As one of the new co-convenors of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Emily Gray’s next challenge is getting into character as a cheerleader for the Lobby’s Mardi Gras float.
It’s a far cry from the work she was doing last year as one of the authors of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)’s Same Sex: Same Entitlements report, which found 58 laws discriminating against lesbians and gays.

That report has informed the Lobby’s 58 ’08 campaign, a push for practical equality across areas including superannuation, financial and work-related entitlements.

Gray, 29, has volunteered for the Lobby since 2004, and after working at HREOC she wanted to step up her involvement.

Given that I had a bit of experience in the Lobby and given that I’d just worked on the HREOC report, I felt that the urgent priority for the Lobby was to get those 58 laws changed, so I thought this would be a good year to put my hand up, Gray said.

I’ve always been quite idealistic, I think, Gray said, reflecting on her involvement in the Lobby. She remembered that at high school she was taught to look at the world in a much bigger sense by her history teacher mentor.

That idealism was Gray’s motivation to study lLaw at university, rather than any desire for courtroom glory or riches. Her focus has been on social policy research and advocacy, at the Lobby and HREOC and also the Federal Court of Australia.

When asked what makes her angry, Gray cited an article Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen wrote in August last year for the St Andrew’s Cathedral website.

It was about shame, on and shamelessness, lamenting the fact that there’s not enough shame in our society any more and saying that homosexuals gays and lesbians should be profoundly ashamed and they should carry shame around with them, Gray said.

I just think, that cathedral owns the school next door -“ this philosophy of ignorance is being taught to these young boys, 10 percent of whom are probably gay, and not to mention the congregation that goes there each week.

That’s what makes me really angry -¦ ignorance about our families and gay and lesbian people, homophobia and homosexual homophobic violence.

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