POLICY-MAKERS from across the political spectrum will reaffirm their commitment to reducing legal, social and financial discrimination for Australia’s LGBTI communities at Parliament House tomorrow (WED).
The Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTI Australians will be re-launched for the 44th Parliament, with a focus on helping to address the divide that exists between policy makers and the LGBTI community.
The group is co-chaired by Warren Entsch MP (Leichhardt), Graham Perrett MP (Moreton) and Senator Sarah Hanson?Young (South Australia). It includes 30 members from across four parties.
“Our group was formed in 2011 and gives Members and Senators the opportunity to hear first-hand about social, legal and health issues in the LGBTI community,” said Mr Entsch.
“Through social events and interaction, LGBTI Australians are able to build awareness of these issues and the Group can then identify ways these can be discussed at a legislative level.”
Wednesday’s event will feature a presentation by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, an update by event sponsor Ogilvy PR Health and the screening of a short documentary exploring the issues of mental health and bullying faced by many Transgender teenagers and young adults.
It will be followed by the showing of ‘Call me Kuchu’, the award-winning film telling the story of Uganda’s first openly gay man and his battle against new laws that make homosexuality punishable by death.
“Coverage of LGBTI issues in the media is often dominated by the same-sex marriage debate, but people face a whole raft of discrimination every day – including in aged care – because of laws that were never designed to take their needs into account,” Mr Perrett explained.
“I have met with numerous advocacy groups, organisations and individuals that support reform in this area and recognise the need for change.”
“It’s only by working together, across party lines, that we can reach genuine equality for LGBTI Australians.”
The event will be attended by a range of representatives from within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, including City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster who is also the openly-gay sister of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“This group provides our community with a voice in the heart of parliament and will be an important forum for our federal lawmakers to discuss how they can best frame policy to respond to the very real issues of discrimination still being faced by LGBTI Australians,” said Ms Forster.