For is for:

Firefighters When NSW Fire Brigades sent their first ever Mardi Gras parade float up Oxford Street this year, there was more than one reason to celebrate. For float organiser Andy Wheeler, the entry was a win for tolerance in a traditionally macho profession.

It’s a closer step to showing that we’re a very accepting brigade, we acknowledge diversity and we’re certainly willing to do what it takes to show that to the world, he said.

Eye candy-loving inner-city types also would have cheered at the sight of about 30 gay and lesbian firefighters marching up the strip. As any observer of Darlinghurst Fire Station knows, the fire service attracts an improbably high proportion of physically impressive women and men.

Not that Australia has a monopoly on gay-friendly firefighters.

At the recent EuroPride celebrations in the UK, members of the London Fire Brigade wowed the crowds by holding a gay pride breakfast, then riding a fire engine through the streets of the capital.

Fairfield Located 30km southwest of Sydney CBD, it must have had more visits from the Today Tonight team than any other suburb in Australia.

However, in recent times the City of Fairfield has been attracting attention for all the right reasons. Forget the tabloid fodder of racial wars and drug dealers.

It was recently announced Fairfield’s large migrant population from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and China makes it Australia’s most densely mixed ethnic melting pot. As a result, this variety of cultures has produced some of the best eating spots in the city.

Fairfield has also witnessed the emergence of openly gay city councillor Thang Ngo, the Vietnamese-born local politician who has been shaking things up since he came to office seven years ago.

In the midst of such an eclectic racial mix of people, Ngo appears to have won support from all sectors. They judge you from not only what you can deliver, but also what you think of yourself, he told the Star last year.

I don’t need to justify that I am Vietnamese, so I don’t need to justify that I am gay.

The Fairfield area found itself in the world spotlight last year when local screen siren Cate Blanchett’s first movie after winning an Oscar was the Cabramatta-based Little Fish.

Like so many of the true-life characters of the area where it was filmed, the movie told of people working against the odds to make a better life.

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