Justice on the agenda when LGBTI Equality Roadshow visited regional Victoria

Justice on the agenda when LGBTI Equality Roadshow visited regional Victoria

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

L–R: Deputy Managing Lawyer Equality Law Program Aimee Cooper, Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Rowena Allen and Senior Lawyer Kathryn Moloney

Victoria Legal Aid joined the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Rowena Allen last week on her road trip to northern regional Victoria to reduce discrimination against LGBTI people and promote inclusion. 

The commissioner was piloting a regional LGBTI Equality Roadshow, speaking to community and business leaders, government and other service providers in Swan Hill, Shepparton and Mildura, with Victoria Legal Aid and Victoria Police among those who made guest presentations. 

Deputy Managing Lawyer Aimee Cooper and senior lawyer Kathyrn Moloney of our Equality Law Program joined the roadshow recognising that while discrimination is not an uncommon experience for LGBTI people, awareness of legal rights and ways to redress it is low. 

They also held a separate event for community organisations in Shepparton who worked in the areas of social welfare, employment and health around broader discrimination issues. The workshops covered unlawful behaviour, the importance of getting legal help and the different jurisdictions that can hear complaints.  

The visit was timed perfectly with the Out in the Open Festival which allowed locals to ask questions of the roadshow presenters at a special stall on 5 November.

Commissioner Allen said the LGBTI Equality Roadshow was about reducing discrimination against LGBTI people in rural and regional Victoria.   

‘It’s imperative that LGBTI people experiencing discrimination in regional areas know how to access legal help,' the Commissioner said. 'I want them to report their experiences and to get the help and support they need.

‘Research shows that LGBTI people in general are much less likely to access mainstream services and this intensifies the further out from metropolitan centres. I want the roadshow to make it easier.’  

Aimee said she appreciated Victoria Legal Aid being given an opportunity to be part of the roadshow.

‘We know that discrimination generally is over experienced and under reported and that means that those who engage in it not only impact on people’s personal and often work lives, but they are not being held to account and are likely to go on and do it to others,’  she said.

‘We want agencies to know what discrimination looks like, how they can respond and who they can refer LGBTI individuals to so that their legal and human rights are upheld.’   

We can help with a range of issues that can affect LGBTI people. For example, this year we assisted:

  • a gay man living in a regional town to defeat an eviction notice. The man’s landlord had repeatedly tried to evict him following his complaints about harassment he had experienced from the landlord and neighbours because of his sexuality 
  • a former student who is transgender take action to have policies changed at a school that refused to allow him to wear a boys’ uniform on the grounds that he was recorded as a female student and they were legally permitted to set reasonable standards of dress and appearance.

How we can help

If you think you have been treated unfairly because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, find out how to get help.

Read about how we helped Isaac win the right to pursue gender alignment.

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