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"Pride can mean different things to different people - it can be a protest, a celebration, an identity, a way to find friends and family, and more, or a combination of many of those things." - Alice Oseman, Heartstopper.

"While LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way in some parts of the world, there's still lots of work to be done." - Alice Oseman, Heartstopper.

Wagga pair finds new way to beat bigots and break down barriers

Photo by Tom Dennis

Wagga duo launch LGBTQIA+ friendly website

Article by Taylor Dodge, March 8 2024 - 8:00pm

A power duo has created a safe space online after a couple was bashed on social media for asking Wagga residents for their LGBTQIA+ friendly hairdresser recommendations.

Vic Dodds and Amanda Richter launched their website Pride Australia in a bid to provide LGBTQIA+ members with access to a list of easily accessible resources.

The site's main goal is to provide a platform for the community to find services without fear of bias and bigotry.

"I want to try and make sure this town and world is a good place for not just my children but anyone's children to grow in whether they are LGBT or not," Miss Richter said.

"I have always taught my children to be kind to everyone and I want to show them that I'm out there actively trying to make a change for the better not just now but for their future."

The website provides a list of local safe spaces including LGBTQIA+ friendly businesses so that residents don't have to face the fear of asking and potentially be met with an unkind response.

"The website is a bit of a one stop shop for people, not just in Wagga, but nationwide and international as well, where people can go, they can get the help, the support that they need through services, and find safe spaces," Vic said.

"But also places to go like websites where they can get very good resources because some people in the community, we found early on, didn't know these places existed."

The website eliminates the need to take to social media to ask questions where residents can then be made a target for bullying.

"So we created it more or less as a place where people could go to feel safe where they could ask difficult questions," Vic said.

"We're linked in with multiple agencies including LikeMind for over 18s, and for under 26 we've also got Headspace."

The pair have been working on creating the platform for a couple of years now but began really putting the hard work in over the last three to six months.

Despite being a new initiative, the website has already attracted a crowd with residents already going to it to seek information.

"Just the other day, actually, we got a message from someone who actually was after gender diverse and sexuality resources to figure out with gender and sex they were," Vic said.

"That's a question that you wouldn't generally feel comfortable enough to ask without outing yourself unintentionally."

The website also allows residents to remain anonymous to add to the safety aspect of it.

While society has come a long way in acceptance compared to earlier years, they say there is still a long way left to go in accepting those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

"I came from a small community like where people are still afraid to ask the difficult questions about where to go, even for something as simple as a haircut, which that question has now sparked a lot of controversy online with that one post," Vic said.

"People's mental health can definitely deteriorate, especially if they feel like they should have been able to ask the question, but then get these kind of responses back."