THE Governor of Victoria has hosted an historic reception at Government House to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) in a mark of respect and support for the LGBTI community.

In attendance were hundreds of LGBTI advocates and allies, as well as the Hon Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria, who said the occasion ought not be remarkable.

“I am sure like all of you, we look forward to a day when an occasion like this will be rather commonplace – or better still, unnecessary,” she said.

“Gathered together this evening is a diverse and proud community – one which has carried the torch of courage, often at great cost, to combat homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

“This week you and I and Victorians of goodwill will join with people around the globe to acknowledge and denounce the discrimination and violence that the LGBTI community continues to experience, at home and abroad, and I wish you a strong voice in doing so.”

IDAHOBIT marks the date on 17 May 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Victoria’s gender and sexuality commissioner Ro Allen took to the stage at the event to comment on how the day’s acronym sounds like something from the Lord of the Rings.

“Most people say, could you have picked a better name – it sounds like something out of Lord of the Rings,” Allen said.

“It’s a bit ironic, because they spend the whole trilogy trying to get rid of rings and we’re trying to get the rings.

“But I think we’re good at reclaiming language, so maybe we can find some personal imagery and hope in the acronym IDAHOBIT.”

Allen then explained how Australia’s fight for equality could relate to the story of Lord of the Rings.

“What was Lord of the Rings? It was characters in a trilogy that were bound together in a quest to get rid of evil energy,” Allen said.

“Likewise to succeed in our quest for equality we must work together, play to our strengths, and celebrate our differences.”

Minister for Equality Martin Foley also spoke on the night, highlighting this year’s IDAHOBIT theme.

“This year’s theme is families and that means a lot of different things to different people,” he said.

“The beautiful diversity we see in LGBTI families comes together in the form of relationships, shared life experiences, and that broad definition of what falls under the rainbow families umbrella.”

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