Rainbow flag for Taylor Square
Last month the Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced at the opening of the Mardi Gras Festival that the Sydney City Council would be commissioning a permanent artwork to commemorate the contribution the LGBTI community has made to the city. The artwork is slated to be in place at Taylor Square in time for the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras. Today the council has announced in the interim they will fly a rainbow flag at Taylor Square as a symbol of the LGBTI community’s diversity.
The rainbow flag initiative was brought to the council's attention in a motion by Councillor Christine Forster as an amendment to the Lord Mayoral's Minutes in a meeting on Monday. Forster's motion to install a rainbow flag at Taylor Square was supported unanimously. "The rainbow motif is a recognised and potent symbol. This is something we can do while the artwork is being developed," Forster said.
Forster told SX she asked council to approve the immediate installation of a rainbow flag as the LGBTI community had been very clear about wanting a symbol sooner rather than later.
"The Lord Mayor’s proposal for a public artwork to be installed in 2018 is welcome, but I was very pleased that she eventually agreed to my amendment to install the rainbow flag, which will fly in Taylor Square from now until then. This will be a visible symbol celebrating the importance of the area to LGBTI community, culture and history," Forster said.
"Sydney is home to the largest LGBTI community in Australia. We’ll be creating a beautiful, permanent piece of public art celebrating their contribution to our city over the past 40 years,” the Lord Mayor told SX.
“We want to create something unique and know from our work on other major public art projects that the process of finding the right artist, working with the community, and constructing and installing the piece will take time.
“In the interim we will fly a rainbow flag at Taylor Square which will complement the 200 rainbow banners we fly along Oxford Street, and rainbow flag above Sydney Town Hall during Mardi Gras.”
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has welcomed the Council’s decision to install a rainbow flag at Taylor Square
“It is fantastic that Taylor Square will now have an iconic rainbow flag. A flag that will send a message right across Sydney that we are proud of our diversity and acknowledge the contribution the LGBTI community makes to our city,” said Robertson.
Robertson also thanked Councillor Linda Scott for her tireless work for the LGBTI community and tenacity at campaigning for LGBTI issues.
“Like Linda I am a proud supporter of marriage equality and recognise that there are many more challenges ahead in the long march for true equality in the LGBTI community.
“The flag in Taylor Square will be a signal to tourists and residents alike that Sydney is and always will be the spectacular home of Australia’s LGBTI community.”
City of Sydney Councillor Linda Scott said: “Nine years after this idea was first raised by Labor Councillor Verity Firth and one year after hundreds of activists chalked a rainbow flag outside Sydney Town Hall in support of my motion for a giant rainbow flag, I am so pleased the City of Sydney Council has finally supported this idea.
“This is a great victory for the whole community.
“It’s time to permanently enshrine this symbol in our City’s landscape and at the same time, send a powerful message to all political parties that we need real reform on issues of equality for the LGBTI community.”
Both Forster and Scott have suggested once the permanent monument is decided upon and erected, it should be opened by a member of the LGBTI community it represents.
In a joint statement released in February, Forster and Scott said:
"Whatever the monument is, we publicly call on the Lord Mayor to give its importance back to the community. When it is opened, there should be no speeches by politicians and no plaques. Instead we ask that a member of the 78ers, those who first marched in Mardi Gras open the monument and present it to the community. It's about the community, not about politicians."