Archive for Media discussion

Leadership, personal experience and protecting Safe Schools – Harriet Shing MLC

// November 28th, 2016 // No Comments » // Media discussion, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

We share with you a wonderful speech by Harriet Shing MLC in the Legislative Council at the Parliament of Victoria (October 26, 2016) in support of the Safe Schools program as the first out LGBT member of state parliament responding to a motion to remove the Safe Schools program from schools.

Harriet says “(there have been) other women who have been in this Parliament and other women who are in public office who, like people throughout society, have gone their entire lives hiding themselves from the world, hiding themselves from the reflections that they see in the mirror, living lives which may seem to put a somewhat tolerable skin on it on one level but which do not truly reflect who they are on another.

She uses her personal experience to unpack what she sees and that which we agree is enormously challenging for parents to do when their children come out as same sex attracted or gender diverse, that is to look their child in the eye, hear them out and say to them that they love them anyway — that they love them unconditionally.

“That is not always the case”, Ms Shing told Parliament, “It is also not always the case that children are accepting of the other, that children can understand the importance of being accepting and respectful, that children understand the importance of the fact that sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and religion — personal characteristics, the essence of who somebody is — are not and should not ever be considered to be causes of derision or contempt or isolation or exclusion or bullying”.

She then unpacks the issues surrounding discrimination of LGBTI children, looks at the guidance and support the Safe Schools program provides these children and those around them and then discusses her own personal experience of being accepted for who she is by a vast majority of people she deals with in her role as an MP yet “having said that, there are a number who do not (accept my sexuality)”.

Ms Shing says “that number is small, but it is very, very vocal, and that number is prone to being vicious on occasion. That number is prone to telling me that I am an abomination, that I am a disgrace and that I should be ashamed, and so in standing here today I refuse to be an abomination, I refuse to be a disgrace and I refuse to be ashamed. But in doing that I note that it has got to be happening to kids in secondary school because if it is happening to me as an elected member of Parliament, if it happens to me in my workplace and it happens to me out in the broader community, then it has got to be happening in our playgrounds and it has got to be happening at our bus stops, and I know it is happening in our workplaces”.

The Anti-Violence Project takes the view that Safe Schools is much needed program addressing homophobic harassment and bullying in schools however a social policy vacuum exists outside the school gate where prejudice and homophobia (including trans/bi-phobia) are passed from generation to generation through families. Schools must be safe places for students; homes, streets and society must be safe places for all same sex attracted and gender diverse people. As a =n out member of parliament and an Anbassador for the Safe Schools Program, Harriet Shing shines a light on the work needed to shift our society on both sides of the school gate.

Read the complete Harriet Shing speech in support of the Safe Schools program here:
http://hansard.parliament.vic.gov.au/isysquery/c2cfa5c3-e733-4088-8360-adac11d64e34/2/doc/
or via her personal website here:
http://www.harrietshing.com.au/news/you-are-okay-exactly-as-you-are-harriet-speaks-out-in-parliament-about-bullying-having-respect-for-all-people-and-safe-schools/3/

Loss of a young life is a tragedy and national disgrace

// November 25th, 2016 // No Comments » // Media discussion, Within Australia

(trigger warning; homophobia & suicide)

Tyrone Unsworth’s suicide is a tragic loss of a child’s life due to years of homophobic bullying and insults at school.

We believe society must change inside AND outside the school gate to prevent this tragedy unfolding in many families’ lives – there’s a social policy vacuum than must be filled and a community of unfunded organisations and volunteers working in this space who need funding and support.

We know that Tyrone’s grieving family didn’t raise what was happening to Tyrone in the school yard with the school.

We also believe that the Safe Schools program could have been a game changer here, removing the silence around homophobia and violence in schools and outside the school gate in community, opening up communications and discussion to support Tyrone and his family.

Social policy action by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments could have started the work needed to change how society is ingrained with homophobia and prejudice outside the school gate.

And Tyrone and his family may have been strengthened and enabled to take the bullying up with his school well before he was pushed towards suicide.

The loss of a young 13 year old life to homophobic bullying and harassment at school is both a tragedy and a national disgrace.

Further reading:
http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/real-life/in-the-news/brisbane-year-7-student-takes-own-life-after-being-bullied-for-sexuality

Supports:
Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention
QLife – 1800 184 527 – 3pm to midnight – Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI)

Premier Daniel Andrews full apology for old laws criminalising homosexual behaviour

// May 24th, 2016 // No Comments » // AVP news, Elders past and present, Media discussion, Within Australia, Within Victoria

“For a future that is strong and fair and just!” – Hon Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, May 24, 2016.

