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14 results for policy


27 Jun 2019

Leading Health Organisations call on the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to Consider LGBTIQ Mental Health

"All lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTI) people deserve to live happy and healthy lives, and to enjoy the benefits of a mental health system that is respectful, safe, affirming and supportive."

10 Aug 2023

How You Can Help Reform Hate Speech Laws

This year, our LGBTIQ+ communities have come under increasing attack from the far right. Extremists have sought to incite hatred and intimidate us into cancelling community events across the state.As a community, we’ve come a long way in securing rights and recognition. However, there is still significant work to be done. You can make your voice heard and influence positive change by participating in the Victorian Government’s anti-vilification law reform process.

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Media Releases

18 Sep 2018

LGBTI+ Community Organisations Unite To Highlight Priorities in Lead Up to Victoria’s State Election

Recognising that LGBTI+ Victorians continue to experience discrimination, poorer health outcomes, higher rates of homelessness, and the enjoyment of fewer rights, 30 LGBTI+ community organisations and service providers have endorsed LGBTI+ Priorities — a booklet outlining actions for all political parties to consider in the lead up to Victorian state election on 24 November 2018.LGBTI+ Priorities outlines 59 actions to make Victoria a fairer and equal place for LGBTI+ people to live, work and raise their families. Among other things, the document highlights issues around advancing equality, addressing discrimination, improving safety and security, and ways of supporting Victorians from the bisexual, intersex, and trans and gender diverse communities. “Recently, we have seen some incredible progress for our LGBTI+ communities, but the job is not over,” said Dale Park, Co-Convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby. “Our communities are impacted by family violence, homelessness, discrimination, social isolation, and stigma. As a result, the overall health and wellbeing of our communities is suffering.”LGBTI+ Priorities provides an overview of these priority areas followed by a list of actions to take to address these issues at a state level. The booklet also includes opportunities to lobby the Federal Government to ensure dignity and equality for LGBTI+ people doesn’t stop at the Victorian border.“It’s not enough to recognise these issues exist. We need to see constructive and community-informed actions that tackle these challenges head on,” said Simon Ruth, CEO of Thorne Harbour Health. “We look forward to working constructively, as we always have, with the government of the day to protect and promote the health and human rights of people from LGBTI+ communities.”“LGBTI+ communities are incredibly resilient and have shown a great deal of strength in the face of adversity,” said Brenda Appleton, Chair of Transgender Victoria. “But with a united voice, we’re offering a way forward through practical policy reforms - such birth certificate reform which is needed urgently - to ensure Victoria is a place where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society with dignity and equality.” Felicity Marlowe, Executive Director of Rainbow Families Victoria added, “Today LGBTI+ communities stand united in our call for a fairer and equal Victoria; a Victoria where we can live, work and raise our families without fear of prejudice and discrimination.”Tony Briffa, Co-Executive Director of Intersex Human Rights Australia said, “We need to protect the human rights of all children. Medically unnecessary and harmful interventions are currently performed on intersex children as non-consenting minors. This is not medicine, it’s social engineering, and it needs to stop.” Rebecca Dominguez, President of the Bisexual Alliance of Victoria said, “Bisexual people face unique challenges as a community, such as higher rates of anxiety, and policy responses need to be tailored to meet those challenges.”Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, and Co-Chair of the Justice Working Group of the Victorian Government LGBTI Task Force said, “Victoria has been leading the way in improving the lives of LGBTI+ people, and this work needs to continue so our communities feel safe and valued for who they are. This resource sets a forward agenda to ensure our political leaders know the key issues of concern for LGBTI+ Victorians.”

