Image for Sir Ian names his Aussie gay icons

Sir Ian names his Aussie gayicons

From the stage at Sydney’s annual Aurora fundraiser on Saturday night, visiting veteran actor Sir Ian McKellen rattled off a list of his favourite Aussie-born gay icons.

“I’m so pleased to be in a country which gave the world so many gay icons,” he told the crowd. “Kylie!” he began, to huge audience applause. “Peter Allen, Tommy Murphy, Ian Roberts, Dawn O’Donnell, and Justice Michael Kirby. I was also pleased to meet (Sydney drag diva) Polly Petrie at Stonewall this week.”

McKellen, who’s in town playing Estragon in Samuel Backett’s Waiting for Godot, also said he hoped Australia gets gay marriage, and a non-discrimination Bill soon. “Legal equality isn’t difficult – social equality is more difficult. That’s why everyone must come out.”

As for Australia’s homophobes, the vocal LGBT advocate had this to say: “I know New South Wales has its own self-appointed homophobes – I won’t name them now – but they should be pilloried and badgered for not accepting the inevitable.”

Glam night out

Aurora’s sold-out fundraiser had packed the Paddington Town Hall, with a three-course dinner served and entertainment by Shauna Jensen, the AIM Showcase Ensemble, Denise Hanlon, Vincent Hooper and Tamsin Carroll.

The night’s organizers had been concerned that the price increase to $225 for 2010’s tenth anniversary Auroras would mean fewer attendees, but tables were quickly snapped up and the chance to see Sir Ian was a highlight for many.

As part of the night’s auction, a lunch with McKellen fetched an impressive $5,500 for Aurora, while an almost 90-year-old Henri Matisse print fetched $5,000.

See Same Same’s photos from the 2010 Auroras Dinner here.

The funds raised on the night will be announced in coming weeks and distributed to worthy LGBT community groups.

A wizard quote

Just before he left the stage, Sir Ian shared with the crowd a special quote which helps keeps him going as an advocate for LGBT equality around the world.

Attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of the United States’ Declaration of Independence, the quote appears on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC:

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

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timbo84 said on the 28th Jun, 2010

Such an amazing night. Serena (Sir Ian) is a legend!! Big snaps to all involved - organisers, performers, volunteers and attendees alike! xx

Tim D

Tim D said on the 28th Jun, 2010

Ditto - loved it. And you Tina.


Light-Bearer said on the 28th Jun, 2010

I preferred him as Gandalf


moutou said on the 28th Jun, 2010

Sir Ian's strip show was a highlight!


timbo84 said on the 28th Jun, 2010

I'm glad you finally recognized me and didn't just think I was some stalking drag queen!!

haha ;)


JayTee said on the 28th Jun, 2010

Magneto was much more interesting.