“Challenging some of the fundamental imbalances that today still stop gay men from reporting violence & harassment!” – Greg Adkins JP, executive director, Anti-Violence Project of Victoria Inc.

“(The) Apology is a powerful symbolic act to repair the harm caused by unjust laws & affirm the value of sexual difference” – Anna Brown, director Advocacy & Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre

Homophobes & bigots limber-up for the AFL’s Pride Round – are they a dying breed or on the rise in society?

// April 30th, 2016 // No Comments » // Media discussion, Research, Sport, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

While homophobes and bigots attempt to make Aussie Rules Football the latest battleground in their fight against marriage equality, targeting St Kilda and Sydney AFL Football Clubs in a campaign to derail the AFL’s first Pride match in June, the unanswered question is “Are they a dying breed or increasing in numbers?”

Public support for marriage equality has dramatically risen. But just how rampant is homophobia in the sports-attending population; have hearts and minds changed? If so, by how much; if not, why not?

Research from 2005 revealed Melbourne’s Inner City to be least homophobic (14 per cent) and the Outer South & East suburbs the most. Outside Victoria, the study identified the three most and three least homophobic areas of Australia. Overall the most homophobic areas were the Moreton area of country Queensland (excluding the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast), Central/South-West Queensland and the Burnie/Western district of Tasmania where 50 per cent believed homosexuality is immoral.

Following Melbourne’s Inner City as least homophobic Australian metropolitan areas were Central Perth (21 per cent) and Central Melbourne (26 per cent).

The Anti-Violence Project is encouraging the AFL, LGBTI community organisations and the state government to use the pending AFL Pride match in June to see how much has changed in the hearts and minds of people leaving their suburban lounge-rooms to attend AFL football matches around the nation since the 2005 research.

Read more about homophobic flyers, targeting marriage equality and the AFL’s Pride match, left on spectators’ cars outside the VFL game between Sandringham and Footscray last weekend. The flyers were headlined: “Children deserve a mother and father”, here: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-season-2016-st-kilda-sydney-targeted-in-protest-against-afls-first-gay-pride-game-20160429-goi52g.html

AVP and other LGBTI groups hope to find a home in the Pride Centre

// April 21st, 2016 // No Comments » // AVP news, Media discussion, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

Journalist Beau Donelly (The Age, April 21, 2016) writes that the Anti-Violence Project are hopeful they will find a home in Melbourne’s new Pride Centre, announced by the Andrews government on Wednesday. Tipped to be one of the world’s leading hubs for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, the $15 million centre is expected to be larger than its counterpart in San Francisco.

For the past 20 years, the group on the front line of supporting victims of homophobic attacks and same-sex domestic violence has been run from its board members’ garages and living rooms.

The Anti-Violence Project of Victoria does not have an office, so when its leadership team comes together once a month to discuss the charity’s future they meet in a Thai cafe in Fitzroy (photo of the AVP’s executive director, Greg Adkins by Simon O’Dwyer).

Read more here:
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/lgbti-groups-vying-for-space-in-the-multimilliondollar-pride-centre-20160421-goc0jv.html

Third-party and assisted violence reporting links to VicPol needed

// March 15th, 2016 // No Comments » // AVP news, Media discussion, Relationship violence, Trans and Gender Diverse, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

Violence impacts the LGBTi community yet remains vastly under-reported. According to the state’s LGBTi Anti-Violence Project this hides the true nature and extent of harassment and violence in Victoria and nationwide.

The AVP has asked Victoria Police to partner with them and other LGBTi community organisations to help reduce harm for LGBTi individuals while also enhancing the range of ways violence can be reported, how reports are accepted by Victoria Police and becoming integrated into their data systems and how those impacted by violence can be triaged more effectively from experiencing violence towards the supports necessary to provide support to them.

This need has been long discussed and the research available for many years but what is missing is a mechanism to pull the threads together”, says AVP executive director Greg Adkins.

“Whatever the source of violence, street harassment, relationship violence or lateral violence between individuals, if the necessary work can be undertaken to bring police, unfunded community-led organisations and other non-government organisations who are funded to provide services to victims of violence, more closely together then the whole society stands to gain.

“Service gaps will be readily identified, gaps in current police resources to fully address the actual extent of violence can then be identified and planned for, and funding gaps for unfunded community-led organisations working in this space can be plugged.

“Community, police, government working together in a new whole-of-life approach to violence impacting LGBTI people.

