AUSTRALIAN Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has announced the commission will develop a State of the Nation report into how the country’s state and federal laws directly impact LGBTI Australians.

The report will gather information on services and programs currently supporting LGBTI Australians to identify gaps and overlap in service delivery across the country. Sporting activities, the work of LGBTI community organisations, anti-homophobia programs, awards, social groups and resource development were all identified as targets for the report.

It will look at whether states need to enact legislative change to meet federal anti-discrimination requirements.

Personal stories will also form part of the report, which will be collected on a “nation-wide listening tour” led by Wilson from September–November this year.

Wilson made the announcement during an address at the Darwin Outgames Human Rights Forum today. The address marks the openly-gay Wilson’s first on LGBTI issues since he became Human Rights Commissioner earlier this year.

Along with the State of the Nation report, Wilson announced a number of other initiatives from the Human Rights Commission on LGBTI issues.

Wilson outlined a focus for the commission on driving inclusiveness for LGBTI people in business, and plans to develop a “national program of LGBTI role models to help put a public and successful face to young people struggling with their sexuality and gender identity”.

The commission will also work with LGBTI sporting organisations as a way drive cultural change in Australia on LGBTI issues. Wilson highlighted the commission’s work with the organisers of gay rugby tournament the Bingham Cup to develop the recently-announced anti-homophobia sporting code.

He also discussed a need to be more inclusive in sport of trans* and intersex people specifically.

Wilson’s focus on sport as a driver of cultural change highlighted a key theme in the address, a need for “sustainable cultural change”. He argued a new approach was needed in order to achieve further change for LGBTI people.

“I do not want to take anything away from the hard word and efforts of past activists who’ve got reform as far as they have. But I also want to acknowledge that we have entered a difference phase in achieving the further advancement of LGBTI people in this country,” Wilson said.

“The solution to many of the problems facing LGBTI Australians is not laws, but sustainable cultural change. Driving sustainable cultural change is not about loud rallies and protests. Sustainable change is now about quiet and difficult conversations.”

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas has applauded the Human Rights Commission’s role in developing the anti-homophobia framework, and echoed Wilson’s comments about greater inclusion.

“The three most important and pressing issue are: expanding the framework to include transgender and intersex, assisting the football codes and cricket implement anti-homophobia policies prior to start of the Bingham Cup in August, and assisting other sporting bodies to do the same,” Purchas said.

The Human Rights Forum has run alongside the Darwin Outgames this week, with LGBTI athletes from around the Asia-Pacific region gathering to compete.

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