Albury's heart lights up for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

MAMA is a place of art, but on Wednesday night it was the colours on the outside of the building that embodied the most significance.

The gallery was lit up in rainbow lights and the Albury Entertainment Centre flew a multi-coloured flag for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The show of support from Albury Council set the scene for a candlelight vigil co-ordinated by Hume Phoenix.

Female convenor Toni Johnson said the event was a first but she hoped it wouldn’t be the last.

“IDAHOT, which has been running since 1990, has always been a day we’ve looked to mark by doing something,” she said.

“Our male convenor got the ball rolling for this year, asking Albury Council to light up MAMA and fly the rainbow flag atop the Entertainment Centre.

“Albury Council is always fantastic in their support and so is Wodonga – they are totally on board with marriage equality and try to do everything they can to back us, it’s really good support from our communities’ leaders.”

A focus of IDAHOT 2017 was families and the role they play in the well-being of LGBTQI people.

A group of about 12 people gathered in QEII Square to contemplate this and to conduct a candlelight vigil for members of the LGBTQI community affected by discrimination in Chechnya.

Reports have recently surfaced detailing men in the Russian region being kidnapped and tortured for being gay.

ABC reported a vigil for these men was also held in Melbourne on Tuesday night, calling on the Prime Minister to offer refuge to those affected by the “purge”.

Ms Johnson believed it was important the Border follow suit with support.

“It’s about that minute’s silence to show our solidarity with Chechnya and being visible in the Albury-Wodonga region; the rainbow colours and the flag makes people feel listened to and supported,” she said.

“The best thing about doing it there means people come and ask – we get to tell them what the day is about.

“The more we talk about it, and marriage equality, and do little things like this, the more it helps people to understand there still is a long way to go.”

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