City Of Sydney Councillor Adam Worling vows to create a network of LGBTQI Councillors, despite plans getting knocked back by the Local Government NSW Conference.
Cr Worling introduced the motion to City Of Sydney Council in October, which was passed unanimously. However, at last week’s LGNSW conference, NSW councillors voted the motion down – 55 against and 45 for.
In a heated debate between councillors from across the state, Cr Worling says people discredited the motion’s intentions through “homophobic” remarks.
Speaking with Star Observer, Cr Worling detailed events of the LGNSW Conference.
During the “fast and furious” vote, a few councillors said “some pretty horrible things” against his motion.
During speaking time, three councillors, whom Cr Worling did not want to name, made “fairly negative comments” against the motion. The remarks made by the speakers aimed to belittle the network, comparing it to a “network of real estate agents.”
The final speaker against the motion went further to say, “People on this planet should procreate… What people do in the bedroom should stay private.”
“I didn’t think we were in 1954,” said Cr Worling, questioning how people continued to speak in such an outdated and homophobic manner.
With the “unfortunate” result of the motion, Cr Worling expresses his gratitude to other councillors who did support the motion.
Notably, the submission made by Inner West Councillor Liz Atkins highlighted the “confidence” of Queer people and councillors to place community issues at the forefront. Cr Worling notes the increased vulnerability to hate and threats LGBTQI councillors can receive, especially on social media.
Following the conference, he says there has been “wonderful support” from other attendees, along with disclosed LGBTQI councillors and aspiring candidates.
Networking, Mentoring, Visibility
With the vote and subsequent comments from the conference “not going to get [him] down,” Cr Worling is now exploring further opportunities for him to persevere with the network.
He said there were three main goals for the network to achieve, including “networking” between LGBTQI councillors and allies to help support work across the state, “mentoring” in providing avenues for aspiring councillors, and providing “visibility” of local Queer members within local government and issues within areas.
Growing up in Lismore in the 70s and 80s, Cr Worling explained the lack of Queer visibility in media and throughout local government became isolating.
Now living in Sydney, he said, “I am so fortunate to live in the Inner City where it’s very progressive… but obviously [it is] not that way everywhere else.”
He intends to provide a network that would “encourage” individuals from across NSW to feel that their sexual preference or gender identity does not “dictate whether [they] can run for local government.”
“To me [the network] is a no-brainer… If I don’t have the support of Local Government NSW, I’m going to persevere with it all.”
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Cr Worling intends for the network to be running ahead of the Local Government elections in 2024.