Oxford Street Business Pride Charter launched to protect Sydney’s gay mile

Members of the Oxford Street Pride Steering Committee. Photo: Cassandra Hannagan/City of Sydney

A new precinct-wide pride business charter has been launched this week to ensure Sydney’s Oxford Street retains its queer character and that its rich history continues to be celebrated for years to come.

On Tuesday night Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Sydney MP Alex Greenwich joined representatives from the Oxford Street Pride Steering Committee and local businesses to officially launch the Oxford Street Precinct Business Pride charter at the Stonewall Hotel.

The charter aims to increase awareness of issues of importance to the Sydney LGBTIQ community and ensure the precinct remains identifiable as a haven for queer people.

One of a kind

The strategy is a first for Australia and is believed to be one of only a handful in the world. It seeks to recognise historic LGBTIQ places and spaces, increase visibility and reflect LGBTIQ communities, sustain the local character of Oxford Street, increase LGBTIQ cultural spaces, and ensure the local community is safe and supported.

It comes in the wake of an upsurge in violence towards the LGBTIQ community with a number of incidents recorded around Oxford Street since Sydney WorldPride.

“We have worked closely with the Oxford Street Precinct Pride Steering Committee to develop this new charter that will serve to safeguard the identity and culture of the precinct,” Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said.

“Oxford Street is unique to Sydney and has long been recognised as the heart of Sydney’s LGBTIQA+ culture and communities.

“In order to maintain this status, the charter has been developed as a united voice against homophobia and transphobia – a grassroots, community approach to keeping the precinct safe and inclusive.

“It outlines the expectations of the communities, to current and future operators, that Oxford Street should remain lively, diverse and inclusive.”

BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation CEO Shane Sturgiss said the charter will be an important platform that will help bring urgent attention to the rise in attacks on LGBTIQ people as well as the racial profiling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“After the glamour and excitement of WorldPride coming to Sydney, the fallout and decline in acceptance is heartbreaking,” Sturgiss said.

“As a community we need to ensure that the same WorldPride feeling of excitement and acceptance is felt every day of the year – we start by building safe spaces and we don’t stop until we have created safe communities.

“A small gesture from businesses in this precinct can have a significant effect on people’s lives, acknowledge their worth, create a feeling of safety and bring community together.”

Richie Haines, COO of Universal Hotels and chair of the Surry Hills Liquor Accord, added, “As a community we must continue to work hard to keep our queer spaces safe, visible and celebrated. This can’t be achieved by any one person or organisation.

“The pride business charter is a vital tool to bring the community together, to celebrate a shared commitment to these ideals, and to take practical steps to preserve our precinct.

“For me, it’s important to be a member to show this commitment to staff, to customers, to other businesses, and to the LGBTQIA+ communities more broadly. I encourage all businesses in the area to deeply consider the charter’s commitments, how they can be applied in their business, and to join us.”

Membership of the charter is open to all businesses, property owners, arts and community organisations, and educational institutions operating in and servicing the Oxford Street precinct.

Community organisations and businesses coming together

The volunteer steering committee includes ACON, BLaQ, the City of Sydney, the Darlinghurst Business Partnership, the National Arts School, QTopia, Redcape Hotel Group, SQuAD, St Vincent’s Health Network, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, WorldPride, The Record Store, Stonewall, TransPride Australia, Trikone, Twenty10 andUniversal Hotels

The charter is an outcome from the City of Sydney’s “Oxford Street LGBTIQA+ Social and Cultural Place Strategy” adopted by Council in October 2022.

The strategy was developed to build on Oxford Street’s reputation as an iconic precinct with activities both day and night, with thriving businesses, creative industries and culture.

For more information go to www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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.

Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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