Rainbow Tasmania News


Rainbow Communities Tasmania AGM

5 March 2015

The Annual General Meeting of Rainbow Communites Tasmania Inc. will be held from 5:30pm on Tuesday 24 March at the Hotel Soho, Davey Street, Hobart. The agenda is as follows:

• Welcome to members and introduction of any special visitors

• Apologies

• Confirmation of minutes of the previous annual general meeting

• Business arising out of the minutes of the previous annual general meeting

• Receipt and adoption of the Association's audited annual financial statement and Treasurer's report

• Receipt and adoption of the President's annual report

• Motion to accept new applications for membership

• Election of Officers/Executive Committee

• Motion to change bank signatories to the newly elected Officers

• Confirmation of continuing subcommittees of the Association (including appointment of members of subcommittees)

• Appointment of the Association's Auditor

• General business

Support offered for GLBTI people on King Island

1 March 2015
Julian Punch will visit King Island later this month and has requested the local newspaper to publish the following advertisement:
Julian Punch, Founder of Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc, is visiting King Island on the 14/15 and 16 March. Julian is happy to meet, for their support and at their convenience, local 'gay' people. Absolute discretion is assured. Phone 0429 396 605.

Working It Out to start support group for parents

20 February 2015
Working It Out has announced the creation of a support group for the parents of LGBTI young people. The group will initially operate in Hobart at the WIO office, with the first meeting to be on Tuesday 24 March from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Please see the flyer for further details.

Tasmanian Government urged to replace Chaplains with Counsellors

4 February 2015
Julian Punch AM, in a letter to The Mercury newspaper, has urged the Premier and the Minister for Education to replace school chaplains with secular counsellors because of the potential risk that chaplains can pose to LGBTI youth. You can read his letter here.

LGBTI input welcomed to a State-wide review of Mental Health

9 January 2015
The Mental Health Council of Tasmania and the Department of Health and Human Services are currently undertaking a review of mental health services in Tasmania. A discussion paper is available on the DHHS website, and there will be two public consultations to which all those interested in having input are invited. A flyer is available for download.

The Launceston consultation will be held on Wednesday 21 January from 4pm to 6pm at
6 Paterson Street, Launceston, and the Hobart consultation will be held on Friday 30 January from 6pm to 7pm at 39 Burnett Street, North Hobart. Anyone interested in participating is asked to email the organisers or phone them on 6224 9222.

UNSW study seeks better understanding of antiretroviral therapies

25 November 2014
The Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) at the University of New South Wales is seeking participants for a study of the use of antiretroviral therapies. The researchers want to better understand how HIV-positive people think about antiretroviral treatments (beliefs and actual experiences). Their hope is that the study will contribute to better clinical care and social support for people living with HIV.

If you are aged 18 years or above and living with HIV in Australia, the researchers would like your help. Participation is voluntary. If you would like to take part in the survey, please visit the study webpage.

Parents and carers to share their stories of Being Proud

24 November 2014
Working It Out will faciltate a number of workshops in Hobart, Deloraine, Burnie and Launceston in December as part of a project entitled Being Proud, the purpose of which is to engage school parent associations and community houses in challenging prejudice and discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation and intersex status in school communities. It aims to support parents to increase their resilience and engagement with schools to champion change in their school communities around LGBTI bullying, prejudice and discrimination.

Anyone who is a parent or carer of a young LGBTI person, knows someone who is, or is a young person who would like their parents/carers to hear the stories of other parents and carers, is invited to come along to one of the sessions, or share the information with others they know. The sessions will be extremely worthwhile and will have the power to be inspirational and transformative.

You can download an information sheet, with details of venues and times. Anyone interested in obtaining further information should contact Susan Ditter on 6231 1200 or Olivia Hogarth on 0438 346 122.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

28 October 2014
Working It Out will host a ceremony at their Hobart office on Thursday 20 November as part of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day is set aside to remember and recognise those members of the trans community who have lost their lives - either directly or indirectly - to transphobia. All are welcome - either as members of the trans community or as allies - to attend the ceremony, which will be held from 5:00pm to 5:30pm on the day at 39 Burnett Street, North Hobart. Those intending to participate are requested to advise WIO by Monday 10 November on 6231 1200 or by email.

New support group to commence in Launceston

15 September 2014
Working It Out has announcd that it has established a new support group for those over 18 who are same-sex attracted, bisexual, or questionning their sexuality. Meetings will be held fortnightly in WIO's Canning Street office commencing on Thursday 16 October. For further information, please see the poster, phone Lucy on 0438 346 122, or email WIO North.

Young Tasmanians encouraged to be trained as diversity presenters

25 August 2014
The Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner will hold a full-day workshop on Friday 29 August for youth who are interested in becoming presenters of the newly-developed Let's Get Together diversity education program. The training is free and lunch will be provided. The venue is the Anglicare Board Room, 159 Collins Street, Hobart. RSVP is essential to Jeremy Picone by email or on either 6223 1025 or 0418 142 909.

Daniel Witthaus tour makes a difference in regional Tasmania

25 August 2014
Anti-homophobia educator Daniel Witthaus has just completed a speaking tour of Tasmania. An article in the Mercury on Saturday 23 August reports that Daniel's workshops were especially welcomed by people in regional areas.

GLBTI Health and Ageing Study

10 August 2014
Members are encouraged to participate in a survey being underatken by the University of Tasmania to explore the expectations of older Tasmanian gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people about their future health and aged care. Participation will help the understanding of your specific needs and shape the future of LGBTI-friendly health and aged care services.

The survey can be completed online at www.lgbtihealth.com.au

If you wish to participate in an interview (about 45-60 minutes) to discuss your experiences and expectations of future health and aged care services, please:

* email info@lgbtihealth.com.au or

* text or call 0429 452 091 or

* complete a website enquiry form (at the web address above).

National LGBTI Mental Health Conference

28 May 2014
Mindout will hold the 2014 LGBTI Health Conference in Sydney on 26 and 27 June, with the theme of Courageous Voices: Seeds of Hope and Transformation. You can read more about the conference program here. Online registration is open until 25 June but, as places are limited, the organisers recommend early registration.

Tasmanian Government to expunge records of crimes under anti-gay laws

18 April 2014
The Tasmanian Government is committed to following the lead of the Victorian Government by expunging convictions for crimes committed under the long-repealed Tasmanian anti-gay laws. Rodney Croome, of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, would like to hear from anyone who was prosecuted or convicted under these laws, as the TGLRG believes that personal stories will help ensure that the expungment bill is passed by both houses. If you are one of the people who was affected by the anti-gay laws, please contact Rodney by email or on 0409 010 668.

Call for participants in Queerness and Disability Study

6 April 2014
Chris Brophy, a PhD student in Social Work at the University of Tasmania, is seeking participants for his study of the lived experience of people who are both LGBTIQ and have a disability or impairment. His study will look at how people negotiate and resist ableism and normative ideas about heterosexuality and gender. You can download a poster for the study by clicking here and a brief description of the study by clicking here.

Participation is open to any Australian aged 18 or over and involves a couple of interviews that can be done online by audio, video or chat, or in person for people who live in Tasmania. Each participant will receive a Coles/Myer gift card to the value of $30. If you'd like to participate, Chris would love to hear from you by email.

LGBTI policies of Tasmanian political parties under the spotlight

24 February 2014
A survey was recently conducted of the LGBTI policies and commitments of Tasmania's three major political parties. The results are available on a special page entitled Tasmania Votes 2014. All suppporters of equality are encouraged to consider the parties' responses when deciding how to vote on March the 15th.

