Motion to create network of LGBTIQA+ councillors and allies unanimously carried
by GRACE JOHNSON
A motion to create a network of LGBTIQA+ councillors and allies was unanimously carried during City of Sydney’s council meeting on Monday night.
The motion was put forward by Councillor Adam Worling, who asked that council endorse the motion for the upcoming 2023 Local Government NSW Annual Conference.
In the notice of motion, Cr Worling noted that there is a long history of people identifying as LGBTIQA+ being elected to their local councils, yet there is no public platform, network or coalition in Australia for elected members who openly identify as LGBTIQA+ at a local or federal level.
Addressing council, Cr Worling said, “I want to increase our visibility and identity in local government. I want queer people of all ages, who might think that a career in politics is not possible, to look up and see out and proud active members of our society on the election posters staring right back at them.”
Research shows that members from the LGBTIQA+ community experience higher rates of mental illness and distress than those who are not. The ongoing stigma, bullying, abuse, discrimination and isolation often leads to diagnoses of anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, having a profound impact on work, relationships, finances, and other parts of daily life.
In Cr Worling’s notice of motion, he emphasised that work is crucial to one’s mental health and wellbeing, providing a person with a sense of purpose and social connections, on top of financial security, which has rippling effects in other areas of life.
Representation is then paramount.
Discussing his upbringing in Lismore during the 70s and 80s, Cr Worling said “That lack of visibility and the lack of proud or out role models was enough to make you question what you would become, what you could achieve.”
“It takes courage and determination to run for office as an openly queer candidate,” he said. “Studies show that LGBTIQA+ people often underestimate their abilities and assume that they are less qualified than other candidates.”
“I believe a public network of proud and our LGBTIQA+ councillors will help queer people in regional and metropolitan areas feel safe, supported and seen.”
Speaking to City Hub, Cr Worling emphasised that the progress we’ve seen so far in City of Sydney and surrounding Inner West suburbs must be protected: “I’ve always been a believer in progression, but I’m also a big believe that when we do progress, we have to guard that progression.”
“We have to protect what we have in the City of Sydney because we have the risk of losing it as well, and I don’t think we can ever take that for granted.”
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