An original Mardi Gras 78er is hoping to be elected to Sydney City Council this year.

Greens member Irene Doutney hopes to be the second of two Greens candidates elected to the Council when electors go to the polls in September.

I put my hand up because I felt somebody from a more diverse background was needed on Council, Doutney, whose credentials as a community spokesperson stretch back to the 1970s, said.

As one of the original 78ers, Doutney’s commitment to promoting equality is no mere campaigning put-on. Presenting a range of platform issues to appeal to the humanitarian-minded, Doutney aims to help the city’s disadvantaged, increase the amount of affordable housing available and start a series of education campaigns to help minimise the prevalence of homophobia, all while pushing to make Council’s cost structures more streamlined and transparent.

We’ve come a long way since when I was young and homosexuality was still a crime, but there is still a long way to go, Doutney told Sydney Star Observer.

We have to start looking at the underlying reasons for homophobia -“ those inherent values of male dominance and aggression which lead to homophobia -“ and start challenging them.

Things have improved over the years, but there is still 38 percent of the population who believe that homosexuality is immoral, which is a disappointing figure. I would like to see a push on anti-discrimination laws and vilification legislation. I would also like to see affirmative programs implemented in schools to try and teach more tolerance.

As an inner-city resident, Doutney also has some major concerns about Clover Moore’s 2030 vision for gay hubs Oxford St and King St in Newtown, which would see the areas transformed into general entertainment precincts.

It concerns me because it brings in a whole lot of people into the area who have very different aims to the rest of the community. It’s like Mardi Gras when you see this influx of hoons come in to -“ putting it bluntly -“ bash some fags, Doutney said.

Cutting down on the amount of homophobic violence is an important issue. I would like to see the safety bus brought back to Oxford St so people could have a place to go if they were in trouble and it is important to really start looking at the responsibility of licensees. Making sure that clubs aren’t overfilled, that they close their doors when they’re supposed to and are not serving alcohol to people who have had enough. These are all simple steps that can be taken to prevent young people being put in risky situations.

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