“Prejudice has no place in our society, especially in this town.”
These are the words of Warrnambool councillor David Owen who spoke at a community gathering to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Intersexism (IDAHOBIT) on Thursday.
Cr Owen said it was a special day celebrated with 140 other countries. “We reaffirm our stance against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and intersexism and our own commitment to the health and well being of Warrnambool’s diverse communities,” Cr Owen said.
Brophy Family and Youth Services LGBTIQ+ equality project; SAFE in the South West encouraged the community to wear colourful clothing and stand against discrimination in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer mates, colleagues and families.
About 40 people attended and answered the call, dressing in brightly coloured clothing. The gathering included a Welcome to Country performed by Lee Morgan, speeches by Cr Owen and councillor Kylie Gaston and Pride Diversity Warrnambool’s Michael Downes before a rainbow flag was raised outside the Warrnambool City Council Civic Centre.
Cr Gaston said it was a day of global importance. “As a community let’s stand up and fight against bigotry all year round, by challenging discrimination and inequality. Everyone here and every person deserves to be proud of who they are,” Cr Gaston said.
SAFE in the South West worker Shane Hernan said the day promoted a “key message of solidarity between allies”.
“You may not identify as LGBTIQ+ but that doesn’t mean you don’t have an important part to play in our story,” they said.
“Following on from the successful yes vote for same sex marriage last year, we ask all to show their ongoing support for our LGBTIQ+ communities.
“I really hope we live in a world very shortly where one day we don’t have to have these days where we have to recognise the harm and the hurt that happens in communities.”
SAFE in the South West provided information packs were distributed to local schools and community groups in support of IDAHOBIT Day. The ‘pride packs’ included a rainbow flag, LGBTIQ+ inclusive resources and a poster with supportive messaging.
“We know from research and data that 80 per cent of young people report homophobia in schools so we know schools have got a lot of work to be doing to create visible safe spaces,” they said. “All these resources we sent to schools will hopefully say we welcome all diverse students.”