The Council for the Order of Australia should hang its collective head in shame for honouring Margaret Court, a purveyor of bigotry.
MEDIA RELEASE JANUARY 26 2021 ALEPH MELBOURNE DISGUSTED BY AUSTRALIA DAY HONOUR AWARDED TO MARGARET COURT
The Australia Day 2021 Honour bestowed to Margaret Court “for eminent service to tennis as an internationally acclaimed player and record-holding grand slam champion, and as a mentor of young sportspersons” flies in the face of good taste and decency.
As an organisation representing Jewish LGBTIQ+ people we have been doubly impacted by Margaret Court’s incessant demonisation, with her comparison of the work done to protect LGBTIQ+ children to what Adolf Hitler did, and her rabid transphobia and homophobia.
Margaret Court may be capable when it comes to mentoring in tennis, but as a community leader she is a danger to impressionable young people by telling those who are LGBTIQ+ that they are the work of the devil and making them feel bad about themselves.
The Council for the Order of Australia should hang its collective head in shame for honouring a purveyor of bigotry.
Contact Michael Barnett – Co-convenor email@example.com 0417-595-541
To mark the end of Mental Health Week and yesterday’s National Coming Out Day, Marco Fink pens a piece in which she comes out as trans, after realising she is not alone and that support is always available. Marco Fink — October 12, 2014
YESTERDAY, I told the world that I’m a girl.
First, through a conversation with my parents, second by a Facebook post, and now via this article.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about the right way to talk to everyone about something so big. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of figuring out, but I’m ready and I want to be open and honest.
Growing up, everyone always said to “be a man” and others always told me I was a boy. Even though I didn’t always feel as though it really fit or felt right, I went along with it anyway.
As I got older I started to figure things out more. I was probably about 10 or 11 when I discovered the idea of a “transgender” person.
I was pretty freaked out. All the transphobia and horrible stereotypes I saw on TV and in movies had given me a pretty warped idea of what it meant to be trans*, and as an 11-year-old kid it was overwhelming. I hated it.
I buried my feelings and tried to make myself forget. It was the only way I could cope. I figured denial was easier, pretending I was fine and just forcing myself to power through. My logic was maybe if I ignored it and tried to force myself to “be a man”, maybe eventually I’d just “learn” to be like everyone else.
That didn’t work. Maybe for a few months, even sometimes a year or two, I’d be okay, but it would always come back. I’ve never been able to shake it.
When I was younger, I struggled with depression for many years, and like anyone battling mental health problems, I had some dark and low moments. Then one day one of my friends came out as a trans man. I’d met him through Minus18 a few years back at one of their summer social events. He was a year older than me and a close friend, I really looked up to him.
It was the first time I’d actually knowingly met another trans* person.
All the misconceptions I had about what it meant to be trans started melting away. My friend was still the same nice, kind, funny person as always. The only thing that changed was the name and pronouns we used when talking about him.
Up until that moment I hadn’t been able to accept myself. I had refused to accept myself because that meant admitting I was “different”. I thought it meant being alone. I thought it meant being excluded and mocked. But watching people love and accept my friend for who he was changed everything. It showed me how wrong I was about it all.
It hadn’t even occurred to me that my friends wouldn’t reject me, that society wouldn’t despise me, that my family would maybe even be able to accept me, just like his family did.
For LGBT youth it seems that that’s always the hardest part; feeling alone and isolated. So many people aren’t even aware of just how many other people are out there that can relate and share similar stories.
I found these stories by joining Minus18. It changed my life, and suddenly I was exposed to hundreds of other young people who “just got it”, who could help me through everything, and who would rebuild my confidence.
I finally worked up the courage to come out this week. I’d been waiting eagerly for National Coming Out Day.
My parents were shocked for sure, but they told me they loved me no matter what. The reactions on Facebook have been just as incredible. It’s been so freeing to finally be able to be myself and tell the world this is the girl I’m meant to be.
The sense of community and support Minus18 has given me has been enormous, and has provided that for thousands of other LGBT young people all over Victoria and Australia.
Sadly, the incredible support and love I’ve received by coming out as trans* isn’t the norm for Australian youth. With 66 per cent of gender-diverse and trans* young people experiencing transphobic abuse, there’s still such a long way to go before we can say they’re safe.
Minus18’s next big step, the Atrium, is a safe space where young people can meet other LGBT youth. It’s a space where young people come from all over Melbourne can come and be themselves. If I can provide just one more trans* young person with the amazing, supportive space that I was given, it’ll be the most incredible thing in the world.
Media Release For immediate distribution – please on forward Monday 16th April 2013
Over 100 Schools have joined Safe Schools Coalition Victoria!
Safe Schools Coalition Victoria have welcomed their 100 and 101st new member schools this month. Glen Eira College and Elwood College joined on the same day to push the membership into 3 figures! The news was greeted with cheers from over 400 young people when it was announced at the Same Sex Formal on Saturday night (April 6th). The highly popular event, organised by Minus18 in partnership with Safe Schools Coalition Victoria aimed to create a safe, supportive and celebratory space for same sex attracted young people and their friends, whilst also raising awareness of inclusion at school formals more generally.
