A petition demanding Parramatta City Council apologise to gay and lesbian group Twenty10 has drawn wide community support.
Twenty10 claims a Parramatta City lord mayor advisor asked them to take down a banner at the Rediscover the River festival in Parramatta as it contained ‘‘offensive language’’.
A council statement on the matter said: ‘‘council regrets any inconvenience or offence taken by its actions and values the efforts, and contribution of Twenty10 in servicing at-risk youth’’.
Twenty10 provides support and works with young people, communities and families of diverse genders and sexualities.
On the Sun’s Facebook page Bill Cashman said gay and lesbian people have ‘‘enough discrimination to contend with without having a support group be told their sign is ‘offensive’ because it refers to them’’.
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‘‘Young people with confusion about their sexuality are among the most vulnerable in society — they need groups like Twenty10 to give them hope and self-esteem,’’ Mr Cashman said.
Gemma Klamer said everyone deserved the right to be themselves and get support when they struggled with the ‘‘personal affronts and discomfort’’ others displayed when they are being themselves.
Trevor Weeding, who also posted on the Sun’s Facebook page, said: ‘‘I think Twenty10 should seriously consider a discrimination case frankly. I’m appalled that an [local government area] the size of Parramatta could have such narrow-minded people as elected officials or staff (depending on who actually made the decision)’’.
A petition calling for the council to apologise to Twenty10 has already gained 1138 supporters.
On the website change.org, where people can sign the petition, many supporters have posted messages.
‘‘Are you offended by me? Transgender. I’m so deeply disappointed by this,’’ posted David Thomas.
Joe O’Sullivan posted: ‘‘As a parent of a gay/queer youth and an ally of twenty10 I find the behaviour and attitude of the Parramatta mayor’s office to be both discriminatory and highly offensive. If there was ever a need for education they have highlighted it’’.
A Parramatta City Council response to the matter states:
‘‘In response to numerous complaints made by members of the public, organisers of the Rediscover the River event asked Twenty10 to remove two promotional banners.
‘‘At no stage did the lord mayor or council staff ask Twenty10 to quit their participation at the event.
‘‘Council regrets any inconvenience or offence taken by its actions and values the efforts, and contribution of Twenty10 in servicing at-risk youth.
‘‘Council has enjoyed a positive relationship with Twenty10 over some time and hopes to continue to work in partnership over the coming years.’’