While marriage equality dominated much of the discussion around LGBTI rights in Australia last year, this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) will provide an opportunity to look ahead.
The annual day, held on May 17, champions LGBTI people and tackles the discrimination and bigotry many in the community still face.
“Mental health, conversion therapy, family violence, trans medical pathways, and of course school bullying are just a few urgent issues impacting Australians every day,” he says.
“For those of us who have recovered from last year’s [marriage equality] campaigning, IDAHOBIT is a burst of new energy giving permission to keep the focus on LGBTI issues while ensuring our allies continue their support.
“Did your business fly a rainbow for marriage equality? Good, now what are you doing to support your transgender employees? IDAHOBIT is a visible day to encourage behind the scenes action and change.”
Scott adds that the most exciting part of looking ahead is seeing young people at the forefront of the action.
“For students wanting to make a difference in their school, IDAHOBIT is the first big LGBTI event of the year,” he says.
“It acts as a launch pad with schools running rainbow days, bake sales, and inviting LGBTI guest speakers which sends the message that LGBTI inclusion can actually be really positive and fun.
“With Safe Schools no longer existing at a federal level, giving students and teachers mechanisms to foster inclusion is more important than ever.”
Scott says this year the focus for Minus18 will be to take the community they’ve created in Melbourne to as many parts of Australia as possible.
The organisation hopes to provide student LGBTI workshops and LGBTI professional development for workplaces, to empower the community with practical ways to support LGBTI people, to host a queer formal for 1,200 young people across Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, and to grow the reach of IDAHOBIT to rally as many people to get involved as possible.
Minus18 has teamed up with Federation Square to host a free concert this Thursday evening for IDAHOBIT.
Other community groups and organisations around the country are holding their own events for IDAHOBIT this week.
In Launceston, Working It Out and the Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival are holding a special screening of A Fantastic Woman on Sunday afternoon.
In Sydney, an IDAHOBIT campaign and event has been developed by the Stronger Together Alliance, a working group comprising community, health, and advocacy organisations.
Members of the alliance are Positive Life NSW, HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, Rainbow Families, City of Sydney, Inner City Legal Centre, the NSW Police Force, and ACON.
The campaign incorporates various social media activations including a video, profile frame, and a virtual event on Facebook inviting people to share why they are proud to be an LGBTI ally.
“ACON is proud to work with our partners in celebrating the rich diversity of our vibrant communities in NSW,” chief executive of ACON, Nicolas Parkhill said.
“By raising visibility we hope to continue to address discrimination, and work towards fostering an inclusive society that is healthier for us all.”
The UTS Queer Collective will celebrate on Thursday with a You Can’t Ask That panel.
And on Sunday, Regatta Park in Penrith will host a family-friendly IDAHOBIT picnic for Western Sydney.
The Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group is running a rainbow lights city walking tour on Thursday evening, followed by a remembrance event at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
In Darwin, Charles Darwin University will host an afternoon Alliances for Solidarity event on Thursday, with guest speakers set to discuss LGBTI rights, and special guest entertainment in store.
Minus18 is also supporting workplaces with professional development and support creating their own IDAHOBIT events. No matter how big or small, there’s a way anyone can get involved by running their own event—check out the website for more details.