Acceptance Australia is one of the world’s longest running LGBT Catholic groups. It has run continuously since 1972. You can read more about the history of Acceptance here.
Dennis Kelly created Acceptance Perth in May 1979. The group held monthly masses at home, had a very active social club, and produced newsletters. They were supported by a Jesuit priest in their endeavours.
Dennis Kelly served as the National Coordinator of Acceptance Australia from 1981-1986. As the National Coordinator, he organised Acceptance Australia’s annual National Conference in different cities each year.
Jim Sieler took over as Acceptance Perth President in 1983 and held this position for seven years. During this period, one of the Acceptance Australia National Conferences took place in Perth. When the Jesuit priest left for abroad, several Marist priests helped to celebrate mass.
In 1986, Acceptance Perth became an incorporated organisation called Acceptance West (Inc.).
As LGBT Christian organisations started to form in Perth in the mid-80’s, Acceptance supported them and had get togethers with Uniting Friends (Uniting Church), Integrity (Anglican), and the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). Acceptance also donated to charities on a regular basis.
During the HIV/AIDS crisis, Dennis Kelly became employed with the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service. Together with Acceptance, they met to figure out a spiritual component of this service so that they could help more people.
They had a good relationship with Archbishop Foley and a number of other Catholic organisations. In 1989, Jim Seiler attended the Perth Archdiocesan Assembly as the official delegate to represent the Catholic gay community. This was seen by many as some formal recognition for the role of Acceptance in the diocese. Approximately 600 delegates attended this event, and the ministry of homosexual people was mentioned a number of times.
In 1990, they were invited to an official event run by the Archdiocese of Perth to discuss how to best meet the needs of adult faith education.
Also in 1990, they moved into the office at W.I.S.H. (Western Institute of Self-Help), now called ConnectGroups. This office was located at 80 Railway Road in Cottesloe. They started to celebrate mass here.
Margaret Hawke became President of Acceptance Perth in 1991. She also served as the Women’s Affairs Liaison.
In 1993, Acceptance Perth ceased to exist.