One of Brisbane’s flagship LGBTIQ health practices, Stonewall Medical Centre, will celebrate its new extension next weekend.
Former Australian Governor-General the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO will officially open the centre’s expanded premises at a special event on Sunday, June 10.
The team at the centre will celebrate the opening from 10:30am, with all welcome to come and enjoy finger food and refreshments, tours of the extensions, and live music.
The history of Stonewall Medical Centre stretches back to 1989 at a time of great difficulty for the LGBTIQ community. The AIDS crisis was raging.
With no effective treatments available, efforts to control the epidemic were also severely hampered by the fact that sex between men was still a crime.
For a gay man, to admit you had been sexually at risk of infection was to confess you had broken the law. The Queensland Aids Council (QuAC) had been established in 1985 entirely by private donations.
By 1989 QuAC was able to fund the setting up of the Gay and Lesbian Health Service. Its co-founding GPs were Dr David Orth and Dr Wendell Rosevear.
The Gay and Lesbian Health Service operated from a small house leant by the Sisters of Mercy. In the absence of HIV treatments, it was largely aimed at alleviating the disease and making the dying as comfortable as possible.
Queensland Positive People was also founded at this time, to coordinate assistance in everyday living for AIDS sufferers.
“There was such a sense of community and support,” Dr Rosevear recalled. “Especially at the communal meals provided on Friday nights.”
Following gay decriminalisation in 1991, and with the gradual development of effective HIV treatments, Dr Orth and Dr Rosevear went on to found Gladstone Road Medical Centre in Highgate Hill.
To meet the increasing demand for LGBTIQ-focussed healthcare, in 1995 a second practice, Stonewall Medical Centre, was established in Windsor.
In 2000, to keep it open, Dr Wendell Rosevear became the full owner and director of Stonewall, subsequently buying the premises in Newmarket Road, an adapted residential house. Recently, Dr Rosevear purchased the house next door and oversaw the joining of the two buildings into an expanded site.
From the base of Stonewall, Dr Rosevear has promoted the well-being of LGBTIQ community by caring for many as patients, as well as establishing peer support groups. Stonewall currently hosts both the Gay and Lesbian Alcohol and Drug Support group (GLADS, established 1991) and Men Against Sexual Abuse and Rape (MARS, established 1993).
Dr Rosevear has also been a dedicated advocate for social and legal reform, speaking out on issues such as decriminalisation, age of consent equality, substance addiction, domestic violence and sexual abuse. His advocacy has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Order of Australia medal (1998).
Throughout his career, Dr Rosevear’s attitude to difficult issues has been to avoid a punishment strategy. Instead he aims to bring people relief by restoring their sense of value.
“Revenge can restore power, but it can’t restore value,” he said. “I have known a victim to kill a perpetrator to then commit suicide. Abuse is the absence of love, so healing and prevention comes from learning how love works and applying it. Love values people and the truth. It is lighting a candle to get rid of darkness.”
This approach has been of invaluable to help many over the years, making Dr Rosevear a much loved and respected figure in the LGBTIQ community, who will no doubt turn out in force for Stonewall’s Sunday opening.
Stonewall Medical Centre is located at 52 Newmarket Road in Windsor. For more information, call (07) 3857 1222 or visit their website here.