Victoria’s GLBT Jewish community has been asked to share its experiences of vilification and discrimination.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) is collecting submissions until August 31 to look at the impact of discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity on those in the Jewish community.
JCCV president John Searle said the submissions will inform a report, to be complied by the JCCV’s LGBT reference group, due for public release by the end of November.
“I think it’s very important we try and get a better understanding of the extent of these issues and get a message across to our community that [LGBTI vilification is] just not acceptable under any circumstances,” Searle told the Star Observer.
“The most important step is to go to our own community… because nobody can tell us about the issues of vilification,
discrimination and mental health issues within our community, better than our own community members.”
The JCCV has advertised for submissions in the Australian Jewish News and online Australian and New Zealand news sites J-Wire and Galus Australis.
“We’re trying to get a much better hand on what [LGBTI vilification] issues are.. and the extend of the problem,” Searle said.
“Once we’ve completed the report we’ll release it and we will have some conclusions in that report we’ll take to the community.”
Searle said the JCCV would look at the possibility of education within the Jewish community on LGBTI issues.
“I think simply raising it will have to do some good because it will increase awareness of these problems and sometimes education is a good place to start because once people have their minds turned to these problems, they start to understand the problems a bit more and the nature of the discrimination that that’s inappropriate it might help to start eradicating it.”
The JCCV has been criticised in the past for not doing enough on LGBTI issues.
Earlier this year Melbourne gay Jewish support group Aleph hit out at the organisation for sending messages of exclusion to GLBT groups applying for JCCV membership. Aleph was also refused membership in 1999.
Aleph convenor Michael Barnett said he would “most likely” make a submission about the experiences of Aleph members.