City of Perth will create LGBTIQ advisory group to help with diversity

Councilors at the City of Perth will set up an LGBTIQ+ Advisory group to help make sure the city is inclusive in it’s actions and planning in the future.

The group will also assist in the development of a new diversity and inclusion policy for the local government authority.

The idea was put forward by Deputy Mayor Sandy Anghie, and follows controversial comments about gender made by new Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas. While Zempilas has apologised multiple times for the comments he made while hosting 6PR’s breakfast show, the issue has overshadowed the establishment of the new council.

While staffers had suggested that a wider diversity and inclusion group might have been more effective, bringing in members of other minority communities, the elected officials opted for a body solely focused on the LGBTIQ+ communities.

Speaking to WA Today Anghie said a wider group would have only allowed for one or two members of the LGBTIQ+ community to be represented, and it would not lead to same kind of discussion. The Deputy Mayor suggested that other advisory groups may follow.

Paul-Alain van Lieshout Hunt, a former President of Pride WA has welcomed the move saying he hoped it would lead to tangiable changes for the local LGBTIQ community. van Lieshout Hunt has previously said he will consider being a member of advisory group if asked to join.

During the council meeting Councilor Viktor Ko, a general practitioner, said the events of recent weeks had allowed him to get a better understanding about people who are transgender.

We’re never taught any of this stuff in medical school,” he reportedly said. “I’ve never encountered it in my professional career.”

The council’s decision to create an advisory group has been criticised by anti-transgender lobby group Binary. Spokesperson Kirralie Smith said by recognising people who are transgender Perth’s Lord Mayor was promoting a “false narrative”.

“Mr Zempalis made factual and scientifically based statements. Now he has apologised, rolled over and is actively promoting a false narrative.” Smith said in a media release.

OIP Staff

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