May the 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.
Allanah Lucas Commissioner for Equal Opportunity stated “This is a day that highlights and celebrates diversity. It is a day to promote acceptance and celebrate gay lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) members of our community.
“It is also an important day to raise awareness of the issues faced by these people.
“Unfortunately, we know that transsexual, transgender, intersex and gender diverse people experience high levels of discrimination and abuse and that this has a result in poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.
“Much discrimination stems from ignorance, and many do not realise the harm and suffering they can cause, so training and information is very important.”
The Commission attempts to address this through a number of actions including co-hosting an Isabelle Lake Memorial Lecture each year.
Isabelle is an example of a person who led change and worked for acceptance of trans-gender people.
The Commission also provides training, and works with organisations such as The Freedom Centre and True Colours Uniting Care West.
Ms Lucas said that “Research reveals that as Australian GLBTIQ students increasingly ‘come out’ they are actually experiencing more abuse at school than in previous years: 61% reported verbal homophobic abuse, 18% reported physical homophobic abuse and 69% reported other forms. Overall, 80% experienced the abuse at school (up from 69% a decade ago).”
The Commission has fact sheets available for students, parents and teachers interested in alleviating ignorance and lessening abuse.
Ms Lucas also stated, “I understand that the rainbow flag and the transgender flags are flying above the Geelong City Hall and at other locations to mark this day. I would like to see this in Perth.”
For people who do experience discrimination or harassment based on their sexual orientation the Commission offers information and a process for redress for incidents that come under the jurisdiction of the Equal Opportunity Act 1985.
FOR ADDITIONAL COMMENT:
Public Affairs Officer, Colleen Mack(08) 9216 3911 mob 0437 213 837
Level 2, 141 St Georges Terrace, Western Australia 6000 Tel: (08) 9216 3900 –Fax: (08) 9216 3960
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.eoc.wa.gov.au
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