ACON has called on the Rudd Government to include the GLBT community in the Common-wealth social inclusion agenda in a paper entitled GLBT Perspectives on Social Inclusion/Exclusion.

Touching on the points of legal discrimination, the ongoing battle against homophobia and the social exclusion of people living with HIV, the paper sets out a series of targets that need to be focused upon by GLBT advocacy groups pushing for reform from the government and general public.

The points outlined include the need to firstly recognise that the GLBT population is one that still faces discrimination, and must therefore be included in the Commonwealth’s social inclusion agenda. The paper then calls for all forms of legal discrimination to be removed and for the introduction of Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation to cover freedom of sexuality and gender identity. Finally, the point is raised that there needs to be increased funding to implement anti-homophobia education campaigns.

The GLBT community still experiences exclusion which means that there are individuals who cannot partake in all the benefits that come with being a part of Australian society, ACON president Mark Orr said.

This needs to be addressed through legal reform as well as social and economic reform.

Statistics showing that a third of Australians still consider homosexuality to be immoral and that 85 percent of GLBT respondents to a survey from the NSW Attorney-General’s department had experienced some form of homophobic violence or abuse are indicators of how far we still have to come, Orr said.

People need to find their voice and stand up and say, we demand the same rights as everyone else, he said.

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is doing a great job with their 58 ’08 campaign, but generally people need to become more politically aware. They need to start interacting with and writing to their local members and use whatever groups they may be a part of to promote a message of social inclusion.

To read the full details of the report head to www.acon.org.au.

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