FEBRUARY 7 2021
ALEPH MELBOURNE WELCOMES VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT PROTECTIONS AGAINST CONVERSION PRACTICES
Aleph Melbourne welcomes the passage of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 and congratulates the Victorian Government for their unflinching support in this journey.
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.
Michael Barnett – Co-convenor
Whilst grateful for the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s sincere apology to Aleph Melbourne in 2019, the apology was not exactly for “[Aleph’s] 1999 exclusion from the JCCV” as stated here by outgoing President Jennifer Huppert:
Oboler takes the reins from Jennifer Huppert, who served two three-year terms. The lawyer and former Labor MLC told The AJN the JCCV’s role in the Victorian Jewish Community Bushfire Relief Appeal and in the Jewish Community COVID Taskforce were key developments on her watch, as was obtaining funding for communal security. Bringing in LGBTIQ group Keshet and the apology to gay-rights group Aleph for its 1999 exclusion from the JCCV were milestones. She noted, “Gen17 showed that Jewish people identify in many different ways.”“Andre Oboler takes the JCCV reins” | AJN (Nov 19 2020)
The exact wording of the JCCV apology, as taken from the Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019, is:
Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.
We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.
We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.
Aleph Melbourne will endorse all political candidates who unconditionally support equal rights for LGBTIQ+ Jews and whose values align with ours.
David Zyngier, Greens candidate for Camden Ward, Glen Eira Council: Supporting our LGBTIQ+ Community.
I am running for elections for Camden Ward in the forthcoming Glen Eira Council elections and will be an advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community in Glen Eira. I am requesting the support of Aleph and its members.
Beginning with my university days at Monash in the 1970s, I have been an advocate for the equal rights of LGBTIQ+ people and for members of the Jewish LGBTIQ+ community in particular.
As far back as 1999, I wrote a letter of support for Aleph Melbourne which was published in the Australian Jewish News (and featured on Aleph website). I condemned the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s bigoted behaviour in rejecting the membership of Aleph Melbourne. I wrote at that time:
“In a momentous and shameful vote of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, on Monday 10 May, the Jewish gay support group, Aleph was refused membership of the JCCV. It has been only a generation since Jews and homosexuals were forced to wear badges of coloured cloth – how quickly we seem to forget that we are inseparably linked by a very common but tragic history. … I can only say how ashamed I feel to be part of such a community that has turned its back on our fellow Jews.”
Twenty years later, in 2019, I was contacted by Aleph Melbourne to support their efforts to right this wrong. I worked together with Aleph Melbourne to write and facilitate a formal public apology from the JCCV. This was a bittersweet victory – yes, an apology had been received, but only after two decades of struggle by the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.
In my role as an advocate for public education, I led a campaign together with Fairness in Religious Education (FIRIS) to remove the bigoted and homophobic Special Religious Education program from our public primary schools. I have been a strong and loud public advocate of the Safe School Program. I have joined the call for the scrapping of the federally funded School Chaplains Program. Along with other activists, I have called for those funds to be invested in secular, unbiased and inclusive support for students through counsellors and through antibullying initiatives such as the Safe Schools Program.
The Greens, more than any other political party, will always advocate for the rights of LGBTIQ+ residents in Glen Eira and beyond, championing diversity and calling out discrimination, bias, and bigotry. As the first party to support and actively campaign to remove discrimination in marriage, we are so proud of what a strong and united community campaign can do to make positive change.
Yet, we recognise that there is so much more to be done. Our MPs, councillors, and members are committed to stand at the forefront of efforts for equal rights, social acceptance, and human dignity for all.
The Greens Party is proud of our strong and active LGBTIQ+ membership who have led the way in developing the detailed statement of policies outlined here, https://greens.org.au/vic/policies/sexual-orientation-gender-identity-and-intersex-policy
Authorised by M. Shields 1/45 William St. Melbourne Vic 3000
Aleph Melbourne, together with other Jewish Community organisations, have provided submissions to the Victorian Government Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.
Details of the inquiry, along with links to the submissions, are presented here.
Received from the Legislative Assembly on 12 September 2019:
An inquiry into current anti-vilification laws, their possible expansion, and/or extension of protections beyond existing classes to the Legal and Social Issues Committee for consideration and report no later than 1 September 2020.
