Perth mayor Lisa Scaffidi has a ‘gay vision’ for Australia’s western city, and she says it could rival Sydney or San Francisco.
Launching Perth’s 2008 Pride Reinvention Festival last week, Scaffidi cut a rainbow ribbon held out by festival organisers, saying “gay, straight, who cares?.” But obviously some people do, because the West Australian Premier and religious groups have come out in agreement: Perth shouldn’t be advertised as a gay ‘centre’.
“It’s not being pro or anti, I just don’t think it’s the future of Perth,” recently elected Liberal Premier Colin Barnett told The West Australian. “Perth is very much a family-friendly, nice, easygoing place. It’s true that San Francisco and Sydney have a particular international reputation which they have developed and I think it belongs with those larger cities,” he said.
The festival that caused Perth’s identity crisis runs from the end of September through to October. Started in 1989 as a protest march to decriminalise homosexuality, this year’s Festival Patron is Aram Hosie, who you may remember is the partner of Australian Senator Louise Pratt. Pratt used her maiden speech to parliament earlier this year to call on Kevin Rudd to give equal rights to LGBTI Australians. Pratt is thought to be the first Australian MP to have a transgendered partner.
“For one glorious month of the year the Festival reinvents art and culture in Perth…with a queer bent,” said Hosie.
“We get to hear stories about people like us – gay boys, lesbian girls, bisexuals, transsexuals and gender-benders of all persuasions.”
The Perth pride festival is on now and will wrap up with a pride after party on October 25, and tickets are only $25. More details here.