Every June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. It’s a time to reflect on just how far civil rights have progressed in half a century and an opportunity to protest discrimination and violence.
Tamworth resident William Weller moved to the region from Sydney more than 10 years ago to give his daughter a better life, and to honour the life he wanted to live.
The 42 year old decided to transition when he arrived in Tamworth after suppressing feelings he had been experiencing while living in the city.
“When I moved to Tamworth I felt I was in a new place, people didn’t really know me that well so I could transition a lot easier,” Weller says.
Weller is now the president of Tamworth Pride Inc, a group which started back in 2018 to support the LGBTIQ community.
The group holds a number of social events each year to bring its 48 members together and is now preparing to mark Pride Month which runs from 1 to 30 June.
“It is important to mark an event like Pride Month and show that we are proud to be the people that we are, and we are not ashamed and we are happy living the life the way we are,” Weller says.
Pride Tamworth Inc will mark the occasion with a dinner for its members and its hoping to hold a dance later in the year when the weather warms up.
But the president says the month is not just about celebrating, but also educating the wider community on the LGBTIQ community. While his experience as a trans person has been mostly positive in Tamworth, there has been some opposition to group events in the past.
“Some people don’t actually understand the journey and they don’t understand what it is like to not feel comfortable in the body they are in,” he said.
“In a month where there is quite a lot of visibility for the LGBTIQ community it is a really good time to educate people, I definitely don’t have an issue if someone asks me a question in a respectful way about my identity,” Weller says.
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