Featured artist: Shannon Crees

LGBTIQ institutions

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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LGBTIQ institutions

Metropolitan Community Church

Metropolitan Community Church

 

The increasing visibility of ‘queer’ symbols and institutions – LGBTIQ businesses and organisations, rainbow flags, murals, ‘safe space’ stickers – have been important in fostering an atmosphere of diversity and acceptance towards the LGBTIQ community. For all of those interviewed, Marrickville was seen as a largely tolerant and welcoming environment, which has benefited from decades of activism and community organisations.

 

Brent Thorpe: They were havens. There was no ‘safe space’ sticker – that didn’t exist – but you just looked out for each other. And there were so many clubs back then that when straight people did wander in they were guests in our space.

Katherine Cummings: In addition to all the sorts of things that we do for people who’re on the way through or who might never decide to go all the way, we try and help anyone with gender issues and that includes cross-dressers, that includes drag queens, anyone who has a gender issue would be part of our clientele.

Garry Trotter: Since I’ve been in the Pollys and we’ve been based in Marrickville, the council has actually been very supportive. We get support from the council to put in a float every year in the Mardi Gras. They’ve done things like all the flags that go up in Marrickville and in and around Newtown and Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, and also advertise supportive stuff in the gay press and the gay community, which is pretty remarkable for a council.

Paul Van Reyk: “What I think has changed is that, at that stage Marrickville Council was not especially involved in GLBTI. They hadn’t registered us on the radar. That obviously gradually changed as GLBTI became more vocal within their communities, and started wanting visible support from the council. Like any community, once you start seeing key general community structures like churches or shops or social venues clearly being friendly spaces then you get the continual influx of people.”