Growing up gay in the 1980s, Jason says the only representation of LGBTQI+ people he saw were either negative stereotypes or the infamous Grim Reaper ads. Jason’s mother Lola had family in the bush who would use terms like “poofters” and like.
“I stopped them one day and said ‘I’ve had enough’. I said, ‘Do you love my son, do you love me? Yes, then show respect’,” Lola recalls in a new video campaign by the Victorian government.
Six in 10 LGBTQI+ Australians have experienced family violence, often at the hands of their parents or siblings. In a first, the Dan Andrews-led Victorian government has launched a new pathbreaking campaign in support of queer family members.
Respect Victoria is a state government initiative against violence, and has previously run campaigns against elder abuse, sexual harassment, sexism in sports and family violence.
Respect Victoria’s ‘Pride, Respect, Equality’ campaign urges Victorians to “back and celebrate their LGBTIQ+ family members and call out harmful stereotypes and discrimination”. The campaign also aims to support LGBTQI+ Victorians against family violence and abuse against .
The campaign will run on metropolitan and regional television, radio, and print as well on digital and social media channels, in different languages, including in Italian, Greek, Hindi and Punjabi.
“It’s on every one of us to end violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people, which is why we are proud to back the Pride, Respect, Equality Campaign. We must work together as a community to call out homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and any other forms of discrimination that can lead to family violence – because we all deserve to feel safe,” Gabrielle Williams , Victoria’s Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence said in a statement.
Giving details of the campaign, Victorian Commissioner for LGBTQI+ Communities Ro Allen said that “Pride, Respect, Equality invites parents, siblings and other family members to listen to, learn from and stand alongside the LGBTIQ+ people in their lives with pride.”
Studies have shown that LGBTQI+ Australians face different forms of family violence or discrimination and this can include families rejecting the, purposely misgendering or deadnaming them, abuse motivated by religious beliefs and denying access to gender-affirming medical treatment.
Zay & Bill
The campaign features real life stories. Zay, who identifies as gender fluid and their parent Bill, talk about acceptance in the family. “I feel so privileged to be in a family where I know that I am not going to be kicked out for my identity. I’m not going to be disowned. That is a privilege that not everyone has,” says Zay in the video campaign.
Sally & Manika
In the second video, sisters Sally and Manika talk about acceptance in the family, when one of of them came out as transgender. Sally talks about the time when Manika gave her a birthday card, addressing her as ‘sister’.
“The small gestures, the small acknowledgements, they are the most significant thing that you’ll ever see or hear or feel. You know that somebody’s out there, somebody’s got your back,” said Sally, an advocate for trans rights and rights of older LGBTQI+ persons.
Jason & Lola
The third video features Jason, who is openly gay, and his mother Lola. Lola talks about how she put a stop to the family referring to Jason with homophobic terms. “Show respect,” she told the family. Jasson spoke about the support his and his partner Adrian’s family showed for their son.
For more information and resources about how to support queer family members, visit the Respect Victoria website.