Last month marked two days of significance for the LGBTI+ community.
On May 15, we celebrated six months since Australia, and Greater Shepparton, said ‘YES’ to marriage equality. That campaign stood for much more than just marriage and there is still work to be done to help shine a light on the issues that still harm us and marginalise many to this day.
Victoria recently passed a bill through the upper house to end forced divorce for transgender people under the marriage equality law.
As it stands now, a person who is already married (prior to legal same-sex marriage) would have to divorce their spouse in order to re-marry due to legalities surrounding what sex is listed on that person’s birth certificate.
Under Victorian law you can change your name on your birth certificate, but only change your sex if you undergo gender affirmation surgery.
These hurdles bring heartache to many trans and gender diverse members in our community and especially the married couples where a spouse transitioned after marriage.
It highlights one of the many hurdles faced by so many within our community.
Together we celebrate the accomplishments and the challenges of life as a community, and this date will be forever written into our history books.
Six months on there has been almost 2500 same-sex marriages across Australia.
The statistics, recently released by Births, Deaths and Marriages, listed 674 same-sex weddings had taken place in Victoria alone during the six-month period.
So it’s safe to say there could easily be 1000 same-sex weddings before this first year is through.
On May 17 the Greater Shepparton LGBTI+ community celebrated The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The day is marked here in Australia and in 130 other countries around the world to recognise the discrimination that has been faced by many LGBTI+ people.
In Shepparton, La Trobe University and the Shepparton Students’ Association hosted their annual event in partnership with Goulburn Valley Pride, GOTAFE Shepparton and the Diversity Project.
The focus of the event was to ensure that affirmation and celebration of LGBTI+ people within our community was led by local organisations, education providers, community leaders, youth groups, businesses and council.
Together there was recognition of the needs of our diverse community that we work alongside and support.
It was lovely to see the champions within their own workplaces, social groups and/or families attend and participate in the celebration, with more than 100 people gathering together as we raised the rainbow flag.
These kinds of community events not only raise awareness but help others to see strength, resilience and leadership that is recognisable, safe and familiar.
On behalf of Goulburn Valley Pride, I would like to thank all the people who attended the event and everyone who celebrated IDAHOBIT day across our region.
On Saturday, June 23, Shepparton Bears will take on Mooroopna at Deakin Reserve — celebrating inclusion in sport with the Goulburn Valley League’s first ever Pride Cup.
This has been championed by Shepparton Football Netball Club and aims to promote diversity and inclusion within sport, one of our region’s biggest drawcards.
The day includes a luncheon with special guests — Pride Cup co-founder Jason Ball and Victoria’s Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Rowena Allen — plus plenty of rainbows and community stalls.
This will be followed by a post-match function with two of Victoria’s premier drag acts to celebrate GV Pride’s 13th birthday.
This year Pride Cups will be held in regional Victorian cities Geelong, Gippsland, Colac and Hamilton.
The aim of a Pride Cup is to harness the power of sport and send strong messages of hope, inclusion and acceptance to LGBTI+ athletes, officials and supporters.
Everyone is welcome to come along, join in and share what is set to be a wonderful day of pride for all.
For all our event information, community updates, volunteer opportunities, information about the Greater Shepparton LGBTI+ community alliance, upcoming Pride Cup and information on this year’s OUTintheOPEN Festival — which is taking stall-holder applications now — just go to www.gvpride.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Georgina Poort, president GV Pride