STATEMENT: A diverse coalition of residents’ associations, LGBTIQA+ advocacy groups, and faith groups have joined in a united call for Port Phillip to reconsider its stance on LGBTIQA+ inclusion. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3aq1Jd4
“Aleph Melbourne offers support to and advocates for the well-being of LGBTIQ Jews and their families, many of whom live in the City of Port Phillip. It is vital that they understand their city council fully values and includes them, and understands their needs,” said Aleph Melbourne Co-Convenor, Michael Barnett.
The experience of LGBTQ+ members of the Sydney Jewish community has ranged from celebration to rejection. After the success of the marriage-equality vote in 2017, the movement for greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ people is growing. Yet a 2020 study showed that four out of five LGBTQ+ people felt worse than they did after the same-sex marriage vote. What further changes are needed?
This month’s NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum will feature a panel discussion moderated by Josh Kirsh, chair of the Board of Deputies LGBTQ+ Working Party.
The panellists will be: Dr Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker-Phelps, both of whom campaigned for marriage equality, Jonathan David, president of the Jewish LGBTQ+ support group Dayenu, Danielle Meltzer, a transgender woman who grew up in Sydney, and Galit Taub, a graduate of Moriah College who aims to make religious Jewish spaces more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals. The plenum will be held both in person and online on Tuesday 16 March at 7:30pm.
I am deeply grateful to David Southwick MP for personally extending an invitation to Aleph Melbourne to provide a submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections. I am also grateful to the committee of the inquiry for accepting our submission.
For many years I have witnessed vilifying comments originating within the Jewish community, directed at Jewish LGBTIQ+ people. These hateful comments, which appeared in Jewish print, broadcast, online and social media outlets, formed the basis of Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the inquiry.
The committee found our submission sufficiently compelling that they quoted from it in their report.
The Jewish community does not tolerate an iota of hate directed at it, and it should not tolerate an iota of hate emanating from it.
The committee recommended strengthening anti-vilification laws, including adding protections for LGBTIQ+ people and those with HIV/AIDS. Doing so will make Victoria a safer place for all people, whether they are Jewish, LGBTIQ+, or any other category.
In addition to commentary on race, religion and ethnicity, the Committee also heard evidence that disproportionately negative media commentary has serious consequences for various other groups, such as the LGBTIQ community. For example, in its submission, Aleph Melbourne stated:
Since 2001 there have been numerous hateful and vilifying attacks on LGBTIQ+ people in print and social media, originating in or closely connected to Melbourne’s Jewish community. Had such attacks been anti‑Semitic in nature it is likely there would have been justified outrage from the Jewish community and attempts made to seek legal remedy under anti‑vilification legislation. At present there is no equivalent protection available for attacks on LGBTIQ+ people.64
Recommendation 6 6.1 Adapt school curricula across the disciplines from years K-12 to include:
in primary school, the development of a respectful understanding and de-stigmatising of difference (eg race, religion, disability)
from Year 7 in high school, addressing specific forms of racism and bigotry eg anti-Jewish, anti-Indigenous, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, anti-LGBTIQ; and teaching students to self-reflect about their own prejudices
from Year 10, focusing on the destructive effects of racism and bigotry both in Australia and in other parts of the world, both historically and in contemporary society
in Years 11-12, reinforcing those themes in more depth in optional subjects.