Since launching in October 2010, support for the coalition has continued to increase throughout the state. The program has delivered professional learning sessions with over 2,500 school staff across Victoria, and reached thousands of students through school based projects and partnerships. It has also distributed thousands of information booklets, posters, and stickers to school staff and students.
Safe Schools Coalition Victoria is funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Department of Health. Based at Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria at La Trobe University, research is used to make sure that training and resources are high quality and relevant to the broader education framework.
The coalition aims to create school environments ‘where every family can belong, where every teacher can teach and every student can learn’. Government schools in Victoria have a positive duty to support sexual diversity, and ensure that there is no homophobic or transphobic bullying or discrimination.
Roz Ward, co-founder and co-ordinator of the coalition said;
“It is very exciting to welcome our 100th school to the coalition. When we launched back in 2010 nobody quite knew just how popular the coalition would become.
We have received so much positive feedback; we just know this is making a difference to students all across Victoria, and in all different kinds of schools.
The cheers from students at the same sex formal to this news, just shows how important this initiative has been in giving young people the confidence to just be themselves. We want everyone at school to feel like they belong, and whatever their gender or sexuality, they are valued as part of the community”
— Ends —
Roz Ward, Coordinator of Safe Schools Coalition Victoria is available for interview.
Aleph Melbourne Media Release March 28 2013 “JCCV tackles homophobia, but must prove it is serious”
Aleph Melbourne congratulates the Jewish Community Council of Victoria for aligning themselves with the No To Homophobia1 campaign, as announced2 in this week’s Australian Jewish News.
The No To Homophobia campaign aims to challenge all forms of harassment and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people. With the JCCV signing up for these values it paves the way for greater acceptance and inclusion of GLBTIQ people in the Jewish community and will work to reduce the extreme marginalisation and intolerance that GLBTIQ people face at the Orthodox end of the religious spectrum.
As the only organisation representing the combined interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Melbourne’s Jewish community, Aleph Melbourne all too frequently sees the effects of intolerance of sexual orientation and gender identity, especially when it emanates from within the Jewish community.
A recent example of homophobia in the Victorian Jewish community is when Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen3 called for the defunding of the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria program and published his beliefs that homosexual people should undergo sexual reorientation therapy to make them heterosexual.
Another example of homophobia in the Victorian Jewish community is the Rabbinical Council of Victoria writing a submission4 to the Australian Senate opposing changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to obtain civil marriages.
Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett asks of JCCV President Nina Bassat “Signing up to the No To Homophobia campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, but how is the JCCV going to counter homophobic attitudes from the intolerant sections of the Jewish community, especially when it comes to equal recognition of our relationships under Civil law and other forms of legalised intolerance such as that where Jewish organisations are allowed to discriminate against LGBTI people, especially when they are Jewish. It’s simply not enough for the JCCV just to ask their membership to also sign up. That is not affirmative action.”
Barnett states “The JCCV must show that joining No To Homophobia is a sincere attitude change and not just window-dressing. The lives of vulnerable same-sex attracted and gender diverse youth are at stake here and there is no room for hollow platitudes.”
Aleph Melbourne looks forward to the seeing the JCCV bring along its constituents in this new chapter and the accompanying benefits to the community that this entails, in particular building stronger and more inclusive families and reducing the rate of youth suicide, self-harm and mental health issues.
Aleph Melbourne also looks forward to the JCCV taking proactive initiatives to counter homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in all Jewish schools by recommending they all join the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria5. There is also ample scope for the JCCV to work with Jewish sporting organisations to reduce homophobic intolerance and promote positive role models in those spaces.
Contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 for further comment.
THE Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) will join the “No to Homophobia” campaign and is asking its affiliate organisations to sign up too.
The “No to Homophobia” initiative aims to challenge all forms of harassment and discrimination faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) people.
The campaign aims to reduce the incidence of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment in Victoria – and beyond – by empowering people who identify as GLBTIQ as well as the broader community to respond and speak out against this harassment.
According to JCCV president Nina Bassat, the campaign promotes respect between people and healthy relationships, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identification.
Bassat acknowledged the emotional turmoil members of the GLBTIQ community can face, whether it be at school, in the workplace or in the wider community.
“No-one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity;’ she said. “The mental wellbeing issues in relation to bullying, depression and lack of self-esteem can be catastrophic.’
By Jewish organisations joining the campaign, the JCCV not only anticipates a greater level of understanding and awareness within the Jewish community, but also an education with respect to what constitutes homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment. For instance, phrases such as “That’s so gay’.
Sally Goldner, a spokesperson for Transgender Victoria and a member of the JCCV’s GLBTIQ reference group, said as a transgender person she has been received fairly well by the Jewish community, and feels this move can only make people more tolerant.
“This is an amazing step forward that pushes diversity higher. It’s sensational,’ she told The AJN.
The JCCV will officially request that its affiliates become part of this campaign at their next plenum meeting in May.