Greg Fisher interviewed by Rachael Kohn

September 30, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself. Greg Fisher was caught in that trap, when as a young teenager he was aware that he was more drawn to other boys than to girls…Fisher discusses his life on ABC Radio this evening.

 

Greg Fisher

Greg Fisher

There is an old Hasidic tale in which Rabbi Zusha, at the end of his life, is worried not that God will ask him why he wasn’t as wise as Moses or as kind as Abraham, but that God will reproach him for not being more like Zusha.

The family imperative in Jewish life, which sees nothing more fulfilling than getting married and having children and grandchildren, was reinforced weekly around the Fisher Shabbat table where all the relatives were gathered.

When Fisher found someone who was willing to marry him despite his homosexuality, it seemed like he had solved his problems. But it wasn’t to last.

After six years of marriage and fatherhood, Fisher decided to leave the marriage and come out as a gay man.

Unleashed into Sydney’s gay scene, which in the 1980s and ’90s revolved around spots such as The Albury Hotel in Kings Cross, he could boast intimate friendships with big names in the world of fashion, like Peter Morrissey and ‘hairdresser to the stars’ Joh Bailey.

At the same time, Fisher’s business career as a property developer was taking off, and having proven himself a fearless operator in some dodgy takeover bids, he started the Satellite Group, a property development company that he eventually geared toward the gay and lesbian market.

Just as it was about to be listed, with assets worth $400 million, the shares dropped in value, and the board ejected him as managing director over allegations of improper use of funds. With his assets frozen, Greg Fisher’s business career was over. He was reluctant to let on, fearful of losing his ‘A-list’ status.

‘A-listers focus on appearances,’ Fisher admits. ‘Looking one’s best in every way is paramount to attracting attention.’

By now a steady drug user, Fisher decided to keep up his lifestyle by dealing drugs, and eventually became the leader of a drug ring.

In 2005 he was arrested. His life for the next eight years was spent in jail, learning some hard truths about survival—the first one, to stop taking drugs.

The unexpected change, however, was Fisher’s re-education, through the prison system, in social services and Aboriginal studies. In effect he reawakened the dormant Jewish values which had formed part of his youth and home life, when both of his parents actively participated in communal service.

In fact, Greg’s father, Jack Fisher, entrepreneur and former chairman of the Jewish Cemetery Trust at Rookwood, used his connections in the community to help ease Greg into society after his release in 2013. From grave-digger to managing director of the Jewish-based non-denominational charity, Our Big Kitchen, founded by Dovid and Leah Slavin, Greg Fisher’s values have come full circle.

 

The program airs Sep-30 9pm on ABC’s Radio National

Link to the full program

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