Miss Vanessa Wagner keeps the crowd amused.
Miss Vanessa Wagner keeps the crowd amused. Lisa Donovan

Gay community wants a fair go

IT was a day of fabulous fashion, creative colours and endless enjoyment.

The first-ever CQ Fair Day, held by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Rockhampton last Saturday brought in a crowd of about 400 people, some who had travelled from as far as Longreach and Cairns.

Event organiser Paul Ryan said it was a great cross-section of people, from lawyers and doctors to cattlemen and women, and ranging in age from about 8 to 80.

“This was a place they could feel comfortable and (be) themselves,” Paul said.

“There were lawyers, engineers, doctors and a lot of your young, alternative, groovy kids as well.”

But one thing was missing, Paul said – clearer support from Rockhampton Regional Council.

Although the council staged a Be Heard workshop as part of the celebration at CQUniversity, Paul said he felt more could have been done to make his community feel truly welcome.

“Council just is happy to sort of have a façade of welcome, the big welcome sign at the front of the city but we recognise that it's a façade and we're not alone,” Paul said, stressing he was expressing his own views, not those of the organising committee.

“We have about six steps we'd like council to take, like others that have been done in other local government areas of Australia.”

Paul said he believed council looked after all facets of the community, including the wealthy, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, youth and more, but seemed to forget about the GBLT community.

Mayor Brad Carter said he had visited the fair day and felt it was very constructive.

 

“The organisers of the event said they were extremely pleased with the fact we had engaged with them for our Be Heard project.”

He said the council was trying to be as engaging and welcoming as it could.

“The fact our council officers and myself have met with that community as a result of CQU facilitating the event speaks for itself, as a sign that we are welcoming,” Cr Carter said.

“I don't think we go out of our way not to welcome them.

“I think for the historical socio-economic background of this community, it is maturing year by year. It's becoming much more culturally diverse and sexually tolerant.”

He said council would certainly consider the requests made by the community.

Wish list

What the GBLT community would like from council

A ‘Statement of Commitment’

Financial assistance for CQ Fair Day and Tropical Alternatives Film Festival

Fly the international rainbow flag on Fair Day weekend on council’s flagpole

Support to establish a CQ LGBT/QAHC community development office

Equality in council programs such as RADF and library resources

Better liaison and engage with the GBLT community in theatre, art gallery and sporting programs



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