Prejudice on the Paramatta – updated


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On Thursday January 17th – GLBTI youth support service Twenty10 closed it’s Drop in and headed off to the Rediscover the River Festival in Paramatta. But a mayoral staffer asked them to take down their sign as it was offensive. Judge for yourself. Twenty10 explained:

Hey everyone, Just a big shout out and apology to anyone who came looking for the Twenty10 stall at Parramatta river yesterday.

Twenty10 was asked by the Lord Mayor’s advisor to take down our banner as it was deemed to contain offensive language.

Twenty10 decided that we could not continue to support this event if we could not display who we are and the services we provide and left around midday.

We are following this up with the Lord Mayor’s office and will keep you posted on this.
If you would like to discuss this further, give us a call and talk to staff.

Again our biggest apologies to anyone who came down looking for us!! We were really looking forward to hanging out with you by the river!!

I asked the Mayor for an interview and received the following reply:

Dear Doug,

Further to your enquiry, please find following Council statement regarding the matter:

In response to numerous complaints made by members of the public, organisers of the Rediscover the River event asked Twenty10 to remove two promotional banners.

At no stage did the Lord Mayor or council staff ask Twenty10 to quit their participation at the event.

Council regrets any inconvenience or offence taken by its actions and values the efforts, and contribution of Twenty10 in servicing at-risk youth.

Council has enjoyed a positive relationship with Twenty10 over some time and hopes to continue to work in partnership over the coming years.

Regards,

Lauren O’Connell | Acting Media & Communications Advisor

Parramatta City Council
PO Box 32, Parramatta NSW 2124
( (02) 9806 5438 | 7  (02) 9806 5053
loconnell@parracity.nsw.gov.au
Links
 | www.parracity.nsw.gov.au

Facebook www.facebook.com/parramattacitycouncil

Twitter | www.twitter.com/parracity

I think the staff over-reacted: if you think so too, click here to sign this petition, which now has more than 8,000 signatures. And write to the mayor to tell him what you think.

UPDATE: It now appears that it was the mayor himself who demanded the banners come down, and is now hiding behind his staff. As far as I have been able to discover no formal complaints were made regarding the banners by any member of the public. The CEO of the City of Paramatta has apologised to Twenty10 but the mayor continues to stonewall.

John Chedid
Lord Mayor

Mobile: 0431 506 055
Phone: 9806 5968 (Cnl)
Fax: 9806 5958 (Cnl)
Email: jchedid@parracity.nsw.gov.au
Address: PO Box 32, Parramatta NSW, 2124
Political Party: Liberal Party

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. And now he's been nominated for LGBTI Journalist of the Year 2017, which is great news, as he hasn't won any of these things for years! If you want to nominate him too - the more the merrier - you can do it here http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)