Other recipients whose work might go under the national radar, but were transformative, include Michael Barnett for service to the LGBTQ+ community, the palaeontologist Lesley Kool, and Leanne Miller for “significant service to women’s affairs, and to the Indigenous community”.
Barnett, a co-convener of Aleph Melbourne, said he worried about suicide rates and mental health issues in vulnerable young people, because of “relentless and pointless homophobic and transphobic intolerance”.
He worked hard to turn things around in one specific community.
“Over the years of my advocacy and activism I have seen Melbourne’s Jewish community become a beacon of LGBTIQ+ inclusion,” he said.Australia Day 2023 honours for elder abuse law trailblazer, Indigenous activist and a fossil hunter
Statement from Independent for Kooyong Dr Monique Ryan for Aleph Melbourne in support of the LGBTIQ+ community.
The protection of the rights of vulnerable people, including those in the LGBTIQ+ community, is a major priority for Monique. She abhors the way the Religious Discrimination Bill has been weaponised – causing harm and distress to LGBTIQ+ people and other minorities including people with disability – and she would oppose any attempts to compromise the protections that are currently afforded by the Sex Discrimination Act and by state Anti-Discrimination Acts.
Monique condemns the way that trans people have been exposed to ongoing harmful and cruel political posturing throughout this election campaign, and she is aware of the devastation that this hostility inflicts on individuals and communities. She opposes the Save Women’s Sports Bill – and supports the continuation of s42 of the Sex Discrimination Act – as both currently stand. She is concerned that this Bill would further marginalise a vulnerable group of people – especially trans and gender diverse children – who already experience a high degree of social exclusion and isolation. Trans people must be at the centre of discussions involving any legislation that directly impacts them.
If Monique is elected she will work with LGBTIQ+ communities to move equality forward. That means removing anti-LGBTIQ+ exemptions from discrimination law, supporting better mental health services and school inclusion programs, ensuring equity in Medicare for trans and gender diverse people, and putting an end to conversion practices and unnecessary, non-consenting medical interventions on children with variations of sex characteristics.
Monique stands for a community that is inclusive, generous and welcoming.
Further information on Dr Monique Ryan’s policies is available here.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) is delighted that the same sex marriage plebiscite is now completed and that the people of Australia have shown that they are clearly in support of equality. We hope that Parliament moves quickly to pass legislation that reflects the outcome of the plebiscite and the spirit of the message inherent within in it – support for equal rights, empathy and respect. We expect that religious freedoms will be protected, and equally that current protections against discrimination and intolerance are not watered down.
President of the JCCV, Jennifer Huppert stated, “We are concerned that the LGBTIQ members of our community and their families may face mental health concerns over the coming weeks, as the proposed same sex marriage Bills are debated. We again call for all debate to be respectful, and that anyone with or seeing others facing mental health challenges seek expert advice or support, such as through the LGBTI Switchboard, Beyond Blue, Headspace or Jewish Care Victoria. Service options and contact details can be found in the JCCV LGBTI Service Directory.”
Executive Director | Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Rabbi Shimon Cowen has apologised for a statement he made at last night’s JCCV forum on LGBTI inclusion …
“Last night I attended a meeting at Beth Weizmann hosted by the JCCV on the topic of assisting persons who may have been caused distress by the current Same Sex Marriage Debate.
“I am aware that a statement I made at the gathering is generating a lot of concern, and I want to apologize for any misunderstanding and offence it caused. The meeting discussed the issue of acceptance and inclusion of homosexual persons.
“I stated my understanding that we accept and care for all Jews – and indeed all people – because they are people, precious and made in the image of G-d. I went on to explain that one must be willing to exert oneself in this love and acceptance.
“Here I added extreme examples of misconduct, where the effort to love the person may be a difficult one. These examples included the case of a person who had stolen, or worse, a paedophile or a person who had committed incest. It was far from my intention to compare homosexual conduct to paedophilia or incest or anything else.
“Unfortunately, however, I was misunderstood to have compared them to homosexuality and this misunderstanding caused offence. I spoke after the meeting with the person who raised this grievance, explained to him and trust that I allayed any offence – which I certainly did not mean to cause – and that I was sorry that I was not more careful to avoid that misunderstanding.”
[Note: this Mental Health Forum was convened as an emergency response to the ABS Postal Survey on Same-Sex Marriage*]
JCCV working to improve inclusion and reduce mental health tragedies for our LGBTI community members
Last night, about 40 community members, organizational leaders, mental health experts and service providers, including at least seven Orthodox Rabbis, attended a very informative and moving Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) LGBTI Mental Health Forum.
The Forum heard from speakers and panelists from SANE Australia, Headspace, Jewish Care Victoria, Keshet Australia, the Rabbinical Council of Victoria and Hatzolah. Community members and professionals also shared relevant anecdotes and personal stories.
JCCV President, Jennifer Huppert stated, “It is most important at this time while the community is enduring a divisive and emotionally damaging same sex marriage debate, that we focus on respect, inclusion and avoiding creative havoc with the mental health of vulnerable members of our community, in particular our LGBTI youth.”
Apart from sharing the terrible statistics for mental health problems and suicide rates for the LGBTI community, and especially our youth, speakers described many of the problems faced:
- Lack of support
- Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
- Isolation and alienation
- Public abuse
- Physical abuse
- Loss of family and community connections
Which all can lead to self-harm, depression, and worse.
Young LGBTI youth face a FIVE times higher risk of suicide compared to non-LGBTI youth.
Rabbi Daniel Rabin, President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria spoke about inclusion and the need for Rabbis and other community leaders to be welcoming.
Rabbi Rabin stated, “We are all members of the community, like letters in a Torah scroll. If one is missing, the whole is invalidated.”
“As one of my LGBTI congregants with young children said to me, ‘What make me comfortable to attend the Synagogue and its activities is because I don’t feel judged when I participate”
Speakers spoke about the importance of family and community support, and issues of coming out.
Medical practitioner and mental health advocate Dr Dov Degen stated, “I hope for a future where we won’t have to come out as gay or straight. We will just be able to say, “I am me”, and that will be enough.”
Orthodox Psychologist Zipporah Oliver OAM aligned the discussion with Orthodox Jewish values and said that we should remember to focus on:
– Saving a life and minimizing harm
– Loving a fellow Jew
– Chessed – Kindness
The panel of speakers highlighted steps that families and community leaders needed to take to improve mental health outcomes and prevent serious damage, included:
– Be welcoming:
– Accept difference
– Support the vulnerable and those struggling
– Refer to appropriate service providers
– Don’t be judgemental
– Provide an inclusive environment
– Must name and address mental health problems
– Must have the conversations
– Must be careful in your language and display understanding and empathy.
* At the time the web address for the postal survey was marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au