BRISBANE City Council is to be congratulated for improving its relationship with the city’s LGBTI community, but there is more that can be done according to the leader of the city’s LGBTI action group.
Speaking directly to council earlier this week after posing with a number of councillors for a photo in a show of bipartisan support, Brisbane Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer Action Group (BLAG) convenor Phil Browne urged the council to offer more practical and tangible help to the city’s LGBTI community, citing the struggles that many continue to face on a daily basis.
[showads ad=MREC]”LGBTIQ residents have alarming social, mental health and suicide statistics,” Browne said.
“Not from being LGBTIQ, but from higher rates of discrimination, prejudice, stigma and non-representation they experience.”
He also commended the work council had done over the past few years to promote an inclusive city and both symbolically and financially support several community groups and festivals.
“[Council’s] recognition has boosted the mental health and well-being of LGBTIQ residents, promoted Brisbane as a ‘new world city’ embracing diversity,” Browne said.
Examples of these include council’s support of Brisbane Pride Festival, lighting the city’s iconic Story Bridge in rainbow lights and the raising of a rainbow flag at city hall to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and the launch of a council LGBTI support website.
According to Browne, the creation of a LGBTIQ Advisory Committee would help advise Australia’s largest local government area on how it can permanently address discrimination, mental health and the well being of the community.
It was also Brisbane City Council’s power and ability to affect the lives of its residents, more so than other levels of government, that influenced Browne’s decision to launch his campaign focused squarely at them.
Repeating the words of Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk when the issue of flying a rainbow flag from City Hall was debated last year, Browne said he agreed with the mayor’s preference for “actions rather than symbols”.
“Symbols raise awareness and offer support, however actions go further by bringing about lasting change,” Browne said.
In further requests made to council, Browne suggested that Brisbane adopt the measure of installing a rainbow crossing — at a location yet to be determined — similar to crossings in Melbourne, Los Angeles, Vancouver and previously in Sydney.
Quirk said he was happy to work with Browne and BLAG on the crossing issue in working out logistical and location issues, and pedestrian concerns.
“I am dedicated to making Brisbane an inclusive city and this is why it is important we continue to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community,” Quirk said.
“This administration is proud to continue to support the LGBTIQ community through these initiatives and with representation on the Inclusive Brisbane Board with permanent member, Dr Peter Black, who is also the President of Brisbane Pride.”[showads ad=FOOT]