lgbtiqa+ advocates call for dedicated human rights commissioner in australia
LGBTIQA+ advocates in Australia are renewing their calls for the appointment of a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The urgency of this demand is fueled by a rise in attacks targeting LGBTIQA+ communities and individuals across the country, both in online spaces and at community events. The AHRC’s perceived lack of visibility and action in addressing anti-transgender and anti-LGBTIQA+ discrimination has drawn criticism, prompting calls for increased advocacy and support for this marginalized community.
Escalating Attacks on LGBTIQA+ Communities
In recent times, transgender individuals and drag story time events have faced explicit targeting, leading to protests by anti-LGBTIQA+ groups and the cancellation of these events due to safety concerns. These incidents reflect a concerning trend of growing hostility towards LGBTIQA+ individuals in Australia, necessitating effective measures to combat discrimination, hate, and vilification.
Engagement with the AHRC
Greens Senator Janet Rice recently highlighted these escalating attacks during Senate Estimates, expressing concerns about the AHRC’s response to anti-transgender and anti-LGBTIQA+ discrimination. In response, AHRC President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher, admitted that the commission had not made specific representations on these issues to the Attorney-General’s office. This acknowledgment, coupled with the need to address the challenges faced by vulnerable LGBTIQA+ individuals, has sparked a discussion about the commission’s role and the potential for increased engagement.
The Call for a Dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner
Advocacy group Just.Equal Australia asserts that the AHRC’s silence on these matters underscores the necessity for a dedicated Commissioner for LGBTIQA+ rights. According to spokesperson Sally Goldner, LGBTIQA+ Australians, particularly trans and gender diverse individuals, require stronger support in combating the growing wave of hate. The appointment of a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner is seen as a crucial step in countering discrimination faced by this community.
The Role of the AHRC and Increased Engagement
The AHRC, as the nation’s leading human rights institution, plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of all Australians. By increasing its focus on the issues faced by LGBTIQA+ individuals, the commission can effectively address and combat discrimination. Advocates propose the establishment of an LGBTIQA+ advisory group within the AHRC, aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of the severity of the problem and the potential impact of advocacy efforts.
Political Support and Legislative Protection
Advocates also highlight the need for bipartisan political support in addressing LGBTIQA+ vilification protections. While the Australian Labor Party previously supported the establishment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner in 2016 and 2019, recent shifts in their stance have drawn criticism. Advocates argue that comprehensive protection from vilification should extend to all Australians, emphasizing the urgency of implementing robust national LGBTIQA+ vilification protections.
The increasing frequency of attacks on LGBTIQA+ communities and individuals in Australia necessitates a stronger response from the Australian Human Rights Commission. Calls for the appointment of a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner and the establishment of an advisory group reflect the urgent need for proactive measures to counter discrimination and hate. By strengthening its engagement and advocacy efforts, the AHRC can play a vital role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of the LGBTIQA+ community and ensuring equal protection for all Australians.