Nearly 20 MPs attended a parliamentary reception for Wear it Purple Day on September 8, with all parties represented except the Christian Democrats and the Shooters.
Function organiser Trevor Khan (pictured) said the turn-out from across the political divide showed there was a new willingness in Parliament to work across party lines to advance the cause of LGBTI equality.
“This wouldn’t have happened in Parliament 10 years ago — it probably wouldn’t have even happened five years ago,” Khan told the Star Observer.
“What happened in the final 12 months of the last Government was that there was a number of conscience votes allowed, a lot of open discussion, and a lot of discussions behind closed doors to achieve certain outcomes and I think in a way that tonight is a culmination of a lot of that work.”
Khan said he believed the Proud Schools program and similar programs would benefit kids beyond the LGBTI community who were the focus by spreading a wider message of acceptance of difference.
“It’s an awakening of attitudes and you hope it extends beyond the kids themselves,” Khan said. “There is a great capacity for kids to teach their parents so this is capable of expanding well beyond the school.”
Former Labor premier Nathan Rees, Marrickville Labor MLA Carmel Tebbutt and Opposition leader John Robertson all attended the function.
Labor’s Penny Sharpe and Linda Burney were also present, as were Greens MLCs Cate Faehrmann, David Shoebridge, and John Kaye and Greens MLA Jamie Parker.
Liberal MPs Don Harwin, Matt Kean and Bruce Notley-Smith also attended, while Khan and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli represented the Nationals. Piccoli reported on the progress of the Proud Schools pilot program.
Other MPs also attended.