The Eurobodalla’s mayor has joined the nationwide call urging the community to show its support for LGBTQIA+ people this Pride Month.
Pride Month runs every June and, according to UN Youth Australia, celebrates the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. It also provides a time to reflect on how far civil rights have progressed in half a century, as well as an opportunity to protest discrimination and violence.
“Australia is at the forefront of the push towards true equality and inclusion for LGBTI people, but there is more to do,” UN Youth Australia says.
According to a statistics snapshot by LGBTQI+ Health Australia from October 2021, research has demonstrated a disproportionate number of LGBTQI+ people experience poorer mental health outcomes and have a higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers.
“These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse on the basis of being LGBTIQ+,” the organisation says.
For instance, almost 26 per cent of LGBTQA+ people aged between 16 to 17 have attempted suicide in their lifetimes, compared to just over 5 per cent of people aged 16 to 17 in the general population.
Also, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, about 60 per cent of same-sex attracted and gender-questioning young people experienced verbal abuse because of their sexuality, while 18 per cent reported suffering from physical abuse.
Eurobodalla Shire Council said businesses and organisations could show their support for Pride Month by signing on to the Welcome Here Project, which recognises environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQIA+ communities.
Members receive Welcome Here rainbow stickers and a charter to display in a prominent place to let everyone know that LGBTIQA+ diversity is welcomed and celebrated within their business.
Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher praised local businesses already on board with the project, including Batemans Bay’s Mami’s Bar, which has a strong focus on providing an inclusive space for all.
“We’ve been through some pretty traumatic experiences as a community. The more we can come together to support one another, the better off we’ll all be,” he said.
Council’s youth development officer Michaela Burtenshaw said there remained misconceptions in the community regarding LGBTQIA+ issues.
“Although it might be assumed that there’s inclusivity in the community, it means a lot to people who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community to know that they are welcome in public spaces,” she said.
“The Welcome Here Project is about helping everyone feel safe, included and not discriminated against, because unfortunately, that’s still happening in our society.”
Businesses and organisations can sign on to the Welcome Here Project for free during Pride Month by contacting the council’s community development team on 4474 1302.