Welcome to the Spring Edition of Just.Equal Australia's newsletter. In this newsletter we have three quick things you can do to support LGBTIQA+ equality. With a new Federal Government there are important opportunities to move LGBTIQA+ equality forward. But we need your help to make them a reality. They are:
1. LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner
Australia needs an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner and Just.Equal Australia needs your help to make it happen.
Australia has human rights commissioners for Indigenous people, people with disability, women, older people and racial minorities.
The absence of an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner sends the message that discrimination against us is less serious.
In July, Just.Equal Australia wrote to minor parties and cross-benchers urging them to support a national LGBTIQA+ human rights commissioner, with a request for them to move or support an amendment establishing a stand-alone LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner.
In response the Greens moved an amendment supporting an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner during debate on a Government Bill regarding the transparent appointment of an Australian Human Rights Commissioner. While the amendment was supported by crossbenchers such as Zoe Daniels, the Government refused to accept the amendment saying it wasn't the right Bill.
In 2016, the Labor Party supported the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ human rights commissioner (see Labor's 2016 commitment here). Just.Equal Australia wrote to Federal Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, asking him to clarify if the 2016 commitment still applied, and if not why not, and if so when Labor will introduce relevant legislation.
Next week the Senate will debate legislation to appoint an LGBTIQA+ Commissioner and we aim to present a petition. Please sign so we can show there is community support for this reform.
2. Blood Donation Campaign
Just.Equal also needs your support for our Let Us Give campaign that aims to lift the ban on blood donation by gay men, bi men, trans women, and some non-binary people who have sex with men.
The Red Cross Lifeblood Service proposed to allow men who have sex with men to give blood plasma, but as Thomas Buxereau from Let Us Give explained that this does not solve the problem of Australia's need for whole blood.
Researcher for Let Us Give, Dr Sharon Dane, called on Lifeblood to explain how its proposal for plasma collection will be any different to overseas gay plasma donation policies that were abandoned in favour of whole blood donation. If Australia adopts a new policy whereby all donors of whole blood are assessed for their individual risk regardless of the gender of their sexual partner, there will be an estimated 25,000 litres of whole blood available to save the lives of Australians in need (see explanatory research graphic here).
Senior federal Labor MP, Tanya Plibersek, has written to the Let Us Give campaign saying she supports a review of the Red Cross Lifeblood's ban on whole-blood donation from gay men, and bisexual men, trans women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, in response to an email from Let Us Give that included Dr Sharon Dane's report into the latest clinical and modelling research showing the benefits of individual risk assessment.
We continue to have success raising awareness about the ban and prompting support from across the political spectrum, including the Greens, Tanya Plibersek and the WA Nationals. But we need your support to show Australians want change.
3. Support for Queer Refugees
Just.Equal Australia is partnering with Humanity in Need - Rainbow Refugees to provide support for LGBTIQA+ refugees seeking asylum in Australia as well as funding development opportunities for LGBTIQA+ refugees in Kenya.
Many LGBTIQA+ refugees are forced to flee from countries that criminalise same sex activity. Because of the very large UNHCR presence in Kenya, most central African LGBTIQ folk fleeing persecution in their native country end up there. To their dismay many are trapped by a combination of the overwhelming demand for placement and bureaucratic international selection processes. The result is that conditions for refugees are only marginally better than those in the home countries.
Sometimes good things happen.
As a queer Ugandan, Joff lived under a false name to stay safe as a refugee in Kenya. Today, Joff still can’t believe his luck. He is living free in Australia. He has left behind the trauma of fear, hunger, abuse, rejection and isolation, Joff’s new life came about because of his own determination and unknown sisters and brothers from our community who’s support enabled him to survive.
To find out how you can help LGBTIQA+ refugees click here
An important part of advocacy work is getting imformation out to those who need to see it... the decision makers in our society. Just.Equal Australia's campaigners put out a plethora of media releases each month, often daily.
Making A Financial Donation
Just.Equal desperately needs funding for all our campaigns, especially the Blood Donation Campaign.
To make a donation click here
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: