Brisbane City Council needs greater LGBTIQ understanding

Storey Bridge RainbowA residents group that has been lobbying Brisbane City Council (BCC) for nearly three years has voiced it’s concern over a number of incidents including the recent Council banning a poster of two men kissing.

The poster promoting the Brisbane Queer Film Festival was deemed “too confronting” by Brisbane City Councillor and Lifestyle Committee Chair, Cr Krista Adams, who requested it not be used and referred the matter to the Advertising Standards Board. The image is a parody of the famous beach scene from the 1950’s award winning movie From Here to Eternity.

Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group (BLAG) have previously met with Cr Adams and other Councillors to explain the prejudice, marginalisation, family rejection and discrimination many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) residents experience and how this inferior treatment and discrimination leads to worse health and social outcomes for LGBT residents.

The controversy over banning the poster, is the latest in a series of incidents that have raised concern from the residents group, along with Brisbane residents and people across the country including Lord Mayor Quick’s silence while LGBT residents felt persecuted by a group traveling in a truck carrying billboards critical of gays, which became known as the Gay Hate Truck.

While raising these concerns, BLAG does acknowledge the Council implementing a number of initiatives including the appointment of an LGBT representative to the nineteen member Inclusive Brisbane Board; the addition to the BCC website of a page listing vital support services to LGBT residents; and $21,000 funding over three years to Brisbane Pride Festival.

“The positive engagement and understanding of LGBT issues shown so far by Councillors is encouraging. We want to build on this and promote greater links between Council and LGBT residents,” says BLAG convener Phil Browne.

“However, numerous incidents including the banning of the photo showing two men kissing, show there is room for greater understanding and sensitivity from Council on LGBT issues.”

BLAG has recently written to Lord Mayor Quirk requesting BCC support for an upcoming multi-agency event to be held on Council property to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May.

BLAG has also requested as a gesture of goodwill, that rainbow flags be flown from BCC flagpoles on 17 May; and illuminate Story Bridge in rainbow colours when the Brisbane Pride Festival is held this September. The Lord Mayor and the Brisbane City Council have yet to respond to this request.

Image: Brisbane’s Story Bridge lit up for Riverfire in 2013

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