Tuesday, 17th May, 2022
May 17th is the annual observance of IDAHOBIT – The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, a call for action to acknowledge and challenge the pervasive forms of prejudice and antagonism against members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
For Australians, this is particularly pertinent, given that over the past year we have seen – once again – LGBTQIA+ people’s lives thrown into debate because of a conservative push to allow discrimination against us based on so-called ‘religious freedoms’. The current government has expressed that if it is re-elected this Saturday, it will continue to push the legislation, giving much uncertainty to LGBTQIA+ people about how this will affect them.
The current election campaign has also seen people that are transgender once again used as a political talking point, their lives subjected to hideous commentary and demonised by political lobby groups and candidates alike. It is shameful and despicable to see trans folk characterised as predatory risks to other people’s safety. Far from seeking to subdue the very worst of these sentiments, we’ve seen our Prime Minister condone them.
People with diverse sexualities and gender identities are still subjected to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE), and despite laws aiming to outlaw this public and private health settings, it continues to happen through ‘spiritual interventions’ by religious groups, causing very real trauma and pain to already vulnerable people.
Individuals with intersex characteristics are still subjected to unnecessary medical interventions, most often in their infancy, to ‘normalise’ their intersexuality causing lifelong pain and trauma, something that is still not addressed by political parties and often ignored in conversations surrounding LGBTQIA+ rights, freedoms and acceptance.
LGBTQIA+ people still face violence, discrimination and rejection. We are still suffering, compared to our non-Queer counterparts, discrepancies in our health – both mental and physical – caused largely by the stigma and ostracization we face.
It is why days like this are important and why we should observe them. Detractors of such awareness days may say that such days are not needed because we’ve achieved some major milestones in our quest for equality and justice: but marriage equality, for example, is not the magical cure for the Queerphobia we experience – in fact, it has pushed those who are antagonistic towards to find other avenues to discriminate against us.
It is, of course, important to also remember our achievements. Albany Pride would like to pay homage to our Queer elders, those who suffered and fought for our rights to exist and paved the way for groups like Albany Pride to do the work they do. We’d also like to give our sincere thanks and gratitude to other Pride organisations like ours for the tireless work they do, driven purely to make life better for their communities, and to the health organisations and support services that serve our communities.
We also acknowledge the intersectional prejudices in society that makes life even tougher for sections of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as racism, ableism, misogyny and ableism to name just a few, as well as the experiences and lives of LGBTQIA+ people outside of Australia where such antagonistic attitudes are far worse and even advocated on a legal and political level.
It has been a tough year for LGBTQIA+ people in Australia, and as always, it is important if you are feeling anxious, depressed or experiencing suicidal ideations to reach out to support organisations, and to connect with the Queer community.
A list of support services and Pride organisations in Western Australia can be found at our website: https://albanypride.com.au/support/
Remember: you are valued, you are important, you are loved.