Justin Mitchell is a firefighter with Daylesford Fire Brigade and the Chair of Intersectionality with the Emergency Management Pride Network
Today CFA celebrates Wear it Purple Day, a chance to encourage supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for young rainbow people.
Wear it Purple was founded in 2010 in response to global stories of discrimination and disproportionate suicide rates among young members of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Today, the day looks to advocate for and empower rainbow young people, celebrate and promote the value of diversity and inclusion in all community settings, raise awareness and champion role models within the space.
For Daylesford Fire Brigade’s Justin Mitchell, who is also the Chair of Intersectionality with the Emergency Management Pride Network, Wear It Purple Day is about encouraging real and meaningful conversations affecting the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Days like Wear it Purple Day are important as they provide the opportunity to have a conversation about the barriers that exist to full participation, in this case, of young rainbow people in the CFA,” he said.
“For me, today is about awareness. It’s a good place to start to have conversations with people but it also flags to our communities the CFA’s values of inclusion and diversity.
“It gives us to opportunity to reflect on our brigades and consider if they truly represent the communities that we serve, and if not, how we can remove any of those barriers that do exist.”
For Justin, the strength in Daylesford Fire Brigade lies in its diversity and inclusion.
“We are an inclusive brigade and have some really progressive members who have been championing gender inclusivity across all roles,” he said. “It is also a relatively close and supportive cohort of volunteers.
“I strongly believe in strength in diversity, and by embracing this ideology [of inclusion] it will make the CFA stronger in the long run, increase our relevance and, especially for smaller brigades, ensure longevity. It is also a reminder that equality and inclusivity are only effective when we put actions to those words.
“It is no longer enough to say, ‘we will accept you and not discriminate against you’, we need to say ‘we accept, value, respect and importantly acknowledge who you are’.”
Find out more about Wear it Purple Day at www.wearitpurple.org.