Members of the LGBTI community will again march in Melbourne’s annual Invasion Day rally on January 26, in a show of solidarity and support for Indigenous people around the country.

Organised by No Pride in Detention – an activist group initially formed to draw awareness to the gay and bisexual asylum seekers on Manus – the contingent will march under the banner ‘No Pride in Invasion’ at the upcoming event.

Group member Geraldine Fela, who is helping to organise the contingent, said there were many at last year’s Invasion Day rally who appreciated a queer group being there.

“The LGBTIQ+ community knows what it’s like to be vilified,” she told the Star Observer.

“We know what it’s like to be street harassed, to have our rights subject to national debates, and to be over-policed.

“These are every day experiences for Aboriginal people, so it’s important that we stand together against oppression, whether it’s racism or homophobia and transphobia.”

Among the issues faced by Indigenous communities more broadly, such as incarceration, violence against Indigenous women, and children being removed from their families, there are many queer Indigenous people facing intersectional discrimination as well.

During a keynote speech at the University of Sydney last year, the founder of Indigenous LGBTI suicide prevention organisation Black Rainbow, Dameyon Bonson, called out the erasure of Indigenous LGBTI people from Indigenous health.

In the address, he detailed the difficulties he had had getting politicians to pay attention to the needs of Indigenous queer people.

“It is within Indigenous health where Indigenous queers have been ignored, excluded, and erased,” he said.

And in March last year, research was launched in Western Australia into the impacts of discrimination on the mental health of LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

At the time, lead researcher Braden Hill said there was an urgent need to address the everyday racial discrimination and homophobia that could prevent people accessing important support services.

“The research project at its core is concerned by ‘silences’ related to being queer and Indigenous — those within families, communities and, particularly, within policy and service delivery,” he said.

Joshua Badge, an academic and activist who wrote for the Star Observer in December last year about the need for cisgender, white, and gay communities to start showing up to support other people in their fights against injustice, will be marching with No Pride in Detention later this month.

He highlighted the double standard many in the queer community often overlook.

“It can’t just be about us all the time,” he told the Star Observer.

“It’s so frustrating when straight people just don’t care about issues affecting our community, but really, how stroppy can we be unless we start caring about other people’s fights for justice?”

On January 26, Badge hopes the queer contingent at the Invasion Day rally will help to recognise that queer people aren’t a single issue community.

“We’re not just about marriage,” he added.

“[The message we’re hoping to send] is the fact that nobody is wholly liberated – politically, socially, or sexually – until everyone is liberated.

“Aboriginal rights are human rights, but they are also queer business. We’re loud and proud, and we’re going to stand up for other people.”

To march with No Pride in Detention at the Invasion Day rally on January 26, find out more here: www.facebook.com/events/437619386773561

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