Victoria’s leading peak organisations have joined again to work towards ending the discrimination and inequities experienced by LGBTIQ+ people in the state.
Following the release of the Australian-first Embracing Equality Charter earlier this month, the Embracing Equality Pledge was launched on today’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Intersexism (IDAHOBIT).
The Pledge sets out commitments for service providers that relate to a better understanding of intersectionality, building relationships with LGBTIQ+ communities, and ensuring safe and culturally appropriate services for LGBTIQ+ people.
The Embracing Equality group has welcomed an additional nine peak organisations from the health and community sectors.
Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO Jill Gallagher AO said that the organisation had joined the group because it embraces diversity.
“Those living in the intersecting spaces of both the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and LGBTIQA+ communities (whom we affectionately refer to as ‘Rainbow Mob’) are disproportionately marginalised, isolated, and excluded,” said Gallagher.
CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons Jenny Smith acknowledged the strength of 17 organisations coming together in allyship with the community.
“It shows how far we’ve come as a society that LGBTIQ+ specific health and wellbeing issues are out in the open and being discussed,” said Smith.
“But it also shows how far we still have to go, because we know from high-quality research that the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people is in crisis.”
The Pledge has resonated with the community, with many saying more investment is needed to expand the reach of LGBTIQ+ community–controlled organisations.
Danny, a gay man in Melbourne, said that the work of organisations such as Thorne Harbour Health is “life-saving”.
“A safe, welcoming environment, care that comes from your own community, access to other vital resources – these are some of the things I didn’t even know I needed until I found them, and I know it’s been the same for so many of my peers,” said Danny.
“These services were even more important during COVID; when so many LGBTIQ+ people were disconnected, queer organisations were a lifeline.”
The Embracing Equality Pledge and website will be launched at an online event at 3 pm today, Monday 17 May.
The event will feature Associate Professor of Public Health and Deputy Director of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University Dr Adam Bourne on the latest LGBTIQ+ data.
A dynamic panel discussion will include Raylene Harradine (Chair, Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance), Jayde de Bont Pipan (Co-Chair, Victorian Government LGBTIQ+ Taskforce), and Angus Clelland (CEO, Mental Health Victoria), facilitated by Aram Hosie (Victorian Government LGBTIQ+ Taskforce).
Registration for the launch is available now.