The Australian Federal Police have published a video of LGBTIQ staff reading homophobic abuse received ahead of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
“Every year, the AFP marches in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,” the AFP wrote on Facebook this week.
“We march in support of our colleagues, family and friends [and] in support of the whole community.
“We march because it matters. But our social media followers don’t always agree. Every year our accounts become a magnet for negative comments like the ones in this video.
“We hope this year, we see more positive comments as we march on.”
But LGBTIQ activist Sally Rugg was among many critical of the video for “repeating slurs and amplifying LGBTIQ hate speech.”
“The cops have just released a video reading out homophobic comments they receive,” Rugg tweeted.
“[They repeat] that Mardi Gras is ‘debauchery’, homosexuality is ‘perverted’ and multiple other awful statements.
“LGBTIQ people do not need to be reminded of these words.
“I am begging corporations and institutions to STOP repeating slurs and amplifying hate speech against LGBTIQ communities.
“We hear this horror all year round, we don’t need it during Mardi Gras, ESPECIALLY as part of a commercial marketing campaign.”
Australian Federal Police edit social media video
On Wednesday, the AFP posted a revised and edited version of the video to their Facebook page.
“We posted a video yesterday with the aim of calling out negative comments received on previous Mardi Gras posts,” the AFP wrote.
“After some important feedback from LGBTQI community members – noting their values and the challenges they experience – we’ve edited the video and are re-posting it.
“The video was created to give a voice to our members, make our diverse audience members consider the impact of their comments and reinforce our reasons for participating in Mardi Gras.
“In particular, we do so to support colleagues, friends, family and the broader community we serve.
“The participants in this video are AFP members reading and reacting to actual comments taken from previous Mardi Gras posts.
“We hope that their raw and spontaneous responses show the impact comments can have on people.”
Hate speech campaigns ’cause unintentional harm’
Advocate for people living with HIV Nic Holas thanked the AFP “for listening to community feedback and responding quickly.”
“The video was pulled not long after these conversations were had, and quickly edited to help reduce risk of unintentional harm,” he tweeted.
“Respect that for many queer people, AFP and other police organisations have no place in Mardi Gras. For others, especially AFP’s LGBTIQA staff, this representation matters to them.
“Calling this out was about undoing unintentional harm from this specific campaign.”
Last week, Mardi Gras sponsor ANZ came under fire for a campaign featuring uncensored gay slurs ahead of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The bank released a video starring several young LGBTIQ people delivering the homophobic and transphobic slurs to camera.
ANZ put out research showing 80% of Australians had experienced anti-LGBTIQ language in the previous year.
But only 41 percent of straight Australians “believe that hurtful, homophobic or transphobic language towards the LGBTIQ+ community is a major issue today,” the research found.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.