VicGayLesbianLobby2013AGMThe Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) held its AGM last week with LGBTI rights activist Carl Katter newly elected to the lobby’s committee.

Held on  November 7 at the 86 Cocktail and Caberet Bar in Collingwood, the AGM heard the VGLRL had recorded a surplus for the year despite facing difficulties fundraising for a wholly volunteer-run organisation.

Half-brother to Katter’s Australian Party leader and long-time gay rights opponent, Bob Katter, Carl was elected to the committee unopposed along with James Campbell and returning members. The full committee consists of female co-convener Anna Brown, Sally Goldner, Dale Baldock, Brigitte Lewis, Luke Gahan, Holly Cooper and Ed Yap as well as Campbell and Katter.

Katter told the Star Observer he was immensely proud to have been elected.

“During the last several years I have been watching the great achievements of the VGLRL, from the rights of our elderly brothers and sisters in aged care homes, the potential expunge of past gay convictions when homosexuality was illegal in Victoria to the greatly successful No To Homophobia campaign,” he said.

“The amount of progress the VGLRL have made over the last several years is truly impressive and I’m very excited to be part of future achievements made within the lobby. 2014 will be a busy and hopefully fruitful year for the lobby.”

Brown told the Star Observer the successful passage of the Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill 2013 through federal parliament earlier this year – which gave explicit anti-discrimination protection to LGBTI people for the first time under federal law – was clearly a highlight for the VGLRL over the last 12 months.

“Next year brings with it a focus on State issues with an upcoming election where we will be working to get issues like adoption reform and expunging historical convictions for gay sex offences on the table with all political parties,” she said.

“It is a struggle as a wholly volunteer run organisation to maintain this level of momentum and activity without unsustainable levels of personal sacrifice. This isn’t a new or unique problem obviously, and I think it reinforces the need for Government to better support and resource our community to provide input into policy and law reform. This is why one of our key priorities is the establishment or a peak LGBTIQ organization to advocate for our community.”

Following the AGM, an audience question and answer session with academic and writer, Dennis Altman, took place where the renowned author of Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation gave his thoughts on a number of issues, including the continuing fight for marriage equality.

Photo: Dennis Altman, Pablo Fracchia, Anna Brown & Sally Goldner (VGLRL)

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