Jade shows gay pride
THE first marriage equality rally in Ipswich today has been hailed as a giant step forward by gay council candidate Jade Connor.
Mr Connor, who is running for council in Division 9, will be in attendance at the rally being organised by the Ipswich Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG).
Connor said he was impressed by the way politicians at council, state and federal levels had embraced the event.
Confirmed speakers at the rally include Cr Andrew Antoniolli, Cr Paul Tully, Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard, Senator Larissa Waters and Senator Glenn Lazarus.
"That is fantastic," Mr Connor said.
"It is great to see council with fresh thinking that rejects the ignorant lobbying from groups like the ultra-conservative Australian Christian Lobby, and I'll be a strong advocate on these issues for our community if I'm elected to council next year.
"This show of support is very important because young kids especially need to hear from our local leaders that they are accepted and free to be themselves."
Mr Connor said that as local government was the closest to the community it had the power to "make a big difference" through showing leadership on the issue.
Australia does not yet allow same sex marriage, but a groundswell of support from the community may soon force politicians' hands.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull supports same sex marriage and Mr Connor said there was consistent evidence in polls to back that viewpoint.
A recent Cosby/Textor poll surveyed 1000 Australians on the views of marriage equality, with 72% confirming their support.
"Marriage equality is important because there shouldn't be one rule for some people and a different one for others," Mr Connor said.
"It's important for democracy that everyone is equal before the law.
"There is no (same-sex) marriage bill because politicians are a cautious bunch of people.
"Rallies like the one in Ipswich are about showing there is support in the community for this, that people do want it.
"Having a whole heap of politicians at the event will be good to build momentum.
"The council has been supportive and showed that at the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by flying the rainbow flag."
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that gay people are grappling with a wide range of disadvantage that may not be known to the wider public.
They have a four times higher rate of suicide attempts than the broader community, twice the rate of mental health disorders in the last year and four times the rate of the broader community of ever being homeless.
"A lot of people think that there is not an issue with discrimiation anymore but there is still a big issue with bullying in schools," Mr Connor said.
"Young people who are still trying to find their identity often are alone and have no-one to look up to.
"That means there are a still a lot of issues around confidence for young people.
"That is why the Safe Schools Coalition project has been so important, even though there has been a lot of opposition to that project."
*Today's rally is being held at D'Arcy Doyle Place in the Ipswich CBD at noon on Saturday and will feature performances from the Brisbane Pride Choir and Tiger Street band .