Welcome to the Autumn edition, and Just.Equal Australia's first Newsletter for 2024

Contents

  1. Participation in Pride Events: Take our Survey
  2. Religious Discrimination: Help Us Ensure the Community is heard
  3. Blood Donation
  4. LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner
  5. Trans Dignity and Equality
  6. Inquiries on Census, Medicare, and Human Rights
  7. International Work
  8. Australian LGBTIQA+ Voting Patterns
  9. Are you an IT Graphics Whizz?
  10. Help Our Work
  11. Who We Are

 A word from our President

Dear supporter,

We are now one third of the way through 2024 and just a year out from the next federal election.  In this context we are ramping-up our lobbying efforts and need your help.  As we prepare our next campaign to protect LGBTIQA+ students, teachers, staff and clients in faith-based schools and services, we need funds to fuel our actions.  

Please take a moment to consider a donation. All our work is voluntary and our media presence is self-generated. Without the generous support from people such as you none of this is possible.  As the media space becomes more crowded and segmented, it takes greater effort and more strategic spending to cut through all the noise.

Also in this month’s newsletter we invite you to take our survey about who can participate in Pride events. This issue always draws interesting responses. What’s yours?

Below is an e-update on various actions we have been doing along with the Pride survey and link to donations.

Thank you for being involved.

Brian Greig

President


1.Participation in pride events: take our survey 

2024 has seen high-profile discussion about who should march in pride events like Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade or the Melbourne Pride March. There is debate about whether police, big business, political parties and religions should participate.

What’s missing from this debate is the voice of everyday LGBTIQA+ people and our allies. Just.Equal is conducting a survey to determine what our community wants.

Take the survey here

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 2. Religious discrimination: help us ensure the community is heard

In 2018 Just.Equal Australia commissioned national polling from respected pollster, YouGov, about protecting LGBTQA+ people from discrimination in faith-based schools.

The research showed high levels of public support. Our research played a significant role in moving the issue forward by shifting debate away from the views of a handful of anti-LGBTQA+ religious leaders towards what the broader community wants.

With the issue hitting the news again, we are keen to again test public opinion. Your contribution will help us provide an alternate view to the few religious voices who dominate the news cycle.

We will also ensure there are questions about issues that are being ignored by decision-makers. For example, that this is about protecting teachers as well as students, and that there should be protections for LGBTQA+ people in faith-based services like hospitals, as well as in schools. We will also ensure there are questions highlighting how inappropriate it is that discrimination is allowed by schools and services that are tax-payer funded.

Please contribute here 

Additionally, you can make your voice heard by writing to your parliamentarian.  See Shelley Argent's letter writing campaign here.

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3. Blood Donation

Just.Equal continues to advocate for blood equality through the Let Us Give campaign.

Our advocacy has seen a growing number of people support lifting the ban on blood donation by gay men and bisexual men and trans women who have sex with men. These include the Queensland Health Minister, Shannon Fentiman, in October last year.  Read our media release here.

We had a major win at the end of December when the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service announced its support for lifting the ban and adopting individual risk assessment instead.  More information here.

But there is still a long way to go. We need to keep pressure on Lifeblood to ensure it carries through on its support, and on the Federal Government to ensure it backs reform. We must also ensure GBT donors are treated completely equally when they are finally able to give blood.

Sign the petition here.

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 4. LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner

Just.Equal Australia has been advocating for several years for the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

An LGBTIQA+ Commissioner would ensure our rights are given the same priority as the rights of other groups that are currently represented by commissioners. The need was clear when the AHRC failed to issue a single statement in defence of LGBTIQA+ human rights between September 2021 and August 2023, despite escalating attacks against our rights.

In a welcome development, the Australian Human Rights Commission has recently launched an inquiry into the threats to trans and gender diverse human rights. You can make a submission here.

But this doesn’t lessen the need for a stand-alone LGBTIQA+ Commissioner. Just.Equal is actively lobbying members of federal parliament to ensure an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner is appointed as part of current federal negotiations over religious and sexuality discrimination reforms.

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5. Trans Dignity and Equality

Just.Equal Australia has worked alongside members of the Australian Parliament to prevent an unnecessary, damaging and highly-politicised inquiry into affirming health care for young trans and gender diverse (TGD) Australians.

Liberal, Alex Antic, and One Nation's Pauline Hanson, have both pushed for an inquiry that would inevitably become a platform for hate and harm against TGD people. They were unsuccessful in part because of Just.Equal's efforts.

The push for a political inquiry will now increase following a British report questioning how care has been provided in that country. However, as Australian experts such as Professor Ian Hickey and Professor Elizabeth Scott have reminded us, Australia takes a much more holistic approach to affirming care for young people, with Australian research showing our approach works.

Meanwhile, the Australian Human Rights Commission is conducting an inquiry into threats against trans and gender diverse human rights. We urge you to send in a submission here:

Listen to more on the ABC here.  

6.  Inquiries on  the Census, Medicare, and Human Rights.

Just.Equal has been an active participant in a number of inquiries.

This includes an inquiry about LGBTIQA+ inclusion in the Census. On this issue we partnered with the Body Shop to present a petition to Parliament.

We have also been active in inquiries on Medicare benefits for gender-affirming health care and Medicare benefits for procedures related to surrogacy. 

Most recently we made our views known to the Federal Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s human rights framework. Our regular LGBTIQA+ community surveys have found majority support for constitutionally-guaranteed human rights. We made the inquiry aware of this and called for government not to surrender to the anti-LGBTIQA fear campaigns against human rights protections as has too often occurred in the past.

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7.International Work

We have been particularly busy on the international front. Last year we co-hosted Taiwanese LGBTIQA+ advocates in Canberra. Their visit included a community forum and lobbying politicians in Parliament House.

We have also been lobbying the Australian Government to speak out more against anti-LGBTIQA+ laws in Uganda as well as liaising closely with advocates in Uganda and other countries with repressive laws.

We welcomed last year's Australian Government commitment of funding international LGBTIQA+ advocacy, but have called for funding to be increased so Australia can at least reach the level of funding provided by Canada.

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8. Australian LGBTIQA+ Voting Patterns

Last year, Just.Equal released new research about how LGBTIQA+ Australians voted in the 2022 and 2019 elections. (see survey results here).

Among the respondents there was a marked shift from voting Labor in 2019 to voting Green or independent in 2022. Those who shifted cited Labor’s support for the Religious Discrimination Bill as a major reason. It’s clear Labor has a lot of work to do to win back disaffected LGBTIQA+ voters.

We are talking to Labor members about the survey in order to prompt a stronger stand on LGBTIQA+ issues, especially LGBTIQA+ discrimination in faith-based schools and services.

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9. Are you an I.T. or Graphics Whizz?

Would you like to volunteer to help us with our webpage, or even put together our next newsletter?  We urgently need help in this area.  You will volunteer alongside some of Australia's best LGBTIQA+ advocates.  If this is for you, please email us: [email protected] and tell us about yourself.

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10. HELP OUR WORK

Just.Equal is a volunteer-run organisation. But our work costs money. If you would like to help us financially please consider making a tax deductible donation, here

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11. Who We Are

Just.Equal Australia was established in 2016 as a national LGBTIQA+ advocacy and campaigning organisation.  Our board is made up of long-time advocates from around the nation.  We are committed to consulting with the LGBTIQA+ community and partnering with like-minded groups and communities.  We are committed to community-driven responses to discrimination.  For more about us, Click here.

 

Thank you from Brian and the Just.Equal Team

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