It was once dubbed “Bigot’s Island” by the international media for its political and social hostility towards homosexuality, but Tasmania has come a long way since it decriminalised homosexuality in 1997.
A rapid transformation in attitudes saw the Apple Isle adopt Australia’s first state relationship registration scheme for same-sex couples in 2003 and, since then, an Anti-Discrimination Act described by gay rights champion and Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome as the “gold standard” in anti-discrimination legislation.
Now, Tasmania Police—which in 1988 arrested 130 gay rights campaigners in Hobart’s Salamanca Place—has released a groundbreaking LGBTI recruitment video.
Croome said the video showed how far Tasmania Police had come since the notorious ‘Battle of Salamanca’, which saw police arrest protestors in October, November and December 1988.
”It is inspiring to see Tasmania Police taking pride in the diversity within its ranks and reaching out to LGBTI people who are interested in a policing career,” Croome said.
“A diverse police service is a more effective police service because it is better able to understand and respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse Tasmanian community.
“The video released today symbolises how far Tasmania has come since it was the last state to decriminalise homosexuality and advocates for gay law reform were arrested at Salamanca Market.”
He added: “If there are LGBTI people who want to be Tasmanian police officers but doubted if they would be accepted, this video should dispel that doubt.”
Following the events in Salamanca Place, Tasmania Police became one of the first police services in Australia to train officers in LGBTI issues.
The force went on to appoint LGBTI liaison officers and became the first Tasmanian Government agency to establish a formal liaison group to work with the LGBTI community.
Tasmania Police, led by Commissioner Darren Hine, now march in uniform each year in the annual TasPride parade held in Hobart.