse together.