On the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an alliance of 45 Victorian LGBTIQ+ community organisations have united to demand action and voice their deep concerns over the escalating threat posed to the rights of LGBTIQ+ individuals by far-right activism.
“We are taking on the responsibility of keeping our communities safe from the rising tide of far-right activism, and we will not stand idly by while the rights of LGBTIQ+ individuals to participate fully in society are eroded,” said Joe Ball, CEO of Switchboard Victoria.
“As an alliance, we have met to pool our resources and bring collective action to a crisis we are already tackling individually. We will meet with the government to bring a list of 25 action items, including establishing a reporting system for anti-LGBTIQ+ vilification – so that threats and hate speech can be immediately challenged,” Mr Ball added.
In light of the cancellation of numerous LGBTIQ+ pride events due to death threats and hate speech, a group called Rainbow Community Angels has been established to disrupt anti-queer protesters and protect communities from threats, harassment, and discrimination.
“These very recent attacks, inspired by bigots abroad, threatens to see a return to a time when LGBTIQ+ family events are hard to find at best and at worst cancelled. These threats to LGBTIQ+ participation in community life must be opposed,” said Felicity Marlowe, co-founder of the group.
Josh Burns, Federal MP for Macnamara (and home electorate for the Victorian Pride Centre), spoke in Parliament on this crisis and expressed his support for community activism against the far-right and said he “stands in solidarity” with the Rainbow Community Angels.
Organisations that met to discuss collective action include Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard, Transgender Victoria (TGV), Midsumma, Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) partners, Zoe Belle Gender Collective (ZBGC), Equality Australia, Rainbow Health Australia, Victorian Pride Lobby, Inclusive Rainbow Voices, Minus 18, Victorian Pride Centre, Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC), JOY Media, and Drummond Street Services (DSS).
Image: Progress Pride Flag by Daniel Quasar