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Lord Mayor responds to criticism for voting down pride museum

Lord Mayor responds to criticism for voting down pride museum

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 18 March 2014 20:44 Written by // Cec Busby

The Lord Mayor Clover Moore has come under fire after she and fellow council members voted down a motion by Liberal Councillor Christine Forster for the City of Sydney Council to look into the business case to set up and run an LGBTI Pride Museum in the Oxford Street precinct.

Forster told SX the Lord Mayor claimed a museum is not a goal for the community, "despite the fact that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras lobbied for and ran a highly acclaimed and widely supported pop-up museum in a council-owned property on Oxford Street for two months in 2013".

Moore however told SX her reticence lay not in providing a space and funds for a museum but that a museum run and staffed by Council could inadvertently fall into the hands of conservatives. She also questioned the motivations of some Councillors in supporting the project, saying: “This debate is being driven by major parties desperately trying to distract people from the fact that they have worked against granting the LGBTI community the basic human right of full equality.”

Moore stressed an LGBTI Pride Museum should be run by community members not politicians.

“Why would we risk putting the telling of LGBTI stories under the control of nervous bureaucrats or subject to pressure from a future Council? Imagine a conservative Council trying to pressure the curator into toning down or removing an exhibition they thought offensive,” Moore commented.

The Lord Mayor said there were already significant items of historical LGBTI memorabilia on display at numerous venues around Sydney, including the Powerhouse Museum and the NSW State Library (which houses many of the records Moore collected as part of her work with the community).

Whilst Moore appreciated the need for financial support for a Pride Museum, she suggested a community-operated museum supported by fundraising sponsorship and philanthropy, may be the way forward.
She cited several examples of community run initiatives to SX: “The Schwules Museum, Berlin is managed and operated by the community-based Friends of a Gay Museum in Berlin. It’s supported through membership fees and donations.
“The GLBT History Museum, San Francisco opened in 2011 as a project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. The Society is assisted in running the museum by many passionate volunteers.
“The National LGBTI Museum Project in the USA was initiated by furniture entrepreneur Mitchell Gold and his husband Tim Gold, a former Smithsonian researcher. The estimated cost of the project is between $50 million and $100 million and has a target opening date of 2018.”
Still Moore did concede a Pride museum was an important acknowledgement for the LGBTI community.
“A museum is important and if a viable proposal was developed by the community, I’d support it and lobby hard to help attract funding from the community and State and Federal Governments,” Moore said.


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and

Comments (5)

  • Kirk

    28 March 2014 at 10:49 |
    As a person who lives in San Francisco and has many a time gone to both the LGBT archives and the Museum space The Lord Mayor is correct in mentioning that it takes a lot of volunteers doing a lot of research to create a museum space. I think the first would be to start a NPNGO to archive what history you have. What is in the Museum here in SF does change ( this week it closes for a new instillation) and the current exhibit has been up for a year is barely scratching the surface of what the archives hold.


  • Eric Glare

    20 March 2014 at 15:21 |
    re: "For most of that time Forster was married to a man and Forsters [sic] brother, Tony Abbott, refuses to allow gay marriage discussion let alone a vote. "

    I don't think your argument is fair particularly when you take into account the big picture of what it means to be GLBTI (yes the B is for bisexual), the journey that it takes to get there and your support for a friend of GLBTI - you can't have it both ways.

    If we can avoid the personal bullying, competition across the political spectrum for doing something for our communities should be a good thing. Of course my opinion is worth nothing because I come from a family of fundamentalist Christians, never mind that I'm a lefty fundamentalist atheist now.


  • DJ Walker

    20 March 2014 at 13:59 |
    I think you have it right Mr Wilson..... I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there willing to assist financially and with their time (including myself)..... but we don't yet seem to have an idea of the full cost of the museum. If Clover is in support of the concept, they should at least proceed with a costing.


  • Alan Z

    20 March 2014 at 10:38 |
    Clover Moore has come under fire from Chris Forster. Clover has supported the gay community for all of her 27 years in politics. For most of that time Forster was married to a man and Forsters brother, Tony Abbott, refuses to allow gay marriage discussion let alone a vote. This stunt was about Forster wedging Clover Moore, nothing less. Forster's motives would make a more interesting story. What will she run for next election? Will it be Alex Greenwhich in her sights then? Or will she make a second attempt to unseat long time gay suiooprter Lord Mayor Clover Moore? Time will tell


  • David Wilson

    20 March 2014 at 09:39 |
    I think Lord Mayor Clover Moore has nailed a few of the key issues in making a permanent LGBTQI Museum a reality for Sydney. The ongoing funding for a Queer Museum is one of the major concerns for its long term survival. Perhaps the door is open for the City of Sydney to fund a Council initiative into documenting the costs of establishing and maintaining a permanent museum, to be run by an independent LGBTQI group specifically established for this purpose. A museum in the Oxford Street precinct would be in line with Councils desire to reinvigorate this business and cultural area. The City of Sydney, rather than managing and operating a Museum, could provide support in the provision of subsidised rent and other economic assistance.


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