Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Emily Gray is leaving the organisation, and Australia, to work for a human rights barrister in the British House of Lords.
Gray said she was proud of the GLRL’s achievements over the two years she was its public face.
“The 58’08 achievement was a good one. It sets the groundwork for future equality, whether that be marriage, adoption or eradicating homophobia more broadly,” she told Sydney Star Observer.
“Now that we have practical equality across most of the laws, that at least puts equality in people’s minds, at least more than it was before.”
The most touching moment for Gray was during the NSW parenting reforms recognising lesbian co-mothers. She received hundreds of letters from people angry that politicians would deny equal rights to their children.
Gray said the battle for the seat of Wentworth in the 2007 Federal election — where the Lobby held pink election picnics and handed out how-to-vote cards — helped put gay and lesbian rights on the national stage.
“The fact the Australian public was willing to talk about gay rights in the mainstream media was a big step forward. I hope we can use that momentum to get a similar groundswell before same-sex marriages come on the Government’s agenda.”
The organisation was faltering before Gray joined. It was without a single convenor, let alone the traditional two.
“It was a big commitment. It’s easy for the community to think the Lobby will always be there, that it’s a self-sufficient organisation that will keep doing its job well and the people in the community don’t need to help out.
“There are only two paid positions, and they’re the office [administration and policy] positions, and in order for the Lobby’s continued survival we need people who are passionate about rights to get involved.”
Gray isn’t ruling out returning to Australia to work for a politician, but felt it was important to have overseas experience first.
“I’m very disappointed the Government hasn’t taken more notice of marriage, and also so focused on relationship registers despite mass community opposition to such.
“As far as I’m concerned, they don’t have a mandate to introduce relationship registers and they’re ignoring the community. The fact that [marriage] is not even on their radar is a bit of a disappointment.”
Gray was excited about her new role as a parliamentary legal officer, working for the Odysseus Trust.
The Trust was established to support the work of Lord Anthony Lester, a Liberal Democrat, in areas like the civil partnerships legislation and outlawing forced marriages.
Gray’s partner, former GLRL co-convenor Somali Cerise, will join her in London and pursue her master’s education.
Kellie McDonald, a GLRL committee member for five years, will replace Gray as the female co-convenor.

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