RCT makes submission to Senate Inquiry into Complementary Protection

24 February 2014

Julian Punch, on behalf of Rainbow Communities Tasmania, has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in relation to the Federal Government's intention to repeal what is known as complementary protection for refugees. The current protections are referred to in this way because they complement Australia's commitments under the Refugee Convention, to which we are a signatory. If the provisions are repealed, there is no guarantee that LGBTI people at risk of torture, death or other serious human rights violations will be protected from removal from Australia. You can download Julian's submission here.

Report finds ReachOut.com a valuable resource for LGBTIQ Youth

19 February 2014
A report commissioned by ReachOut.com has found that its site is a valuable source of information and referral for youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer. The report is based on responses that were made to an online survey by 2,308 youth (aged 25 or less) who accessed the site between 9 May and 16 July 2012. A significant proportion of the respondents (24%) reported they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, unsure, or chose terms other than heterosexual to describe their sexual orientation. The full report is available for download.

Facebook users to have better options for describing their gender

14 February 2014
Following consultation with GLBTI groups, Facebook has given its users more options to describe their gender. Rather than being forced to describe themselves as either Male or Female, users can now choose from an extensive list of custom options including Intersex (a variation in sex characteristics that does not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female). A full list of the Facebook custom gender options is available for download.

LGBTI Electoral Forums to be held in Hobart and Launceston

10 February 2014
The 2014 state election will be an important one for the LGBTI community. Will the gains we have made over the past decade be built on by the next State government?

Come and hear what the parties have to offer the Tasmanian LGBTI community. At our candidate forums there will be representatives from the three main parties who will answer your questions about LGBTI issues.

The Hobart forum is on Tuesday 18 February from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in Meeting Room 1, Ground Floor, McDougall Building, Ellerslie Rd, Battery Point. Speakers will be Nick McKim (Greens Leader), David O'Byrne (Labor Police Minister), and Vanessa Goodwin (Liberal Shadow Attorney-General).

The Launceston forum is on Friday 21 February from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in Room L142, Faculty of Arts, University of Tasmania, Newnham Drive, Newnham. Speakers will be Paul O'Halloran (Greens Education spokesman), Michelle O'Byrne (Labor Health Minister) and Jeremy Rockliff (Liberal Depury Leader).

Amnesty petition on civil and human rights to President Putin

15 January 2014
Amnesty International Australia is requesting people in Australia to sign a petition to President Putin to end the attack on civil society in Russia. In the run up to the Winter Olympics in February 2014, in the city of Sochi, Russia will be in the human rights spotlight, and new laws are seriously affecting civil society and freedom.

Freedom of expression, assembly and association are all under threat. Many people and groups are affected by legislation banning 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations' and new treason and blasphemy laws, including the LGBTI community, which is often targeted during rallies and demonstrations, and members of punk band Pussy Riot, jailed in 2012 for peacefully singing a protest song in a Moscow church. Peaceful protests are heavily restricted, banned or dispersed. Ordinary men and women are regularly fined or jailed for their involvement in organised events. Non-Government Organisations receiving foreign funding and engaging in 'political activities' must register as 'foreign agents'. The move stigmatises and discredits key human rights organisations and provides reason to fine or close them down.

You can call on President Putin to protect civil and human rights in Russia by signing the Amnesty petition.

Workshops in Tasmania to address the high rate of LGBTI suicide

9 January 2014
The National LGBTI Health Alliance is sponsoring two workshops in Tasmania in late February - one in Launceston and one in Hobart - that are designed to help tackle the high rate of suicide in the LGBTI community. The workshops, entitled Equal not same: Towards LGBTI inclusive practice, will be facilitated by Barry Taylor, Senior Project Officer for MindOUT! Having worked in mental health promotion and suicide prevention for 25 years at the local, national and international levels, Barry is an internationally sought after workshop facilitator.

The workshop has been designed for those working in mainstream services, such as Community Mental Health, Inpatient Mental Health, NGO Mental Health Support Organisations and Social Service Organisations. This is a full-day workshop, and lunch will be provided as part of the registration fee of $50. Places are limited and online registration is therefore essential. Posters with further details can be downloaded for the Launceston and Hobart workshops.

Afi's story gets wider coverage

4 December 2013
The story of Afi Piri's bid to have Australia recognise him as a refugee has now been covered by the Melbourne-based Gay News Network. You can read the story and see the photos here.

The decision by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to cap the number of permanent protection visas at the number already granted this financial year means that Afi and other asylum seekers will have to remain on bridging visas until at least July next year.

Bid by gay refugee from Iran to be granted Australian protection

18 October 2013
Afi Piri is a refugee from Iran who came to Australia by boat via Indonesia because he was persecuted and tortured in his own country simply for being gay. Julian Punch of Rainbow Communities Tasmania is helping Afi in his quest to obtain a permanent protection visa. Current Australian Government policy dictates that Afi is entitled only to a bridging visa, which forbids him from working, provides an allowance well below the poverty line and may result in his deportation back to Iran. Read Afi's story in his own words.

Rainbow Dinner Registration now available

1 September 2013
Members can now register online for the annual Rainbow Dinner and Awards, which will be held on 30 November in the Tasman Room at Wrest Point. The special guest for the evening is Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham, who will be interviewed by Judy Tierney. Matthew's compelling autobiography, Twists and Turns, is available from The State Cinema Bookshop.

A buffet dinner will be served. Cost for the event is $80 per person and seating is strictly limited, so book early - either individually or as a group. The registration system secures all data by encrypting it prior to transmission over the internet. Tickets can be reserved at any time, but payments must be received by Friday 1 November.

The system will ask you to nominate a Table Captain. While not required, doing so enables the organisers to allocate you and your friends to the same table. If members of your group book individually, simply agree on the person that you will all nominate as the Table Captain. The system also has provision for specifying dietary requirements, so if you plan to make a group booking, please check with the group members beforehand. Click here to go to the registration page.

Pinnacle Foundation to continue its support of LGBTIQ students

29 August 2013
The Pinnacle Foundation assists disadvantaged lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer youth by providing scholarships, under the guidance of mentors and donors. The local representative, Mike Cain, is seeking expressions of interest from LGBTIQ youth aged between 16 and 24 who need financial assistance during 2014. Applications close on
1 October, so those interested should contact Mike asap on 0400 734 798.

Increase in Gonorrhoea notifications in Tasmania in the last 12 months

9 August 2013
Should you be tested? Are you keeping yourself safe? In Tasmania by July this year we have already had the same number of gonorrhoea notifications as there were in the whole of 2012. There have been cases reported in all three regions of the state. Infections have occurred in both men and women but have been more commonly diagnosed in men. The majority of gonorrhoea cases diagnosed in 2013 so far have been in men who have sex with men, although about a third were in men who have sex with either gender, or with women only. Most people diagnosed were in their twenties but younger and older people have also been affected.

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmissible infection (STI) caused by a type of bacteria. It is transmitted by unsafe or risky sexual practices including oral, vaginal and anal sex without a condom or dam. The good news is that it is easy to get tested, and treatment with antibiotics is straight forward. However, not being treated may have long term health effects including pelvic inflammatory disease in women and infertility in men and women.

Gonorrhoea often doesn't have any symptoms, so if you think you may have had risky sex where you could have been exposed, it's very important to be tested as soon as possible. Here is the link to find out more about gonorrhoea, possible symptoms, treatment, and health risks if you don't seek treatment:

Here is a website link with information on STIs for men who have sex with men:

If you feel comfortable talking to your GP about being tested, make an appointment now. If you would rather see a specialist confidential service which is free, friendly and non-judgemental, call Sexual Health Services in Hobart, Launceston or Burnie to make an appointment on this toll free number: 1800 675 859 Or on Thursday mornings each week, you can call in to Sexual Health Services at 60 Collins St, Hobart, when no appointment is necessary.

