GLRL Christmas is nearly upon us, but that does not mean the GLRL has slowed down on the pace of our work. With the release of the draft exposure bill for the federal consolidation of anti-discrimination legislation, we have been flat out. The GLRL has visited Canberra to lobby politicians of all political stripes about how the legislation will function in practice.
On this matter, we are working with LGBT organisations from NSW and in other states, as this is a federal matter that affects the lesbian and gay community across the country. We have also been liaising with intersex organisations to try to ensure that groups specific issues are captured and that we are working together towards the same goal.
Christmas, despite all the shiny decorations, can be an isolating time for the gay and lesbian community. Since the first Mardi Gras, nearly 35 year ago, we have made huge progress in terms of legal rights and visibility within the broader community. However, sometimes community attitudes have not caught up, and the people closest to us can be the most hurtful.
Sometimes members the gay and lesbian community have a fractured relationship with their families, which is very difficult at this time of year when the focus of the big day is all about the family unit. Unfortunately the GLRL can’t lobby individuals to change their minds, and neither do you have to around the Christmas table.
As Beverly D’Angelo says in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (a perennial favourite in my family home) “…it’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery”.
Christmas is also a time of much frivolity and many a Christmas drink, and can dangerous to our community in this respect as well. I advocate that everyone always be careful when walking home, but particularly at this time of year. The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has a page of information on your best chance of staying safe on the ACON website (http://www.acon.org.au/anti-violence/Keep-Safe/Street-Safety).
Having said all that – Happy Holidays!! This will be my last column for the year, so I wish everybody well over this holiday season, and the New Year as well! And please, whatever you do on Christmas day and across the holiday season, stay safe.
with LAINE ARNOLD Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby