The tears rolled freely down Wollongong councillor Tania Brown’s cheeks at the exact moment the rainbow flag was raised over the city’s headquarters.
Nathan Brown was just as emotional on Tuesday morning, and ‘’very proud’’ of the steps his mother had taken to show that the Council and Wollongong was ‘’a supportive, inclusive city that embraces its diverse citizens’’.
Wollongong councillors voted 8-4 in support of Mithra Cox’s motion to fly the pride flag until November 17, as a symbolic action to demonstrate support for those who have been discriminated against during the same-sex marriage survey.
This period of time has been especially tough on Mr Brown, who turns 27 on Wednesday.
‘’I’ve been out for a long time now but it's for the first time in awhile that I felt like I didn’t want to be,’’ he said.
‘’So it has been pretty hard, just feeling like I had to go back in the closet in certain periods of time.
It has been pretty hard, just feeling like I had to go back in the closet in certain periods of time.Nathan Brown
‘’So that was tough but we’re getting there and this [flag] certainly helps.
‘’And having my mum being such a proud advocate. My nana also has a rainbow flag in her house.
‘’I think it is very important to show support to the LQBTQI people at this time because it's been very difficult.
‘’I just hope that if there is some people out there who are feeling insecure, ashamed and sad...they can just look at this and feel happy and included and not attacked.’’
Cr Brown, who has repeatedly spoken out about her sadness that her son, Nathan, does not have equal rights to marry, said it was a very proud day for her.
‘’This means a lot to my family,’’ she said.
‘’It means a lot to the LQBTQI community that we can show that we see them and we understand that this has been a trying time.
‘’And, for our city to then have this symbol to show that compassion is just amazing.
‘’I can see the emotion of my son's face and I've already had calls this morning from other families saying how much it meant to them, and if we can make a difference in a young person's life, it's all worthwhile.’’
Cr Brown said raising the flag was a good move.
‘’People say that it’s not council's business. But we live in this community. It is our business. We are more than roads, rates and rubbish,’’ Cr Brown said.