Did you know? – If you have had unprotected sex but you don't have any symptoms of gonorrhoea infection (called asymptomatic), you can ask your GP or a Sexual Health Services nurse about a Self-Collection swab kit. This means you can collect the swab sample yourself; your GP or Sexual Health Services nurse will explain what to do.

Remember, you can get infected with gonorrhoea through male to male, male to female, or female to male sex. So regardless of who you had unsafe sex with, gonorrhoea doesn't discriminate, and, like other STIs such as chlamydia, and blood borne viruses like HIV, they can only be prevented by using a condom and lube every time. For your own peace of mind, why not get tested and, if necessary, get treated – and remember, always use condoms and lube so you can enjoy sex worry (and STI) free!

Nominations open for Rainbow Awards 2013

18 July 2013
Every two years Rainbow Communities Tasmania makes awards to individuals and organisations who take outstanding action to create an inclusive society that reflects the important role that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people can play in the community when diversity is respected and valued. This year three awards will be made in the following categories:

  • LGBTI Youth 'Coming Out' Award for courageous action respecting inclusion or rejecting discrimination at this important time starting out in life.
  • Adult LGBTI Award for advocacy that supports and encourages legal change or cultural awareness of respecting, acknowledging or celebrating LGBTI communities.
  • LGBTI Award to an Organisation that has achieved systemic change to reflect best HR practice and support for LGBTI clients or staff.

Read more about this year's awards and consider nominating worthy individuals and organisations by submitting a nomination on the downloadable form.

Island magazine features interviews with gay and lesbian Tasmanians

11 July 2013

Island MagazineThe current issue of Island magazine features an in-depth interview with three generations of gay and lesbian Tasmanians about their experiences of being gay in Tasmania from the fifties to the present.

The cover, shown at left, has the interview featured on the cover page with the title "When did you tell your mother you were straight".

The magazine is available from selected bookstores, including The State Cinema Bookstore, and retail outlets at a cost of $20 a copy.

Interview with Lt Col Cate McGregor AM - male to female transgender

7 July 2013
A recent edition of the ABC program One Plus One included an interview by Jane Hutcheon with a remarkable Australian, a serving member of the Australian Army who is transitioning from a male to a female. The person known to the world as Lt Col Malcolm McGregor last year announced to her boss and friend - Chief of Army Lt Gen David Morrison - that she had endured a long-running conviction that she was a woman living in a man's body and had decided to commence transition to life as a woman. At one point she offered her resignation from her position as his speechwriter, but Morrison replied "I want you to know that I'm privileged that you felt you could tell me about the crisis you're facing and I will be with you every step of the way''.

It was Lt Col Cate McGregor who helped write Morrison's tough speech to Army personnel in the wake of shocking revelations about an email sex ring, known as the "Jedi Council". The group distributed degrading images and messages about women, both in and outside the services, who might be exploited for sex.

Outright Youth Coordinator speaks on national TV about his HIV status

4 July 2013
In a segment on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in this evening's edition of Channel Ten's The Project, Ricky Meerding and his parents talked frankly and courageously about his becoming HIV-positive. You can view the segment by accessing the 4 July episode on the program's homepage. Ricky expressed the hope that, by going public, he would help make other young people aware of the risks of unprotected sex and encourage their use of condoms.

Experiences of being gay in Tasmania to feature in Island magazine

19 May 2013
The June issue of Island magazine (Issue 133, released mid-June) will feature an interview with Dave Arnold (84), Miranda Morris (60) and Lochsley Wilson (18) about their experiences of being gay in Tasmania. The interview incorporates a lot of the gay history of the State (not just the monumental changes from the early 90s).

Salamanca memorial artwork launched

17 May 2013
The Lord Mayor or Hobart, Alderman Damon Thomas, last night officially launched Justy Phillips' artwork 'The Yellow Line' at Salamanca. The 'Yellow Line' is one of four projects that formed part of the 2008 apology by the Hobart City Council for an event in 1988 when it called on the Tasmanian police to make 130 arrests for trespass at Salamanca Market. Those arrested were supporters of the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group (TGLRG) signing a petition calling on the State parliament to repeal laws that criminalised homosexuality. The artwork consists of two separate lines - "In the wake of your courage I swim" and "Forgive me for not holding you in my arms" - see photos below.

The Coming Out Proud Greater Hobart Community Liaison Committee raised $7,000 to match the Council contribution towards the Salamanca Commemorative Art Installation Project. Julian Punch from Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc. said "the apology and commemorative art installation are a courageous reversal of the actions of an earlier Council.  They are an effective act of conciliation and wise leadership which removes the stigma of discrimination so important in the restoration of health and well-being for the LGBTI Community in Tasmania"  Mr.  Punch added that "this conciliation process needs to continue to wipe out the awful effects and vestiges of discrimination still existing in Tasmania today where same-sex attracted young people (SSAYP) are three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth".

In the wake Forgive me

Anti-Discrimination Commission offers Rainbow Tourism Awareness Training

7 May 2013
An important aspect of the new Rainbow Tasmania Tourism Accreditation process (see the article dated 23 April) is that businesses seeking accreditation must demonstrate GLBTI anti-discrimination awareness in their application. The Tasmanian Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner will shortly announce, via its June newsletter, that it has developed a two-hour course that will assist business owners and their staff to meet the anti-discrimination awareness criterion. Read the article here.

Rainbow Communities Tasmania AGM and Annual Report

2 May 2013
At last night's Annual General Meeting of Rainbow Communities Tasmania, Deidre Murray was elected as Chair, David Sinclair as Deputy Chair, John Collins as Treasurer and Julian Punch as Secretary/Public Officer. The organisation's Annual Report for 2012 was also released at the meeting. The very readable report, which covers RCT's wide range of community involvement and the organisation's future directions, is available for download from the Publications page.

Applications invited for Suicide Prevention Forum

1 May 2013
The Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network will hold its annual Suicide Prevention Forum at the Baha'i Centre in Hobart on Friday 17 May. You can read about the speakers and the day's events by downloading the official program and apply to participate by completing the registration form.

Rainbow Tourism Accreditation is up and running

23 April 2013
Today, the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania launched their new Rainbow Tasmania Tourism Accreditation to the industry. The new accreditation program was developed in response to concerns by the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community over the rigour of the current 'gay-friendly' self-nomination by tourism businesses. The TICT is offering the new LGBTI accreditation module at no extra cost to all accredited tourism operators in Tasmania who register before December 31, 2013.

Today's event today was held at Corinda's Cottages, which also became the first operator to complete and be presented with their accreditation certificate. Pictured below is Matthew Ryan, co-owner of Corinda's Cottages, with the Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon, and the CEO of Tourism Tasmania, John Fitzgerald, enjoying the autumn sunshine in the immaculate garden.

Rainbow Tourism Launch


Rainbow Tourism Accreditation Program to be launched

8 April 2013
On 23 April the Tasmanian Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon MP, will officially launch a program jointly developed by Rainbow Tasmania, Tourism Tasmania and the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania. To receive accreditation under the Rainbow Tourism Accreditation Program as a gay-friendly operator, a business will need to demonstrate that:
* The owners and employees are aware of the provisions of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act
* That steps have been taken to ensure that the workplace is free from harassment and discrimination
* That the business is developing GLBTI Cultural Awareness
* That GLBTI tourists will be provided with information about local support and services

Four COPP Community Liaison Committee members will support the program: Paul Dimmick in the South, Gary Quilliam in Hobart and the East Coast, Brett Goodsell in the North and North-East, and Jenny Archer in the North-West and the West Coast. See the press release from the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania for more details.

