This year, as part of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Australian activists from across the country made tremendous efforts to advance the causes of LGBT equality. As well as being one of the most widely-engaged countries in the world, Australia also saw an incredible degree of youth-focused actions that put young people at the forefront of the discussion.
In Brisbane actions from the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group helped to create an iconic scene after local authorities worked with the group to light the city’s Story Bridge, and the City Hall, lit in the rainbow colours. The group also raised a rainbow flag above city hall, and hosted a number of events across the city that included live music, information stalls and a public memorial for the victims of homophobic and transphobic violence.
Also in Brisbane the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir held a special film screening and performance to raise funds and draw attention to the day.
Across the country the self-organised group IDAHOT AUS worked to support the efforts of young people and activists. The group also coordinated a mass action which was supported by at least 15 groups across the country. For their action the group asked individuals to ‘Go Purple’ for IDAHOT, and sharing their images and messages of support online.
The campaign saw individuals and entire groups throughout Australia join in, helping to turn the entire country purple for the day.
The campaign also came alongside a coordinated fundraising effort that helped raise money from donations and sponsorships for local LGBT services and campaigns.
Three other councils in Queensland also agreed to fly rainbow flags in similar actions held in Ipswich, Somerset and Townsville. Local authorities throughout Melbourne’s metropolitan area also took part in the same way. (Preston, Northcote, Moreland and Banybule, Hobson’s Bay, Frankston, Greater Geelong, Morningtn Penisula Shire).
In the City of Darebin a fundraiser was hosted by (Re)framing Gender at Northcote Town Hall. The event featured live music and poetry performance, as well as a puppet show and free food. The fundraiser helped to raise money for local LGBT support services whilst also raising awareness of the day.
In Moonee Valley City Council local activists organised a public discussion in which individuals were invited to talk about the issue of LGBTI representation, equality and access. As well as raising awareness of these key issues organisers hoped the event would help to create constructive solutions to addressing many issues.
In Blue Mountains, Sydney, a special event to name the local city of the year cooincided with the day. The event also saw a special LGBT focus with the raising of the rainbow flag. The ceremony was followed by a public address by local activists that discussed the issues of marriage equality and also living as a young trans person.
The event was closed off with musical performances by a local choir and samba group, as well as free food and the chance to meet with activists and individuals from within the LGBTI communuty.
In Yarra Glen Victoria sports and activism came together at the second annual Aussie Rules ‘Pride Cup’. The event was held at local reserve parkland and incited members of the public to join a small tournament to celebrate diversity in sports, whilst also combating the common stereotypes seen in many sporting circles.
The event was a great success and was covered by many news outlets. Organisers hoped that as well as promoting the ideals of IDAHOT the event would help to bring together the often seperate communities of sports fans and LGBTI groups.
Across the country the Australian Safe Schools Coalition celebrated incredible success with their ‘Be Better Allies’ campaign, which was launched to coincide with IDAHOT 2015. As part of the project the group encouraged schools across the country to support LGBTI youth with events, workshops and celebrations marking the day.
The group also encouraged school groups to wear matching colours for the day to raise awareness for the ideals of the day. The project was highly successful and saw over 300 schools across Australia sign up to take part.
In Melbourne the gender diversity group Y Gender supported young trans and intersex individuals with a small number of events that aimed to raise awareness whilst also advocating for the rights of gender non-conforming minorities.
In the lead-up to the day the Australian/New Zealand branch of It Gets Better held a special performance by Aussie girl group G.R.L. The event was streamed online also, and was aimed to help raise awareness for the day among young people in both countries.
And finally, In Sydney several events were held across the city, including small informal gatherings, official-level recognition and even large-scale public gatherings.
In Western Sydney a public picnic was held at the Regatta City Park. The event, which was supported by local authorities and organised by activists, featured live music performance, a roller derby event and speeches and food available to the public.
At the city’s Southern Cross University a diversity symposium was held in which students and staff discussed shared experiences and the impact of homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and violence.
Students from the University of New South Wales also organised Australia’s first IDAHOT mass gay wedding! The event (which did not officially join couple in marriage!) aimed to raise awareness of the day, whilst also tackling the many issues facing LGBT people within the student body. As well as the promotion of LGBT equality students were also invited to bring a ‘mate or a date’ for an afternoon of barbecuing and fun.
For further information please contact IDAHOT Australia.