web-Lainie-ArnoldCriticism. It’s a bit of a dirty word, but it can often be very beneficial to hear, particularly when it’s from the gay and lesbian community about how we’re running your representative organisations; we are all here to represent you, our community, and the best way we can know what you want is for you to tell us. This year has been a pretty busy one in terms of community engagement , including the large numbers that turned out to the police forum held in March, and the outcry over the removal of the rainbow crossing.

We are quite fortunate that we have the luxury in this country of only hearing from the broader gay and lesbian community sporadically – when a bad incident has occurred, such as the police behaviour at the Mardi Gras parade. And it is great to hear what people are unhappy with. For example, at the police forum I think we learned a lot about issues that matter to the community at the moment.

However we want to hear from you more often! I am hopeful that this upswing in community engagement over unfortunate circumstances will lead to a greater involvement from everyone when times are good too.

In many ways the gay community has blended with the mainstream community, which has led to a decline in people volunteering and getting involved. But as we often say in our column, there is still a lot of work to be done, and unfortunately increasingly few people are interested in doing it.

Should we have a change of government in September, there is a risk that we will have a less friendly parliament in terms of policy that directly affects us – there are no out gays or lesbians in the current shadow cabinet.

Now is a crucial time for members of the community to renew our commitment to our community organisations. I hope people continue their engagement with the momentum of the first half of this year, so we can remain a force to be reckoned with.

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