Baroque Festival in Hobart

4 April 2013
From April 12th to 20th, Hobart will play host to a brand new festival - HOBART BAROQUE, directed by arts impresario Leo Schofield AM. Visit the festival website for more information.

Dedicated to exclusive performances of rare works from the 17th and 18th centuries, Hobart Baroque will not only feature leading international and Australian performers but will also showcase some of the city's finest heritage buildings.

Most notable of these is the jewel-like Theatre Royal, Australia's only surviving Georgian theatre and one with an unbroken record of performance ever since it opened its doors in March, 1827. One hundred and eighty six years later it will be the centerpiece of a cluster of performances of early music.

On the opening night of the festival, the Royal will perform at the Royal - a production from the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden will debut at the Theatre Royal in Hobart. Countertenor sensation David Hansen will perform his only recital in Australia this year, led by Erin Helyard and some of our finest baroque players, and will also accompany celebrated Tasmanian soprano Jane Edwards.  Exciting Melbourne-based trio Latitude 37 will also perform an exclusive recital at the historic Hobart Town Hall. 

Two exceptional events will also be held at the Musuem of Old and New Art - MONACELLO and MONAORGANISM.

US Supreme Court cases on marriage laws begin

27 March 2013
The United States Supreme Court - the country's highest court - began today to hear two cases on marriage equality. The first is a challenge to the constitutionality of California's ban on same-sex marriages. California had a same-sex marriage law in place until 2008, when it was overturned by a majority of voters endorsing a ballot initiative. Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to declare that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Success in the Supreme Court case could mean that gay marriage will be guaranteed as an entitlement throughout the US.

The second case involves a challenge to the consitutionality of the Federal Defence of Marriage Act, which also defines marriage as an act between a man and a woman. The star witness is an 83-year-old woman who married her partner of 40 years in Canada in 2007. When the woman's partner died in 2009, the woman had to pay $363,000 in Federal taxes from which, as a heterosexual partner, she would have been exempt.

Australia is one of many countries in which the struggle for marriage equality continues. Australian Marriage Equality leads the struggle at home, and we encourage readers to visit the website. Readers may also be interested in a blog, compiled by an organisation that assesses gay dating sites, which lists what it considers to be the top 100 sites on marriage equality.

Expressions of Interest called for Health In Difference Conference

12 March 2013
COPP members are invited to express interest in participating in the 2013 Health in Difference conference sponsored by the National LGBTI Health Alliance. Members can apply to the COPP Trust for financial assistance with conference registration fees and travel, as such assistance is seen as an investment in local and regional leaders who are committed to COPP Management Plans to reduce discrimination.

Assistance will be considered for dedicated members of COPP Community Liaison Committees, Outright Youth Leaders or LoG Leaders. Those assisted will be required to report back to COPP Committees and the State Conference and to pursue the themes back in Tasmania through the COPP Committees.

To obtain more information about the conference, click on the graphic below. Those interested in participating should contact Julian Punch on 6239 6606 or by email.

Health In Difference


COPP Kingborough/Huon Valley CLC invites newcomers to April meeting

12 March 2013
The COPP Community Liaison Committee for Kingborough/Huon Valley will hold its next meeting at 6:00pm on Thursday 4 April at the Kingborough Council Chambers, Channel Highway, Kingston. Newcomers are invited to participate in the lively discussion of local and State issues, including Rainbow Families, the LGBTI Accreditation Model for Tourism Operators, the State GLBTI Suicide Prevention Strategy and reform of the Aged Care sector. Further information is available from Deidre Murray or Brian Doran.

Rocky Glen Retreat offers Rainbow Special packages

11 March 2013
The Rocky Glen Retreat on King Island, sponsor of a fantastic prize at the recent Rainbow Dinner, has released a series of Rainbow Special packages for members of the GLBTI community. You will enjoy the relaxed and serene setting, unparalleled hospitality and exquisite local produce including beef, cheese and crayfish.

Packages range from 4 to 7 days and all are great value. Each includes a return flight from Wynyard or Launceston, ocean-front accommodation, KI Goodies breakfasts, dinners at Rocky Restaurant and other delightful inclusions. Click the link above or visit the Pink Tourism page for the North-West Coast.

Barbecue kicks off a big year of social events

30 January 2013
A barbecue at 'Baanya' on Monday 28 January was the first social event for 2013 - photos taken on the day by Pedro Eduardo have been added to the Photo Gallery. Arin Dean spoke to the crowd about this year's Calendar of Events, urging individual members to develop their own events and take ownership of them. The committee that Arin chairs can provide assistance and support and Arin invited members to contact him - arin@rainbowtas.org - to discuss their thoughts about this year's events.

Calendar of LoG Events now available

23 January 2013
The Pocket Calendar of LoG events for 2013 is now available on the Publications page. At this early stage details for many of the events have yet to be finalised. As details are finalised, later versions of the Pocket Calendar will be published. To check for up to date information on any event, please visit the Events page.

Queer Art for Sale

23 January 2013
Each year a number of artists generously contribute their work for auction at the Annual Rainbow Dinner, the funds raised being contributed to the COPP Trust. Works that were not sold at the 2012 dinner are available for sale at fixed prices until 31 December 2013. These works can be viewed, together with descriptions, on the Queer Art for Sale page.

Seasons Greetings from all of us at Rainbow Communities Tasmania

Three Quens

Seasons Greetings to all in the League of Gentlefellows and our very sincere thanks for all your wonderful support this year.

For some in our community this time of year can be difficult. You can be a true friend if someone you know needs emotional support - call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If life is in immediate danger, contact the police or the ambulance service on 000.

Inaugural LGBTI Human Rights Awards made

10 December 2012
At Government House this morning a new Human Rights Award, sponsored by Rainbow Communities Tasmania, was made. One of two new categories this year, it is made to a person or organisation who has undertaken activities to ensure the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights - with a focus on promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex cultural awareness in Tasmania.

Nominees in this category included Andrew Shaw, Launceston City Council Human Library and Sandy Verrier.

For her long-term commitment to supporting LGBTI students at Rosny College - and in particular her work in empowering students of diverse sexuality to understand their rights, access services and supports and make decisions about their lives - the inaugural LGBTI Award was presented to Sandy Verrier.

A Certificate of High Commendation was awarded to Andrew Shaw for his commitment to advocating for, and working with, people of diverse sexuality and gender and in particular for raising community awareness of transgender and intersex individuals through his own personal story.

Rainbow Communities Tasmania marches for Human Rights

8 December 2012
Members and friends of Rainbow Communities Tasmania today participated, with other human rights groups, in a peaceful march through Hobart's streets to the Parliament House lawns in support of Human Rights Week. Following are some photos of the GLBTI contingent.

Human Rights Week march

Human Rights Week march

Human Rights Week march

Human Rights Week Events

27 November 2012
The Rainbow Dinner on Saturday 1 December is just one of many events to celebrate Human Rights Week 2012, as shown in the Calendar. The LGBTI Human Rights Award, sponsored by Rainbow Communities Tasmania, will be made at the Human Rights Week Launch at Parliament House on the Monday the 3rd of December (you need to register for this event). There will be a great group of us joining the Rally on Saturday the 8th of December, which involves a march, starting at 10:45am, from the Playhouse Theatre in Bathurst Street to the Parliament House lawns, where Rainbow Communities Tasmania will have a stall and there will be speakers, music and activities until 1:00pm.

