Senator Dean Smith has been welcomed as a new ambassador for the Western Australian branch of PFLAG.

Smith, who wrote the marriage bill that was last year approved in parliament, acknowledged the work that the organisation has done towards equality, Out in Perth reported.

“Western Australians who support marriage equality can be very proud of the success we’ve had here, but that was in part, a large part, because of the great work of PFLAG,” he said.

PFLAG was involved in advocacy throughout the marriage equality debate, from initially fighting the plebiscite to publicly endorsing the marriage bill last year.

Smith said despite legal improvements, LGBTI people and their families still face challenges in being themselves.

Labor senator Louise Pratt also thanked PFLAG for its work.

“You were incredibly important to me when I first came out in the 80s and early 90s as an activist, and when you’re having that personal struggle, generally in terms of coming out, one of the ways of dealing with internalised homophobia is to be an activist and to get involved,” said Pratt.

“Having PFLAG in terms of supportive parents, where your identity was not stigmatised in any way was an incredible support to me, in order to show courage in debates that are things that were now done a long time ago.”

Denise Taylor from PFLAG welcomed Smith, thanking him and his colleagues for their work on the marriage equality campaign.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Senator Dean Smith as our new ambassador for PFLAG,” she said.

PFLAG is an international group providing support and advocacy for families of LGBTI people.

The Western Australian branch has just celebrated its 28th anniversary.

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