A BAN on transphobia on council, more all-gender public bathrooms, and trans ally awareness training for rangers are all part of a draft Perth council plan to make the city more LGBT+ friendly.
Rangers will be visibly marked identifying them as safe “allies” once training’s complete, and the council will ask the state government if willing police and transit guards can undergo the same training and marking.
Along with providing more all-gender bathrooms in council-owned public toilets, they’ll also investigate how their planning rules can be tweaked to encourage all-gender bathrooms in private developments.
The three-year LGBTQIA+ Plan follows the mould of access and inclusion plans usually set up to make cities more inviting for people with disabilities.
It came about from a residents’ advisory group of 15 gay, trans, and other queer folk the council set up after lord mayor Basil Zempilas made some morning radio comments that were widely deemed anti-trans, and which he’s since apologised for.
The mayor and councillors have now undergone “ally training”, and the plan will require staff and future elected members to take the course too.
And while the current code of conduct prevents bullying based on gender or sexuality, it’ll now include an explicit “zero tolerance of homophobia or transphobia” rule. Breaches could be referred to the local government standards panel, which can publicly censure councillors or order them to apologise or undergo training.
Just about every area of operation is covered by the draft plan, from more queer content in the library, to even sponsorship and grants being affected. Currently extra funding points can be gained if an event seeking sponsorship includes an element of Aboriginal culture, and if this plan goes through there’ll be an extra event evaluation measure “for LGBTQIA+ inclusion”, and event holders will be encourage to submit a “diversity and inclusion plan” the same way they submit disability access plans.
Councillors will vote on whether to endorse the draft plan at the July 27 meeting, then it’ll go out for public consultation.
A staff report advises “if council does not endorse the draft LGBTQIA+ Plan, there is a reputational risk for the city with the high potential for dissatisfaction among the LGBTQIA+ community” and the advisory group who volunteered their time to put it together.
by DAVID BELL