The Committee should consider:
1) The effectiveness of the operation of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (the Act) in delivering upon its purposes;
2) The success or otherwise of enforcement of the Act, and the appropriateness of sanctions in delivering upon the Act’s purposes;
3) Interaction between the Act and other state and Commonwealth legislation;
4) Comparisons in the operation of the Victorian Act with legislation in other jurisdictions;
5) The role of state legislation in addressing online vilification.
6) The effectiveness of current approaches to law enforcement in addressing online offending.
7) Any evidence of increasing vilification and hate conduct in Victoria;
8) Possible extension of protections or expansion of protection to classes of people not currently protected under the existing Act;
9) Any work underway to engage with social media and technology companies to protect Victorians from vilification.
The following submissions have been accepted by the Committee:
# 26. Jewish Community Council of Victoria
# 38. Online Hate Prevention Institute [supplementary submission]
# 55. Australian Jewish Association [supplementary submission]
# 57. Union for Progressive Judaism
# 58. Aleph Melbourne [supplementary submission]
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Meeting room G.1, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne
|12:45pm||Jewish Community Council of Victoria|
Jennifer Huppert, President
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference
|1:30pm||Austalian Jewish Association|
Dr David Adler, President
Ted Lapkin, Executive Director
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference
|11:20am||Union for Progressive Judaism||N/A|
Tuesday, 25 June 2020
Meeting room G.6, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne and via videoconference
|12:50pm||Executive Council of Australian Jewry||N/A|
At their 2019 Annual General Meeting the Jewish Community Council of Victoria passed an amendment to their Policy Platform, in response to feedback from Aleph Melbourne and others, strengthening support for a range of groups including LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV.
The relevant changes, as detailed in the Agenda of the AGM, are outlined here:
14. Amendment to the JCCV Policy Platform
That Paragraph 3.7.4 of the JCCV Policy Platform be amended as shown in mark up:
CALLS FOR abstention from any public or private conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, revulsion, vilification or severe ridicule of, another person or group on the ground of their identity (including race, religion, colour, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, sex characteristics, HIV/AIDS status, descent or
and national, ethnic or ethno-religious origin) or the lawfully held views or personal medical decisions of that other person or group.
Note: the marked-up changes appear to have inadvertently removed the characteristic “gender”. Aleph Melbourne has raised this concern to the attention of the JCCV.
This amendment significantly builds on the ground-breaking 2010 reform where the JCCV added “sexual orientation” to their Policy Platform, and follows on from the (previously passed) changes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry made to their Policy Platform.
J-AIR SORRY FOR PODCAST | AJN
April 10 2020
Note: contrary to what is stated in this article, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett did not contact J-AIR. The station approached Michael Barnett after independent concerns about the broadcast were brought to their attention.
- Jewish broadcaster J-AIR airs interview stating “the pandemic is an exact designer drug … that will remove … problems … in the form of homosexuality and gays”
- J-AIR issues apology for broadcasting interview claiming the coronavirus pandemic was designed to eradicate homosexuality and gays
- J-AIR Talking to the Max interview with Michael Barnett – April 8 2020
A collection of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities.
