Pride WA call on business to show real support for LGBTQIA+ communities

Pride WA have published an open letter to the WA Business Community calling on them to show real support for LGBTIQA+ people and communities.

The letter calls on businesses to move beyond token gestures and focus on making a genuine culture shift within their organisations. Delivered on the 19th anniversary of the last round of significant law reforms in Western Australia, Pride WA highlight that many people still don’t feel comfortable bringing their whole-selves to work.

Pride WA highlight that businesses need to stop seeing Pride as an opportunity to align themselves with LGBTIQA+ rights, and start actively supporting queer organisations.

The letter is signed by Pride WA President Curtis Ward, and Senior Vice President Gerry Matera.

Matera said the bold and risky decision to change the scope of involvement for industry partners is necessary amidst startling statistics of persisting issues that are in danger of being whitewashed against the colourful display of public support.

Pride WA’s Senior Vice President said he hopes the changes will be seen as an opportunity to heighten the significance of a business’ involvement in PrideFEST and put more weight on their affiliation.

Last month Pride WA announced the 2021 Pride parade would be going ahead, but would move to a new location at Gloucester Park to allow for a Covid-19 safe delivery of the event. The registration rules for the 2021 parade saw a new set of conditions for corporate floats, requiring them to be genuine supports of the festival.

The 2021 Pride Parade takes place on Saturday 27 November at Gloucester Park. It is predicted to attract 5,000 people, making and is Australia’s second largest event of its kind.

Pride WA’s Open Letter to WA businesses

Let us be very clear. The war against intolerance is far from over in Western Australia.

According to research, LGBTQI+ people are still far more at risk for mental health issues and homelessness than heterosexual people, and more than half of the LGBTQI+ community still hide their identity at work. That’s a tough load when you’re just trying to get the job done.

So, besides the rainbow flag tokens and Wear It Purple day gestures, what are you doing to create a genuine culture shift that supports inclusion and diversity in the workplace and community at large?

When we ‘rose up’ in 1990 as a grass roots community group, it was at a time when LGBTQI+ people experienced daily discrimination in the community and in the eyes of the law. As public awareness increased and laws improved, we have been able to spread our wings. We are eternally grateful to those who support our cause.

Sadly, it’s not enough.

We are now in a dangerous period of oblivious complacency with many satisfied that issues relating to LGBTQI+ have been adequately addressed, leaving them to inadvertently fester. There remains a stark need for greater education and advocacy in our work.

In 2021, recognising the breadth of its responsibility as the peak body for LGBTQI+ Western Australians, Pride WA made a clear decision to fully step up to these tasks and hire our first paid CEO, Choon Tan.

On Saturday 27 November, the LGBTQI+ community will once again turn it on for Perth – but this year it is about shining the spotlight on endurance.

We understand our high-profile festivities offer businesses exposure, affiliation value and community recognition, but this year we are asking our business and industry partners to back their involvement with extended financial support so that Pride WA can help deliver life-changing, community strengthening programs and support across WA – initiatives spanning three areas of impact: advocacy, education and support.

We know this is both a bold and risky move and we hope it will encourage businesses to look beyond the rainbow ticks, purple clothes and PrideFest Float gestures to determine the depth of their conviction.

But here is our promise. As you and your organisation increase your support to this incredibly important social cause, we will return it in an abundance of Pride.

Are you and your business ready to step up to the float?

Curtis Ward

Gerry Matera
Senior Vice-President

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