Hobart LGBTI community consultation on ageing and aged care

4 October 2012
The National LGBTI Health Alliance will hold a community consultation with the LGBTI community at the Mercure Hotel in Hobart from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Wednesday 24 October. A light lunch will be provided.

The Australian Government is currently reforming the aged care sector. For the first time, the unique concerns and challenges faced by older LGBTI people are being recognised, and the Government is developing a national LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy to help ensure that the needs of older LGBTI people are met. The Department of Health and Ageing has contracted the National LGBTI Health Alliance to hold broad public consultations throughout the country to feed into this Strategy, to ensure that your voice is heard during this process. This presents an exciting opportunity to express your thoughts on LGBTI ageing and aged care, and to influence future government policy in the area.

If you are:

  • An LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex) person
  • The carer, family member or friend of an older LGBTI person
  • A worker from an LGBTI community organisation or an aged care service provider
  • An academic, policy maker or government employee with an interest in LGBTI ageing and aged care

then the organisers want to hear from you!

You can participate in two ways. Either via the community consultation on Wednesday 24 October, for which booking is essential - read the flyer for details - or by emailing Steven Kennedy to obtain a copy of the Draft Strategy so that you can provide written feedback to the Alliance.

Burnie workshop to explore diverse sexuality and gender

4 October 2012
Working It Out has issued an invitation to everyone interested in gender and sexuality issues to participate in a workshop to be held at The King of Burnie Hotel from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Friday 2 November. Dinner is available at reasonable cost for those interested.

The facilitators, Mani & Sharon, both grew up in rural communities, are both working as Educator/Counsellors. They both value the use of storytelling as a tool in their work and are united in their passion to create change and a sense of belonging for everybody - making a world that is safer and more respectful. Mani and Sharon seek a world that values and enjoys ALL who are different and that seeks to honour diversity and difference, in all its forms, in families, in communities, in countries. They want to remind us all of the preciousness of life in a way that challenges the ‘ugly’ - abuse, violence, prejudice, homophobia and xenophobia - in a way that engages and moves people. They want us to explore what connects us and not what divides us as a society.

Read the flyer for the workshop for further details. RSVP to Sharon Jones is required by Thursday 1 November.

Homelessness Charter overlooks LGBTI vulnerability

7 August 2012
Julian Punch, on behalf of Rainbow Communities Tasmania (RCT), has complained to the Department of Health and Human Services about the exclusion of RCT from the implementation of the government's Homelessness Charter. Julian pointed out that, despite RCT having provided a comprehensive submission on the prevalence of homelessness among members of the LGBTI community, LGBTI Cultural Awareness Training for service providers is not included in the government's strategy.

Call to artists for the Rainbow Dinner Art Sale and Auction

31 July 2012

The Rainbow Dinner is the premier annual celebration that showcases the richness that LGBTI folk contribute to the life of our communities. This year’s festivities will be held in The Derwent Room at Wrest Point, Sandy Bay Hobart on Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 6.30 pm. The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG will be attending the Dinner and shall regale us with his thoughts and observations.

The Art Sale and Auction is a fundraising event held each year at the Dinner and has become a prestigious forum for emerging and established Australian Artists. More than 200 guests will attend the evening and they have always proved to be generous and enthusiastic buyers and bidders. This year, to celebrate and encourage diversity, we would like to extend an invitation to ALL who share in the spirit of inclusion and equity. Those artists who have so generously contributed to the Art Sale and Auction in years past are heartily encouraged to enter new artwork.

A friendly Terms and Conditions document and an Official Entry Form are available to download. Please read, complete and return by no later than Sunday, 28 October to the address provided on the Official Entry Form.

Feel free to alert others who would like to support our fundraising aims. Images of artwork from last year’s very successful event are available in the Queer Art Gallery.

All enquiries to Arin Dean on 0439 004 049 or via email.

Catholic Priest calls for action on "gay panic" defence

12 July 2012
Father Paul Kelly, of Maryborough in Queensland, has called on all fair-minded Australians to lobby the Queensland Government to change its mind on the 'gay panic' defence, which is still admissible in Queensland courts and allows charges of murder to be downgraded to lesser charges. He writes that, while the previous government had committed to abolish the defence that the victim "came on to" the accused, the Campbell Newman government has announced that the archaic law is here to stay.

Father Kelly asks that people sign the petition available at Change.org and that they ask their friends to also add their names. He said "Newman even promised during the election campaign to 'carefully' consider removing the 'gay panic' defence and I know that if there's a big enough push, we'll be able to ensure he follows through."

People who are HIV-positive sought for anonymous online survey

9 July 2012
Learning you are HIV-positive is a life-changing diagnosis and for some people it causes negative psychological effects that hinder their everyday life. Queensland University of Technology researcher Lauren Maree Stewart, from QUT's School of Psychology and Counselling, is calling for men who have sex with men and are living with HIV to participate in an online survey designed to explore the effects on their mental health and health behaviours.

"I'm looking at HIV stigma. There is not a lot of research in Australia on this but we do know that people can internalise the stigma of living with HIV to become part of their identity," Ms Stewart said. "This can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and possibly less adherence to their medication regime. Some individuals may also self-stigmatize and withdraw from society because they fear people's reaction if they disclose their HIV status."

Ms Stewart said some people living with HIV fear their friends will stop talking to them if they know and some have also reported a reluctance to tell others in the workplace for this reason. "On the other hand, we know that some people who are living with HIV do not suffer mental health problems and my study is aimed at finding out about the ways they cope to remain mentally healthy," she said. "If we can get an insight into what factors make these people psychologically resilient, we hope to use that to develop ways to help people cope when they receive the diagnosis."

Ms Stewart said the study is completely anonymous and participants could not be identified from their survey participation. Participants are also given the opportunity to be entered into a draw to win one of two $100 iTunes vouchers.

HIV Stigma Profile Read a newsletter about the study.

To complete the survey go to:

Tasmanian Homelessness Charter includes provision for GLBTI clients

4 June 2012
The Tasmanian Homelessness Charter, prepared for the State government by Youth Development Australia, has been finalised. As a consequence of input from Rainbow Communities Tasmania, in the form of a substantial submission, the document makes specific provision for the needs of GLBTI clients. This includes cultural awareness training of staff and workers in organisations providing services to LGBTI people.

Sophia Alex-Bailey writes about close encounters with the dark side

28 May 2012
Sophia Alex-Bailey, Co-Chair of the Hobart Community Liaison Committee of COPP, has written an article to be published in the Tasmanian Times about recent close encounters with the forces of darkness.

Federal Government to recognise specific needs of elderly GLBTI people

26 May 2012
The Federal Government will provide funding to three groups to provide aged care built specifically for GLBTI people. The first facility is being built near Ballan in regional Victoria. At the moment federal laws do not recognise discrimination on sexuality or gender identity grounds. However, later this year the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, will introduce legislative changes to give sexuality and gender identity the same discrimination status as race or age. Read more about this story on ABC Online.

Tasmanian Government announces new suicide prevention initiatives

12 May 2012
The Tasmanian Government today issued a press release outlining a call for proposals from not-for-profit organisations to implement community-based strategies designed to prevent suicides. The six initiatives outlined in today's Call for Proposals include:

  • Establish and facilitate the new Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network (TSPCN) and work with communities ready for action in suicide prevention
  • Develop a suicide prevention action plan for Tasmania's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) communities
  • Deliver the annual Tasmanian Life Awards
  • Deliver an annual suicide prevention forum, in conjunction with the Tasmanian Life Awards
  • Map suicide prevention and support services in Tasmania
  • Support community sector organisations to develop performance indicators for suicide prevention activity in Tasmania in line with work underway at a national level.