Responses to COVID-19 from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities
Thorne Harbour Health (Victoria)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update and advice for people living with HIV [Feb 28 2020]
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 12 2020]
Update on COVID-19 for PLHIV [Mar 16 2020]
Sex, Intimacy and Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
COVID-19: Services Update
COVID-19 & Face Masks
ACON (New South Wales)
COVID-19 and Our Communities
ACON Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement [Mar 15 2020]
Trans and Gender Diverse People and COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Casual Sex and Social Distancing [Mar 20 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON services, programs and events [Mar 23 2020]
Sex in the Era of COVID-19 [Mar 24 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Regional Services [Mar 26 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Head Office Opening Hours [Apr 3 2020]
Dealing with stress and anxiety during COVID-19 [Apr 3 2020]
ACON Publishes Online COVID-19 Clearinghouse for LGBTQ Communities in NSW [Apr 8 2020]
WATCH: LGBTQ Online Forum – COVID-19 & Our Communities [Apr 8 2020]
Support For Harmful Drug and Alcohol Use Available During Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Apr 9 2020]
ACON and Positive Life NSW statement on media report on spitting, Coronavirus and people living with HIV [Apr 22 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Visiting other people at home, physical distancing & casual sex [Apr 28 2020]
Forum To Explore Impact of COVID-19 on Trans and Gender Diverse Communities [May 5 2020]
Virtual Forum to Explore Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ People in Regional NSW [May 7 2020]
COVID-19 Update: Easing of Restrictions, Physical Distancing and Casual Sex [Jun 12 2020]
COVID-19 Update: Casual Sex and Sex On Premises Venues [Jul 10 2020]
ACON Face Masks to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 [Aug 31 2020]
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation [Mar 20 2020]
Community Security Group (Victoria)
Information on COVID-19 for communal leaders
COVID-19 and Australian LGBTIQ+ Communities [Apr 16 2020]
Executive Council of Australian Jewry
ECAJ Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic [Mar 12 2020]
Community response to Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #1 [Mar 20 2020]
COVID-19: ABC’s Dr Norman Swan with a special message for the Australian Jewish community [Mar 23 2020]
What coronavirus means for our school-kids, seders, and saftas [Mar 24 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #2 [Mar 27 2020]
Coping with isolation, fear and anxiety in a time of Coronavirus [Mar 29 2020]
NSW Jewish community opens Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to support community during coronavirus pandemic [Mar 31 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #3 [Apr 3 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #4 [Aug 28 2020]
Hares & Hyenas Bookshop (Victoria)
UPDATE FOR CUSTOMERS & SUPPORTERS [Mar 19 2020]
Intersex Human Rights Australia
Intersex people and COVID-19 [Apr 12 2020]
Jewish Care (NSW)
JCA Announces COVID‐19 Jewish Emergency Relief Fund [Apr 2 2020]
Jewish Care Victoria
Jewish Care Victoria Response to Stage 3 Restrictions [Jul 8 2020]
Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 17 2020]
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATE 2 [Mar 18 2020]
Leo Baeck Centre (Victoria)
LBC Weekly Update 11 March 2020
Living Positive Victoria
Coronavirus update and advice for HIV positive Australians [Feb 28 2020]
COVID-19 Update for People Living with HIV [Mar 17 2020]
COVID-19 is changing the way we interact with you [Mar 25 2020]
Looking after your mental health during COVID-19 [Apr 15 2020]
Casual sex in the time of COVID-19 [Apr 21 2020]
Living through a new pandemic [Jul 27 2020]
Midsumma COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 UPDATE FROM MINUS18 [Mar 20 2020]
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies
NSW Jewish Community Response to COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
COVID-19 pandemic: Message from Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger [Mar 26 2020]
Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand
Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19 [c Mar 12 2020]
Temple Beth Israel (Victoria)
COVID-19 update [Mar 18 2020]
Union for Progressive Judaism
Union for Progressive Judaism Statement on Coronavirus [c Mar 12 2020]
This page will be updated as further information comes to hand.
We invite readers to contact us with relevant community information.
Aleph Melbourne is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Anton Hermann in a cycling accident on July 6 2019.
Anton was Vice President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV). In this capacity Anton was key in formulating the JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne in April 2019 – an apology in response to the JCCV voting to reject Aleph’s membership to the JCCV 20 years earlier, in May 1999.
Anton was proactive in listening to the concerns of Aleph (including meeting with Aleph representatives Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller) and also reviewing the minutes of the JCCV meeting from May 1999 at which Aleph’s membership to the JCCV was rejected.
Anton came to understand the hateful and hurtful language of some delegates at the JCCV meeting of 20 years ago, and the long term negative impact this had on many LGBTIQ people in the Jewish community and also on their allies.
With conviction, compassion and consensus, Anton ensured that the JCCV apology was genuine, meaningful and unconditional.
This is just one of many actions of Anton’s that had a positive and uplifting social impact in relation to the Jewish community, the LGBTIQ community, and the broader community.
Anton’s untimely death is devastating to all who knew him and who were helped by him. We extend our sincere condolences to his family
Aleph will always remember his values and value his memory.
For further comment contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aleph Melbourne is a social, support and advocacy group for same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people (and allies) who have a Jewish heritage, living in Melbourne, Australia.