Taking this moment to reflect and respond

Team of paper doll people holding hands

The past 63 days have been a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex communities have faced particularly intense scrutiny and loud opinion. The Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey generated debate that has revealed the things that bind us together and the things that make us different. In this statement, we are taking time to reflect on the significant impact that public debate has had in all areas of our lives. While this was initially framed as a discussion on Marriage Equality it has become about so much more…

In this moment, it must be noted that the public debate over the equality of our bodies, relationships and feelings has been exhausting and frequently painful. These aspects of who we are should never have been the subject of public discussion, rather they should be celebrated in everyday life. 

Somehow, in the midst of this, we have each found the energy to be in this place in our own unique ways.

As the Team at the National LGBTI Health Alliance we take this opportunity to celebrate and affirm difference and diversity as one of the great strengths of Australia when we are at our best. We all benefit when difference is supported and welcomed. 

The things that unite us right now are the love that we have for our families, our families of choice, our communities, our parents, our children, our friends, our lovers. We are united by our desire to live peacefully and safely in this world and to be able to freely decide on what happiness means for each of us.  

We affirm our entitlement to choose how we keep ourselves safe – wherever we live – and that we are entitled to decide on how we mark the passage of our lives in our everyday worlds. Whether these are public choices or private lives they are all equally valid: We are worthy of the lives that we lead, we deserve respect, and full access to the benefits of the law. 

Tonight (Tuesday, 14 November 2017) we host the Annual General Meeting of the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

During this meeting we come together as an Alliance of organisations who work together every day with the aim of making a positive contribution to Australian society and the lives of our communities. 

We are an Alliance for change and transformation: We are allied together to create beneficial change in the lives of all Australians who have bodies, genders, relationships, sexualities and feelings that are not treated equally under the laws that govern this country. We work tirelessly to ensure improved health and wellbeing for those whose lives face ongoing violence, stigma and discrimination, and erasure. 

At this meeting we acknowledge the amazing work of many organisations. We call attention to the fact that much of the work of these organisations is done in an under-resourced or unfunded capacity and that lately this work has been harder than usual.  We acknowledge that our shared history and wisdom stretches back many decades – during which times we have collectively faced numerous challenges for inclusion and recognition. This moment is one of those times.

During the past months, many organisations and individuals who would not normally have shared their commitment to LGBTI communities have added their voices, care, concern, intelligence and support to the voices of our Alliance membership. This extra support has been critical in sustaining us, and gives weight to the growing body of evidence that already exists: evidence of the need for equality under the law for all individuals if health and wellbeing are to be enshrined and accessed by all.

During the past months, countless organisations and individuals have made a commitment to ensuring that all people and families negatively impacted by this public debate are heard, are cared for, are seen, and are valued.

When we reflect on the result of the postal survey tomorrow, it is vitally important to remember the dignity and fragility of these people and families. 

To the people and families in our communities, around Australia, we say:

You are not alone. You are seen by those who love you. You have a place in this world and your choices regarding how you choose to live your life are valid and worthy of respect.

As the team at the National LGBTI Health Alliance we say:

We see you, we hear you, and the work continues. 

 


Support Services for individuals and organisations 

There are a range of supports available for you, your families, friends, or organisations. Please visit the following sites for immediate assistance. 

For individuals 

 

Qlife - Email Small

 

QLife

LGBTI-specialist telephone and webchat counselling and referral service

www.qlife.org.au 
1800 184 527
3pm-Midnight 365 days 

 

 

Lifeline

Crisis support and suicide prevention.

www.lifeline.org.au 
13 11 14
24hrs 365 days

 

Beyondblue

Telephone and webchat support service.

1300 22 46 36
Telephone: 24hrs 365 days
Webchat: 3pm-Midnight 365 days
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

 

Reachout

Resources, information, and forums on a wide range of topics (including gender and sexuality

https://au.reachout.com/

 

For organisations  

 

MindOUT

Leadership in LGBTI Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. Education. Training. Inclusive practice.

www.mindout.org.au

Contact: sally.morris@lgbtihealth.org.au