Advocates have condemned anti-LGBTI motions by conservative branches of the Victorian Liberal Party, calling on allies within the party to stand up against homophobia and transphobia.
Sspokesperson for just.equal Ivan Hinton-Teoh has called on supporters of LGBTI equality in the party to speak out against branch motions at the upcoming Liberal state conference that demean and diminish LGBTI people.
Other LGBTI advocates also condemned the motion that would have seen anti-gay and anti-trans therapy made more freely available to parents of LGBTI children.
Dale Park, co-convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, said the motions were “very concerning”.
Jo Hirst from Parents of Gender Diverse Children said she was “at a loss to understand what would motivate” promotion of anti-gay therapy.
“It is deeply concerning that any government body or political party would even consider taking such a bold stand against the world’s best practice and medical advice,” she said.
“The world over we have seen positive moves away from so called ‘conversion therapies’.”
Hinton-Teoh said other anti-LGBTI motions are still set to be debated, including one stripping away discrimination protections for LGBTI people in federal law.
“LGBTI community allies in the Liberal Party need to walk the walk by making a strong case for LGBTI dignity and equality,” he said.
“Marriage equality was not ‘mission accomplished’ because there is still much work to be done to remove discrimination and prejudice.”
“It’s not enough for our allies in the Liberal Party to be seen marching in pride parades when there are still members of a major political party who want to roll back LGBTI human rights.”
Hinton-Teoh said he is concerned by reports that Victorian Liberal MPs may not speak out against anti-LGBTI prejudice because they fear they may not pre-selected if they do.
“There is a fierce debate currently in Australia around free speech and it appears that only those opposing the dignity of LGBTI Australians within the Liberal Party are using this freedom,” he said.
“Right now we need our Liberal supporters to speak freely about the challenges facing LGBTI Australians, advocating for our dignity and self determination and the importance of a society that respects diversity.”