Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia and highlights human rights as universal, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
IDAHOT was established to remind the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex members of society that they are important, loved, respected, valued and can ask for help when they need it.
The Notre Dame Student Association held an event on Thursday at Prindiville Hall, Fremantle, promoting the day.
Senator Dean Smith, a special guest at the event, is known for being the first openly gay federal parliamentarian in Australia and has been a long-time advocate for same-sex marriage.
Senator Smith paid tribute to the occasion.
“Days like today are really important because they are about dignity and self respect, for ourselves and others, for a move to a more fair and just world,” he said.
Students and visitors could sign a pledge to be stuck on the wall, reading:
I pledge to never stay silent about unjust discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people. Human rights are universal, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
In light of IDAHOT, Victorian police have released a report which revealed young LGBTIQ people’s perception of police.
A recent survey of young LGBTIQ people showed 58 per cent did not believe police understood their issues and there were mixed levels of trust in police on various topics.
This highlighted the need for more training of officers on LGBTIQ issues to increase their confidence in engaging with these circumstances.
The survey results showed the majority of Victorian police and Protective Services Officers had a good knowledge of appropriate language when speaking about LGBTIQ issues or addressing the specific needs of LGBTIQ people.
Victorian Priority Communities Division Commander, Stuart Bateson, introduced the report.
“This is an important and exciting report for Victoria Police to better understand young LGBTIQ people and their interactions with and attitudes towards police,” he said.
“Further expanding our LGBTIQ awareness training, raising the profile of our GLLOs (gay and lesbian liaison officers), boosting community engagement, as well as encouraging senior officers of the organisation to lead by example.
“We know that for young people, being recognised, acknowledged and valued for who they are is vital to their sense of self-worth and contributes to their willingness to engage with police.
“For police, we know that the better an officer understands the issues facing young LGBTIQ people, the more willing and able they are to engage with young people in respectful and positive ways.”
Some of the recommendations included:
- Access to more visible police presence at young LGBTIQ people’s events
- Increase training on LGBTIQ issues for recruits, current officers and senior police
- Promote the role of GLLOs to increase awareness in LGBTIQ communities
- Consider recruitment strategies to increase LGBTIQ diversity within Victoria Police