International Day Against Homophobia is held on May 17 every year, the date in 1990 when the World Health
Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. It’s a chance for communities all around the world to shine a light on homophobia in all its forms and reach out to one another.
This year a number of high profile Australians are getting behind a national campaign against homophobia, including Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, VJ Ruby Rose, Greens Leader Sen. Bob Brown and former High Court judge Michael Kirby. The campaign is called This Is Oz, and it’s an online photo gallery where people can upload a photo of themselves, along with messages that challenge homophobia or celebrates diversity and social inclusion.
This Is Oz will be launched on midday this Friday in Sydney’s Martin Place with a photo exhibition, a photo booth and a light-hearted lunchtime debate on same-sex adoption featuring, amongst others, comedian Jackie Loeb and NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Emily Gray.
Same Same is proud to be a media partner of This Is Oz, which has been organised by ACON, Australia’s biggest GLBT health promotion agency, in partnership with the NSW Police Force, the NSW’s Attorney General’s Dept, Diversity Council of Australia, Amnesty International, The Gender Centre, Twenty10, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, the National LGBT Health Alliance, NSW Law Society Young Lawyers and Highschoolers Against Homophobia.
ACON CEO Stevie Clayton says This Is Oz is all about providing all Australians with a simple, but powerful platform to speak up and show their support for a society that embraces diversity and accepts people on face value.
“Unjust laws and unfriendly attitudes mean that GLBT Australians don’t always get a fair go,” said Clayton. “While the reforms that have been made recently at the Federal level are a step in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go before the journey’s over.”
So break out the pens and paper folks, and get snapping! This Is Oz is one way we can all contribute to the homophobia debate.
The launch of This Is Oz, including the debate – Bringing Up Gayby: Is same-sex adoption a human right? – is on Friday 15 May 2009, 12 – 2pm, Martin Place amphitheatre, Sydney.