A new national organisation called The Equality Project plans to bring together queer advocates and advocacy groups that are often disparate in the struggle towards LGBTI equality.
Launched in Melbourne last night, the initiative is headed by Jason Tuazon-McCheyne with a diverse working group of 25 that encompasses the broad range of intersectional identities and experiences that help to form Australia’s rainbow community.
The biennial Better Together conference will take place a couple of days before Midsumma Carnival and will see the country’s diverse queer community come together to engage and better understand each other’s experiences and how the community can work together to achieve substantial change.
Tuazon-McCheyne said there are so many brilliant people doing great work yet most don’t know each other.
“We’re not winning arguments in the public sphere at the moment – whether it’s Safe Schools, marriage, or trans right,” he said.
“They’re all going down quickly and our political environment’s not good.
“Through the Better Together conference we want to bring visibility, education, and relationship formations to LGBTI people and their communities.
“We’ll have a strong indigenous, feminist, religion-positive, and multicultural event that’s also inclusive of the deaf community and people with disability.
“I think if we can get 1,000 people together over the two days something very special will happen.”
Tuazon-McCheyne added that all the diverse members of the LGBTI community are better together.
“We’re not full citizens, none of us, and the aim of this project is to imagine a world that affirms and embraces LGBTI people as full citizens – imagine that,” he said.
A member of the working group, Jacob Thomas, said they were in as soon as the idea of jumping on board was raised with them.
“The project acknowledges that the intersectionality of experience and identity in Australia is incredibly rich and wonderful,” they said.
“But what comes with these intersecting identities is recognising as individuals we may deal with minority stress in one context, but we may also be dealing with it in a myriad of other spaces.
“If we’re going to engage someone we can’t start from a white, privileged, cis, gay male and gaytriarchal perspective. More like – you guys can come to us and it’ll be fine.”
When it comes to the conference, Thomas said the greatest value will be in the knowledge imparted on the wider and more diverse community.
“We know absolutely brilliant campaigners, activists, and individuals that have done solid things for our community on a state and national level,” they said.
“But I want to make sure the Equality Project gives that learning and skill set to other people so they can take it with them on whatever projects they’re working on.”
The Better Together 2018 conference will be held in the Melbourne Town Hall between January 10 – 13. You can purchase early bird tickets registration to the conference for the next two weeks.
To find out more and to register visit: www.theequalityproject.org.au