LGBTI community survey shows more needs to be done by federal and local governments

Rainbow Flag 630The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) has released the results of its community survey conducted during this year’s Midsumma Carnival.

This is the first time that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community has been asked about what issues are important for local government as well as federal government, and the results will influence the VGLRL’s lobbying efforts in the lead up to this year’s federal and local government elections.

Federal government:

The issues that were ranked as most important to LGBTI people surveyed were:

  • Legal protections from discrimination (88% ranked this of high importance)
  • Violence and harassment in the street/public (85%)
  • Legal protections from hate speech and vilification (80%)
  • Improved mental health outcomes for LGBTI people (78%)
  • LGBTI youth and schooling (77%)

“It is concerning that despite advances in policing and anti-discrimination protections, LGBTI Victorians still consider discrimination, harassment and hate speech to be an issue of high importance,” said Rachael Hambleton VGLRL Co-Convenor. “Obviously more needs to be done to translate the protections under law into practice and to create safer communities for LGBTI Victorians.”

“The attacks on Safe Schools and increased speculation around a costly and divisive marriage plebiscite are clearly having an impact. LGBTI Victorians ranked mental health and safe schooling as issues of high importance to them.”

Birth certificate amendments were ranked as an issue of high importance to 85% of transgender people surveyed.

“Based on this feedback, we will be working closely with trans, gender diverse and intersex community organisations to advance birth certificate reforms in the Victorian Parliament to enable people to alter their birth certificate without having to undergo surgery or divorcing their partner. These laws are outdated and clearly in need of reform,” said Sean Mulcahy, VGLRL Co-Convenor.

Local government

In what is believed to be the first ever survey of LGBTI Victorians’ attitudes to local government, the issues respondents ranked of most importance were:

  • LGBTI-inclusive health and community services (83% ranked this as high)
  • Advocacy on LGBTI issues, e.g. marriage equality (67%)
  • Public statements and support for LGBTI residents (61%)
  • Engagement and consultation with LGBTI residents (61%)
  • LGBTI community events/festivals (61%)

“The idea that it is not the role of local government to advocate for or publicly support LGBTI residents and that this is best left to other levels of government has been blown out of the water by this survey,” said Mr Mulcahy. “LGBTI people clearly want local governments to provide inclusive health and community services and want to be consulted on issues that affect them.”

“While LGBTI advisory committees and policies did not rank as highly, these are important methods for local government to achieve greater consultation and engagement with LGBTI residents – something that LGBTI Victorians clearly want.”

The Victorian Local Governance Association’s Rainbow Working Group will be holding a symposium on LGBTI inclusion in local government on 14 April 2016 at Library on The Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands. Further details are available here.

“We will continue to work with federal and local politicians across Victoria to advance the rights of LGBTI Victorians,” said Ms Hambleton.

For more information, visit: www.vglrl.org.au for details.

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