The Human Rights Conference program at next year’s Asia Pacific Outgames in Melbourne has been released and registrations are now open.

While Australia may seem to have made great strides in rights for gay and lesbian residents compared to many countries in the Asia Pacific Region, SBS news presenter Anton Enus, who will MC the conference, believes Australia has a long way to go.

I don’t think we should congratulate ourselves quite yet. That’s part of the reason why I choose to be out and proud of my sexuality, because there’s still discrimination and we need to get our own house in order, Enus said.

Having been a reporter in Africa, Enus said he knew things were a lot worse in the third world.

People literally lose their lives because of their sexual orientation, but we’ve still got to continue the fight here because it’s one of those things that if you allow slip, you could easily go backwards, he said.

For a long time gays were easy targets for politicians. Fortunately we seem to be moving beyond that, but we still need to keep the lobbying process in place, or else we might lose ground.

Enus has competed at many international gay and lesbian sporting events, and said social issues were an important part of the deal.

There’s a serious side and a playful side. It seems a good fit for me to have the human rights conference alongside the sports, he said.

Registrations are open for the Rainbow Conversations conference 30-31 January 2008 at Melbourne Town Hall, via www.melbourneoutgames.org.

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