Albany Pride urges a ‘less divisive discourse’ a month on from councillor’s damaging comments in public forum

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Supporters of Albany Pride gathered at the City of Albany offices before the March council meeting.
Camera IconSupporters of Albany Pride gathered at the City of Albany offices before the March council meeting. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany Pride urged the City of Albany and its council to do better at a council meeting this week, a month on from a councillor’s comments that left the community reeling in the midst of the Pride Festival.

During council’s February meeting Cr Thomas Brough suggested the plus of LGBTQI+ included “minor-attracted persons” and subsequently doubled down on his comments in the following days.

About 40 members and supporters of Albany Pride gathered outside the council chambers in a silent demonstration on Tuesday ahead of the March ordinary council meeting.

During public question time, Albany Pride vice president Millie Reid spoke to address the “sustained attacks” against the group in the lead up to and during this year’s pride festival.

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She said the attacks were not new but the amount was “unprecedented”, including “unfounded criticism from those we should be able to trust”.

“The harm caused to our community when misinformation and homophobia is freely supported is significant,” she said.

She said recent public rhetoric had caused “devastating” division within social groups, especially to those members of LGBTQI+ community who were not “well-resourced”.

She said community members “who already struggle for acceptance from their loved ones” had been in contact with Albany Pride in recent weeks.

“To express their distress and explain the real-world consequences of vulnerability and risks within their workplaces and families as a direct result of the uninformed public commentary recently,” she said.

Ms Reid said Albany Pride wanted to move forward with “less divisive discourse” and tabled four questions with actions the city could take to increase “understanding of the very real harm caused to us by people in positions of power.”

“We are very proud of what we achieve every year, especially with our Albany Pride festival,” she said.

“The support of the City, particularly Mayor (Greg) Stocks, this year was a fantastic step forward.

“This partnership sends a compelling signal of increasing acceptance and inclusivity within the region.”

Cr Brough also elaborated on the comments he made at the February meeting on Tuesday, saying “at no point have I ever sought to impugn the reputation of Albany Pride”.

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