6 Jun 2019

Release of TGA decision regarding ‘amyl’ raises questions for community

Today the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has handed down its decision regarding alkyl nitrites, commonly known as ‘amyl’ or ‘poppers’. Thorne Harbour Health recognises that the decision demonstrates the power of community advocacy but expresses concerns for the short term implications.Late last year, the TGA postponed the release of any decision after community backlash over the possibility of alkyl nitrites being scheduled alongside prohibited drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. In response, the TGA accepted written submissions and held a series of public consultation sessions earlier this year to allow for community feedback and gain a better understanding of how alkyl nitrites are used.“The fact that we’ve seen Australia turnaround from a decision to ban amyl is actually quite remarkable,” said Thorne Harbour CEO Simon Ruth.“It’s really a testament to our community’s continued legacy of mobilisation and activism. We can’t take that for granted as other parts of the world haven’t been so successful.”The TGA decision posted this morning directly mentions that the community submissions and public meetings were taken into consideration as it determined:Amyl nitrites will be classified as Schedule 3 “when in preparations for human therapeutic use and packaged in containers with child-resistant closures” — meaning they can be purchased from behind the counter at a pharmacist pending appropriate packaging.Isoamyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite and octyl nitrite will remain on schedule 4 — effectively restricting them to ‘prescription only’ access.Isopropyl nitrite & n-propyl nitrite will be classified as Schedule 10 - prohibiting them from sale, supply, and use due to the potential health risks of temporary or permanent retinal maculopathy.This decision goes into effect from February 2020. While this means amyl nitrite may eventually be available through pharmacies, there are no products currently on the market for this purpose in Australia.“This a reasonably good outcome, but we’re concerned about what this will mean in the next year. It may be two years before we see amyl nitrites in the marketplace,” said Simon Ruth.“We’re going to potentially see affected communities fall into a grey area. We’re now calling on state governments to work with the community to ensure that we don’t see gay men and other men who have sex with men criminalised for possession and use of amyl in the meantime.”The TGA decision is publicly available online: https://www.tga.gov.au/scheduling-decision-final/final-decisions-matters-referred-march-2019-joint-acms-accs-meeting.

25 Nov 2020

Supporting Victoria’s Bill to Ban Conversion Practices

Thorne Harbour Health has announced its support of the Victorian Government’s Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill introduced today as it seeks to protect adults and children from harmful practices that attempt to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.The Victorian Government undertook an extensive process in the development of the bill including an inquiry, significant research and meaningful consultation with survivor-advocates. The resulting bill is of an incredibly high standard, surpassing any similar legislation developed in Australia to date. “By passing this legislation, Victoria has a chance to lead the way globally in protecting the human rights of our sexually and gender diverse communities from incredibly harmful practices based on false and misleading claims,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth. The bill seeks to establish a range of civil and criminal penalties and ban practices in formal settings (for example medical, psychology or counselling services) as well as informal settings such as religious settings. It would also prohibit advertising or promotion of paid or unpaid conversion practices as well referrals to conversation practices. If passed, the bill would also provide investigative powers to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.“Difference is not a defect. LGBTQA+ people are not ‘broken’ or ‘disordered’. It is vital that we stop so-called practitioners, whether in informal or formal settings, from performing practices that traumatise participants,” added Simon Ruth.“This bill is informed by the lived experience of survivors of sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, and seeks to end these practices which are harmful and grounded in unscientific claims,” says Rebecca Baxter, a steering committee member of Brave Network, a support and advocacy group for survivors of conversion practices.The suite of changes is accompanied by a range of support initiatives for survivors, with investigations initiated into potential conversion practices to employ strategies that prevent re-traumatisation. Thorne Harbour Health is encouraging everyone to show their support for the Government’s Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill by contacting their local MP. The organisation is also inviting community members to attend their upcoming Community Briefing on Monday 30 November from 6PM.

16 May 2023

Calling for Action Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Victoria

In the lead up to IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia), Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ community-controlled health organisation, Thorne Harbour Health, is calling for swift and collective action to address the recent series of attacks on Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ communities.“While IDAHOBIT is a chance to acknowledge the discrimination faced by our LGBTIQ+ communities internationally, this year Victoria has an opportunity to lead by example and swiftly respond to the recent spate of attacks on our LGBTIQ+ communities,” said Thorne Harbour Health Acting CEO Carolyn Gillespie.“The threats of violence and hate speech from a vocal minority cannot and should not dictate whether LGBTIQ+ people can safely and fully participate in society,” Ms Gillespie said.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews recently called the threats of violence that led to the cancellation of Monash Council’s IDAHOBIT event ‘hate speech — plain and simple’.Thorne Harbour Health is calling on the Government to follow through on its commitment to protect LGBTIQ+ Victorians by expanding anti-vilification laws. The organisation is also seeking greater leadership from Victoria Police to work with LGBTIQ+ communities so events can be held safely.“Our communities have already started to mobilise and find innovative solutions to make events safer to attend. We hope that Victoria Police can get on board and support their efforts,” Ms. Gillespie said.

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