The reporting of tragic homophobia-related suicides in the US recently, the It Gets Better video initiative, the Wear it Purple Day, and the post-Sleaze Ball letters to the editor on how we relate to one another at our parties have all served as useful reminders that understanding, respect and acceptance are values we need to encourage whenever we can.

November presents opportunities to reflect on these issues in a range of different ways. Following on from October’s Reclaim the Night rally, a public forum was held on Monday at Parliament House to discuss homophobic bullying in our schools. On Saturday, November 20 we remember victims of transphobia as part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Then on Thursday, November 25 people — particularly men and boys — are being encouraged to wear a white ribbon as part of the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women.

This November let’s remember that violence is never acceptable and that we all have a responsibility to stop it. By staying silent, we condone and perpetuate it. Let’s also remember those who have created the amazing safe spaces we enjoy every day.

At the recent City of Sydney launch of the extraordinary lamp memorial in Mary’s Place, the memorial’s namesake, a sexual assault victim called Mary who happened to be a lesbian, said it beautifully: “The more people who speak out to say this is not ok, the closer we move towards a brighter and safer future.”

Anyone who has experienced verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation, physical assault or domestic violence can contact ACON’s Anti-Violence Project on 9206 2116. You can also make an online report to us at www.acon.org.au/ant-violence.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive intimate relationship please go to www.anothercloset.com or call ACON on 1800 063 060. You can also report violence to the police on the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

By ROBERT KNAPMAN.

info: Robert Knapman is the Anti-Violence Project co-ordinator.

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