Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). It marks the date in 1990 that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
Today, Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) highlights the ‘A’ in IDAHOBIT. It does not stand for ‘awareness’, ‘acceptance’ or ‘acknowledgement’; it stands for ‘against’. This is a direct call to be active against discrimination and vilification.
YACVic is concerned about mounting discrimination against trans and gender diverse young people as well as some religious educational institutions’ calls to legalise discrimination against LGBTIQA+ students.
We also denounce discriminatory behaviours and vilification of LGBTIQA+ communities, most recently targeted at council activities including IDAHOBIT events.
Many LGBTIQA+ people are experiencing harassment and threats that compromise their safety and wellbeing. Currently, without protection of anti-vilification laws, this leaves them exposed to harm and unable to pursue any legal action.
We are calling on the Victorian Government to act urgently to expand anti-vilification laws to protect LGBTIQA+ communities, and their rights to be visible, respected and safe.
Earlier this month, Victoria’s Attorney General The Hon Jaclyn Symes said she was “reluctant to put a time frame on” when this legislation might pass but gave a window of “within the next 18 months”.
This is too long to wait. Widespread discrimination and vilification is happening now, and the Victorian Government should act on their values and commitments, and put the necessary legislation in place.
We cannot be bystanders to discrimination and vilification in schools, workplaces, community spaces or personal networks.
YACVic is committed to ensuring that LGBTIQA+ young people feel safe, supported and valued in all aspects of their lives, without fear of discrimination. We support our youth sector colleagues in taking proactive approaches to eradicating discrimination and vilification of LGBTIQA+ young people through their important work.
As a sector, we are compelled by the Victorian Child Safety Standards, the Code of Ethical Practice and the Embracing Equality Charter. But most of all, we are compelled by rights of the young people we work with and for.
If you or someone you know is feeling unsafe and/or needs immediate support, you can contact one of the following services:
- Rainbow Door: a free specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline providing support and referrals, 10am – 5pm every day.
- QLife: free LGBTIQA+ peer support and referral, 3pm – midnight every day
Media Contact: Katia Pellicciotta (she/her), YACVic Media and Communications Coordinator on 9267 3744 or KPellicciotta@YACVic.org.au
About Youth Affairs Council Victoria
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that young people are active, visible and valued in their communities.