Pride Piazza falls short

Perth council and its LGBTQIA+ advisory group members welcomed Pride to Northbridge Piazza in August 2022, but a permanent Pride Piazza name change won’t go ahead.

A BID to rename Northbridge Piazza as “Pride Piazza” has been shot down by a majority of Perth councillors.

Pride WA, which has organised Pride rallies and festivals since 1990, moved its headquarters into the building by the piazza in November this year just in time for Pride Month festivities.

The area was temporarily dubbed “Pride Piazza” for the month, and now Perth councillor Sandy Anghie reckons the rebrand should be made permanent.

Pride WA president Choon Tan led a deputation to the December 13 council meeting in support.

He said it would recognise the “historical significance of many in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“For many in our community, including myself who as a young queer man in the ‘80s sought 

a place where we could find safety in numbers to express who we were and to live out as our authentic selves, Northbridge was that refuge, that safe space that we visited or lived in.

“It was, and still is, our Castro in San Francisco, our Soho in London, our Marais in Paris, and our Darlinghurst in Sydney.

“The cultural significance of Northbridge to the queer community could not be more significant, and its history with the community is just as notable as that of European and Asian migrant communities, if not just a tad more colourful as you would expect. 

Mr Tan said he appreciated the council supporting Pride and giving them the peppercorn piazza office tenancy, but added “Pride Piazza needs to be more than the token renaming or marketing opportunity each November in conjunction with Pride Fest”.

Cr Anghie said across the world “from Brooklyn to Bristol, streets, buildings, landmarks, laneways are being renamed in celebration of modern values. It’s important… because it shows who society chooses to honour”.

If her motion had made it past the vote they still would’ve needed to consult with the community and ask the state government authorities to approve the change, but it didn’t get out of the starting blocks with only two other councillors supporting the plan 

(Liam Gobbert and Viktor Ko).

Cr Brent Fleeton said: “If we’re trying to hint to ratepayers that we may have lost sight of what really matters, this is an awesome way of going about it.

“This is completely and utterly unnecessary and it’s also counter to the theme of being inclusive… with Northbridge being a community of many stories and many meanings to many people the most inclusive thing you can do is keep it as Northbridge.”

Mr Zempilas agreed, saying Northbridge “is a name for every member of the community … including our rainbow community who we value very much.” 

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