Trainee Doctors participate in Huonville seminar on GLBTI issues

3 May 2012
Rainbow Tasmania representatives participated in a seminar at Huonville Health Centre on 30 April that was organised by the UTAS School of Medicine Rural Communities Program. The Program runs for a week with 17 second-year medical students participating in various activities during the week. All students are staying at the Tassie Devils Backpackers for the week.

Their week is full of medical and social functions. Monday's program consisted of discussions and presentations delivered by different health care providers and social services. Julian Punch, Jo Goodman and Deidre Murray from Rainbow Communities Tasmania gave a presentation on how Discrimination (LGBTI) can lead to suicide.

The hour-long presentation provided useful information for the students and thought- provoking statistics highlighting the discrimination experienced by the GLBTI Community. All students participated willingly and provided some great hints at providing a safe and caring medical environment for this vulnerable minority group. The students will return to their studies with a commitment to further develop the suicide prevention strategy for sexually and gender diverse people in rural areas.

Huonville Seminar Huonville Seminar

Rainbow Tasmania invited to address Senate Inquiry

1 May 2012
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committe, which is inquiring into same-sex marriage, has invited Rainbow Tasmania to appear before the Committee in Melbourne to discuss aspects of the submission made to it by Rainbow Tasmania. Sophia Alex-Bailey, who is Co-Chair of the Hobart COPP Community Liaison Committee, and will represent the organisation at the inquiry, has issued a press release about the invitation.

Support among prospective MLCs for same-sex marriage

24 April 2012
Results are in for a survey distributed by COPP to candidates for the Legislative Council seat of Hobart. It is an interesting and significant sign of the general community's acceptance that five of the six candidates - Penelope Ann, Michael Foster, John Sugden, Rob Valentine and Dean Winter - support the proposed change to the Federal Marriage Act to include same-sex couples. They also agree that, if the Federal Parliament does not amend the law, then they would support legislation in the Tasmanian Parliament for the recognition and enactment of same-sex marriage. While Paul Hiscutt agrees that the proposed changes should include same-sex couples, he would not support the term marriage but would endorse a civil union clause.

The agreement of five out of the six candidates bodes well for the case of same-sex marriage in Tasmania and the economic benefits if State legislation were to be enacted. It also indicates that church opposition to same-sex marriage is not generally accepted by church members, and only rests on the use of the word marriage as against 'civil union'.

TasPride Committee calls for EOIs for events

18 April 2012
Dean Duggan, on behalf of the TasPride Committee today called for expressions of interest in funding support for events during the period of the TasPride Festival, which this year will run from 16 to 24 November. Dean noted that last year’s festival saw various events happen right around Tasmania and expressed the Committee's hope that a similar range and geographic diversity of events will be included in the 2012 festival.

Expressions of interest must be received by TasPride committee member Marcus Barker at Ten Days on the Island no later than 31 May 2012.

Annual Report 2011 published and AGM held

24 March 2012
The Annual Report of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc. is now available on the Publications page.

Julian Punch has provided an overview of the Annual General Meeting, which was held in Launceston on Saturday 17 March.

Rainbow Tasmania makes submission on Marriage Equality Bill

17 February 2012
Julian Punch, on behalf of Rainbow Tasmania, has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in support of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010. You can download a copy of the submission from the Publications page.

Presentations to focus on LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

13 February 2012
Presentations to be made within the next month by two researchers will focus on what surveys can tell us about the mental health of members of the LGBTI community and what can be done to decrease the current high levels of depression, self-harm and suicide in the LGBTI community.

Dr Lynne Hillier will present the findings of the third national survey of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people - Writing Themselves In 3. The most recent survey, which was conducted in 2011, in which 3,134 young people participated, followed similar surveys conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society in 1998 and 2004. Dr Hillier will give two presentations - in Hobart on Friday 24 February, and in Launceston on Tuesday 28 February. Click here for details of times and venues.

Barry Taylor, from the MindOUT! project, will present an overview of the project, its aims and the findings of a survey that the project conducted in 2011. The project is sponsored by the National LGBTI Health Alliance, of which Rainbow Tasmania is a member. Interested members of the LGBTI community can attend a presentation at Working It Out, Hobart at 5:30pm on Wednesday 7 March or at Deloraine House, Deloraine at 5:30pm on Friday 9 March. RSVP to Working It Out on 6231 1200 is required. 

TCSGDP expresses concern to Hutchins Principal

12 December 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc (TCSGDP), has written to Warwick Dean, Principal of The Hutchins School, to express concern about the school's policies and attitudes towards students who may be same-sex attracted. The concern was sparked by Teacher Gary Prebble's use of his school email account to encourage others to sign a petition against same-sex marriage prior to the ALP National Conference. Julian pointed out that Mr Prebble's use of the school's email account to propagate the 'pro-family' stance against same-sex marriage could be interpreted as having the school's endorsement, and called on Mr Dean to publicly rebuke Mr Prebble and to clarify the school's position. Julian highlighted the adverse effects that Mr Prebble's actions could have on past and current Hutchins students who are same-sex attracted, and called on Mr Dean to work with the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, to initiate LGBTI Discrimination Awareness training for the board, staff members and students.

The School publishes the following under the heading of Our Values:
As a community of learners and in keeping with our proud heritage we hold these core values to be the foundation of our endeavours:
* Relationships based on integrity and mutual respect
* A safe and secure environment for all
* Education of each student as an individual
* Compassion and pastoral care
* The pursuit of excellence appropriately celebrated
* Accepting best practice and academic challenge
* Active citizenship
* Building resilience through purposeful effort, participation and persistence
* Community connectedness

It also has a policy on Harassment and Bullying, which appropriately states that bullying "includes any unreasonable behaviour that intimidates, insults, offends, degrades or humiliates a person." To date, Mr Dean has not responded to Julian's calls to publicly rebuke Mr Prebble or to initiate LGBTI Discrimination Awareness training. It seems legitimate, therefore, to question the school's commitment to its own stated values and policies.

TCSGDP members and associates receive training from the OADC

11 December 2011
On the weekend of 3/4 December, 18 members and associates of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc. (TCSGDP) undertook two days of training facilitated by Roz Smart, one of two training officers for the Tasmanian Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. The intent of the training program was to equip participants with the tools to conduct organisational discrimination, harassment and bullying education programs, specialising in GLBTI and diversity. This is especially relevant to TCSGDP members in their different areas of LGBTI advocacy including education, policing, tourism, health and social connection.

The course, which included tuition, in-depth discussions and role-plays, covered such topics as an overview of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998; awareness of GLBTI cultural diversity including supporting cases and statistics; how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination; harassment (including bullying) and GLBTI awareness, sexual harassment, other prohibited conduct including victimisation and incitement to hatred; and anti-discrimination for advocates. The TCS&GDP is keen for their members and associates to undertake further OADC training programs in new areas of operation including Tasmania's north and north-west, where member organisations such as the Coming Out Proud Program (COPP), Outright Youth and League of Gentlefellows are in the process of establishing. TCSGDP wishes to thank the Tasmanian Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and the Hobart City Council for an excellent weekend's training.

The photo below shows Roz Smart conducting the training for the workshop participants.

OADC TRaining December 2011

2011 Rainbow Dinner and Awards

26 November 2011
For the purposes of celebrating diversity and acknowledging those who act with courage in working to achieve fairness and equity, the community of friends and family known as ‘rainbow people’ (sexual and gender diverse people) gather together annually at the League of Gentlefellows-sponsored Rainbow Dinner and Awards. Over three hundred people will gather from across Tasmania and interstate to attend the festivities, which will take place at the Wrest Point Hotel Tasman Room on the evening of Saturday November 26.

