Outpouring of support for trans & gender diverse communities

In response to comments made earlier this week by Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas, there has been a torrent of support for trans, gender diverse and intersex communities.

Myriad local LGBTQIA+ organisations, sporting clubs, city councils, politicians, entertainers and other groups have given public statements affirming their support for trans and gender diverse Western Australians.

Perhaps the most high profile message so far would come from British pop star Lily Allen, who shared a snapshot of Pilerats‘ article on drag star Scarlet Adams’ recent performance at Drag Factory of Allen’s 2009 single Fuck You, where Adams shared the stage with local trans and gender diverse folks who wanted to share their sentiments with the Lord Mayor.

The WA AIDS Council (WAAC) have joined other local LGBTQIA+ focused advocacy groups and service providers in condemning the comments and stand with trans and gender diverse communities.

“These remarks continue to poorly inform and reinforce to members of the community outdated views around gender and sexuality, and can cause significant harm to a group of people who are often vulnerable in our society,” WAAC CEO Lisa Dobrin said.

“The LGBTIQA+ community, particularly trans and gender diverse people and people with intersex variation, continue to experience stigma and discrimination in Australia and it is the role of people in power to reduce those experiences and not exacerbate exclusion.”

Dobrin says this year has been challenging for many West Australians, particularly for the trans community, which has experienced increased isolation and mental health issues.

“Education and awareness raising is key to understanding the broad spectrum of genders and sexualities that exist in our society and we encourage anyone who wishes to be better informed around trans and intersex experiences to educate themselves. People need to be conscious that discriminatory and inflammatory comments can cause real harm and incite others to behave inappropriately,” she says.

“Following Mr Zempilas’ apology, we call on him to take action to fully understand the harm he has caused and become an ally to people with trans, gender diverse and intersex bodies and identities.

“We recommend he and the elected members of the City of Perth undertake training to understand the experiences of people who are diverse in sex, gender and sexuality, and we suggest engaging TransFolk of WA, which provides excellent training in this area.”

WAAC join Gay & Lesbian Rights in Ageing Inc (GRAI), Youth Pride Network, Living Proud WA, Albany Pride, Pride in Peel, PFLAG Perth and other local queer groups in their public declarations of support for our trans and gender diverse communities, including TransFolk of WA and Pride WA – who collaborated on a letter to the Lord Mayor inviting him to learn more about the diversity of his constituents.

Local social groups and sporting clubs were also rallying around the community, with posts from Perth Gay Social Club, Perth Rams Rugby Club, Perth Pythons Hockey Club, Perth White Pointers Water Polo and Perth Scorpions Volleyball team, who launched a petition calling for the Lord Mayor to stand down.

The City of Vincent have also responded to a petition calling for the annual PrideFEST to move within their jurisdiction, which is gathering momentum online.

“We have been by Pride WA’s side and a sponsor of PrideFEST for more than 20 years and our community greatly values inclusivity and diversity. We are the home of Pride Fair Day and Pride WA has their headquarters in Vincent,” Mayor Emma Cole said.

“The Pride Parade is an incredible celebration of sexual and gender diversity and is a major cultural event for Perth and also attracts huge tourism and economic benefits.”

“I understand the City of Perth really wants to keep the Parade in Northbridge, and that Pride WA sees Northbridge as the spiritual home of the Parade and I respect that. Ultimately it is a decision for Pride WA. We will always keep the doors open for Pride.”

Other local city councils showed their love to trans and gender diverse folks, with the Mayors of Victoria Park and Bayswater posting messages to social media.

“I would like to reassure our community that the Town of Victoria Park is a dynamic place for everyone and is committed to being an inclusive and diverse community,” wrote Vic Park Mayor Karen Vernon.

“For the last 2 years the Town of Victoria Park has been a sponsor of the WA Pride Parade, and I was privileged to join my fellow councillors, members of Vic Park Pride and our local LGBTIQA community in 2018 and 2019 to walk in the parade.”

“The Town has also supported Vic Park Pride with grants and sponsorship to deliver local community events that celebrate sexual and gender diversity.”

Other parties ranging from Rabble Books & GamesFringe World Festival, Amnesty Australia, Edith Cowan University, WA Greens leader Alison Xamon and the Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education also declared their support for our trans and gender diverse folks.

“Trans rights are human rights. Sending love to our trans community in Perth,” Xamon wrote.

“People in leadership positions MUST do better.”

OIP Staff, image: Ezra Alcantra Photography

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: 1800 184 527 and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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