LGBTI community advocates have made their last-minute appeals to voters as Victorians go to the polls today.
With the possibility of conservative micro parties holding the balance of power in the upper house, Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) co-convener Corey Irlam said it was vital for voters who care about LGBTI issues to understand how their vote would work.
The VGLRL released the results of their election survey of the three major parties earlier this week, outlining the parties’ positions on LGBTI issues.
While a number of positive things came out of the survey results, representatives from the intersex community were particularly disappointed with the outcome — the only intersex issue even addressed by Labor or the Coalition was that of birth certificates.
“That was extremely disappointing — I think it shows a lack of real engagement on intersex issues,” OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter told the Star Observer.
“Everybody is talking to us about birth certificates… we’re talking about peer support, bodily autonomy, sterilisation — those are much more fundamental issues, and much more important to the intersex community in Victoria, and nobody is talking about it.”
Carpenter did acknowledge that the responses from the major parties showed varying levels of understanding of intersex issues, and said that could indicate who might be better on those issues in the next term of parliament.
Transgender Victoria (TGV) executive director Sally Goldner was also disappointed with some of the responses, saying greater engagement from the Coalition in particular would have been good.
Goldner said TGV had received some positive responses to the organisation’s own election survey from individual politicians.
“We’ve had some very positive responses from candidates of all major parties… I think one way or another we’re going to be better off, and at a minimum, not worse off,” she told the Star Observer.
“In terms of the larger parties, there are worse places to be than Victoria.”
Goldner cited birth certificate reform and greater resources and education around healthcare as big ticket items the trans* community would be looking for from whoever wins government.
HIV organisations have also been lobbying hard for commitments on issues like access to PrEP and PEP, and work around supporting people living with HIV.
While the major parties haven’t addressed everything on those organisations’ wish lists, Victorian AIDS Council chief executive Simon Ruth told the Star Observer there were a few key issues the community should look to have addressed coming out of the election.
“For me, the number one thing I’m thinking about going in to vote tomorrow is the continuation of our efforts to increase testing rates, to working to make PrEP available, and to ensuring that people in rural and regional settings get access to HIV and medical treatment,” Ruth said.