Above: Doris Kluge, the ringleader of the day
by Grant J Everett
In case you haven’t heard the term before, a “rainbow person” is a term some people use who identify as being a part of the LGBTIQA spectrum. While you can’t get arrested or committed for being in the spectrum in Australia (anymore), people still cop a lot of social stigma, discrimination, exclusion, bullying and even outright violence because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This can be an especially big issue for young people who are still in the process of trying to figure out who they are.
FACTS: Until the late 1970’s there were actually laws banning consenting adults from certain same sex sexual relations. South Australia led the way in decriminalisation in 1975. Tasmania caught up in 1997. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) actually used to classify being homosexual as a mental illness. Times have changed.
The Wear It Purple organisation is spreading the message that every young person is unique, important and worthy of love, and that nobody should be subject to bullying, belittlement and invalidation. They want young people to be safe, supported and empowered, and they strive for this dream by raising awareness in schools, workplaces, unis, and the general community. The way they ask us to support their work is simple: wear something purple. In addition to Wear It Purple Day, they also promote acceptance and respect through a Youth Action Council, community engagement programs, Social Media campaigns, and by screening short films based about LGBTIQA issues. The dream is that we can all live in a world where we can be allowed to thrive irrelevant of our sexuality or gender identity.
Flourish Australia was proud to support Wear it Purple Day as a part of our public commitment to diversity and inclusion. At our Olympic Park office we celebrated this occasion by having a cheesecake and macaroons for morning tea and (yup) wearing purple.
Doris Kluge (our Senior Human Resources Advisor) and Michelle Cullen (Administrative Support Officer) went to a lot of trouble to organize everything. This included making little cardboard people for us to colour in various rainbow shades. You can see this happening in the picture below. We also had a lot of help from people making the cake disappear. Thanks, guys!
Many other locations across NSW and South East Queensland also celebrated in their own way. They were encouraged to take snaps for uploading onto social media.
The very first Wear it Purple Day was a social media campaign created by two students (one who was in high school, the other in university) in 2010. Since then, Wear It Purple Day has exponentially spread to be celebrated in hundreds of schools, TAFEs, workplaces, and supported by organisations such as NSW Police, Emergency Services NSW and Telstra.
The Wear It Purple organisation identified six ways to make their dreams of inclusion come true:
EDUCATE society about the realities of sexuality and gender diversityCELEBRATE diversity
ADVOCATE for young people by helping to make their voices heard
EMPOWER rainbow young people
CHALLENGE harmful social cultures
SUPPORT rainbow young people by ensuring they aren’t facing the struggles of life alone
(Above, from left): Dhara, Jade and Lin join in on the fun
“When Homosexuality Stopped Being a Mental Disorder,” Neel Burton M.D., September 18, 2015