WATCH: Rainbow flag flies high in region
IN A first for the region rainbow flags were flown high by the Scenic Rim, Somerset and Ipswich councils for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
Mayor Paul Pisasale hoisted the flag above the Ipswich City Council chambers yesterday and said IDADOT was designed to promote inclusion and discourage discrimination against members of the region's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"It doesn't matter who you are or what your beliefs are, every person and part of this community deserves respect," he said.
"Nobody should impose their values on other people.
"This is a federal issue, not a local government issue, but I'm here today on behalf of the people of Ipswich to show that we're a city that respects everybody."
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Ipswich member Melanie Rose said, as a member of the city's LGBTIQ community, she was proud to see the flag flying at council.
"I'm excited and proud to see Ipswich marking this day for the second year in a row," she said.
"When I came out 10 years ago I would never have imagined we'd be here today.
"But the meaning of the IDAHOT is still important. Phobia still exists and we need to combat it."
The day is marked on May 17 each year because it was on that date in 1990 that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.
The rainbow flag was also raised for the first time by Scenic Rim Regional Council at its headquarters in Beaudesert yesterday and once again at Somerset Regional Council.
"Scenic Rim is an inclusive community and this council seeks to reflect the values of its residents in its words and deeds," Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said.
"Our community is one which believes intolerance and discrimination have no place in modern society."
The University of Southern Queensland will also fly the rainbow flag at its campuses at Ipswich and Springfield tomorrow to show its support for students who identify as LGBTIQ.