Pensions and superannuation dominated the equality reforms passed last week, but community groups called it a win for the next generation.

Reflecting on the changes for the community, groups who spoke with Sydney Star Observer this week said there was still much more to be done.

Twenty10 acting executive officer David Moutou said it was an exciting moment for young people in Australia.

These changes give clear indication that inequality and discrimination are not sanctioned by law, and the isolation that young people feel is not acceptable, he said.

It doesn’t immediately address self-esteem issues of young people but it helps to combat it.

The task now is the social change that follows these legislative changes and Twenty10 is committed to working with Centrelink to ensure these changes are brought in in a sensitive away.

Positive Life was also working with Centrelink to ensure reform implementation is fair, aware that it would come at a cost for some of the community’s most disadvantaged.

For a small group of older people, not just with HIV, it presents challenges where they cannot really rearrange their affairs, and in addition, the potential loss of health care concessions may have a significant impact, Positive Life executive director Rob Lake said.

We have subsequently asked for these people to be -˜grandfathered’ or exempted from the impact. Grandfathering has been used on a number of occasions for welfare changes where a particular group is identified as being at higher risk of adverse impact.

He added the shift in public perception would hopefully lead to a better standard of life for young gay and lesbian people, and improve mental health and suicide rates.
But all this equality talk didn’t wash with some community groups, who remained focused on the remaining discrimination.

I am thrilled that the bill passed last week and a great deal of senseless discrimination has been removed from federal law, but I’m not comfortable with all this -˜equality’ talk I keep hearing, Queer Screen festival director Lex Lindsay said.

The word -˜equality’ would imply one set of rules governs all citizens of Australia. With certain relationship and parenting laws yet to be amended, I wouldn’t be handing out my -˜equality-talk’ so generously. I might choose to say our second-class citizenship is now less ignorant of our humanity than it was.

But, still. Go team. It’s a great step forward.

Despite the push towards inclusiveness, Sydney Leather Pride still felt excluded because of the Government’s internet censorship plans.

For Leather Pride and those of us on the fringe the censorship plans are the greater concern, SLP president Greg Boyle said. We’re a minority within a minority and our websites and chatrooms they may deem offensive and that’s it: communication with other like-minded people just doesn’t happen for us and we’re out of action.

We’re not harming anyone. What we do is consensual and we don’t consider what we’re doing illegal, although people may say that it’s distasteful.

Boyle said the recognition of partners without the need for everlasting powers of attorney was welcomed. The many ex-forces members of the group would also benefit from the superannuation and veterans changes.

Centrelink hotline ready
Clients of Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency can now seek clarification on the same-sex reforms by calling 13 62 80.

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