Story by Selina Dowd
The Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) funding of a sculpture commissioned by the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre (NFNC) to celebrate and honour queer Brisbanites has been called a “token effort” by members of the queer community.
“There is still a lot more the Council could do to show their support,” said trans activist Evie Ryder.
“The government has taken lots of funding away at the same time, so the NFNC project seems more like a nice gesture.”
“There is more discrimination and less services for the queer community than a year ago, or even a few years ago,” said Ms Ryder.
Funding of $2.6m was taken from Queensland’s only health organisation catering to queer people, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities in 2012.
The NFNC was awarded $9,090 through the BCC’s Community Development and Capacity Building Grant.
“This grant program is about fostering this sense of community identity and bolstering the connections within it,” said a Council spokesperson in a statement.
“There is not enough awareness right now of LGBT issues, such as the rate of attempted suicides being four times higher for LGBT youth,” said LGBT activist Phil Browne.
“The artwork is an important way of validating and recognising LGBT people, because in mainstream society we are not represented.”
“One of the greatest dangers to queer people in Brisbane is exclusion.”
“Brisbane falls behind other cities as far as progressiveness and openness,” said transgender man Patrick Day.
“Brisbane can definitely do better in its support of LGBT people.”
“Government policy is tending to lag behind the population’s understanding and tolerance of the queer comm
unity,” said Karl de Waal, the Brisbane-based artist commissioned by the NFNC.
“I hope that this artwork will go some way towards breaking down myths and stereotypes around the queer community.”
“Art can’t change the world, but it can change people.”
The sculpture is expected to be revealed as part of the Brisbane Pride Festival in September.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.