Inclusive education and family violence are among the top priorities for LGBTI Victorians heading into the state election in November, according to a new report compiled by several community organisations.
The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) – in collaboration with groups such as Thorne Harbour Health, Transgender Victoria, and Rainbow Families Victoria – have released an LGBTI election booklet outlining 59 recommendations they would like political parties to consider ahead of the election later this year.
“We thought it was a great opportunity to work together as a community and find common ground around key issues we want tackled,” he told the Star Observer.
“And I think it’s absolutely critical that if we are putting out a booklet about LGBTI priorities, that it addresses the whole community.”
However, while each community organisation had a different set of priorities when contributing to the booklet, Park said certain issues came up across the board.
“An education system that embraces and acknowledges LGBTI students and parents was a goal universally shared by the groups,” he said.
“Also family violence – it’s something that has had much more light shed on it since the royal commission, and we believe it’s something that needs to be addressed.
“We need to have conversations with our communities and ensure there’s enough LGBTI-specific support in the family violence sector.”
One of the recommendations calls on the state government to commit to funding evidence-based, age-appropriate, inclusive sexuality education and respectful relationships education.
It also urges the government to fund resources to assist schools in supporting young gender diverse students and students who are undergoing transition.
Chair of Transgender Victoria, Brenda Appleton, said the LGBTI community had shown a great deal of strength in the face of adversity.
“But with a united voice, we’re offering a way forward through practical policy reforms, such as birth certificate reform which is needed urgently, to ensure Victoria is a place where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society with dignity and equality,” she said.
Executive Director of Rainbow Families Victoria, Felicity Marlowe, shared a similar sentiment.
“Today LGBTI communities stand united in our call for a fairer and equal Victoria,” she said.
“A Victoria where we can live, work, and raise our families without fear of prejudice and discrimination.”
The VGLRL will provide all political parties with a survey to complete, before creating a report card for each of them and scoring them on their commitment to LGBTI equality.
Park said it will help hold the parties to their promises.
“Where parties sit on certain issues may be different, but we’re helping them make an informed decision,” he said.
Victoria’s state election will take place on Saturday 24 November. The VGLRL are holding a candidates forum this weekend at the St Kilda Town Hall.