Chris Lawrence, a gay man working for the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, has appealed to the wider gay and lesbian community not to shut out its indigenous members, saying “we’re part of the gay community too.”

Responding to letters critical of the indigenous community following the brutal bashing of gay couple Craig Gee and Shane Brennen last month, Lawrence said he was disappointed other gay people would attack the Sorry campaign when the indigenous and gay community had much in common.

“I think we should be working together, we all want equality. I don’t think it helps when one group has a go at another group,” Lawrence said.

“If the gay community wants support and equality they need to take a good look at themselves. They need to see it’s not just white gay boys, there are Aboriginal people that are gay like me, there are Chinese people, all sorts of people.”

While many wanted to see indigenous people working behind the bars on Oxford St, Lawrence said true leadership on the issue should come from the executive level of community organisations.

“There should be an Aboriginal on the ACON board. They should make a position available and Aboriginal people should be encouraged to run for it,” Lawrence said.

“I don’t want to hear the bullshit that we don’t have a position on the Aboriginal medical board. That’s not what it’s about, it’s not tit for tat.”

Lawrence, who previously worked for ACON, praised the health organisation’s Aboriginal program team, which has three full-time staff and is planning the indigenous float for this year’s 30th anniversary Mardi Gras parade.

ACON declined to comment on the call for an indigenous board position.

When Queer Collaborations, the annual gathering of queer-identifying students from the nation’s universities, met in Melbourne five years ago, the 450-strong crowd elected to join NAIDOC week celebrations instead of holding an equality rally.

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