Sexual and gender diverse Melburnians will gather under the banner of ‘No Pride in Detention’ later today and call on the government to bring the men detained on Manus Island to safety.
While the marriage equality postal survey has taken up much of the public debate around LGBTI rights in recent months, roughly 600 men remain imprisoned on Manus, including men who fled persecution from their home countries for being gay.
One of the event organisers, Carol D’Cruz, said it was important for the LGBTI community to express solidarity with the men on Manus.
“Many of us went to a rally for the refugees over the weekend, and wondered immediately where all the queers were,” she told the Star Observer.
“They were definitely there, but because it wasn’t a pride occasion, it was hard to see us.
“We wanted to connect our struggles for equality, and wanted to turn eyes towards a government that has cynically targeted these men.”
While LGBTI people in Australia have been fighting for their right to equality under the law, D’Cruz believes it’s important to channel the same passion and resolve into other issues affecting the community.
She hopes the event will draw attention to the continued persecution faced by gay refugees under the government’s watch, especially in light of the fact that homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guinea.
“It’s up to us to tell our history and to remind people that homosexuals and lesbians were sent to concentration camps in Nazi Germany,” she said.
“These people are fleeing from persecution and they need safety, so we want to draw the connections and show our solidarity.
“Not everyone in Australia is as mean-spirited as our government.”
Melbourne-based LGBTI people will call for ‘No Pride in Detention: freedom for the refugees’ at 5pm today at the Victorian State Library.