Every alternate year the dinner features the Rainbow Awards to acknowledge those people who act with courage in working to achieve fairness and equity for the LGBTI Community. This year fourteen people, because of the courageous and cooperative action they have taken to achieve equity for the sexual and gender diverse community, will be acknowledged in the Awards.

The League of Gentlefellows (LoG) is an informal Statewide group of over 1,900 Tasmanian GLBTI people and their friends who meet on a regular basis in non-threatening and safe social settings to celebrate their lives and enjoy each other’s company. As a charity benefit through the Coming Out Proud Program (COPP) Trust, proceeds from this year’s Rainbow Dinner will help support the four regional COPP Community Liaison Committees in their work opposing discrimination, preventing suicide and bullying, and creating safe space for local LGBTI communities. To download a copy of the 2011 Awards (PDF, 707KB), click here.  

TasPride to hold inaugural Hobart Pride Parade

20 October 2011
All members and friends of the TCS&GDP Inc. are invited to participate in the inaugural Hobart Pride Parade, which will take place on Saturday 5 November as part of the TasPride Festival. It will start from the State Library, on the corner of Murray and Bathurst Streets at 12:00 noon and proceed down Murray Street to Parliament House. We hope you are able to share this significant celebration with us as we start a new chapter in GLBTIQ history in Tasmania and invite you to meet up with us at the State Library at 12:00 noon.

Bring any banners you might have, home-made signs, etcetera, but please no swear-words as there will be media coverage. It will conclude on the lawns of Parliament House between 12:30 and 12:45pm. Parade participants, supporters and members of the general public, along with representatives of the media, will gather to celebrate the courage, solidarity, pride, diversity and strong sense of community of Tasmania's GLBTIQ people of the past, present and into the future.

Speakers are scheduled to commence around 1:00pm. Representatives from TCS&GDP, COPP and Outright Youth will be speaking at the gathering. The GLBTIQ community, along with family and friends, intend that this Pride Parade be a celebration of achievement and not be seen as a demonstration. It is recognised that there are still some issues that may need some attention, but overall the greater acceptance and inclusion by most Tasmanian communities is what this celebration is about.  

TCS&GDP to undertake Trainer Training

10 October 2011
Sexual orientation is only one component of a person's identity that is made up of many other components such as race, gender, age and family responsibilities. Ignorance of these attributes can lead to negative stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Members and associates of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual & Gender Diverse People Inc. (TCS&GDP) will undertake tailored "train the trainer" instruction in December delivered by the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner’s Training, Education and Development Officer. It is anticipated that this course will give participants an overview of the tools and information to contextualise and deliver an Anti-Discrimination training session for members of our community.

Increasing awareness and having effective anti-discrimination and anti-harassment strategies are good workplace practices and also good for business. Employers, supervisors/managers and employees (including volunteers, casuals, contract workers, part-time and/or full-time) all need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities in order to uphold anti-discrimination legislation and avoid disputes.

In order to better equip themselves in dealing with local, state and federal governments, public and private organisations, groups and individuals, course participants will discuss diversity and GLBTI awareness; preventing discrimination; bullying and sexual harassment and other prohibited conduct including victimisation and incitement to hatred; how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination; direct and indirect discrimination, and other topics. Hobart City Council, in support of the Coming Out Proud Program, is sponsoring the training venue.  

British Government to legalise same-sex marriage

18 September 2011
The Equalities Minister in the British Government, Lynne Featherstone, has told the LIberal Democratic autumn conference that current laws, which do not allow for same-sex marriage, are "simply not fair", and that the government is committed to changing the law before the next election in 2015. The British parliament passed legislation in 2005 to legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships, which give same-sex couples the right to the same legal treatment across a range of matters as married couples.

While civil partnerships were a "welcome first step", Ms Featherstone said the party was committed to confronting "prejudice and discrimination in all its forms. To deny one group of people the same opportunities available to another is not simply discriminatory. It is simply not fair." While she indicated that consultations on how to make the changes will begin in March 2012, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that he saw no reason for the delay, as campaigners had expected them to start last June.   

WA Labor State Conference supports same-sex marriage

25 June 2011
The State Conference of the ALP today added its support for same-sex marriage, adding to pressure on the Federal Conference to support changing the definition of marriage in the Commonwealth Marriage Act. New South Wales is now the only State Branch of the ALP that has yet to support marriage reform, but may do so at its 2011 Conference on 9-10 July. The ALP's National Conference will be held in December.  

New York State Senate votes to approve Same-Sex Marriage

24 June 2011
Today New York became the sixth and most populous state in the USA to allow same-sex marriage. State senators voted 33-29 to approve marriage equality legislation introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat in his first year of office. New York's Democrat-dominated Assembly had voted 80-63 in favour last week and passed amended legislation on Friday 82-47. New York joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia in approving same-sex marriages. The States of Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey have approved civil unions, but same-sex marriage is specifically banned in another 39 States. In California last year a judge overturned a ban on same-sex marriage, but no weddings can take place while the decision is being appealed. It could set national policy if the case reaches the US Supreme Court.

You may like to read an opinion piece by Frank Bruni, published in the New York Times Sunday Review of 26 June.

A majority of Labor State branches now support same-sex marriage

19 June 2011
At its State conference the Queensland branch of the ALP today supported changes to the party's national platform to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, came out in favour of same-sex marriage last year. The Queensland branch of the ALP joins the Tasmanian, Victorian, Northern Territory and South Australian branches in supporting the legislative change.

Alex Greenwich, national convenor of Australian Marriage Equality, said that the passing of the motion was a win for the ALP rank and file. "This decision is a victory for the many grassroots supporters of marriage equality in the Labor Party," he said. "Not only has this conference delivered a win for the majority of ALP voters who support equality, but for the majority of Australians who also support this reform. "The Queensland branch of the ALP are leading the way in listening to the electorate and their membership on this issue."  

UN Human Rights Council passes historic gay rights resolution

17 June 2011
The seventeenth session of the UN Human Rights Council today passed an historic resolution that seeks to achieve equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The resolution was moved by South Africa and passed with 23 votes in favour, 19 votes against and 3 abstentions. The text of the resolution is as follows:

"The Council
* requests the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011 to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
* decides to convene a panel discussion during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the study commissioned by the High Commissioner and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; and
* decides also that the panel will also discuss the appropriate follow-up to the recommendations of the study commissioned by the High Commissioner."

Australia is not represented on the forty-seven member Council, but co-sponsored the South African resolution. Eileen Chamberlain, the United States representative on the Council, said the United States was thrilled to join South Africa and other Member States on this resolution. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights was the first full affirmation that all people should enjoy full rights and freedoms. An important step forward was made in recognising that human rights were universal. Violence against any person on grounds of sexual orientation was a violation of human rights. The right to choose who to love was sacred. Each human deserved protection from violence. Moving forward with this resolution confirmed the aspiration to attain the best of human nature. The United States thanked the South African Government and its Ambassador for the consultative approach taken and its stunning leadership and looked forward to cooperation in implementing this exceptional step forward.  

Search Workshop on GLBTI Migrants/Refugees/Students/Visitors held in Hobart

17 June 2011
Thirty people from 14 agencies that work with GLBTI migrants/workers, international students, ethnic visitors and refugees paticipated in a Search Workshop on 8 June organised by the Greater Hobart COPP Community Liaison Committee. Significant was the number of CALD organisations working in the community, university as well as mainstream health and well being organisations alongside special LGBTI organisations, TasCAHRD and Working It Out.

For some time now the COPP Community Regional Liaison Committees have been aware of loneliness/isolation, discrimination and even hate crime experienced by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people from the GLBTI community in Tasmania.

