We know that people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) community continue to face discrimination in many areas of life, despite decades of equal opportunity laws in Victoria. This is why the Commission works to raise awareness of the issues central to the LGBTI community. The Commission:
- works with rights holders to have a targeted impact
- works with duty holders to have a systemic impact
- leads the community conversation to help everyone take action and support equality.
Some recent examples of this include:
- Respectful reporting - Gender identity, an easy-to-use gender identity reporting guide to help counter the misgendering that still occurs in the media which can be particularly harmful to trans people.
- Transgender people in sport guidelines, provides practical guidance for sporting clubs and organisations about promoting an inclusive environment, being proactive in preventing discrimination and responding appropriately if it occurs.
- Transgender at work guidelines, a major piece of work with the support of Transgender Victoria to develop equal opportunity practice guidelines for employers working with transgender staff. We're continuing to promote and build on the guidelines – in particular we've developed a package of targeted training for employers on gender identity discrimination and supporting transitioning employees. We recently updated these guidelines – largely to incorporate new federal protections – and will continue to update and promote them.
- Fair go, sport!, a project to increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity and promote safe and inclusive sporting environments. We've had great success with Hockey Victoria and other sporting organisations and the program has also been a success in selected schools where it is helping to create safe and inclusive environments for same-sex attracted and sex and gender diverse (SSASGD) students, primarily through sport.
- Our partnership in the national No to Homophobia campaign to end homophobic, transphobic and biphobic harassment.
- An organisational supporter of the Safe Schools Coalition, supporting gender diversity and sexual diversity in Australian schools.
- Our involvement with the inaugural Pride Cup in May 2014, which was held between Yarra Valley and Yarra Glen football/netball clubs. We've continued to work with clubs to discuss sexual and gender diversity in sport and tackle homophobia on and off the field.
- Achieving changes to the change of gender policy at VicRoads and changes in the sex and gender categories for recruitment to the Victorian Public Service.
- Partnering with Darebin and Hobson's Bay councils during Midsumma 2014 to run a public forum about the work that local governments are doing at all levels to engage with and support LGBTI people – from their own staff through to groups within the community.
- We also regularly run education and consultancy workshops with workplaces and community organisations to raise awareness about discrimination and human rights.
A note on language and terminology
The Commission respects diversity of all kinds. We acknowledge the significance of language. The use of particular words can be empowering or disempowering. We also acknowledge that the use of terminology is contested and can change over time.
The Commission has created this section of its website to make information about LGBTI rights issues more accessible to the community. In doing so, we also want to acknowledge that LGBTI people form a diverse group and are subject to different discrimination and human rights issues. In particular, equality issues relating to trans and intersex people can be very different to those relating to sexual orientation.
However, we are mindful that some trans and intersex people feel strongly about the benefits of affiliation with the gay, lesbian and bisexual community. For this reason, and because of its use internationally, the Commission has used the initialisation 'LGBTI' which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex.
These are not all terms that appear in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Depending on their circumstances, people may find a range of protections from discrimination on the basis of sex, physical features, lawful sexual activity, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
We acknowledge that some of the terms and definitions used in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 do not reflect the way people identify, and in the case of intersex status, do not separately protect the attribute. This is an issue for the Victorian Parliament to consider, noting more recent advances in federal anti-discrimination law.
We also acknowledge that sex, physical characteristics, sexual orientation and gender identity is only one aspect of a person's total identity. Other parts of the Commission's website will be relevant to members of the LGBTI community. Transgender Victoria has a useful list of definitions of words used in the community.