End Homophobia and discrimination!

Posted by

SP Newsletter No.199
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Sydney Mardis Gras as part of the international Gay Solidarity Celebrations, which grew as a result of the Stonewall riots in New York.

The first march on 24th June, 1978 was met with police violence. Today Pride marches and festival events across Australia are widely attended in the hundreds of thousands. Despite the commercial gloss and sponsorship in some queer festivals across Australia this month, homophobia and heterosexism is far from over.

There is still a long way to go for the community to achieve some of the recognition of heterosexual couples. Most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people face discrimination and abuse on a daily basis. “Gay bashing” is still a real concern for LGBTI people with abuse and violence on the streets continuing.

LGBTI high school students have one of the worst situations. The most common site for homophobic bullying and abuse is schools. This remains the most dangerous place for young people to be with 74% of all the abuse happening there. A recent study found homophobic bullying is the most widespread form of abuse in schools!

Physical abuse ranges from having clothes and possessions damaged to rape and hospitalisation for injuries. It is still the case that gay youth are 4 times more likely than their non-gay counterparts to have attempted suicide, and that nearly one-third of LGBTI students drop out of high school.

While there have been some exemplary practices in a handful of progressive inner-city schools, this has not occurred on a national level. We need to ensure that there are specific policies in all schools to tackle homophobia in our education system, just as there are currently specific anti-racism and gender policies.

In Australia, there are still some 58 discriminatory laws against the LGBTI people. Certainly in Howard’s Australia, our community faced 11 years of homophobic policies. The question is will the new ALP government size up to its election promise to repeal these laws identified in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s report as discriminating against same-sex de facto couples, in areas such as taxation, health, migration, superannuation, veteran’s entitlements and family law.

While Rudd has pledged ALP support for relationship recognition in the form of state-based relationship registers, a Rudd government does not support legislation to allow same sex marriages or anything that quote “mimics marriage which may undermine the current laws as defining marriage between and man and woman”. It’s no surprise that no promise was made to repeal the ban on same-sex marriage, introduced by the Labor Party along with the Liberal Party in 2004. Labor’s policy regarding the Marriage Act is identical to the previous coalition, and Rudd himself, an active Christian, has repeatedly said he does not support gay marriage.

ALP support for state based registers is welcome, and would be a real achievement for the LGBTI movement. Kevin Rudd has recently given the ACT the green light to enact Australia’s first same-sex civil union laws, although this will not happen without a series of watered-down amendments.

The LGBTI community deserves something more than a state-based relationship register to have our relationships recognised as equal. Labor’s promises on de facto equality need to be implemented as soon as possible to end the day-to-day financial and legal discrimination faced by lesbians and gays.

The Socialist Party fights for an end to all discrimination. We call for an end to discrimination and homophobia in our schools and workplaces. We support full rights for LGBTI couples and the recognition of same sex domestic partnerships and marriages in law on an equal level with heterosexual couples. While celebrating the culture, creativity and successes of the LGBTI community this year, we also need to recognise there is a long way to go in the fight for equality.

Socialist Party regional activity-

Victoria

Join SP members at the Melbourne Pride March!
Meet us to do a stall from 4pm on Sunday 3rd February at the corner of Lakeside Drive and Fitzroy Streets in St. Kilda. We will be building for our public meeting on Wednesday (see below) and selling the new edition of our paper which has an article on the issue. The march starts at 5pm sharp. Hang around for drinks afterwards. All Welcome!

Public Meeting in Melbourne: Will Rudd deliver for the LGBTI community?
The meeting will be held at 7pm on Wednesday February 6 @ Trades Hall, corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets Carlton. For more info call 96399111. All welcome!

Socialism 2008

SP will be holding our annual Socialism event on the weekend of March 14 & 15 in Melbourne. Posters and leaflets will be available next week along with a finalised agenda. Our special guest for the event will be a Pakistani socialist and trade unionist who will report on the situation in that country as well as in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Book this event into your diary now it is not to be missed!

Socialism 2008 Raffle

In order to pay for the costs of bringing over our Pakistani guest we have organised a special raffle. Tickets are $10 and the prizes are $400 first prize, $200 second prize and $100 third prize. It will be drawn on Saturday March 15 at Socialism. To purchase a ticket, or to get a book of 5 on a sale or return basis, call our National Office on 03 9639 9111.

New South Wales

To find out more about SP in Sydney contact Gary on 02 9728 7727.

To find out more about SP in Newcastle contact Samantha on 02 4968 1545.

Western Australia

To find out more about SP in Perth contact John on 08 9402 0728.

Rest of Australia

To find out more about SP anywhere else in Australia contact our National Office on 03 9639 9111.

Join the Socialist Party

If you agree with what you have read in our newsletter or on our website you should consider joining SP. The Socialist Party has branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and Perth as well as members and supporters in all other states.

We are involved in trade union work and student work. We also run community, anti-war and environmental campaigns. But most of all we want to build a party that will fight to get rid of the capitalist system. We fight for socialism – a system that will bring an end to wars, poverty and environmental destruction. For more info contact our National Office on 03 9639 9111.

Subscribe to ‘The Socialist’ newspaper!

Become a supporter of SP by subscribing to our monthly newspaper ‘The Socialist’. It only costs $20 per year or $10 concession and you will receive our paper delivered to your door every month. You will also receive our email newsletter every week and will know that you are supporting an organisation that is at the fore of fighting against the capitalist system. To subscribe phone 03 9639 9111 or email our National Office.

The new February edition is out now! Pick it up from one of our street stalls!

News links just a click away –

World Economy: A global shock to the system
http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2008/01/28worlda.html

Italy: Gloomy outlook after Prodi government defeat
http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2008/01/25italya.html

US: Anti-war protests save teachers’ jobs!
http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2008/01/25usa.html

Get Active – Join the fight back, Get Militant – Join the Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party is the Australian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI). To contact or join the SP or the CWI anywhere in Australia, or the world, call +61 3 9639 9111 or email our National Office.

‘Workers of the world unite – you’ve got nothing to lose but your chains’

http://www.myspace.com/socialistpartyaustralia
http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org
http://www.socialistworld.net