Australian school children repaint Police station to mark IDAHOTB

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About 400 students from seven schools threw paint-filled balloons at a Victorian police station to promote inclusion of the LGBT community.

The colours used were those of the rainbow. The result was an 80m mural produced as part of a collaboration between Merri Health and Moreland City ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, or IDAHOBIT. Dulux was a sponsor, and Bunnings, Metro Trains Melbourne and the Greater Melbourne Cemetery Trust also partnered.

The second part of the event involved students emerging from a 36sq m marquee holding different coloured pieces of cardboard. They were photographed with Snapchat’s annual IDAHOBIT filter, which vomits rainbows on to the image. The result is a giant rainbow vomit emoji that will be released as part of a film produced by Youthworks on the actual­ IDAHOBIT day, May 17.

Fawkner police station was chosen because it sits next to a train line, allowing passengers to see the mural on their daily commutes.

Victoria Police Community Engagement Acting Inspector Troy Papworth said the mural was a way for police to show their support and foster confidence with LGBT people.

“The rainbow artwork will form a permanent 80m mural on the police station fence and is a symbolic way for the community, including police, to show that we’re taking a stance against violence and discrimination,” he said.

“Through the mural, police are also hoping to increase confidence and trust between LGBTI communities and police, and encourage everyone to speak to us if they need help.”

Merri Health community arts and development officer Russ Pirie said the arts were an effective way to get youth involved in social issues. “I think the arts is a really intelligent and powerful way to engage young people in acts of social justice and allyship,” he said.

“As a community we don’t all need to be the same, (we) just need to learn to live together in a way which is safe and inclusive.”

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