Not So United: When Intolerance Eclipses Unity

The image captures the Southport Uniting church windows, behind which LGBT+ affirming posters were defaced with black crosses, vividly illustrating the tension between acceptance and intolerance on April 2nd, 2024.

Sunday afternoon was supposed to be a celebration of unity and hope. It was Easter, a time when people from all walks of life come together to celebrate. But sadly, that unity was shattered on Monday night when intolerance reared its ugly head.

At the heart of the incident lies Short Street, where the Southport Uniting Church intersects with the parklands. It was here that Easter United took place, bringing together churches from across the Gold Coast for a celebration of music and unity. But just a day later, the spirit of unity was marred by an act of vandalism.

Someone had spray-painted black crosses over the LGBT+ affirming welcoming posters that adorned the church's windows. These minus18 posters had been proudly displayed for the past 6 months, signaling to the community that everyone was welcome, especially the LGBT+ community. The church's contemporary service, held each Sunday at 5 pm, had become a safe haven for many in the LGBT+ community, offering acceptance and support in a world that often fails to do so.

It's likely that the perpetrator was someone who had attended Easter United, highlighting the stark contrast between the message of unity preached at the event and the intolerance displayed in its aftermath. It's a sobering reminder that even in moments of celebration, bigotry and prejudice can rear their heads.

But amidst the darkness, there is a glimmer of hope. With some elbow grease and determination, the graffiti was swiftly removed, leaving the church's windows even more sparkling than before. It's a testament to the resilience of the community and a refusal to let hate win.

However, it's important to acknowledge the pain and hurt caused by such acts of intolerance. The LGBT+ community has once again been targeted, reminding us that there is still much work to be done in building a truly inclusive society. This incident echoes similar acts of hatred seen elsewhere, such as the targeting of Trans Day of Remembrance in the US, which coincided with Easter Sunday.

The pristine church windows after the graffiti has been removed -
Photo: Shane St Reynolds.

The events over Easter weekend remind us of the global struggle for acceptance. In the US, Easter Sunday coinciding with Trans Day of Visibility sparked important conversations about equality. This serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for inclusivity worldwide.

As we reflect on what happened, let us not forget the true message of Easter - one of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Let us strive to be a community that embraces diversity and welcomes everyone with open arms. And let us continue to stand against intolerance wherever it may rear its head, ensuring that moments of unity are not overshadowed by acts of hate.

Together, we can create a Gold Coast that is truly united, where all are accepted and celebrated for who they are.

Not So United: When Intolerance Eclipses Unity Not So United: When Intolerance Eclipses Unity Reviewed by Shane St Reynolds on April 02, 2024 Rating: 5

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