I am so proud to represent an inclusive and supportive community in Melbourne’s north-east. Recently Eltham Library scheduled a drag story event as part of marking IDAHOBIT Day. Like many such events planned across Melbourne, this event was targeted by people spreading messages of hate. This was obviously very distressing for our local LGBTQI+ community, for our library and for our council staff.

So our community got together to demonstrate that we are not about hate and to make sure that people spreading divisive messages of hate did not drown out our messages of support. Together with my state colleague Vicki Ward, local councillors and members of our local community, we brightened the entrance of Eltham Library by drawing rainbow butterflies in colourful chalk in an act of solidarity and friendship. Our community rallied behind our LGBTQI+ community to say, ‘We stand with you,’ and I know so many in our community continue to stand in solidarity.

Locally, we continued to celebrate our LGBTQI community at the QWere Street party in Montmorency recently. It was great to see creative activities, live music, festival stalls and, of course, great company. Thanks go to Banyule council, traders, performers, stallholders and everyone who made this occasion a real highlight. I’m proud of how my community celebrates each other and how we respond to acts of hate with acts of love. To our rainbow community and our rainbow families: I stand with you today and always.

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