The rainbow flag flew high on the breeze in Blacktown’s Village Green for the first time on Wednesday.
Blacktown police Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald did the honour of raising the flag to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Chief Inspector Fitzgerald, who is also vice-chair of Blacktown Area Community Centres (BACC), said the event was “about doing what’s right for the community.”
“Regardless of political, religious and personal beliefs, it’s important that the community knows that police are there to support and protect them,” he said.
A crowd of about 40 people including BACC members and local police officers turned out to witness the flag raising.
Despite apparently being supported by Blacktown Council and held next to its chambers on Flushcombe Road, neither mayor Stephen Bali or any councillors attended the event.
Kings Park resident Cris Pons said that was “a bit unusual” but was encouraged by the turnout.
“It would have been great to see Stephen [Bali] down here,” she said.
“It’s great to see so many different members of the community come to show their support. Especially members of the police.”
Having first worked in Blacktown in the 1980s, Chief Inspector Fitzgerald said he had seen a huge shift in the social fabric of the area.
“I think the community is becoming much more accepting.”
The event was organised by BACC to highlight Blacktown’s diversity on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is held on May 17 each year.
BACC chair person Kooryn Sheaves said, like most of Australia, Blacktown was experiencing a generational change.
“Blacktown has to be a gay friendly place because tens of thousands of homosexual people live here,” she said.
“This flag flies today to get people to think that they don’t have to be afraid of someone just because they’re different.”