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
Many same-sex attracted and gender diverse Jews have been victims of disreputable people and organisations within and beyond the Jewish community who have performed destructive conversion practices, often with long-lasting negative or even fatal consequences.
This legislation sends a clear message that no longer is it acceptable or legal to tell someone they are broken because of their gender identity or sexual orientation and then attempt to make the person conform to an unnatural identity.
Knowing our state government, under the capable leadership of Premier Daniel Andrews, has taken this issue seriously proves it cares about the well-being of people with diverse sexual and gender identities.
Victoria has set a high bar on this important issue, and we hope that other states around Australia are motivated to tighten their laws similarly.
We acknowledge the tireless dedication of the Brave Network, SOGICE Survivors, Jewish Care, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Just Equal and Equality Australia, together with the many individuals and networks who have helped in bringing about this visionary change.
CONTACT Michael Barnett – Co-convenor 0417-595-541 firstname.lastname@example.org
Various multi-faith, multicultural LGBTQ+ and allied voices have written an open letter in support of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 currently before the Victorian Parliament.
The letter is signed by:
Ghassan Kassisieh, Legal Director, Equality Australia and author of the ‘We’re Family Too’ report
Dr Judy Tang, Victorian Multicultural Commissioner and ex-President of Australian LGBTIQ+ Multicultural Council
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Research lead and founding member of Australian LGBTIQ+ Multicultural Council (AGMC); Gender & Sexuality Studies, Deakin University
Cedric Yin-Cheng, Chief Executive Officer, Australia & New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance Inc (ANTRA)
Abanob Saad, Conversion Practice Survivor and Founder, Queer Middle-Eastern and African Christians in Australia (QMEACA)
Benjamin Oh and Molina Asthana, Co-Convenors, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)
Budi Sudarto, Director, Ananda Training & Consultancy and Member of Queer Muslims in Australia
Ken Dumandan, President, Acceptance Melbourne LGBTIQ+ Catholics
Dr Reem Sweid, Founder and former President of Muslim Collective; Faculty Member, Alfred Deakin Research Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University
Nathan Despott, Brave Network
Michael Barnett, Co-convenor, Aleph Melbourne
Bhante Akāliko Bhikkhu, Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community
We, the undersigned LGBTIQ+ advocates, organisations and allies, place on the public record our support for protections from discrimination for people of all faiths, and for people who don’t hold religious beliefs, provided these laws do not sanction new forms of discrimination against others.
As members of LGBTIQ+ communities, we have seen and experienced firsthand the immense harm discrimination causes. Discrimination has a devastating impact on physical and mental health, and an individual’s sense of acceptance and belonging.
We strongly believe that no one should be treated as ‘less than’ because of who you are or what you believe.
For more than forty years, we have advocated for the removal of discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. We have stood in solidarity with women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability and many others in their fight for equal treatment under the law.
So too we stand with all people of faith in their fight against discrimination because of their religious beliefs, including discrimination against people because they don’t hold religious beliefs. We recognise and acknowledge the many LGBTIQ+ people of faith, and the positive steps taken by many faith groups and schools to model genuine inclusion, showing how the rights of all can be integrated harmoniously.
We call on the Australian Parliament to introduce laws that appropriately strengthen that shield of protection for people facing discrimination because of their religious beliefs or because they don’t hold religious beliefs.
Equally, we caution the Australian Parliament against laws that would give some people within society a ‘sword’ to use their beliefs to harm others by cutting through existing anti-discrimination protections.
We will oppose any new laws which would give religious groups a license to discriminate against others in a way that would sanction mistreatment or wind back the clock on equality.
And we will continue to call for the removal of existing laws which allow religious schools to exclude and discriminate against LGBTQ students and teachers across the country, and from critical government funded services.
Australia has long prided itself as being the land of the fair go. Australians have consistently demonstrated that they value equality before the law – as shown by the overwhelming majority who voted YES during the marriage equality postal survey, including people of faith.
Australia is well on the path towards becoming a more equal place, and we support fair and balanced protections from discrimination for all people which move us forward on this journey.
