The GLRL is proud to announce the launch of Stand UP! – our series of anti-discrimination workshops generously supported by a Commonwealth Attorney-General Human Rights Education Grant.
The ten workshops will be held over the course of the next year, and focus on different aspects of discrimination faced by different groups in our community – and on what you can do to stand up for your rights if you are faced with discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.
The first workshop is for youth, and will be held at Out West – Mars Hill Cafe (331 Church St, Parramatta), on Wednesday, August 29 from 6-8pm.
Future workshops will focus on issues including ageing, disability, faith, multiculturalism, and sex and gender diversity.
While many of us live lives relatively free of direct homophobia and transphobia, we must remember that there are others in the LGBTI community for whom harassment and discrimination are daily realities. This is particularly true for those who find themselves “minorities within minorities”.
For the first time, the federal government has promised to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected attributes under federal anti-discrimination law.
An exposure draft of the new bill is expected in September, and the contested issue is likely to be the extent to which faith-based organisations are exempt from the anti-discrimination provisions.
This is not all we are working on, however. The NSW Legislative Council Select Committee into the partial defence of provocation will be holding a public hearing next week, and the GLRL will be there to argue the case against the notorious homosexual advance defence.
Tasmania and Victoria have repealed provocation entirely as a defence, while the ACT and Northern Territory have amended their criminal statutes to exclude non-violent sexual advances as the sole basis of justifying the defence of provocation. It is well and truly time NSW followed suit.
In addition, the federal Senate looks set to commence on marriage equality this week, with Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young announcing that she will use private member’s time to initiate debate on the bill she introduced. We will be there, pushing for equality.
It is wonderful to see how the marriage equality debate has put issues of LGBTI rights firmly onto the public agenda, and we look forward to carrying that momentum into other dimensions of equality which need redress.
We are pleased to welcome Jed Horner as our new policy and project officer. Jed brings to the GLRL a wealth of experience working in diverse communities, and we look forward to working with him as we strive bring the dream of equality before the law for gay and lesbian people and their families closer.
Justin Koonin is the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor .