STEPS TAKEN TO RECOGNISE DIVERSITY IN MACKAY


As with many Queensland towns – and even cities – there is not an abundance of support for the LGBTI community in Mackay.

In a bid to change that, a DIY rainbow event was held in conjunction with Human Rights Day last Thursday (December 10).

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Theme for the day was “365”, to signify that people’s human rights should be recognised every day of the year, and a rainbow stairway was chalked at the city council precinct.

Councillor Alison Jones told the ABC the event was about celebrating diversity in Mackay, equity and freedom from discrimination, and fundamental human rights that belong to all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) social health counsellor Rebecca McColm said there was not a lot of support for LGBTI people.

It’s really important that people come along and realise that sexuality is not the person and that they offer so much within our community,” Ms McColm told the ABC.

They’re parents, they’re partners, they’re workers, they’re teachers, they’re police officers.

It doesn’t identify who they are and just raising this acceptance, especially within our indigenous community as well, because they need to feel accepted within their own community before they’re comfortable in our mainstream community.”

ATSICHS social worker Patricia Kemp said support groups would start up for young and older LGBTI people in the new year and would be run by LGBTI people who were more comfortable with themselves.

A lot of our mob are still very quiet and very hush-hush about coming out,” Ms Kemp said.

ATSICHS also organised a gay marriage rights petition for the event.

Picture: ABC Tropical North, Krystal Gordon