The participants heard from a range of organisations including members of the League of Gentlefellows (men and women), and Outright Youth, of many cases of harassment and hate crime against LGBTI multi-ethnic people in Tasmania. This included a considerable number of LGBTI hate crime cases in urban bur especially rural and regional areas directed against ethnically diverse people. This is also associated with the Log of Claims regarding LGBTI Hate Crime that the Tasmanian Council for Sexual & Gender Diverse People Inc is pursuing with the Tasmanian Police and the Tasmanian Anti Discrimination Commission.

Participants were told of sad and disturbing stories of extreme discrimination and persecution faced by people because of the double jeopardy of ethnicity and sexual orientation. Sometimes because of the cultural clash of race and being gay as well as racism and homophobia in Tasmania. There were also reports from GLBTI same sex workshop partners of Tasmanian (men and women) from other countries that experience difficulty in gaining permanent visas to live together in Australia. Of special interest was the story of Oahn and Van as refugees fleeing persecution in Vietnam and the support they have received from COPP members. Participants were shocked to hear of an Asian migrant who, after becoming more relaxed about his same sex orientation in Australia, went back to his country of birth visiting his parents, died mysteriously within several weeks.

The workshop examined in small groups the issues as well as looking at the existing resources that in many instances are not coordinated. The meeting explored possible collaborative and cooperative strategies in two main areas of providing better social and welfare support opportunities as well as improving the capacity of people working in the area to understand people’s rights. The Migrant Resource Centre is coordinating a meeting to improve cross-cultural awareness (CALD & LGBTI) for staff in agencies based on the rights enshrined in the Tasmanian Anti Discrimination Act.

The Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc will continue to coordinate the discussion initiated at the workshop to eliminate discrimination and enable respect for diversity and a broader ethnic multicultural society in Tasmania.  

TCSGDP makes submission on a strategy for a Homelessness Charter

14 June 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc, today made a submission to Youth Development Australia on the preparation of a Tasmanian Homelessness Charter and Consumer Engagement Strategy. You can download a copy of the submission (PDF, 921KB) by clicking here.  

TCSGDP calls for nominations for Rainbow Awards 2011

1 June 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People, today called for nominations of individuals and organisations for the 2011 Rainbow Awards, which will be presented at the Annual Rainbow Dinner, to be held this year at Wrest Point. Julian said that "the dinner is an opportunity for rainbow people to gather together as a community of family and friends to celebrate our diversity and to acknowledge those, of whatever persuasion, who act with courage to achieve fairness and equity for the LGBTI community".

Nominations are called for the Rainbow Awards this year to recognise both individuals and organisations that have demonstrated both courage, tenacity and passion in acting for change. Nomination forms can be downloaded here. Nominations open on 30 July and close on 30 September. You can also discuss the nomination of an individual or organisation with Brian Doran on 6239 6606 or 0410 745 773. Please return nominations forms by email to brian@rainbowtas.org or by mail to the Rainbow Awards Selection Panel, c/o Brian Doran, 2001 Huon Rd, LONGLEY 7150.

TCSGDP Annual Report released

18 April 2011
The report of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse people for 2010-2011 is now available for download (PDF, 25.8MB) by clicking here.

Debate on Same-sex Marriage should not be on the fundamentalists' terms

12 April 2011
Following is the text of a letter to the editorof The Mercury newspaper sent by Julian Punchon behalf od the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People:

"The oncoming debate on same sex marriage and the impost for all federal politicians to consult the community on the proposed legislation raises many interesting issues about who and how the community should be asked their opinion.

Many gay and lesbian people fail to see why the gay and lesbian community would or should debate the conservative right wing religious fundamentalist organisations in this consultation, as part of the process required of politicians. It will be high drama for some with the repetitious insulting vilification being flung by the religious right about the decadent and immoral lifestyle of the sexual and gender diverse community. The churches will tell us how much they really love us but do not approve of our sinful lifestyle. However the debate will achieve little or lead to any change of heart by the fundamentalists.

The question is how much this will really contribute to the issue or why the Churches and right wing fundamentalists have a right to deny us respect for our relationships through federal legal recognition in marriage or civil unions. While the debate will fulfil the need for some of bizarre entertainment based on 'insulting and abusive' comment on our relationships it will do more harm than good especially to young people who have raised the courage to 'come out' about their sexual preference. It will be also damaging for parents of gay and lesbian children who are trying to come to terms with the fact that their sons and daughters do not fit the prevailing stereotype but nevertheless are wonderful people worthy of respect who should not live in the shadows and dark corners of society with their loving partners. If you doubt this look at the statistics of suicide amongst our young people who feel denied of any future from the abuse and bullying.

Our Community is ready to discuss with federal politicians our right to federal recognition of our relationships of equal worth to marriage, but the price does not include abusive and disrespectful debate. This is now illegal behaviour that does much harm and creates disharmony to all in our communities, abusers and the abused alike."  

Pinnacle Foundation announces scholarships for 2011

7 April 2011
Established in 2008, The Pinnacle Foundation provides scholarships and mentoring to GLBTIQ youth who are marginalised or disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It was created by a group of friends who saw a big need in the GLBTIQ community that was not being met.

The Foundation has announced the names of the successful applicants for 2011 - you can download the press release by clicking here. Applications for scholarships in 2012 will be sought from July to September this year, and it is hoped that there will be some Tasmanian applicants. Julian Punch, on behalf of the Coming Out Proud Program and Outright Youth, has recruited a donor and a mentor for the program. If you would like more information about the scholarships, you can contact Julian by clicking here.  

Outright Youth recognised for its advocacy in High Schools and Colleges

26 March 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc (TCSGDP), today released an update on the efforts by the Outright Youth group to address the issues of bullying of, and suicide prevention among, young GLBTI people. To download a copy of the update, click here.  

TCSGDP pursues log of claims with Tasmania Police

26 March 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc (TCSGDP), today released an update on the Council's attempts to get Tasmania Police to take seriously allegations of hate crimes against LGBTI people and to deal professionally with them. To download a copy of the update, click here.

TasPride announces monthly bulletins

4 March 2011
TasPride has announced that it will publish a monthly bulletin, which will be distributed to TasPride members by mail, but will also be downloadable from the TasPride site.  

Progress on Outright Youth submission to the Education Minister

8 February 2011
Last year the Outright Youth group made a submission to the Education Minister, through the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc (TCSGDP), asserting the need for schools in Tasmania to offer more support to GLBTI students and offering their help to set up appropriate structures. Lin Thorp MLC, Minister for Education and Skills, has today advised Julian Punch - Chair of the TCSGDP - that she has briefed senior departmental officers on the offer, which will be discussed at a meeting of General Managers in the second half of February. The Minister made it clear that further action on the offer is the prerogative of the General Managers of the State's four Learning Services, but that they are likely to be interested in hearing more about the Outright Youth group and the free resources that have been proposed.

'Proud Schools' show the way

23 January 2011
Joshua Brown, State Co-Coordinator of the Outright Youth group, today released a copy of an article that is to be printed in the Man2Man magazine. The article describes a commendable initiative taken by the NSW Government in support of GLBTI youth and deplores the lack of similar action by the Tasmanian Government. You can download a copy of the article (PDF, 82KB) by clicking here and you can email Joshua by clicking here.  

Dangers of Domain Fag Running highlighted

15 January 2011
Julian Punch, on behalf of the Tasmanian Council for Sexual and Gender Diverse People Inc (TCSGDP), has issued a press release by a member of the local GLBTI community that highlights the danger for members of the community of using the Queen's Domain in Hobart. Click here to read the press release (PDF, 95KB).