The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has received funding to hold seminars for professionals and parents on the recent law changes that affect gay and lesbian families.
Lobby convenor Emily Gray said the City of Sydney had given them a grant to cover a few seminars and materials, but it wanted the Federal Government to make an education campaign about the rights of gay and lesbian families a priority.
Obviously the Federal Government has more resources than we do and we feel it’s incumbent on them to fund an extensive campaign that will educate everybody administering those laws, Gray said.
We’re going to make a big start and try and raise some more funds to further that.
The Lobby launched its own education campaign on Tuesday to educate community members about their rights as well as some professional groups that come into contact with gay and lesbian people.
We think the community should be aware of those rights in order to assert them, Gray said. If one person is disadvantaged in one area but advantaged in others, then they need to know simultaneously so they’re not missing out.
Last week someone rang up Medicare and asked if they could join as a family and they were
told no.
There’s a lot of internal training that is needed so that when someone does want to register as a family they’re not going to be challenged.
We want institutional aware-ness, but we also want general societal awareness.
She said she still came across members of the community who did not know they could visit their partner in hospital as next of kin, despite those rights existing for the last 10 years.
However, planned forums will mostly focus on the recent law changes, in part because some people will be disadvantaged and those people will need as much time to prepare as possible.
Obviously we want to see as little harm as possible and that’s why we’re continuing to lobby for a grandfathering clause if possible, and if not, then as big a phase-in as possible for the social security laws.

info: A Mother’s Day picnic forum will be held on May 10, a beer and tax night will be held at the Colombian in August and a course for professionals will be held in June.

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