The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) held its annual general meeting on Monday, October 31 at Surry Hills library.

The meeting was the best-attended in memory, and committee positions were hotly contested. GLRL members elected a committee of largely new faces, with only four incumbent committee members returning.

The fresh team is a diverse and highly experienced group, and includes policy advisors working for the NSW government and community NGOs, a journalist, and human rights lawyers.

Our staff members remain the same: Senthorun Raj (senior policy advisor) and Steven Kennedy (administration coordinator). 

I would like to introduce myself as the new male convenor. I have been on the GLRL Committee for the past three years, during which I have served as the events, volunteers and fundraising coordinator. I was also responsible for organising the GLRL’s involvement in the 2011 Mardi Gras season.

In conjunction with the new female convenor, Lainie Arnold, it is an honour to lead such a talented and committed team in an organisation with such a long and proud history of success in achieving legislative reform.

I would like to acknowledge the important work of our outgoing committee members, and to thank in particular our retiring convenors, Kellie McDonald and Rathana Chea, who have both made outstanding contributions to the organisation.

The GLRL formed in 1988 and during that time, alongside the work of our many partners, we have seen the improved legal recognition of same-sex couples and their families.

Despite these successes, in NSW, there remain exemptions for faith-based organisations to discriminate in the provision of publicly-funded services. Moreover, at a federal level, marriage equality, and comprehensive and inclusive anti-discrimination legislation, remain key areas of reform.

We need also to anticipate the ongoing work to secure social equality and social justice, even after achieving legislative change. Despite the historic reforms that have taken place, sexual and gender minorities still face discrimination at work, in schools, in religious institutions, in aged-care facilities and elsewhere.

In many ways our work has only just begun.

We encourage you all to become members of the GLRL in the year ahead as we continue the journey to achieve legislative equality.

By JUSTIN KOONIN, NSW GLRL

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