Same-sex marriage and adoption laws have been altered, while social attitudes have come a long way in a short space of time.
Considerable improvements have been made within CFA as well, and it’s impossible to underestimate the group’s contribution to this.
Erica & District Fire Brigade Secretary Russell Wright, who has played a leading role in the establishment of CFA Pride as an effective and impactful group, said the group was established in order to change the perception of CFA as a ‘men’s club’.
“CFA Pride was founded by myself five years ago, in an effort to raise awareness of diversity in CFA,” Russell said.
“The idea was to support LGBTI volunteers and staff, to better engage with the LGBTI community and encourage LGBTI involvement in CFA through volunteering.
“I think we’ve been able to chip away at the stereotypical view of CFA being a men’s club, and we’ve created a space of LGBTI members to socialise and engage with one another.”
The group has experienced considerable success in its primitive years.
Since first marching together under the Midsumma Pride March in February 2014, the group won the 2016 Volunteering Victoria State Awards for Inclusion, in recognition for their work in making CFA a more inclusive organisation.
The group have been ambassadors at events such as Pride March, Chill Out Festival, Wear it Purple and more, helping to raise awareness of LGBTI issues both in and out of the organisation.
Grant funding was awarded from Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) for a regional tour covering issues LGBTI people face in a non-inclusive work place or community.
Considerable media coverage has been achieved, and partnerships continue to grow, as Russell notes.
“It’s been very successful as a grassroots program and it continues to grow.
“There is now a much larger LGBTI network headed by EMV.
“Five years go by very quickly!”
CFA is hosting a celebratory CFA Pride 5th birthday morning tea at CFA HQ, Thursday 31st January at 10.30am.
Click here for more information on other CFA Pride events, including participation in the 2019 Midsumma Festival.