IDAHOBIT celebrated with moving community event
Published on 17 May 2023
Indigo Shire Council has once again thrown its support behind IDAHOBIT (International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination), with a moving community event on Wednesday.
Following the success of last year’s celebrations at Council’s Beechworth Office, this year’s event was open to the public and a crowd of 60 people, including representatives from Victoria Police and several LGBQTIA+ community groups, gathered outside Beechworth’s historic courthouse.
Mayor, Sophie Price, opened proceedings and spoke of how proud she is that each year Council’s celebrations of IDAHOBIT grow, demonstrating the Shire’s leadership and commitment in ensuring a culture where everyone feels safe and supported.
“As we stand here in front of such a significant heritage site, I’m so proud that as a community we’re able to recognise the importance of our heritage while celebrating how far we’ve come since that time, and that through this kind of leadership, we’re building the type of community we want for our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and visitors long into the future.” Councillor Price said.
Councillor Price said she was also proud of the steps Council has taken over the last few years toward genuine inclusiveness, including the key role Council has played in supporting the North East Pride Collective in developing the Rainbow Ball, training Council staff in LGBTIQA+ leadership, providing support for Beechworth Secondary’s Umbrella Academy and Rutherglen High School’s Rainbow Renegades, community advocacy, and providing opportunities for LGBTQIA+ people and allies to build connections.
The ceremony also included speeches from LINE Wangaratta Volunteers and the Drag’d Out Festival committee on how important it is to acknowledge and celebrate IDAHOBIT.
LINE Wangaratta volunteer Al Winters spoke powerfully about how IDAHOBIT has evolved since it was first celebrated in 2005 but said more work needs to be done to combat the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ people everyday.
“I hope that one day, we won’t need to have this day, instead it will be a day that we simply celebrate because every day we are safe, every day we are included and every day we are accepted. I’m really looking forward to working with organisations like Indigo Shire Council to one day see that happen,” they said.
Echoing the sentiment and motivation behind IDAHOBIT and Al’s speech, Drag’d out committee member, Andrew Madden Andy shared a deeply personal story of how discrimination has affected him throughout his life and why support for Drag’d Out, now in its second year, is so important to the community.
“What happened in 2022 at the Drag’d Out festival was more than I ever expected. It brought people back from Melbourne, the UK and from all over Australia who used to live here and could not believe that this could happen in Beechworth of all places. But look at us, now through the support of the council, business owners, and most importantly our community it’s happening again this year.” Mr Madden said.
Mr Madden said events like Drag’d Out are really important to provide hope and inspiration to the LGBQTIA+ community that acceptance of all people, regardless of gender, is possible.
“We are so humbled by the chance to do it all again this year and days like today will help all of us move forward together. I look forward to the future. I trust our youth to continue to work towards visibility and acceptance by using platforms like Drag’d Out Beechworth to entertain us as a community and allow conversations to happen in their own way.” Mr Madden said.
Councillor Price concluded the ceremony by raising the rainbow flag and stating that it was her privilege as an elected representative of the community to stand with the LGBQTIA+ community and support the fight for equality and inclusion.