LOCAL LGBTIQ advocacy group the South Coast Inclusion Network (SCIN) is hosting a special event to mark the 2020 International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) tomorrow (Sunday, May 17) and you can join in from the comfort and safety of your own home.
In compliance with social distancing restrictions, the group will be livestreaming their third annual IDAHOBIT rainbow flag raising ceremony from outside Wonthaggi’s Mitchell House from 12pm-12.30pm and invites you to tune in via Zoom or the SCIN Facebook page to show your support and solidarity for all sexualities and gender identities facing ongoing discrimination.
The SCIN has also released a locally made short film in honour of IDAHOBIT 2020.
Produced in 2019, ‘The Magic Five’ outlines, in just over two minutes, the key ingredients needed to support the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people living in rural and regional towns: support, affirmation and acknowledgement.
It’s available now via SCIN’s new website.
Spokesperson for the group Helen Page said IDAHOBIT was a good opportunity to acknowledge the challenges still facing LGBTIQ people in all communities, despite significant progress being made since 1990, when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, and even since the establishment of the SCIN, three years ago.
“There’s a lot of good stuff happening now in Bass Coast, there’s a lot of momentum,” Helen said.
“I think it would be lovely for people to feel safe to be themselves, but I think it’s going to take some time because a lot of people my age and older have lived experience of things like abuse, discrimination and just being pushed aside by their families.
“Also, older members of the community who aren’t LGBTIQ have also been through that history where gay people were ‘sad, bad or mad’, so they have carried that with them in the way they think – that’s all a part of the challenges we face.”
To address the issue of “LGBTIQ invisibility” in Bass Coast, SCIN encourages lead organisations to be proactive and make public statements in support of diversity.
“It’s the only way that people are going to be able to see that our community is inclusive,” Helen said.
“If someone comes from Melbourne, they’ll go to the Bass Coast Shire Council website and look for signs that such an important organisation actually does see them – the information needs to be there.”
Community groups, sporting clubs, and small businesses can also demonstrate that they are supportive of everybody, Helen said.
“Have a rainbow sticker on your window, call out homophobia, and Google and educate yourself on how to affirm LGBTIQ people and support them to be themselves.
“A little group like us would never get anywhere just hanging around with each other – we need everybody’s support.
“Even the smallest gesture means so much. So, I like to think SCIN plant seeds and then people go away to learn more.”
For more information, including details of the flag raising event, head to www.facebook.com/SCINinc.