On 31 August, staff from WSCLC donned purple in pride to celebrate Wear it Purple Day. As an annual event that commenced in 2010, Wear it Purple Day aims to support, empower and celebrate rainbow young people. WSCLC solicitor Peter Longfield spoke passionately about the importance of celebrating the day.
Why is Wear it Purple Day significant to you?
Growing up as a young gay man, there were not so many people I knew who were like me, could be a role model for me, or who I could safely talk to about it. This was quite isolating. But now we have Wear it Purple day and other [LGBTQI+] events on through the year! It gives young people a source of information, solidarity and support. Such events are very important for young people who are learning to work out who they are in the world.
Why is it important for community legal centres (CLCs) specifically to celebrate Wear it Purple Day?
CLCs are funded to provide services to people who are experiencing problems with access to justice. I think sometimes young people get counted out of our system, or…are not sufficiently represented. A significant number of young people might be LGBTIQ+, and I think it’s important to reach out to them.
There may be multiple barriers for LGBTIQ young people in Western Sydney to access legal information safely that’s culturally appropriate for them. I want to make sure that we’re making a statement that our CLC values young LGBTIQ people, and can assist them if they need a safe space to come and receive legal advice that is confidential. It’s good for us a legal centre to be associated with Wear it Purple Day, because it’s growing in strength and attracts a lot of interest.
Why do you think it’s so important to hold LGBTQI+ events in the Western Sydney area?
In the same-sex marriage postal survey, there was a fairly low vote for yes in Western Sydney. It’s important to raise awareness that LGBTIQ people live everywhere! Some of us are old, some of us are young- being LGBTIQ isn’t just a thing that happens in the inner city and the well-known queer-friendly suburbs in Sydney.
What would you like to see at WSCLC’s Wear it Purple Day event next year?
I’d like to do something centrally with our three offices. For instance, having a quiz, a conference, a stall and/or a talk [about LGBTQI+ diversity]. These kind of things really help our workers, and it communicates that we are a mature organisation that actually knows how to reach the people we want to reach.
This interview was edited for brevity and length.
Read more about Wear it Purple day, and check out the way other people in Australia celebrated, by clicking here.