The Tasmanian Government has given a $30,000 grant to three community organisations to help fight discrimination and abuse against LGBTI Tasmanians.
Working It Out (WIO), the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG), and the Tasmanian Council on AIDS, Hepatitis and Related Diseases (TasCAHRD) all received money for the Be Proud Project, which will research how discrimination and abuse can be reduced.
WIO executive officer Susan Ditter said that until now, the experiences of discrimination and prejudice in the community, and the level of fear of this discrimination, have not been recorded
“This project will give lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people of all ages the opportunity to record such incidents in a confidential and safe environment, and it will give the organisations involved the base data they need to better tackle discrimination,” she said.
TGLRG spokesman Rodney Croome said the funding will contribute to a more accepting and safe Tasmania for everyone.
“National surveys indicate that discrimination, prejudice and abuse against LGBTI Tasmanians is worse than the national average, making it crucial that we have robust, reliable data upon which to build effective anti-discrimination programs,” he said.
The grant comes from a three-year fund established to meet the ‘Tasmania Together’ benchmarks of reducing discrimination, prejudice and hate crime against LGBTI Tasmanians. The fund was a Green election commitment which was announced in the 2010 state budget.
WIO also received funds for a public speaking training program for young LGBTI people.
“When we conduct awareness training for teachers or other service providers we find the personal and life stories told by young LGBTI people are the most effective way to break down prejudices and stereotypes,” Ditter said.
The Australia Institute released a national survey in 2005 which found Tasmania to be Australia’s most homophobic state. A similar survey in 2010 found Tasmania had moved to second last place, ahead of Queensland.
Community development minister Cassy O’Connor said the Government knows that members of the LGBTI community experience discrimination, harassment and abuse, but there is a lack of reliable and consistent data on the LGBTI community in Tasmania.
“Better data and understanding of this problem will lead to better government strategies to combat it,” she said.
“Young regional LGBTI people, in particular, must be supported to ensure they are proud of who they are and able to fully engage in all that life in Tasmania has to offer.”