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Celebrate our diversity this National Pride Month

Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher is calling on the community to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community for Pride Month.

Every June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community. It’s time to reflect on how far civil rights have progressed in half a century, while also acknowledging there is more to do.

Businesses and organisations can show their support by signing on to the Welcome Here Project, which recognises environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQIA+ communities. Members receive Welcome Here rainbow stickers and a charter to display in a prominent place to let everyone know that LGBTIQA+ diversity is welcomed and celebrated within their business.

Mayor Hatcher said the Welcome Here Project was about creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for all members of community.

He praised local businesses already on board, including Batemans Bay’s Mami’s Bar, which has a strong focus on providing an inclusive space for all.

“We’ve been through some pretty traumatic experiences as a community. The more we can come together to support one another, the better off we’ll all be,” he said.

Council’s youth development officer Michaela Burtenshaw said there remained misconceptions in the community regarding LGBTQIA+ issues.

“Although it might be assumed that there’s inclusivity in the community, it means a lot to people who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community to know that they are welcome in public spaces,” she said.

“The Welcome Here Project is about helping everyone feel safe, included and not discriminated against, because unfortunately, that’s still happening in our society.”

Ms Burtenshaw encouraged local businesses and organisations to access Pride training for themselves and their teams to increase their skills and knowledge on inclusivity.

“As a whole shire we’re trying to promote the idea everyone is welcome, and celebrate the diversity of our residents and visitors,” Ms Burtenshaw said.

Businesses and organisations can sign on to the Welcome Here Project for free during Pride Month by contacting Council’s community development team on 4474 1302.

Pride training is available at www.pridetraining.org.au/ while resources for, and to support, LGBTQIA+ young people can be found at www.minus18.org.au/

Above: Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher is supporting the push for more inclusivity during Pride Month. He is pictured with Bloss McClelland, owner of Mami’s Bar, which is a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

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