Today, Wednesday 17 May, Lutheran Care is flying the rainbow flag in recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). IDAHOBIT is a day that aims to celebrate the advancement and progression of awareness and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer/questioning and asexual (LGBTIQA+) rights, while also acknowledging that there is a long road ahead to eradicate discrimination still encountered by people in the LGBTIQA+ community.
Lutheran Care has ‘Progress Pride’ flags on display at all of its sites, demonstrating our show of support for and our welcoming of people of all identities. Firstly, for those who may be unaware, let’s briefly explore the evolution of the Rainbow flag.
Did you know that the ‘original’ or ‘traditional’ rainbow pride flag was created in 1978, with eight coloured stripes? The hot pink and indigo stripes were soon removed to become what we recognise as the six striped flag (shown here below) which can be seen in a sea of pride during rallies and marches.
From top to bottom: the individual stripes represent:
- Red (for life)
- Orange (for healing)
- Yellow (for sunlight)
- Green (for nature)
- Indigo (for art/harmony)
- Violet (for spirit).
Recently a multitude of different flags have emerged to celebrate pride in diverse sexualities and genders and represent specific communities or intersectional identities. The updated Progress Pride Flag (below) was first introduced in 2018 to reflect the diversity of the LGBTIQA+ community, including the black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, and pink, blue and white stripes to represent the Transgender community. You can watch a video about the Evolution of the Pride Flag here https://youtu.be/o0sDhV2Frck.
In addition to displaying the Pride flag at all of our locations, our leadership team is working with the Lutheran Care Board on our Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and Quality Frameworks to demonstrate our commitment to every employee, volunteer and client, that we will strive to ensure they feel welcome and comfortable to bring their whole selves when they are working for or with us.
Today, as we do every day, we stand with the LGBTIQA+ community – our friends, family, clients and colleagues – as members of the community and allies to promote open acceptance of all identities and self-expressions, and come together to share pride in oneself, happiness, and love, and stand against different forms of hate in the world.
Harassment, bullying and suppression of rights can happen to anyone, anywhere. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) General Social Survey conducted in 2020 indicated that people who identify as LGBTIQA+ were more than twice as likely (30% compared to 12%) as heterosexual or cisgender people to have experienced discrimination in the 12 months prior. Similarly, this group were more likely to have experienced physical or threatened assault in the year prior.
Rohan Feegrade, Chief Executive Officer says, “Discrimination, harassment or bullying cannot not be tolerated in any form. No one should be made to feel intimidated, excluded or discriminated against.”
“Our organisation prides itself on being inclusive and welcoming to all. We celebrate diversity and believe in equality. It is important to show our support for the LGBTIQA+ community and stand behind what we believe in. This is why we take a strong position on allyship in support of LGBTIQA+ rights.
“As an inclusion-focused not for profit organisation, Diversity is not a stand-alone activity or outcome for us. It is embedded in our core values and in our approach to how we develop talent, and the culture to which we aspire.
“Like many organisations, we still have a long way to go, but I believe the first step is to show our public support for specific minority groups, such as the LGBTIQA+ community, to ensure our staff and services are well placed to respond to and support issues affecting people from diverse backgrounds in the workplace and in the community.”
Karen Harvey, Executive Manager Specialist Services, feels proud Lutheran Care is encouraging people to speak up, and openly promoting the Pride flag, to clearly show that Lutheran Care welcomes, supports and is actively including LGBTIQA+ employees, volunteers and clients.
“If you can help someone to feel welcome and supported, and bring comfort to someone who feels alone—or if we can inspire others and organisations to become more equal, then it’s necessary to stand up and speak up.”
Karen also said, “As I myself am a member of the LGBTIQA+ community, this really inspired me to push on. Sometimes it’s hard to offer up your personal and private life so openly, but I know so many others fight to get to where I am today, so I keep speaking up to make sure one day we all have equal rights.”
To find out more about IDAHOBIT, please visit https://www.idahobit.org.au/