ACT LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council
AIDS Action Council
AIS Support Group Australia
Amnesty International Australia
Australian Catholics for Equality
Australian Council of Social Services
Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council
Australian Marriage Equality
Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland
Bisexual Community Perth
Curtin University Centre for Human Rights Education
Democracy in Colour
Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW
GLBTI Rights in Ageing
Goulburn Valley Pride
Human Rights Law Centre
Intersex Human Rights Australia
LGBTI Legal Service
National LGBTI Health Alliance
Parents of Gender Diverse Children
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Queensland AIDS Council
Rainbow Families NSW
Rainbow Families Victoria
Social Justice Commission of the Uniting Church of Western Australia
This week, we released a joint statement, signed by more than 50 organisations representing LGBTIQ+ people, people of faith, people of colour, women and our allies.
We understand that some religious organisations have targeted and discriminated against LGBTIQ+ people, and this continues today. They have done this largely with impunity and legal exemptions from some anti-discrimination laws. We utterly condemn this behaviour and will continue to advocate for fairer, stronger protections against discrimination for LGBTIQ+ people.
We do not know exactly what will be in the Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Act. We have a fair sense of what might be included, and where religious lobby groups want the laws to go further. And we have been calling for the details of the bill to be released to prevent confusion and fear about what it might contain.
But we can state what we want – fair protections from harmful discrimination for LGBTIQ+ people and people of faith, as well as freedom from religion.
We stand firm with people of colour and people of faith in their need for fair and affirming protections from discrimination. There can be no doubt that people from religious minorities and people of colour are under attack in Australia – white supremacy is one of the most violent and prevalent threats faced by these communities, and we will stand with them in their fight against persecution.
We know that most Australians believe in fairness. At the same time, there is a vocal but dangerous minority which seeks to attack others under the guise of religion – including increasing targeting of trans and gender diverse communities.
Our opponents have no scruples in trying to divide LGBTIQ+ communities from people of colour and faith communities. When we buy into the their tactic that this is about Christians versus LGBTIQ+ people, we lose. We ignore the LGBTIQ+ people of faith in our communities, and pretend they don’t exist. We accept that the ACL and other minority views speak for ‘all’ Christian people, which we know to be false.
These debates are scary for all of us. We understand that. Especially for those of us who were raised in unsupportive faith communities, and understand how some people of faith view LGBTIQ+ people like us.
But buying into the ACL’s frame means we are fighting on their terms, the one they’re trying to win in the LNP party room.
We are stronger when we stand with our allies – with affirming people of faith who welcome LGBTIQ+ people into their congregations, with people of colour who marched alongside us for marriage equality, with women who are also being targeted for ‘religious exemptions’ around access to reproductive healthcare.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories from affirming faith groups and multicultural organisations about their experiences of discrimination. We ask that you listen to the stories of LGBTIQ+ people of faith in our communities, and continue to take care of each other during these debates.
Aleph Melbourne launches its 2019 Federal Election Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality
MEDIA RELEASE 14 MAY 2019
ALEPH MELBOURNE LAUNCHES 2019 FEDERAL ELECTION VOTERS GUIDE FOR LGBTIQ EQUALITY
Aleph Melbourne is proud to announce its 2019 Voters Guide for LGBTIQ Equality. The Voters Guide is designed to assist voters living in Victorian voting divisions with high Jewish populations best select candidates who have comprehensively demonstrated or pledged support for LGBTIQ equality.
Based on the Equality Australia’s Rainbow Votes 2019 – Party Surveys, we categorise the issues as Voice in Government Policy Making, Social inclusion, Protection at work, Religious exemptions, Conversion Therapy, Reformation of sports exemptions, Access to Medicare for gender affirmation treatment, Refugees, Government funded services, Protection for rainbow families, and Support in schools.
We encourage voters to locate their voting district, review their candidates’ levels of support for LGBTIQ issues and vote in a manner that prioritises LGBTIQ equality.
We also encourage voters to contact candidates directly if they require additional information not included in the Voters Guide.