Melbourne’s famous Shrine of Remembrance abandons plans to light the building in pride colours

Melbourne’s famous Shrine of Remembrance abandons plans to light the building in rainbow colours to celebrate pride in the defence forces after staff received ‘hateful’ threats and abuse

  • Plans were scrapped to light the Shrine of Remembrance in rainbow colours
  • The Melbourne shrine was set to be lit up to celebrate pride in the defence force
  • Staff received ‘hateful’ threats and abuse which led to the plan being abandoned

Plans to light up Melbourne‘s Shrine of Remembrance in rainbow colours have been abandoned after staff were subjected to ‘hateful’ threats and abuse.

The display was intended to commemorate LGBTQI people in service as part of the upcoming exhibition Defending with Pride, which chronicles their stories of denial and exclusion, along with recognition and inclusion.

The Shrine of Remembrance organisation announced on Saturday afternoon that while the exhibition and Last Post service scheduled for Sunday would go ahead, the lighting of its colonnades would not.

‘Over several days, our staff have received and been subject to sustained abuse and, in some cases, threats,’ chief executive officer Dean Lee said.

Plans to light up Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance (pictured) in rainbow colours have been abandoned after staff were subjected to ‘hateful’ threats and abuse

The Shrine of Remembrance is seen lit up with purple light in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Shrine of Remembrance is seen lit up with purple light in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

‘We have seen something of what members of the LGBTIQ+ community experience every day. It is hateful.’

In the interests of minimising harm, the shrine sought guidance from partners and others including veteran associations, the Victorian government, and representatives of the LGBTQI veteran community.

Some media commentators and members of the community opposed the light show.

The display was intended to commemorate LGBTQI people in service as part of the upcoming exhibition Defending with Pride, which chronicles their stories of denial and exclusion, along with recognition and inclusion (pictured is Sydney's Opera House lit up in pride colours)

The display was intended to commemorate LGBTQI people in service as part of the upcoming exhibition Defending with Pride, which chronicles their stories of denial and exclusion, along with recognition and inclusion (pictured is Sydney’s Opera House lit up in pride colours)

Mr Lee noted that, 50 years ago, creating a memorial to women’s service was controversial and opposed by many, as was the introduction of an annual service commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘We are proud to recognise and celebrate the history and service of LGBTIQ+ people, something that has traditionally been absent or under-represented within Australia’s war memorials,’ he said.

‘A decade ago, conversations around veteran suicide were taboo, yet today it is the subject of a Royal Commission.

‘Society’s values change, and the Shrine is a participant in that change and will continue its efforts to honour the service and sacrifice of all who have served Australia.’

The shrine’s pride exhibition officially runs from August until July 2023.

The Shrine of Remembrance organisation announced on Saturday afternoon that while the exhibition and Last Post service scheduled for Sunday would go ahead, the lighting of its colonnades would not (pictured is a rainbow coloured footpath in a Surry Hills park in Sydney)

The Shrine of Remembrance organisation announced on Saturday afternoon that while the exhibition and Last Post service scheduled for Sunday would go ahead, the lighting of its colonnades would not (pictured is a rainbow coloured footpath in a Surry Hills park in Sydney)

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