Recent events in Queensland have made it clear that political lobby organisations dedicated to the preservation of rights for the LGBTI community are relevant now as much as ever.

Last week, Queensland premier Campbell Newman announced a downgrading of the state’s recently-passed Civil Partnerships Act to a relationship register scheme as an act of “good faith” to religious groups who were offended by the notion of a state-sanctioned ceremony.

At the same time, the Government also signalled that it intends to amend Surrogacy Act provisions which permit altruistic surrogacy for same sex-couples.

Following straight after the defunding of Queensland’s peak HIV support body, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) a few weeks ago, these developments represent a full-scale assault on the rights of the LGBTI community.

A healthy NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is essential to ensure that the rights we have fought so hard to win are preserved, regardless of the government in power. We receive no ongoing government funding, and are dependent on community support for our survival.

If you are able to donate — or, even better, become a member or volunteer — your support will go a long way to ensuring that our rights are protected. More information can be found at http://www.glrl.org.au

The movement for LGBTI rights in Australia has come so far, but we are at risk of a dangerous complacency.

We need to address the prevailing attitude among some in our community, and outside, that once marriage equality laws pass, our journey to equality is complete.

Rebecca Reynolds, managing director of Twenty10, made this point beautifully at the Aurora Foundation annual ball at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday night.

For many of us — especially those of us lucky enough to be able afford to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a dinner ticket — discrimination is no longer an issue in our daily lives.

For others — the young, the elderly, those from particular multicultural or faith backgrounds, those living in rural areas, the sex and gender diverse community, the list could go on — homophobia and transphobia remain real and significant barriers to full participation in society.

Starting in July, the GLRL will be conducting a series of anti-discrimination workshops on precisely these topics, under a Commonwealth Attorney-General Human Rights Education Grant.

Equality means equality for all, not equality for some. We hope you will join us in our work.

By JUSTIN KOONIN, NSW GLRL

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