With our Annual General Meeting around the corner, it is a fitting time to reflect on our campaigns and successes over the past year.

At a state level, we saw legislation regulating altruistic surrogacy in NSW introduced and passed through NSW Parliament, introducing a transfer of parentage mechanism. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to lobby the Government to consider the best interests of children, the legislation included extraterritorial criminal sanctions for procuring legal overseas commercial surrogacy agreements.

Most of our work this year has focused on lobbying for comprehensive and inclusive federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people.

We have met with the Commonwealth Attorney-General to discuss the implementation and resourcing of its commitment to protecting LGBTI human rights. We also participated in the Australian Human Rights Consultation on sexual orientation and gender identity, making our own detailed submission.

We have also carried out our own consultation series, ‘Uncloseting Discrimination’, thanks to a generous grant from the City of Sydney. These consultations were targeted at minority groups existing within broader LGBTI communities.

We have also worked in partnership with other community organisations on the marriage equality campaign. We have been working to empower diverse members of our community to become active campaigners for marriage equality by running events like ‘Invite a Straight Mate’ which aimed at conveying the message to the broader community that marriage is not a gay issue.

We have also taken a more active role in addressing homophobic bullying in schools by participating in the Steering Committee for the Proud Schools Pilot program.

The achievements of the GLRL would not have been possible without the dedicated support of our army of volunteers, our members, our committee, our staff and the City of Sydney.

On a personal note, I’ve decided to step down as convenor and committee member after six years with the GLRL. I would like to say that it’s been a real honour to be part of an organisation that works so hard to improve the rights and lives of people in our communities.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, some amazing people, experiences that I will take away with me as I continue to fight for the rights of vulnerable people as a solicitor working in the community sector.

INFO: The GLRL’s AGM will be held at the Surry Hills Library on 31 October at 6.30pm.

By KELLIE MCDONALD, NSW GLRL

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