Plans to illuminate Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance in rainbow colors have been halted after staff were subjected to ‘hateful’ threats and abuse.
The exhibit was designed to commemorate LGBTQI people employed as part of the upcoming Defending with Pride exhibit, which chronicles their stories of denial and exclusion, along with recognition and inclusion.
The Shrine of Remembrance organization announced on Saturday afternoon that the exhibition and Last Post service scheduled for Sunday would continue, but that the lighting of the colonnades would not.
“For several days, our staff has been continuously abused and, in some cases, threatened,” said CEO Dean Lee.
Plans to illuminate Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance (pictured) in rainbow colors have been halted after staff were subjected to ‘hateful’ threats and abuse
The Shrine of Remembrance is illuminated with purple light in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
‘We have seen something of what members of the LGBTIQ+ community experience every day. It’s hateful.’
To minimize damage, the sanctuary sought help from partners and others, including veterans’ associations, the Victorian government, and representatives of the LGBTQI veteran community.
Some media commentators and community members opposed the light show.
The display was intended to commemorate LGBTQI people employed as part of the upcoming Defending with Pride exhibition, which details their stories of denial and exclusion, along with recognition and inclusion (pictured is Sydney’s Opera House lit up in pride colors)
Mr. Lee noted that 50 years ago the creation of a women’s service memorial was controversial and opposed by many, as was the introduction of an annual service commemorating the Aboriginal people and residents of Torres Strait Islander.
“We are proud to recognize and celebrate the history and service of LGBTIQ+ people, something that has traditionally been absent or underrepresented on Australian war memorials,” he said.
“A decade ago, conversations about veteran suicide were taboo, but today is the subject of a Royal Commission.
“Society’s values are changing, and the sanctuary is a participant in that change and will continue its efforts to honor the service and sacrifice of all who have served Australia.”
The sanctuary’s pride exhibition will officially run from August to July 2023.
The Shrine of Remembrance organization announced Saturday afternoon that although the exhibition and Last Post service scheduled for Sunday would go ahead, the lighting of the colonnades would not (pictured is a rainbow-colored footpath in a Surry Hills park in Sydney )