Living out the slogan -˜think globally, act locally’, ALSO Foundation chief executive officer Lyn Morgain will juggle two roles after being appointed to the International Lesbian and Gay Association executive board.
Representing the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island region, Morgain said she’s -œdelighted with the new role. She will sit at the executive table with other regional representatives, Joey Mataele from Tonga and Simon Margan from Sydney.
ILGA is a not-for-profit organisation which has advocated rights for GLBTI people worldwide for over 30 years. It has 670 member organisations.
The organisation focuses on exposing discrimination against GLBTI people around the globe and uses diplomatic channels to pressure governments to change discrim-inatory laws and to improve treatment of GLBTI citizens.
-œThe work ILGA has been doing is very much predicated on promoting and asserting sexuality and gender identity as a key partnership and right for all, Morgain said.
Last December, the United Nations General Assembly held a historic vote in which 60 countries, including Australia, backed calls to decriminalise homosexuality across the globe.
Although hailed as a crucial first step, sceptics say it’s unlikely the non-binding resolution will change the lot of GLBTI people in troubled regions.
In 82 of the UN’s 192 member states, anti-homosexuality laws are still in place. In seven of those countries homo-sexuality is punishable by death.
Morgain, who will update ILGA on Australia’s progress on GLBTI rights, said she would like to see Australia take a leading role in the global struggle.
-œWe’re very lucky how far reform has come in this country -” we’re not there yet, but we certainly have legislative frameworks that other countries would very much like to enjoy, she said.
-œThere’s no question that our sisters and brothers in other countries are often labouring under the most appalling circumstances. They’re not just dealing with criminality, but they’re dealing with enormous levels of violence and harassment, vilification and in some cases torture and death.
Morgain hopes the process will be a learning curve for her local work with the ALSO Foundation and hopes the community will take notice of international issues.
Part of the process, she said, is to encourage the Australian government to speak out on international human rights issues.
-œThere’s a lot of evidence the Australian government has a lot to pick up in terms of human rights discussions globally, so we’ll absolutely be looking to government to ensure support for the resolution.
Morgain said the long path ahead for global GLBTI rights is evident within ILGA itself.
-œAt a local level a number of the [international] activists involved in ILGA face daily threats to their lives and their community as a result of homophobic vilification, she said.
-œI am mindful that I [sit] around the table with those who’ve risked their lives to come -” that in itself reminds us that we’ve got a long way to go.

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