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What happened to proud Parramatta?
with LAINIE ARNOLD NSW GLRL
I am sure everyone’s Facebook feed has been flooded this week with calls to outrage about the request by Parramatta City Council for Twenty10 to remove its banner from the Rediscover the River festival last weekend. The GLRL wishes to support Twenty10, and has also written to the major of Parramatta Council requesting an apology. We encourage everyone, particularly if you live in the region, to sign a petition, or write directly to the council and let them know this is unacceptable, and we’re not going back into the closet.
Numerous family events for the queer community have been held in Parramatta Park over the past few years, and we were extremely surprised and dismayed to hear the council objecting to Twenty10 at a family event. The largest percentage of the population of gay and lesbian people in Sydney live in Western Sydney, and it is very disturbing to for such a large council to be sending a message, implicit or explicit, that our community should not be visible.
This year, being the 25th anniversary of the GLRL, and the 35th of Mardi Gras, reminds us that it is only a short time ago that our community had to stay hidden to be safe. We have come a long way, but events like this make it clear that we still need to be vigilant. They also make it clear why we need comprehensive anti-discrimination laws at a federal level. This week the GLRL will appear alongside our allies before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012. This is an important milestone towards the passage of this legislation, which, if passed, will for the first time provide protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity at a federal level.
Speaking of queer visibility, the GLRL is beginning preparations for our float and other Mardi Gras activities, including our iconic Sea of Hearts at Fair Day, and our usual launch night shenanigans. We will be holding an information evening for our volunteers next Thursday 31st January at 6.30 in our office, so if you’re interested in marching, dancing, bucket shaking, cloakroom attending or just loving the GLRL please come on down and say hi!
More details about our Mardi Gras season preparations can be found on our website glrl.org.au