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Transgender community celebrates victories
Melbourne’s LGBTI community came together last Thursday to help leading advocacy organisation Transgender Victoria (TGV) celebrate over ten years fighting for change and supporting Victoria’s trans community with the launch of a new website.
Newly appointed Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins was the event’s keynote speaker, and she highlighted some of the transgender community’s recent achievements.
Jenkins praised TGV’s role in working with VicRoads on better recognition of gender diversity, and achievements in expanding anti-discrimination law protecting transgender people.
“I think this is an indication of how far we have come on these issues, but we do have a long way to go,” she said.
“It is the responsibility of every Victorian to stand up to hate and send a message that we won’t tolerate hate, discrimination and harassment.”
Long-standing TGV member and highly-regarded trans activist Sally Goldner (pictured) spoke about how the organisation has changed over its lifetime, celebrating the new website as a sign TGV has “hit puberty”.
Goldner also acknowledged recent political gains, and said a challenge going forward would be finding a way to work with a conservative government on a diverse range of LGBTI issues.
“[Some say] marriage equality is the only measuring stick for GLBTI equality, and that’s just not the case,” Goldner said.
She criticised an approach taken by some in the community of fighting for gains that would disadvantage some in the short term to allow pushes for greater reform in the longer term.
TGV’s annual general meeting was also held on the evening, with all committee positions filled. Goldner was elected Executive Director, while the position of President went to Grace Lee.
Lee told the Star Observer she hoped to help expand TGV and define its focus.
“It’s a great honour, first of all. There’s a lot of things that can be done and need to be done—it’s still a very small organisation—but I think it’s well positioned now for some significant growth,” Lee said.
Lee said the passage of the Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill 2013 was a milestone for the community and for the organisation.
Committee member Gavriil Aleksandrs was instrumental in building the new website launched on the night, and told the Star Observer it’s been in the works for a long time.
“We’re hoping it will be a real tool for the community as well, to contact us with their ideas and to share their experiences,” Aleksandrs said.