“In 2016 only a small percentage of LGBTi individuals report their experiences of violence to anyone, the needs of the majority of victims is unknown and healthy outcomes for individuals are delayed well beyond what the broad society would expect is acceptable. This means the long-term cost for society blows out of proportion to the policy solution that should be put in place today.

Have a safe enjoyable White Night!

// February 20th, 2016 // No Comments » // Media discussion, Within Victoria

Grace

Its Saturday night 20 February 2016 and Melbourne’s city streets are now outdoor arts spaces with music, theatre, visual art and light shows on display. Yes, White Night is back for its third incarnation.

Many people ignorant of the diverse communities that make up our capital city will be rubbing shoulders in our city streets, some for the first time.

White Night attracts thousands of people, and we’ll all gather through to the early hours to see works by local and international artists. The same sex attracted and gender diverse community are entitled to enjoy the night in safety with respect alongside the broader community.

The first sign of anyone acting out their prejudices and phobias verbally or physically towards you or your friends, is the exact moment you talk to the nearest police member or the nearest security person or council worker to radio police for you. You can also call police on 000.

When safe, let us at the Anti-Violence Project know of your experience via http://antiviolence.info/report-violence/ and we’ll encourage better planning for safer White Nights in future

Anger erupts over rainbow noose image – harmfull effects of Marriage Plebiscite in question

// February 4th, 2016 // No Comments » // AVP news, Media discussion, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Fears about the dangers to the LGBTI community over the Federal government’s proposed marriage plebiscite have been revealed as accurate after an anti-same-sex marriage lobby group posted an image of a woman with a rainbow noose around her neck in its latest social media campaign.

Anything that allows prejudice and homophobia to have an acceptable public platform is dangerous and un-Australian and will damage the health and lives of vulnerable people in the LGBTI community, says the AVP.

Read more here:
http://indaily.com.au/news/national/2016/02/04/anger-erupts-over-rainbow-noose-image/

Grace

Queer men are victims of street harassment nobody talks about

// November 28th, 2015 // No Comments » // Around the globe, AVP news, International, Media discussion, Relationship violence, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

This week we observed White Ribbon day and discussed how pervasive and destructive masculinity can be towards women.

However as Derrick Clifton writes in The Guardian, ‘uncomfortable, if not traumatizing, experiences (of harassment of gay men) get swept under the rug, or worse, internalised as something that “just happens” and shouldn’t be taken seriously’, revealing that many gay men, too, cope silently with harassment and consent issues in male dominated social spaces.

In Australia, governments are yet to turn their social policy lens and budgetary spends towards violence and harassment targeting the LGBTI community. The AVP believes that this makes Clifton’s argument, that its time to have more of a conversation about how the misogyny and patriarchy imbued in rape culture targets gay and gender non-conforming men, a very real and timely conversation to be had.

Read the full article here:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/27/queer-men-like-victims-street-harassment-nobody-talks-about?CMP=share_btn_tw

White Ribbon Day – Walk Against Family & Relationship Violence

// November 25th, 2015 // No Comments » // AVP news, Media discussion, Relationship violence, Relationships, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Grace

We in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community have grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts and other family members who have been and will be victims of relationship and family violence at the hands of men.

The abuse of power within many relationships is a common thread that joins the broader community to our LGBTI community in our shared experience of family and relationship violence where patterns of power, control and violence have been passed on and learned from male family members.

With great sadness we note that one in three women has experienced family and relationship violence and that family and relationship violence is also the silent epidemic within the LGBTI community despite being the subject of increasing scrutiny in heterosexual relationships. One in three LGBTI couples experience family and relationship violence echoing the general population. Additionally many women within the LGBTI community have experienced relationship violence with men before coming-out as same-sex attracted.

We say, with determination, on White Ribbon Day, that the Anti-Violence Project of Victoria recognises and acknowledges that our joint LGBTI and broader heterosexual Victoria and Australia community, cannot be safe until family and relationship violence by men in our society is named, called out as being unacceptable and is dealt with in a way so that it cannot reoccur and is prevented from being passed-on to future generations.

Just as relationship and family violence by men in the broader community is under-reported, we acknowledge homophobia and prejudice motivated violence against the LGBTI community is another form of violence emanating from mens’ behaviour and being passed on through generations.

We call on the Australian and State governments to increase data collection on all forms of violence driven by mens’ behaviour, to develop new strategic public policy, to fund front-line services supporting all victims of family and relationship violence and increase funding and infrastructure to support a community-led response to under-reported violence in all its forms.