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    UNITED IN SUPPORT: Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership convenor Jo Richie, left, Ararat councillor Peter Beales and Ararat Rural City Council early years and positive ageing co-ordinator Erin Mackley joined Ararat’s flag-raising ceremony for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex and Transphobia. Simultaneous ceremonies were in Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud on Friday.

Flags a symbolic gesture for tolerance

Ararat Rural City and Northern Grampians Shire councils showed their support for the LGBTIQ community with simultaneous flag-raising ceremonies for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex and Transphobia.

Also known by its acronym IDAHOBIT, the day started globally in 2004 to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersectional and questioning – LGBTIQ – people.

Joint ceremonies occurred in Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud on Friday. IDAHOBIT Day was on Sunday.

Ararat council chief executive Tim Harrison said while the two councils had to limit attendees at flag-raising ceremonies due to coronavirus restrictions, the occasion was an important symbolic gesture to the LGBTIQ community.

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He said the rainbow flag, representative of the ‘Pride’ movement started flying from Ararat council offices from 10am, Friday after a ceremony involving a small group of council officers and mayor Jo Armstrong practising social distancing.

“IDAHOBIT Day is a time to stand with the LGBTIQ community and make the world a better place for everyone,” Dr Harrison said.

“The council wants the LGBTIQ community to know the council supports them wholeheartedly and believes everyone is equal.” 

Rainbow flags started flying from Northern Grampians flagpoles at Pleasant Creek Historical Precinct in Stawell and  St Arnaud hospital to mark the occasion. 

Northern Grampians council chief executive Liana Thompson said Northern Grampians was a welcoming community that supported all LGBTIQ+ residents and visitors. 

“IDAHOBIT Day is a chance for our two councils to proudly show our support for the members of our communities who have historically been marginalised,” she said. “We are all for equality and feel this show of support is necessary to let everyone know our organisation and our community will not stand for discrimination or oppression in any way.” 

Other community groups, such as Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership and East Wimmera Health Service, also marked the occasion with flag-raising ceremonies.

Wimmera advocacy groups also organised online celebrations for the occasion, which this year had the theme Breaking the Silence.

Wimmera Pride Project hosted a Netflix watch party and Stawell Regional Health painted the footpath entry to Stawell hospital in rainbow colours.

The entire May 20, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!